The Mortgage Man

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Bailout Bingo – “Citi, Please Step To The Window”

Here we go again…The next company too big to fail puts their hat out for some tax payer love.

The more I hear the term “bailout”, the less I believe it is the right thing to do.  Probably the one that I have the biggest problem with at this point is the auto industry.  I know that there are millions of jobs associated with the auto industry.  And I know that a collapse of any one of the big 3 US auto makers would have a devastating affect on the economy.  But, has anyone noticed that Toyota and Honda are expanding?

Hmm…Some auto manufacturers are actually expanding and creating new jobs, while the US auto makers are completly crippled by expenses and technology issues.  I also discovered that the average wage for GM was $73 per hour, while the same worker at Toyota is making about $44 per hour.  I am no economist, but it looks like the company that makes a better product and can sell it cheaper deserves to beat out the competition.

So, that brings us back to Citi.  The term “too big to fail” is complete BS to me.  If you are providing a quality service, with an appropriate amount of risk, in a market where consumers need or want your product….you won’t fail (regardless of how big you are).  The more we keep throwing money at these companies to subsidize their failure, the more it is going to come back around to bite us (or our grandchildren) in the end.  And worse yet, the more we do it, the more everyone becomes numb to the idea of it.

Anyway, that’s my soapbox for the day.  If you would like to discuss your own mortgage bailout, give me a call at 850-221-8334, or visit SteveRussellOnline.com.

Twitter Me This…

For months now I have heard the “buzz” about Twitter.com and its ability to micro blog whatever you are doing at any given time.  I of course didn’t see the point.  But,  since it is free, I went ahead and signed up for an account about 9 months ago, and proceeded to do absolutely nothing with it.

Now, after getting asked repeatedly about twitter, and after getting my first confirmed real estate lead from there, I have had my light bulb moment.  If someone is following me on twitter, they know that I am a mortgage banker.  And, they will also get to see everytime I update something on my profile such as a new blog post, or today’s mortgage rates, or what the neighbor’s cat is doing in my yard.

The concept of Twitter is so simple, that I truly didn’t get why you would even bother, until recently.  I am by no means a “twitter-holic”, but I an trying to more frequently update what is going on with me for those interested in me or mortgages or real estate or all of the above.

You can follow me on Twitter by clicking the Twitter icon on the right side of this screen.

For your daily mortgage rates, go to SteveRussellOnline.com, or call me at 850-221-8334.

Pensacola Real Estate Featured In USA Today

For those unfamiliar with the Pensacola area, it is a hidden gem nestled on the Emerald Coast in the Panhandle of Florida.  Half way between Mobile, AL and Destin, FL, Pensacola is a relatively quiet little town with some of the best real estate deals available in the state.

As featured in a recent USA Today article, this little slice of paradise that I call home has seen trouble from hurricanes and the economy, but remains strong in the face of adversity.  As we continue to locate a bottom in the housing market nationwide, the deals here are already jaw dropping, and gaining the attention of investors all over the country.

One project in particular that I have gotten many calls on lately is the Purple Parrot Condominium project on Perdido Key.  Perdido Key is about 15 miles southwest of downtown Pensacola.  Being an island, only connected to the mainland by bridges on either side, this tropical oasis makes you feel as though you are in the laid back lifestyle of a caribean island.

The Purple Parrot is unique in many ways, but what really turns heads is the price.  For less than $100,000, you can buy a 1 bedroom bungalow, walking distance from the beach, that is reminisant of Key West.  (For those familiar with Key West, you can not buy a walk in closet there for that price)

For information and pictures of units available, visit www.SteveOnTheKey.com to check out available listings.  Or, call me at 850-221-8334 for your mortgage related questions and to get pre-approved to purchase.

Pensacola Mortgage

Friday November 14, 2008

This weeks financial news wrap up.

It is interesting the times that we live in right now.  The 500 point intraday swings in the stock market have become so commonplace that no one even gets excited about it anymore.  Even yesterday, there was an intraday low of -331 only to rally in the afternoon to +552, a nearly 900 point intraday swing.  What is even more curious is a buying rally after incredibly bad economic reports.

All of this leads to the conclusion that the markets are trading almost entirely on emotion.  Fundamentals appear to have no affect, and that uncertainty bleeds over to the bond market as well.

Mortgage bonds started the week on a downward slide, then recovered Wednesday and Thursday morning with a nice rally.  That rally began losing steam yesterday afternoon and continues to show weakness this morning.  Daily volatility aside, mortgage rates long term are better than they have been in about a month and continue to trade in a near sideways channel.

Conventional wisdom would lead us to believe that as poor economic data comes out, investors would pull money out of stocks, invest in bonds, driving up the yield and driving down mortgage rates.  But, as previously discuss, conventional wisdom does not appear to have a place in this market.

All in all, if you have a mortgage loan in process that you have not yet locked, my bias would be towards locking to protect against uncertainty.

For today’s mortgage rates, or to apply for a mortgage loan, go to SteveRussellOnline.com.  Or call 888-257-8383 for a free consultation.

Mortgage Rate Update

Due to the outstanding rally in stocks this afternoon, bonds sold off to their worst levels of the day.  So it is in fact a good time to lock your rate if you were floating to this point.  When rates are posted tomorrow they will likely be .125% to .25% higher than quotes this morning.  For more on the latest mortgage rates or to apply online, go to www.SteveRussellOnline.com.

Thursday November 13, 2008

Mortgage Bonds move higher.

After a sharp sell off earlier this week, mortgage bonds are making a comeback today and appear to be holding steady right at the 50 day and 200 day moving averages.  This has had a positive affect on rates this morning as I am quoting 30 year fixed conventional rates below 6% for the first time in over a week.

Initial jobless claims came out significantly worse than expected at 516,000 vs. the expected 479,000.  In addition, continuing jobless claims reached a 25 year high at 3.89 million.  This bad news for the economy is generally seen as a positive for the bond market as the likelihood of inflation lessens.

At the time of this post, the stock market is up slightly.

To keep up with the latest mortgage rates, go to www.SteveRussellOnline.com, or call 888-25-STEVE (78383)

Tax Savings Could Cost You Your Home

The expenses that you write off on your taxes could keep you from getting a mortgage.

The entrepreneurial spirit is one of the finer points of our society.  The fact that we live in a country with so many freedoms to carve your niche in the marketplace is a beautiful thing.  But that American dream of self employment can also cause you to loose another American dream, the dream of home ownership.

You may have heard the term “stated income” loans.  These are loan programs that were designed for self employed people that had difficult to document income, or they had significant write offs on their tax returns that prevented them from qualifying for a home.  With stated income loans, you were allowed to “state” your income without documenting or verifying where this income came from.  It was a simple solution for some people with good credit and good assets to qualify for a loan even if they could not prove their actual income stream.

With this loan program also came abuses of the system leading to desperate borrowers overstating their income to qualify for their dream home.  Or, unscrupulous loan officers that would do anything to get the deal done.  Regardless, many home owners bought homes that they could not afford, and you have seen the aftermath that was caused.

So, now that stated income loans have gone the way of the dinosour, self employed borrowers have to be more aware of their tax returns if they plan to buy a house.  Standard underwriting guidelines are that you take the last 2 years filed tax returns, use the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) on the bottom right of the 1040 form, divide that by 24, and that is the number that will be used to qualify you for a loan.  Be aware that if you “made” $100k, but you wrote off $70k in expenses, your income is $30,000.  There are a few items that can be added back into your income such as depreciation since it is not an actual cash expense.

I am neither an accountant nor a lawyer, so I will not presume to give legal or accounting advice.  However, I am an expert in mortgage financing, and rest assured, an underwriter is not going to use your gross income for qualifying.

Example:

Say you own a landscape company with gross receipts of $120,000.  But, your cost of goods (gas, equipment, mileage, supplies) was $72,000.  This would mean that your adjusted gross income would be $48,000.  On a monthly basis, your income would average out to be $4000 per month.  You are generally allowed to have a debt ratio of 40% to 45% (depending on the loan program) for your total expenses.  In this example, 45% would be $1800.

If you have a car payment of $350/ month and other debt payments of $400/month (credit cards, student loans, child support, alimony, etc.), it would leave you with $1050 to use for mortgage financing.  Take away property taxes and home owners insurance in that payment, you are probably left with about $900 for the actual mortgage payment.  At 6% on a 30 year term, this means that you would qualify for a loan amount of $150,000.

This is a good example of exactly the calculations I use when pre-qualifying someone for a home loan.

As we near the end of the year, and tax season is coming up, this will be an important conversation to have with your accountant if you have any plans to buy a home in the next few years.  your decision to save a few thousand dollars on your tax bill could very well keep you from buying a home.

If you would like to discuss your personal situation, call me at 888-257-8383 or go to Pensacola Mortgage Solutions.