Category: Mortgage + Real Estate Tips

FHA Loan Limit Increase on the Way for 2018

Good news!  Yesterday, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced an increase to loan limits for FHA loans in 2018.  This comes as a sigh of relief for homebuyers in 3,011 counties.  For the past three years, the FHA has increased the number of counties to benefit from higher loan limits, with the biggest bump in 2017.  For 2018, we will see an additional 63 counties added to the list, thus bringing the number of counties up to 3,011.  Thanks to the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, the FHA sets the single family forward loan limits at 115% of the median house price.  It’s subject to floor and ceiling limits therefore check with your loan officer for more information. 

So how much is the increase?  Well, in some high end areas, such as Los Angeles County, the ceiling will increase from $636,150 to $679,650.  That is a 6.8% increase and it adjusts to meet the lending needs of homebuyers in areas where the cost of homes has grown significantly.  The floor increases as well from $275,665 to $294,515.  Even though most of the counties in the U.S will benefit from the increase, 228 counties won’t be positively impacted.  Loan limits in those counties will remain the same. 

 Along with FHA loans, the FHA insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM) or reverse mortgages will see an increase as well.  HECM adjustments aren’t done on a county basis; therefore, it’s only a single assessment for the whole nation.  That number will go up from $636,150 to $679,650 and this is great for those who qualify for the program.  

If you’re in the market today and need to find a lender to work with, give me a call to help you finance your next mortgage transaction.  I’m ready to help you with your financing questions, and I’ve got plenty of experience with loan limits, mortgage products, and market information to help you make the right choice.  

Should You Rent or Buy?

Come January, you may very well begin the rent vs. own debate. Take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. At some point, every homeowner and prospective homeowner has sat down and calculated the merits of renting against the merits of buying.

 Buying a home is a big decision that takes thought and often requires help.

So how to you determine at what point paying rent doesn’t make as much sense as buying a home and building up equity?

Well unfortunately, it’s not as simple as how much rent is vs. how much a mortgage payment would be. Things like taxes, closing costs, how long you plan to own your home, insurance, unexpected expenses, etc. all play a role in making a wise decision.

The good news is that help exists.

The New York Times Rent vs. Own calculator takes all the important factors into account and allows you to come up with a figure above which it makes more sense to buy a home.

Plan for the future, save for a down payment, and think about your dream home, but do it strategically.

Increase in Loan Limit on the Horizon for 2018

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) recently released the home-price index for the third quarter and their findings are quite interesting.  It looks like the U.S real estate market continues to grow with an increase of 6.5% in the past year.  With a healthy and vibrant economy, the real estate market moves forward as demand continues to increase as well.

So, what does this mean for home buyers who are looking to finance their next home?  Well, the same agency that released the real estate data also determines the direction for Fannie and Freddie conforming loan limits.  The FHFA will be increasing the limits for 2018, and if you’re looking for your next home, know that there is some relief in sight. For example, the loan limit in Los Angeles County will increase to $679,650 and in Dallas County the loan limit will increase to $453,100. Click here to look up your county. This adjustment will help alleviate the burden for homebuyers seeking to take advantage of lower interest rates through conforming loan programs.

If you’re in the market today and need to find a lender to work with, give me a call and I can help you finance your next mortgage transaction. I’m ready to answer your financing questions, and I have plenty of experience with loan limits, mortgage products and market information to help you make the right choice. Give me a call or shoot me an email if you’re ready to get started or if you have any questions.

Source: Federal Housing Finance Agency

How to Save Money For a Down Payment

The home buying process begins long before shopping for a home. It can start years before, when you and your family decide that buying a home is going to be a long-term goal. And that means saving for a down payment.

Putting money away for a down payment requires discipline and a plan. But don’t worry; it’s not an impossible undertaking. Here are some tips to make it easier:

  1. Set a goal. Use a mortgage calculator to figure out what kind of budget you can set for your purchase.
  2. Make saving part of your monthly budget. You set money aside for rent, bills, student loan payments, etc. Get into the habit of setting aside money every month for the down payment.
  3. Create a timeline. When do you want to actually begin looking for a home? Set a goal and stick to it.
  4. Remember that unexpected expenses come up. No one can stick to a saving plan 100%. Who knows what the future holds? Don’t beat yourself up; just add some flexibility to your plan so that a month or two of not saving doesn’t derail you.
  5. Save the extra money. Put your tax refund, holiday bonuses, and any money that you find on the ground or between the couch cushions into your down payment account. Every little bit helps.

Saving for a down payment and buying a home is a big deal, but you don’t have to go it alone. If you have any questions about saving money, types of mortgages, or general questions about financing a home, give me a call or shoot me an email.


Source: CNN Money

10 Things That All First-Time Homebuyers Need to Know

Knowledge is power, especially when you’re buying your first home. The more you know, the easier and faster the process will be. Here are 10 things that every first-time homebuyer should know:

  1. Inventory is low right now, so it might take you a while to find your dream home. But don’t get discouraged! Keep searching and you’ll find a home that you love.
  2. Get your paperwork ready ahead of time. It will make the financing process go much smoother.
  3. Get pre-approved. This makes you a more competitive buyer and, in a competitive market, it can make all the difference.
  4. Narrow down your desired location before you start looking at houses. Remember, they say, “location, location, location” for a reason.
  5. Start saving long before you start looking. It’s always better to have too much money than not enough.
  6. Do your research. Find out about crime rates, schools, parks, grocery stores, etc. before you buy. These things don’t just affect home value, they also affect quality of life.
  7. Don’t spend all of your savings on your down payment. Unexpected expenses can come up with no notice, so make sure that you’re prepared.
  8. Talk to a loan officer before you start looking. Choosing a home can be fun, but financing a home can be complicated if you don’t have some guidance.
  9. Tell your loan officer that you’re a first-time homebuyer. There may be special financing programs available to you because of your status.

10. Make sure your credit report looks good. Check for mistakes and spend some time building up your score well before you begin hunting.

If you need help going through the home financing process or have questions about where to start, give me a call or shoot me an email. I’d be happy to help!

Sources: and


Skyline Financial Corp. and its loan officers are not credit experts. Always consult a credit specialist for more details.

What Modern Homebuyers Are Looking For

Home trends come and go. What’s in demand now could be considered outdated in just a couple of years. Just look at shag carpeting!

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t capitalize on current trends, especially if selling your home is on the horizon. And if you actually like what’s currently popular, then it’s a win-win!

So here is what current buyers actually want in a home:

1. Quartz countertops

2. Gas stoves

3. Nice appliances

4. Hardwood floors

5. Soaking tubs

6. Beautiful tilework

7. Sleek kitchens

8. Plenty of natural light

Read the source article at Apartment Therapy

How Important is Owning a Home?


In a recent report released by National Mortgage News, only 14% of Americans claim homeownership is of primary importance.

According to Reportlinker, the goal of homeownership ranked fourth among American priorities in 2017, one step down from reaching career goals and just above having or adopting children.

National Mortgage News also reported that:

  • Even though homeownership ranking dropped 5 percentage points from last year, the goal of homeownership more than doubled any other priority as a long-term goal. 54% said it was their primary long-term financial objective.
  • About 81% of consumers say homeownership is the best long-term investment a person can make, with the investment advantage being one of the forces driving millennial interest in home buying.
  • In this year’s first quarter, the volume of new-owner households doubled the number of new-renter households, signifying that the younger generation is making its way into the buyers’ market.

Great Outdoors May Be Key to Selling Home Fast

Recent news reports state that more buyers are now considering the outdoor space of a home and its usability when looking for new homes. It’s not just what’s inside that counts for homeowners anymore.

Are you trying to sell your home? Try sprucing up or adding one of these four top features buyers want:

  • An outdoor kitchen
  • Pool/Spa
  • Open space
  • Outdoor fireplace

Read all the details and exactly what buyers are asking for in the original article here.  

Is Your City in Best or Worst Category for Flipping?

According to National Mortgage News, nearly 54,000 homes were flipped in the second quarter of this year. Investors profited an average of $67,516 per property and had nearly a 50% return on investment, according to Attom Data Solutions.

While the return on investment has declined nationwide for three quarters in a row, some cities still have a strong flip market. Others should likely be avoided.

Here’s a list of the five best and the five worst cities for house flipping in the second quarter:

5 Best:

 #5: Cleveland, OH

#4: Harrisburg, PA

#3: Philadelphia, PA

#2: Baton Rouge, LA

And the best city for flipping homes…

#1: Pittsburg, PA, with a return on investment of 146.6%.

5 Worst:

#5: San Francisco, CA

#4: San Jose, CA

#3: Austin, TX

#2: Boise, ID

And the worst city for a flip…

#1: Honolulu, HI, with only a 17.8% return.

When is the best time of year to buy a starter home?

One time of year stands above the rest as being the best time for first-time homebuyers to buy a home. During this time, starter home inventory increases about 7%, which leads to listing prices falling between 3.1% and 4.8% lower than in other parts of the year, a new report from Trulia shows.

The best time of year to buy a starter home, according to Trulia’s report, is fall, or between October 1st and December 31st. During this time, 70 of the largest 100 U.S. metros see peak levels of starter home inventory, and home prices begin to fall, eventually hitting their annual lows in January through March.

Read the source article at U.S. Housing Finance News