Monthly Archives: January 2015

EL PRESIDENTE OBAMA IMPULSA LA COMPRA DE VIVIENDAS (FIRST TIME BUYERS)

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El presidente Barack Obama impulsó el jueves 7 de Enero de 2015 planes para reducir la prima de seguro en algunas hipotecas, decisión que según la Casa Blanca pudiera ahorrar 900 dólares al año a quienes tienen un crédito y atraer a 250,000 personas que compran su primera vivienda.

La reducción de la prima anunciada está dirigida a hacer que más personas compren vivienda y ayudar a los propietarios a refinanciar para ahorrar. A finales de este mes, la prima de seguro de las hipotecas respaldadas por la Administración Federal de la Vivienda (FHA) bajará de 1.35% a 0.85%. Source: am.com

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Your Loan in the Valley 2015
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Top Ten Things to Know about Veterans Benefits

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Veterans are often surprised at the number and types of benefits that are available. If you’re just getting started in applying for Veterans benefits, there are some basic things you should know.

Nobody is going to hand you your Veterans benefits

That would be too easy. Instead, you have to know what benefits there are, you must find out what the eligibility criteria is to receive a particular benefit, you need to know which government agency is in charge of that benefit, and then you have to ask for the benefit.

The definition of veteran varies when it comes to veteran benefits

You would think, by now, that our government would agree on who is entitled to call themselves a veteran. You’d think so, but you’d be wrong. Unfortunately, there’s no single legal definition for the term veteran when it comes to Veterans benefits. Because different benefits were enacted into law at different times by different Congresses, each benefit has varying qualification criteria.

You can qualify for some benefits with just one day of military service. Other benefits require you to serve a minimum amount of time. Still others require that you meet certain conditions, such as having a disability resulting from military service.

The government doesn’t know if you’re a veteran or not

You’d also think that the government would have some kind of massive computer system that would have all the details about your service in the United States military. You would think Uncle Sam would know when you served, where you served, how long you served, what medals you may have earned, and what kind of discharge you received. Once again, you’d be wrong.

You must prove you deserve veteran benefits

Maybe in the future, but right now if you want a particular benefit, it’s up to you to prove your status as a veteran. You do this by providing copies of your military discharge paperwork.

 You might not need an honorable discharge to get veteran benefits

You may be one of those who think that you need an honorable discharge to qualify for a veterans benefit. Many veterans believe that. The truth is, some benefits require an honorable discharge, but there are many benefits you can receive with a general or other than honorable discharge as well.

“No” to veterans benefits doesn’t always mean no

You may ask for a benefit and be told no. You may be told that you’re not eligible for the benefit because of this or that, even though you believe that you meet the eligibility criteria. Maybe you asked for a benefit years ago, only to be told you don’t qualify, so you gave up.

Maybe you were told no, and you don’t even know why. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has developed a bad habit over the years of phrasing its rejection letters in such a way that even legal eagles couldn’t understand them.

Fortunately, the agency isn’t allowed to do that anymore. A brand-new law (passed in September 2008 by your friendly neighborhood Congress critters) now requires the VA to use plain, simple, everyday language when it rejects a benefit claim. Wow! What a great idea! Why didn’t anyone think of this before?

Submit the right paperwork for your veterans benefit

Even if the VA says no in simple, plain, everyday language, it doesn’t mean that it’s right. Most of the time when the VA rejects a claim, it’s because you didn’t provide the correct paperwork — what the VA calls supporting evidence.

You can ask the VA to take another look at your case, and if it still says no (stubborn little rascal, isn’t it?), you can appeal the decision. There’s even a federal court that does nothing else but hears appeals for veterans benefit claims.

Well-known veteran benefits

You may be surprised to find out how many goodies are available to veterans and their family members. Some of these benefits are well-known, such as medical care and disability compensation. Other ell known goodies include free or low-cost medical care, cash payments directly from Uncle Sam, and plans designed to help you get a college degree or vocational training,

Not-so-famous veterans benefits

You may have never heard of other veteran benefits, ranging from loans to open a small business to free headstones when you finally move on to that big battlefield in the sky.

In addition, you might not know there are programs that assist you in finding and getting your dream job, programs that help you buy a house or find a place to live in your golden years, shopping and travel perks, memorial and burial benefits, and services and programs available to surviving family members. By Rod Powers

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Attention: FHA to lower cost of mortgage insurance

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In a move designed to bring more first-time homebuyers into the housing market, President Barack Obama said Wednesday the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the government insurer of home loans, will lower its annual insurance premiums from 1.35 percent to 0.85 percent.

In a statement, the White House said the move was part of the president’s efforts `”to expand responsible lending to creditworthy borrowers.” The president is scheduled to talk about improvements in the housing market at a speech on Thursday in Phoenix, one of the hardest-hit markets of the housing crash.

Stocks of the nation’s home builders rose on the news Wednesday, while those of mortgage insurers fell.

“This action will make home ownership more affordable for over two million Americans in the next three years,” said Julián Castro, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary. “Since 2009, the Obama administration has taken bold steps to reduce risks in the mortgage market and to protect consumers. These efforts have made it possible to take this prudent measure while also ensuring FHA remains on a positive financial trajectory. By bringing our premiums down, we’re helping folks lift themselves up so they can open new doors of opportunity and strengthen their financial futures.”

Mortgage bankers praised the decision. “It couldn’t come at a better time,” said David Stevens, CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association. “February is the beginning of the spring market. I think it will have a definitive impact particularly in the first-time homebuyer market.”

For the typical FHA applicant, the reduction in premiums means a savings of about $80 on their monthly payment, according to CoreLogic’s chief economist, Sam Khater.

“So it’s positive news from a consumer welfare perspective, especially for first-time homebuyers, which account for the majority of FHA’s business,” he said, adding, “However, I think the marginal impact on sales will be small because potential buyers make the decision to purchase based on trigger events, such as a new job, marriage, kids, etc. Changes in affordability only impact how much home they can buy.”

The FHA had been the only low down payment product available, with a minimum 3.5 percent down, but recently Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced a new 3 percent down payment product that would require private mortgage insurance. The product would compete directly with the FHA and could have offered some borrowers a cheaper option if they had a good credit score.

“We believe the cut is strategic. Our view is that FHA was at risk of losing enough market share—especially of higher-quality borrowers—to the GSE 97 percent down mortgage that it could have put at risk the ability of the FHA fund to reach its 200 basis point reserve requirement this year as it had forecast. By cutting the premium, FHA would increase its share of the market and should be back on track to meeting the reserve requirement despite the cut in revenue,” wrote Jaret Seiberg, an analyst at Guggenheim Partners.

The reduction will likely come under scrutiny by some on Capitol Hill, as the FHA is still building its capital reserves and is not yet above the mandatory 2 percent minimum. It is back in the black, after having bled cash for two years.

The FHA’s volume had soared at the beginning of the housing crash, making up for the lack of credit in the private market, but that came at a price. In order to rebuild its fund, it more than doubled its annual insurance premium and raised average credit scores. That made it harder for borrowers today to afford an FHA loan.

Lowering the premium will bring volume back to the FHA, but it will also bring back risk.

“That is clearly the tension with any lending program that encourages low down payment,” said Stevens. “But we are in a different position. We are clearly in an environment where home prices are very stable with steady growth. You don’t have the dynamics to create any type of housing bubble.”

Mortgage volume has been lagging, even with interest rates falling to near record lows. The Obama administration is clearly looking for new ways to boost homeownership, as investor activity wanes and the market is left to mortgage-dependent buyers.

“Now that we’ve made it harder for reckless buyers to buy homes that they can’t afford, let’s make it a little bit easier for qualified buyers to buy the homes that they can afford,” said Obama in an August 2013 speech, also in Phoenix. At the time he did not make mention of the FHA, which was still in the red, but instead touted refinance programs and less red tape for lenders.

Obama is also expected to address the issue of putbacks at the FHA, which is when lenders are forced to buy back bad loans. The regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, has already sought to clarify these rules, which have created huge costs for lenders and consequently higher costs for borrowers. Source: cnbc.com

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