Your Mortgage File

Traffic Dos and Don’ts: A Checklist

sreichert:

We all blog to fulfill the desire to be read and respected. I thought these tips could benefit us all.

Originally posted on WordPress.com News:

One of the main reasons bloggers stop blogging is lack of traffic: at some point, they get tired of being the proverbial tree in the forest, making sounds nobody hears.

We’re here to help. No list of advice can guarantee your blog’s success, but it’s important to be aware of the most critical elements at play. Five dos, five don’ts: give them a try.

Dos

  1. Write regularly. Producing fresh content on a regular basis is essential. First, it makes your blog more appealing to search engines, which means new readers are more likely to find you. Just as important, it creates a sense of loyalty among the readers you already have, who know you won’t be stranding them for weeks at a time.
  2. Write well. What makes a post engaging, moving, or entertaining is clearly a matter of…

View original 596 more words

Standard
Government

Government Shutdown Ends

The Government Shutdown is over.

The IRS is processing 4506-T transcripts on a first come, first serve basis.

The USDA website is back online. They are working on conditional commitments so we should see those USDA loans start to move through the pipeline.

It could be a week or more before the backlog clears out.

10-22 UPDATE USDA does not have appropriated funds. This means they are issuing comments subject to the availability of funds.

Some investors are moving forward with closing fully anticipating funds availability. Others refuse to close without it.

So the USDA is processing commitments but will not issue loan guarantees until funds are available.

Standard
DSC03166
Your Mortgage File

A Drive Called Spartan

A Drive Called Spartan

I share information on this blog to create awareness around the mortgage process.  It’s mostly technical.

I feel compelled to write about another aspect of home ownership — neighbors.

The storm that hit the Black Hills of South Dakota on October 4th, 2013  caught everyone off guard, even mother nature.  Heavy fall snow fell early that night.  I slipped off to bed expecting to wake up with 10 to 14 inches.

Instead, I woke at 4 a.m. to deafening silence. Our fan was off.  No lights, no heat.  The electricity was out.

I gazed through the window at a blizzard of white snow.  Even this early, with sunlight hours away, one could see as though there were a full moon.  I felt it would be worse than predicted.

Hours later we stepped outside.

It sounded like open hunting as limbs cracked and popped under the load.   The street became a meeting area as neighbors gathered to survey the situation.

Every few minutes we’d say, “There goes another one.”

The trees, still full of leaves, had boughs bent low.  They hung ominously over roofs, cars, and power lines. It was only a matter of time before electricity ceased for over 25,000 people.

The snow grew deeper into the evening and the temperature dropped — heat became a worry. We sat in the car, my wife and two girls, warming up and charging the cell phones. We called parents and discussed options but the last thing we wanted to do was venture into the blizzard.  We concluded it was time to light some candles, gather blankets and huddle together for the evening.

That’s when our neighbor’s son, who on a visit, marched across the snow and banged on our door.

“Let’s go,” he said. “You’re staying with us tonight.  We have a natural gas fireplace and stove. We have heat.”

I am a proud, independent spirit. But this was no the time for bravery, especially with two small girls.

“Ok,” I said.

“Seriously. You need to come.”

So, we hauled our stuff through the two feet of snow to a warm house and even warmer people.  Their hospitality was storybook. They cooked us a warm meal and engaged us in conversation until we felt as though they were family.

We slept soundly and unconcerned. Let it snow.

And snow it did. Yet another foot and a half.

The following morning it stopped and the work began.  The neighborhood, half still without power, once again met in the street.

There were shovels and snowblowers, adults and children, and a whole lot of child laughter. We had over forty inches of wet, heavy snow to move.

After five hours we had cleared ten driveways. Our motivation: Broncos vs. Cowboys.

The guy on the corner owned a pizza shop that never lost power. With the roads partially clear, he slipped down and baked some pizza.

With the work done we congregated, 20 people strong, into one house where the real warmth radiated from the souls of the people who banded together in a time of need.  How proud I was at that moment to be part of a neighborhood that cared for each other, that offered what service they had for the benefit of those in need.   That was, and is, a drive called Spartan.

Standard
Your Mortgage File

Questioning Cattle Deaths in South Dakota

Originally posted on Pretty Work:

I’ve been reading through blog posts about the aftermath of last weeks winter storm in South Dakota.  I came across a couple of news articles on CNN and NBC News sites.  And then I did something I never, ever should have done.  I scrolled down to the comments section.  Word of advice: Do Not Scroll Down to the Comments Section.  Ever.

It’s not a nice place.  People are very nasty there.  It made me sad and mad and dumbfounded.  There were so many accusations  comments from so many people who very clearly of little to no understanding of ranching or livestock.  But boy oh boy, do they have opinions!

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I am not here to try to change anyone’s mind, this is after all, a free country.  All I’m asking is that you try to base your opinions on facts and not assumptions…

View original 2,632 more words

Standard
How It Works, Your Mortgage File

Homeowner’s Insurance Claims

Here are some photos of a recent storm that dumped over 40 inches of snow on our communities.

lead-south-dakota, lots of snow, deep snow

Storm

This fall storm caught mother nature off guard.

The trees hadn’t dropped their leaves and the wet, heavy snow wreaked havoc. Only a few hours into the storm and it sounded like hunting season.  Popping echoed everywhere as branches collapsed under the weight.  They landed on the sidewalk, roofs, cars, and across power lines.  Over 25,000 people lost power. Some for days.

Our neighbor’s roof buckled under the weight and a failing roof truss split the sheet rock .

Another noticed a sagging, brown spot on the ceiling.  A few days later contractors punched holes there and drained three gallons of water.

Flat commercial roofs collected thousands of pounds of weight.  This structure wasn’t up to the challenge.

TMone

Only months earlier, hail stones like these punched holes in roofs and shattered glass.  They dinged siding and destroyed gutters.

hailstones

Home damage sickens us.  We’re much happier shoveling snow than working with contractors and insurance companies.  Not to mention  tangling with our mortgage servicer over insurance money.

When you have a lien on your property the lender has a vested interest in making sure your home gets repaired.

Why?

Let’s say your roof caved in and three foot of snow now rests in your kitchen. To top it off, it melts and drips through your sub-floor creating a swimming pool in your basement.

You are uninsured, owe a significant amount on the home, and don’t have savings to cover the damage.

So, you default and walk away from the home leaving the lender with a soggy, worthless piece of collateral.  A lose, lose.

Now, let’s say you are insured.  Your insurance company will foot the bill.  Better news, you’ll be getting a new kitchen!

But, the check is made out to you and your lender which disgusts you.  They need to endorse it in which case they’ll hold the money.

Contact the servicing department right away.  Ask them what steps you need to follow.  They’ll want all kinds of information like a contractor estimate, lien releases for work complete, and inspections.

Be patient with them, especially if they are responsive and good natured.  Like you, they are protecting their collateral.

Do they have a right to hold your money? 

Most mortgages have a clause that allows the lender to control these proceeds.  You are better off learning what their expectations are upfront to avoid frustrations down the road.

In any event, button up and stay warm this winter.

Standard
How It Works, Loan Application

Government Shutdown

medium_6015396482

Hello all,

I disappeared for a while, and it shows.  It’s October already!  Work took off and I lost sight of my blog. I’m 12 days late on this post but I thought I would share some of the issues we are seeing with the shutdown:

The IRS is working with only 9% staff. This effects the ability for us to pull tax transcripts. 

Since 2009, Fannie Mae ‘highly recommended’ that lenders pull transcripts from the IRS prior to closing a loan.

What’s a transcript? 

After you file your taxes the IRS turns your income information into an electronic record which can be requested with the borrower-signed form, 4506-T.

Why do we pull a transcript? 

When you complete a loan application, you typically give your loan originator a copy of your tax return by which she calculates your income for qualifying.  It would be possible to give them a fake, unfilled tax return with ‘embellished’ income.  To prevent such fraud, we pull the IRS record and compare it with the return you provided.

It’s not required to do this, yet we know Fannie Mae will do it if they audit that loan. To avoid any issues, most lenders have adopted the policy of ordering and reviewing tax transcripts.

http://www.ctne.ws/archives/266

Several days into the shutdown our institution made a business decision to close loans without these transcripts as did a number of other investors.  There are some; however, that refuse to purchase a loan without transcripts and that’s their choice.

USDA is closed. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture insures loans through their Rural Development program. These loans are currently suspended.

Why?

USDA issues a ‘conditional commitment’ once they receive certain pieces of information.  With no one to issue a conditional commitment, loans are unable to close.

Verification of Employment 

We’ve seen several instances were we have been unable to obtain a verification of employment for government workers. In come cases we can get around it.  There have been instances were getting this information was painfully slow and the closing was delayed.

Business as usual:

For the most part, we have been conducting business as usual with very few delays.  For those of you affected, as frustrating as it is, don’t blame your lender or financial institution.  We are as annoyed as you are with the situation. We are doing our best to work around the issues.

Photo credit: Nick Papakyriazis via photopin cc

Standard