Thursday, June 2, 2011

Maine Open House Weekend

Maine Open House Weekend is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, June 4 and 5, 2011, in line with the Nationwide REALTOR® Open House Weekend across the country to help showcase and promote the great housing inventory on the market available for Buyers.

To add an additional boost to the event, the Maine Association of REALTORS is promoting the event statewide across multiple media and social media outlets, and offering everyone who attends a Maine Open House over the weekend to enter into a drawing for a Theme Park Adventure, including 2 one-day passes to your choice of amusement parks, plus 3 days/2 nights hotel accommodations for 2 at the Hilton, Marriott or Hyatt Regency, as well as a Lowe's $500 gift card.

Individuals over the age of 18 can enter to win at participating open houses across the State of Maine on June 4 and/or June 5 and enter to win with the agent hosting the open house. In order to be entered for a chance to win, participants will need to provide the real estate agent with their name and contact information, and a prize winner will be chosen randomly on Wednesday, June 8, 2011. (MAR will not use or share your contact information.) There is no purchase necessary to win. Multiple entries are allowed, and you are certainly encouraged to visit as many open houses as you can.

To find all of the participating open house locations, visit the Maine Open House Weekend will also be advertised in the Portland Press Herald, Maine Sunday Telegram, Kennebec Journal, and Morning Sentinel.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Maine VA Loans

Service members and veterans moving to southern Maine to settle down or relocate have the privilege of financing a home through the VA Home Loan program. VA loans in Maine combine a handful of benefits that make buying a home less financially burdensome for military members. Even active-duty personnel can use a Maine VA loan, especially if they are looking for property near the, soon to close Brunswick Naval Air Station located northeast of Portland.

There is a general consensus among VA loan borrowers about the program's best benefit: the next-to-nothing down payments. Maine VA loans come with zero percent down to qualified borrowers. Almost all service members and veterans who receive a VA loan have the option to pay nothing down, while the rest of the borrowers pay less than 5 percent down.

Despite this one amazing perk, it's easier to qualify for a VA loan than a conventional loan. Of those who qualified for a VA loan, about 80 percent would not qualify for a traditional one. Even after the credit crunch, service members and veterans with imperfect credit can still get a VA loan in Maine. VA-certified lenders, such as VA Mortgage Center, most often lend to borrowers with scores of at least 620. They also accept debt-to-income ratios as high as 41 percent. A former bankruptcy or foreclosure does not mean a borrower will be denied a VA loan.

In addition to the down payment benefit, Maine VA loans come with a bunch more. Two advantages that save money in the long run are the lower interest rates and elimination of private mortgage insurance (PMI). Lower interest rates are the result of the VA's guarantee on up to one-quarter of each loan's amount. Lenders take on less risk and therefore shave off a few points. With lower rates and no PMI, monthly payments on VA loans shrink.

No prepayment penalty enables borrowers to pay at their own rate without fear of being charged for doing so. The program also comes with assistance to borrowers who are on the verge of default. One refinancing option, the VA Streamline, lets borrowers refinance their loan to lower their interest rate.

Not every service member or veteran is eligible for a Maine VA loan, but those who may be eligible include:

  • Military members who served on active duty for 90 days or 181 days during wartime or peacetime, respectively.

  • Reservists or members of the National Guard who served for at least six years.

  • Spouses of service members who died in the line of duty or because of a service-related injury.

The first step in attaining a Maine VA loan is completing a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). Contact a VA-certified lender today to get your COE and more info on VA loans in Maine.

For more mortgage and finance information, visit my website's mortgage center.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Big Incentive to Buy Before October 1st!!!

100% financing is still available through Rural Development. Many of my buyers are finding this program hard to pass up:
  • No Down Payment
  • No Monthly PMI (until Oct 1st – so don’t delay!)
  • Allows Closing Costs to be rolled into the loan
  • Unlimited Seller Concessions (great opportunity for a "buy down" & lower monthly payments)
  • 30yr Fixed Rates ranging from 5.0 to 5.25% over the last 6 months
  • No Re-capture Period or Pre-payment Penalty – Ever!
  • Credit Scores all the way down to 640

However, beginning October 1, 2011, all RD purchase loans transactions will be charged an annual fee of 0.3 percent of the unpaid principal balance (monthly PMI). On a $200K home, this is $50/month or $600/yr.

These changes will not be effective until October 1, 2011. So there is plenty of time between now & October for buyers to still avoid this additional cost.

Click here for more real estate news and advice.

For more mortgage and finance information, visit my website's mortgage center.

Friday, March 11, 2011

FHA Minimum Credit Score Lowered!

Qualifying for a FHA loan just got easier!

Most lenders have required a 640 minimum FICO score for FHA purchases and refinance transactions. Effective TODAY, the minimum credit score for FHA Fixed Rate loans has been lowered to 620.

Another good reason for buyers to get off the fence!!!

Click here for more real estate news and advice.

For more mortgage and finance information, visit my website's mortgage center.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mortgage Assistance Relief (MARS) Protects Consumers

The Federal Trade Commission's new Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) Ruling is designed to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive practices associated with mortgage relief companies.

The MARS new ruling:

• Makes it illegal to collect upfront fees

• Requires specific disclosures in all communications and advertisements for

mortgage assistance relief services, and

• Requires specific record keeping for two years from the date of document


Penalties for Non-Compliance

According to FTC attorneys, penalties for noncompliance include:

• Civil penalties of $16,000 per occurrence

• Injunctive relief

• Disgorgement of unlawful gain

• Ban on participation

To avoid penalties that could land you in hot water with the FTC, you should become familiar with and begin applying these changes immediately!