San Francisco Local Resources, San Francisco Mortgage & Financing Info, San Francisco Property Profile, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Buyers

What YOU Can Buy in San Francisco with 3.5% Down

2 Comments 14 October 2009

San Francisco FHA Loans

Nope, I didn’t stutter.  You still CAN buy a home in San Francisco with just 3.5% down.

There are lots of restrictions, certain buildings don’t qualify, interest rates are slightly higher, but honestly, for many people, it is THE ONLY WAY that they’ll ever be able to buy a home.

FHA loans work for single family homes, and certain condos.

Single family homes that are habitable are a no brainer in terms of an FHA loan.

Some older condo buildings are on FHA’s approved list.  Other units can qualify for an FHA loan with “SPOT” approval (a post for another day). 

But until recently, buyers who wanted a low down payment on a condo in a new development had few options.

The nice thing is that NOW, many of the new developments in San Francisco have gone out of their way to get themselves FHA approved, which means that you can plop your 3.5% down payment right down on a shiny new condo. :razz:

Some of the developments that are FHA approved and offering 3.5% down (or in some cases higher):

  • SoMa Grand
  • Esprit Park (currently 10% down, but 3.5% is around the corner)
  • The Montgomery
  • Blu
  • Arterra (last I heard it was 10% down, but may already be 3.5%)
  • Candlestick Point – The Cove

I’ll update this list as I get more confirmations.

AND rumor has it that legislation IS coming down the line that will give ALL of these new developments the opportunity to take your 3.5% and shove it )(right in to a shiny new condo, that is!) :lol: 

Stay tuned for more FHA updates.

San Francisco Mortgage & Financing Info, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Buyers, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Sellers, San Francisco Real Estate Market Conditions, San Francisco Real Estate Resources

San Francisco Real Estate Videos – Spotlight with Tom Sinkovitz

Comments Off 13 October 2009

 

 (Learn more about buying, selling and financing
real property. Click on the link to view video
features on contemporary real estate subjects.)

Tom Sinkovitz, the KNTV political reporter and anchor, has been working with the San Francisco Association of REALTORS® for two years producing video features on contemporary real estate subjects.

The features, called “Spotlight with Tom Sinkovitz”, are intended to be of interest to anyone and everyone that cares about San Francisco real estate.

The video features are intended to provide you with information you need to know to better understand the dynamics of the current real estate market.

With the addition of these three videos, there are now eleven that are viewable. They cover the following subjects:

  • Recognizing the Bottom
  • First Time Incentive
  • Can I Get a Jumbo?
  • Appraiser
  • Green Homes
  • Value of Green
  • Why It Makes Sense to Use a REALTOR®
  • Shared Equity Mortgages, An Alternative for Some
  • What to Do If You Have a Problem Mortgage
  • Fighting Foreclosure (What you can do about the threat of foreclosure)
  • Curb Appeal (How to make your home stand out)

 



(Learn more about buying, selling and financing
real property. Click on the link to view video
features on contemporary real estate subjects.)

Misc Musings from Your San Francisco Realtor, San Francisco Mortgage & Financing Info, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Buyers, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Sellers, San Francisco Real Estate Market Conditions

Fun With Lending in San Francisco

Comments Off 01 October 2009

redue by pbo31.

Uploaded by pbo31

Thinking of doing some work to your San Francisco home? Feel like getting a permit for the work will just be too much of a headache?  Well think again.

That permit might cost you a a couple bucks, and you might jump through a couple of hoops to get it, but my advice – suck it up, baby, get that permit and get it NOW!

If you ever plan on selling that SF property, a lack of a permit may equate to the lack of a sale.

The latest scoop from an local lender:

Bottom line, any upgrades done on a property must be done with permits.  [We have] run into this with BofA retail.  This will be a VERY BIG deal coming down the road with all lenders and could cause all of us problems with the unpermitted work done in SF.  (The emphasis is mine.)   Just more fun in the lending world.

So – if getting a loan on a home in San Francisco (or anywhere else for that matter) hasn’t been hard enough already these days, just wait – it CAN and apparently WILL get even harder.

Misc Musings from Your San Francisco Realtor, San Francisco Local Resources, San Francisco Mortgage & Financing Info, San Francisco News and Events, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Buyers, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Sellers, San Francisco Real Estate Market Conditions

Mortgage Rates Keep Slipping, Slipping, Slipping – Into the Future……

Comments Off 30 September 2009

Was just surfing the interweb through my RSS reader and caught that the interest rates for mortgages just keeps on slowly slipping (reminding me of that “Fly Like an Eagle” song which is now stuck on a loop in my head.

The Zillow folks say:

Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed rates decreased slightly this week, with the weekly average rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow Mortgage Marketplace at 5.02%, down from 5.04% the week prior. For 15-year fixed mortgages, borrowers were quoted on average, 4.42% and for 5/1 ARMs, 3.94%.

This morning, the national rate for 30-year fixed purchase mortgages was 4.93%.

Good news for BUYERS!  :smile:  Get more purchasing power and lower monthly payments.

Good news for SELLERS!  :smile:  Get more qualified buyers to come see your listings. 

Long story short – it’s good for the housing market.  The stats are out there, but thanks to the Zillow folks, it’s in a pretty little chart for you to look at. 

Of course, rates DO change from day to day – so be sure to talk to your mortgage specialist about your situation. 

What?  You don’t have a mortgage professional on your side?  Well, then Marc Geshekter will come to the rescue!  You can call Marc at (415) 722-3196 or email him.

San Francisco Mortgage & Financing Info, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Buyers, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Sellers, San Francisco Real Estate Market Conditions

Are We Seeing $729,500 Conforming Loans Again?

Comments Off 05 May 2009

Could it really be true?  The bill to provide the jumbo conforming loans (also known as “agency high”) gave us the promise of a loan limit of $729,500 for high cost areas like San Francisco.  But even though it was promised to us in February, we weren’t seeing lenders providing the loans promised to consumers!

But, the rumor is, IT’S HERE!!!

From the California Association of Realtors:

Rates on bigger mortgages finally should come down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently issued loan underwriting criteria and will start buying loans of up to $729,750 from lenders on May 4, which some industry analysts believe will result in lower rates.

This week, Wells Fargo started offering conforming loans of up to $729,750, and Bank of America will begin offering them by mid-May Historically, rates on loans higher than $417,000 – often referred to as jumbo conforming loans — are onefourth to one-third of a percentage point higher than rates on $417,000 or lower loans.

By Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac agreeing to guarantee loans of up to $729,750, rates on jumbo conforming loans likely will be comparable to the rates offered on loans of $417,000 and lower.

To read the full story, please click here.

 

 

San Francisco Local Resources, San Francisco Mortgage & Financing Info, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Buyers, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Sellers, San Francisco Real Estate Market Conditions

Qualifying for a Loan for San Francisco Investment Property

1 Comment 06 April 2009

I have clients looking for all sorts of real estate in San Francisco, from low priced condos and TIC’s that work great for first time homebuyers to larger single family homes for the growing family, to real estate investors that want to take on the task of owning and managing rental property.  I work with both seasoned investors and those that are just now getting their feet wet. 

I recently got an inquiry from a client interested in pursuing a multi-unit building in San Francisco.  He’s looking to occupy a unit and rent out the others and was curious to find out how the rental income would be considered when qualifying for a loan.

As I often do, I turned to Marc Geshekter (one of my favorite mortgage brokers in SF) to see if he could shed some light on the topic.  This is what he had to say:

When buying a 2-4 unit residential building to be used as a primary residence the buyer/borrower can use a portion of the rental income gained from each rental unit when qualifying for the new loan(s).  Most underwriters will allow the ‘net rental income’ to be used during loan qualification provided current lease agreements are in place and can be properly documented.
 
During the underwriting process ‘net rental income’ is calculated by taking 75% of the gross rental income (-) the monthly mortgage payments (-) the monthly cost of property taxes (-) the monthly cost of insurance (the building insurance).  Here’s an example:
 
Gross monthly rent collected:  $10,000
Rent roll at 75%:  $7,500
Monthly mortgage payment:  $4,500
Monthly cost of property taxes + ins.:  $2,000
Net rental income = $1,000
 
In the example above the building as an investment property is cash-flow positive and could potentially add $1,000 per month to the gross monthly income used to qualify for the new loan(s).  These are standard underwriting guidelines.  Some lenders do institute additional underwriting guidelines pertaining to using investment property income when qualifying a buyer for a new mortgage loan.  For more information relating to investment property purchases in the San Francisco Bay Area please feel free to give me a call at 415–354–5162.

Misc Musings from Your San Francisco Realtor, San Francisco Local Resources, San Francisco Mortgage & Financing Info, San Francisco News and Events, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Buyers, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Sellers, San Francisco Real Estate Market Conditions

Long Story Short: The Economic Stimulus & SF Housing

Comments Off 06 March 2009

So there’s a helluva lot of talk these days about the Economic Stimulus Plan that Obama signed two weeks ago.  In addition, the State of California has put in some programs in place that are meant to stimulate the economy and get the “R” word (recession) the heck outta Dodge. < ?xml:namespace prefix ="" o ns ="" "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

The real deal though is that different parts of the Stimulus Plan affect different parts of the country differently.  And frankly, I think most of us are concerned with what’s happening right here in our frontyard, San Francisco, that is. 

So, here’s a condensed version of some of the key components of the plans that are meant to put Humpty Dumpty (our economy) back together again.   

Lower Interest Rates:  The stimulus bill is supposed to pump money into the mortgage market.  And in turn, banks are supposed to get so excited that they drop mortgage rates all across the board.  Well, rates ARE at historic lows… but frankly, we haven’t seen the drastic drops that we were all hoping for.  But – with rates hovering around the low 5% range (and lower prices than we’ve seen in years) monthly payments have become quite affordable. 

Increased Conforming Loan Limits:  Yay!  While San Francisco home prices have been dipping, they’re still much more expensive than most markets in the US.  Which is why it’s so important to note that the limit for conforming loans is (at least for 2009) going back to $729,500.  That means a purchase price of up to $911,875 qualifies for a regular loan!   

An $8,000 Tax Credit from Uncle Sam:  OK, so this one doesn’t do too much for San Francisco homebuyers.  Singles that make $75K or less and married couples that makes $150K or less can claim this tax credit.  But the reality is that only buyers in the lower price tiers in San Francisco will really qualify for this credit.  However, there are rumors that those that make more than the income limits will receive a partial credit, but no one seems to know the scoop on how that will play out. 

Help Avoiding Foreclosure:  This comes to us in a variety of forms, from refinancing between 80%-105% of your homes value if you qualify.  There’s a variety of restrictions (a loan amount of less than $729,500, be an owner occupier, proof of financial hardship, etc.) but if you make the cut, and pass a trial period of three months at a new reduced rate (that means making your payments on time), you get to keep the new reduced rate for 5 years.   

$10,000 Credit from the State of CA for New Construction:  There’s a lot of hoops that need to be jumped through to received this tax credit (which is split up over 3 years.)  But in a nutshell, if you buy a NEW and never before occupied property, you get a nice chunk of change in return.  But, there is two catches – one, lots of paperwork, but more importantly, this credit won’t last long.  A certain amount of money has been earmarked for this tax credit, and once it’s gone, it’s gone for good.  The good news – there’s a great amount of SF new developments that qualify. 

So – if you are thinking of buying, these are some pretty good incentives.  Not all of these might fit your specific situation, but several of these might be enough to get you thinking about how you can take advantage of the stimulus, and do your part to help the economy.  Is now the right time for you to make a move?  Call me at 415-307-1392 or email me at luba@zephyrsf.com and we can discuss your situation.

Misc Musings from Your San Francisco Realtor, San Francisco Local Resources, San Francisco Mortgage & Financing Info, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Buyers, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Sellers, San Francisco Real Estate Market Conditions

When Will We See $729,500 “Conforming” Loan Limits?

Comments Off 24 February 2009

So, I have been quiet on the new economic stimulus plan that Obama signed last week and how it affects San Francisco real estate because I’ve been swamped! 

In fact, most nights last week, I worked until 3am and 4am.  Last night, I managed to turn off my computer at midnight leaving anything that wasn’t urgent to be dealt with today. 

So that being said, I do plan to give you my 10 cents on the package.  No, I don’t mean 2 cents.  I mean 10 because I have a lot of thoughts.  So stay tuned for that.  And I promise I’ll try to keep them rather condensed.

In the meantime, I wanted to touch base with a mortgage broker I work with (and highly recommend), Marc Geshekter about last year’s conforming loan limits being reinstated.

I asked Marc:

I know the $729,500 loan limits will be reinstated, but WHEN can San Francisco home buyers take advantage of them???

Marc’s answer, as usual, in depth and honest.

Here’s what he had to say:

This was passed, but we have no idea when it will be put in place and what the pricing will be.  Based on how long it took for this to be activated with lenders last year I’m guessing at least another 4-6 weeks before it will be offered across the board for consumers.  We might see some lenders begin to trickle out with pricing sooner, but who knows if it will be competitive or not since there will be nothing to compare it against.  My initial thought is that Countrywide wholesale will roll this out first, they’re somewhat quick on the draw with implementing new to market changes.

I believe we may see three buckets:

  1. Conforming:  $417k and below
  2. High Balance Conforming:  $417,001 – $625,500
  3. Jumbo Conforming:  $625,501 – $729,750

The High Balance Conforming might go away for the high cost area’s and Jumbo Conforming may replace it making Jumbo Conforming loans $417,001 – $729,750.  I’m not positive on this though and I’ll keep you posted.

Also, FHA will be back up to $729,750 for SF County, but as we all know FHA is not a big program for the city. 

The big piece that would REALLY help us out is if California was considered a high cost state along with U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii, Alaska, etc.  This would allow us to raise our Fannie and Freddie loan limit to 150% of the limit.  It would make the Jumbo Conforming loan limit for certain area’s of California (SF county for sure) $938,520.  Someone could then get a (almost) $1MM loan and use a Fannie or Freddie lender v.s. having to go through a jumbo loan lender.  We’ve been talking about this for years, but I’m still not confident this would happen any time soon.

Hope that helps. 

Misc Musings from Your San Francisco Realtor, San Francisco Local Resources, San Francisco Mortgage & Financing Info, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Buyers, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Sellers, San Francisco Real Estate Market Conditions

The Secret to Getting a Loan Modification (in San Francisco and Beyond)

Comments Off 19 February 2009

Money House - smallWell, the real secret to getting a loan modification is, like most thing in life, that there is no secret. 

Yeah, I know, that was a dirty trick, but if you keep reading, you’ll find a great deal of information about getting your loan modified, though I have to say, it will take some work. 

Now I have to say, I’ve been meaning to write about this topic for a while – but Eric Glaser, a fellow agent at Zephyr Real Estate, was kind enough to share the info with not just me, but all of Zephyr! 

This would be a good time to make a little sidenote and throw out some props to the realtor gang at Zephyr.  You see, unlike a lot of other real estate brokerages in San Francisco or anywhere else for that matter, the real estate agents at Zephyr find that sharing information with each other actually helps us get our jobs done.  I know, I know, it’s crazy!    But that’s why I haven’t thought of leaving Zephyr since I started in the biz. 

Anyhow, back to Eric Glaser’s fabulous information on how to get your loan modified.

For what it’s worth, here’s my take on the current situation:

 

Basically, no one knows for sure exactly how things are going to shake out.  Jesse Tannlund [from Integrated Mortgage] equated the current loan modification process to the wild west.  Currently, there is no one formula and it varies from situation to situation and from lender to lender and it even varies depending on who you happen to get on the phone at any given bank.  Modification guidelines are supposed to be instated on March 4, so there may be a hold on loan modifications until then, but that may not necessarily be the case with all lenders.

 

There is definitely a consensus across the board that one does NOT have to miss loan payments to be considered for a loan modification.  In fact, as you probably know, a big part of Obama’s Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan is being implemented precisely so that homeowners do not miss their payments and start going down the foreclosure road.  In some cases, the banks will modify loans for folks who are current in their payments faster than those that have defaulted.  Again, there seems to be no set formula, but the squeaky wheel seems to work in some instances, I’ve been told. 

 

In order to be considered for a loan modification, one does need to show financial hardship and/or that the property value has fallen below the principal owed (through providing informal comps).  I’m told that most lenders are not verifying property values through BPO’s or appraisals, and as crazy as it may seem, it is my understanding that a good percentage of loan modifications are being pushed through largely on what the homeowners “stated figures” are for debt owed, property value, etc. with minimal financial verification requirements and minimal paperwork. 

 

I know this sounds ironic considering how difficult it is to get a new loan approved and it may even sound too good to be true at first glance.  However, the lenders would rather receive mortgage payments from a homeowner, even if it’s at drastically reduced 30 year fixed rate (I’ve heard they are sometimes going as low as 2% FIXED), than to have to go through the lengthy and costly foreclosure process, where they will undoubtedly lose money.  At least with a loan modification, they will still be making some income from the loan, and the government is also providing financial incentives for the lenders to modify loans vs. foreclosing on properties.

 

Sorry for the lengthy email, but this is an extremely complex issue.  I hope I have been able to inform some of you about the “word on the street” regarding the loan modification process and to provide some good resources for you for further information.  I wish the best for all of us and our clients during these challenging times.

Now, if you find that you’re in a situation where you are facing financial hardship and are struggling to keep your home, start by calling your lender.  If it doesn’t work, try calling your lender again.  And if that doesn’t work, maybe try a dozen more times.  And if you find you get a lender representative that is willing to help you modify your loan and keep your home, let me know if there’s anything I can do to help. 

 

And if you’re in San Francisco, I’m happy to provide you (at no charge, of course) with recent comparable sales if you need to show any to your lender (or any other info that I can provide) – all you have to do is call me at 415–307–1392, or email me.  I want to help.

 

Oh, and once again, I’d like to thank Eric for sharing this info with his teammates at Zephyr, and I’d like to thank him for allowing me to post the fruits of his research here on my SF real estate blog.  He rocks!

 

Misc Musings from Your San Francisco Realtor, San Francisco Local Resources, San Francisco Mortgage & Financing Info, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Buyers, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Sellers, San Francisco Real Estate Market Conditions

Buying Foreclosures in San Francisco

Comments Off 15 February 2009

I originally posted this back in May of 2008 for the first time, but the real estate situation in San Francisco has only gotten worse (not by a landslide here folks, so don’t panic…)  But as more and more people want a bargain, I keep finding myself answering questions about foreclosures more and more often, and so, I thought now would be a good time to revisit the topic.  So, here you go…..

So you want to take advantage of the whole mortgage meltdown that’s been going on.  Who can blame you?  You want a deal!  Deals are good!  We all like saving money. 

But buying property during the foreclosure process is challenging.  Ask most people that have seen both good and bad real estate market and everything in between and they’ll tell you that buying foreclosures takes nerves of steel, an acceptance that there is risk involved and a strong stomach.  And of course, it takes being knowledgable about the foreclosure process.

Now I’m willing to give you a little lesson, but people teach entire multi-day seminars on foreclosures and the foreclosure process – so my little blog post here isn’t going to go too far in the way of your foreclosure education, but it should give you enough information to decide if your stomach is strong enough to attempt purchasing a property in some stage of foreclosure. 

So read on to learn about the various stages of the foreclosure process and the potential pitfalls of each. 

Short Sale – A short sale occurs when a property owner is upside down on their mortgage (they owe more than their home is worth) AND they can no longer afford the mortgage payments.  ,

Some lenders, rather than foreclose on a property are willing to settle for less than they are owed.  They aren’t really being kind or generous – it’s just that banks aren’t in the business of buying and selling real estate, but rather, buying and selling money.  They have no desire to keep homes in their portfolios, and in most cases, lenders would rather settle for a portion of what is owed to them and forget the whole thing ever happened.

The Short Sale purchase process starts rather simply.  You see a property that you like, you make an offer on it, and the seller accepts the offer.  Well – you still have another major hurdle to jump through.  The offer now must be submitted to the lender, or in some cases lenders, and this is where the meditation class you took in college pays off. 

Once the lender receives your offer, they rarely accept it right away.  Typically it takes weeks for them to approve it (or reject it) and I’ve even heard of it taking months!  During this time, the lender is reviewing the seller’s hardship package, they are reviewing your offer, and they are waiting, hoping and praying that another offer better than yours will come in.  Of course, you can add deadlines and such to your offer, but the reality is that the bank will decide only when it’s good and ready. 

Now, if the bank accepts your offer, then it’s pretty much like any other sale.  Unless of course, the seller had a 1st loan and a second loan that they can’t afford to pay off.  In this case, things get rather complicated rather quickly, because now you have two separate banks that have to agree to forgive part or all the seller’s debt rather than foreclosing on the property.  

Sale Day (Courthouse Auction) – Let’s assume the bank rejected the short sale.  Instead, they opted to file a notice of default followed by a notice of sale which led up to the Sale Day, where we are now.   Sale Day occurs on the courthouse steps in the county where the trust deed was recorded.  You can find out in advance which properties will be auctioned off on which day by looking in the local newspaper, going to the local courthouse, or contacting a REALTOR familiar with foreclosures.

The first thing to keep in mind is that your credit is no good on Sale Day.  In fact, if you don’t have the money, either in cold hard cash, or in the form of a cashier’s check, you have no hope of winning the property on Sale Day. 

In addition to the ALL CASH policy, you don’t have the opportunity to do any inspections, you don’t get title insurance, you don’t have disclosures from the lender, you don’t have crap.  You may as well be throwing the dice.  Why am I being so dramatic?  Well – your property might come with LIENS ALREADY AGAINST IT – including various unpaid utilities or mechanic’s liens.  If you buy the property, the liens come with it and it’s YOUR duty as the property owner to take care of them.

What about the price, you ask?  Well – the lender is going to want to make back what they were owed by the former homeowner – so the starting bid will likely be the amount of the first note.  Once again, you can get this information from a REALTOR.

Sale Day is frankly kinda scary.  You might walk away with a ridiculous bargain, but you might walk away with a HUGE liability on your hands.

REO (Real Estate Owned) – So Sale Day often comes and goes with no offers on the courthouse steps.  The bank is left with the property on their books – and as I’ve mentioned before, banks aren’t in the business of buying and selling real esate, so they want to get these properties off of their books rather quickly. 

Now this is the time to find bargains!  Banks usually unload these properties at a significant discount because they don’t want to hold on to them.  The bank’s representatives usually respond to the offers rather quickly, and while you’re unlikely to find a property in pristine condition (former owners often take anything of value in the house from appliances to lightbulbs and doorknobs), you are likely to find a damn good deal.

But as with all things, there is a catch – you need to be ready to hustle!  You have to move fast to grab one of these deals and you won’t have time to think long before you make an offer.  However, if your offer is accepted, you often have the ability to do inspections (although in a competitive situation, you may not have that opportunity either.)  Again, you should be working with a savvy REALTOR to make sure you don’t miss out on one of these deals.

I hope you found today’s foreclosure lesson helpful.  If you want more information about Short Sales, Courthouse Auctions or REO’s, contact me.  I’m always happy to help! :-)

San Francisco Weather

Luba’s Facebook Fans

Sign up for Market Reports

About the Blog


Luba’s San Francisco Real Estate Blog was created to share insights about San Francisco Real Estate and about San Francisco living. Written by Luba Muzichenko, an "almost-native" San Franciscan and a local Realtor® with Zephyr Real Estate, Luba’s San Francisco Real Estate Blog is meant to inform you about a variety of good things and happenings around SF and its unique neighborhoods, about buying and selling homes in the City and about the real estate market in general. If you like what you see, please tell a friend.

Blog Archives

Contact Me

Luba Muzichenko
REALTOR®
Top Producer
Certified Residential Specialist®
e-Pro®
Zephyr Real Estate
415-307-1392 (cell)
luba@zephyrsf.com
www.LubaSF.com
DRE License #01768716
Top Agent Network 

Subscribe to Get Updates by Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Subscribe to the RSS Feed

 

Subscribe to get blog updates in your feedreader.

© 2014 Luba's San Francisco Real Estate Blog.