Obama signs condo bill into law

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It will soon get easier for condominium buyers to obtain Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans.
President Barack Obama last week signed into law H.R. 3700, also known as the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act, that will require regulators to rewrite several rules that determine FHA eligibility for condo developments.

Current rules disqualify buyers from seeking FHA loans if less than 50 percent of the condominium units are owner-occupied. The law lowers that requirement to a 35 percent owner-occupied ratio.

FHA also would have to relax a hard rule banning transfer fees when a con
do is sold to allow condominium condos-and-townhomes-in-scottsdale-az1associations to collect feesthat support community improvements. That policy is consistent with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s existing policy.

The agency also must simplify its re-certification process. As it stands, developments must undergo a rigorous certification hurdle every two years.

FHA overseer, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, must make some of the changes within 90 days, according to the National Association of Realtors. Other changes will be proposed through rule making.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the law would boost FHA-guarantee lending by $8 billion between 2017 and 2021, as more condo buyers would be eligible.

The law will also allow the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to delegate to preferred lenders its approval authority for USDA loans, and the agency to charge a $50 fee to lenders per loan for using the automated underwriting system.

The bill was unanimously approved by the House in February and by the Senate earlier in July.

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Upfront Guarantee Fee and Annual Fee Reduction

April 28, 2016

Upfront Guarantee Fee and Annual Fee Reduction for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017

This message provides advance notice of the upfront guarantee fee and annual fee structure that will be effective for Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program (SFHGLP) loans in fiscal year (FY) 2017, which begins October 1, 2016 and ends at the close of business on September 30, 2017.  The upfront guarantee fee will change from 2.75% to 1.0% of the loan amount.  The annual fee will change from 0.50% to 0.35% of the average scheduled unpaid principal balance for the life of the loan.

Please refer to the unnumbered letter (UL), Upfront Guarantee Fee and Annual Fee for Fiscal Year 2017, for additional details.

The “Guarantee Fee & Annual Fee Calculator” is available online at the USDA LINC Training and Resource Library in the “Loan Origination” and “Guarantee Annual Fee (GAF) Billing and Payment” sections of the page.

Thank you for your support of the Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program!

To start the process of owning your own home and applying online, simply click HERE and take a few minutes to complete an online application.  Often times, you can be Pre-Approved in minutes!  

Or TEXT the word ‘LOAN’ to 38470

To see if you qualify for  Free Government Down Payment Assistance, click Down Payment Assistance !  There is no first time home buyer requirement.

Fed Rate Decision Comes in

Houses

The Federal Reserve announced its benchmark rate target Wednesday afternoon and, as expected, raised the target for its benchmark rate.

“Given the economic outlook, and recognizing the time it takes for policy actions to affect future economic outcomes, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1/4 to 1/2 percent,” the Fed said in a release. “The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative after this increase, thereby supporting further improvement in labor market conditions and a return to 2 percent inflation.”

The Fed committee said economic activity has been expanding at a moderate pace; household spending and business investment have increased over the past few months.
The decision was also influenced by ongoing jobs gains and declining unemployment.

“The Committee currently expects that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will continue to expand at a moderate pace and labor market indicators will continue to strengthen,” the Fed said. “Overall, taking into account domestic and international developments, the Committee sees the risks to the outlook for both economic activity and the labor market as balanced.”

The Fed also set out a future plan for the rate.

“The Committee expects that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant only gradual increases in the federal funds rate; the federal funds rate is likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run,” the Fed said. “However, the actual path of the federal funds rate will depend on the economic outlook as informed by incoming data.”

Homeowners’ Insurance: 7 Things to Consider Before Signing

Is your homeowners’ insurance up to date? Read on to find out.

For most of us, our home is the center of our world. It’s where family and friends meet and where we bring our dreams to life. It’s also one of the most expensive investments you’ll ever make — and so it’s important to make sure it’s protected.

A homeowners’ insurance policy helps cover damage from fire, lightning, windstorms, hail, explosions, smoke, vandalism, and many types of theft. And if you’re forced out of your property because of covered damage, your homeowners’ coverage may also help pay for additional living expenses such as a hotel while the repairs are being made.

But before you secure homeowners’ insurance, make sure you know what you need to do to keep your policy up to date.

What is replacement cost?

Replacement cost is an estimate of how much it would cost to rebuild your home the way it was before a total loss. It’s extremely important that the dwelling coverage figure listed in your policy will cover the costs of rebuilding your home.

Many homeowners incorrectly assume that if a home is insured for its estimated market value, assessed value, or cost to construct new, they’ll have adequate coverage if their home is destroyed.

However, replacement cost is not the same as market value.

When you buy your home, you may initially insure it accurately, but what if you then forget to notify your insurance agent after making significant improvements such as remodeling or replaced appliances, furnace, etc.? These items will often affect a home’s replacement cost.

The bottom line: Make sure your insurance policy will provide the necessary coverage to protect your dreams.

Why is it so expensive to rebuild?

Here are seven factors that can make rebuilding a damaged home more costly than you might expect.

  1. Site access

Rebuilding a damaged or destroyed home amid existing structures often means limited access for large equipment due to trees, fences, sheds … the list goes on. If access is difficult, costlier labor may be needed.

  1. Site preparation

A badly damaged structure may need to be — sigh — demolished. At the very least, debris from the damage needs to be collected and removed before rebuilding can begin. Either way, professionals will need to prepare the site, and that costs money.

  1. Economies of scale

Contractors who build many homes during a short period gain significant volume discounts from material suppliers and skilled workers. When they’re rebuilding or repairing an existing home, these economies of scale might swing out of your favor, resulting in higher rebuild costs.

  1. Custom features and materials

Older homes in particular may have custom features and materials that are expensive, if not impossible, to duplicate or acquire today.

  1. Inflation rate

The cost of building materials often increases at a higher rate than other products and significantly faster than the general rate of inflation. What it might have cost to rebuild your home even just a few years ago could be vastly different in the current market.

  1. Supply and demand

If several homes close by are damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster, local construction costs may rise in response to the increase in demand.

  1. Property protection

Any remaining property and personal belongings on the site must be safeguarded against further damage or vandalism. This may require placing some personal property in temporary storage.

Of course, every situation is unique. These recommendations were developed using generally accepted safety standards. If you have questions, your biggest resource is your insurance agent. They can help review your coverage, make sure your policy is up to date, and offer committed support to ensure your home is always fully protected.

To start the process of owning your own home and applying online, simply click HERE and take a few minutes to complete an online application.  Often times, you can be Pre-Approved in minutes!  

Or TEXT the word ‘LOAN’ to 38470

To see if you qualify for up to $17,668 in Free Government Down Payment Assistance, click Down Payment Assistance !  There is no first time home buyer requirement.

5 Surprising Things Covered by a Home Warranty

Ceiling fan on the fritz? Don’t hunt down repair tips until you’ve checked your home warranty coverage.

Whether you sign up for one yourself or get one when you buy your new home, a home warranty typically covers problems with the big systems in your home (think electrical, plumbing, and HVAC). Major appliances are also typically included.

But you might be surprised by some of the more unusual items a home warranty can cover. Of course, not all policies are the same, but if you’ve got a home warranty and these things break, you’ll know whom to call before you go the DIY route.

  1. Ice makers

Let’s have a show of hands for those of us who have had a built-in ice maker stop working. Since the ice maker is part of the refrigerator, it’s pretty standard fare in most home warranty policies. The next time you need a random cube for your bloody mary, don’t fret — you’re covered.

  1. Spoiled food

Likewise, if your refrigerator stops working, you may be able to claim the cost to replace the resulting spoiled food. The really fun part is going to the grocery store and making a detailed price list! This coverage comes in handy if it’s days before the Fourth of July and you have three racks of ribs chilling in your now-defunct refrigerator.

  1. Ceiling fans

Ceiling fans are important fixtures in our houses — and they are also sometimes deemed worthy of warranty coverage (assuming they were correctly installed). So whether the light won’t turn on or the fan blades are no longer churning, call your home warranty company. If all the fans in the house are of similar age, it might be worth having the technician inspect all of them — especially if you’ve had to pay a service fee. Get your money’s worth!

  1. Permit fees and code violations

It’s the accumulation of ancillary fees that can make a home repair project expensive. Specifically, city permitting fees add up quickly and can take a chunk out of your budget. Did your service technician uncover a code violation when trying to repair/replace an item? In some cases, that’s covered by a home warranty policy as well.

  1. Garage door opener

We usually think of the garage as outside of the house and therefore not covered in a home warranty policy. When it comes to home warranties, this is one that could go either way. (Note: If the garage isn’t included standard, it could be added with an extra fee — just ask.)

And the garage door opener, that seemingly simple motor that makes our coming home and pulling our car into the garage so convenient, can be surprisingly pricey to replace.

If you choose to invest in a home warranty policy or if it came with the new home you just purchased, familiarize yourself with your specific coverage. You may be pleasantly surprised by the number of items covered. And that just might help keep some cash in your pocket.

To start the process of owning your own home and applying online, simply click HERE and take a few minutes to complete an online application.  Often times, you can be Pre-Approved in minutes!  

Or TEXT the word ‘LOAN’ to 38470

To see if you qualify for up to $17,668 in Free Government Down Payment Assistance, click Down Payment Assistance !  There is no first time home buyer requirement.