Tag Archives: Real Estate

TRID – A Year Later

On October 3rd 2015, history was made in the mortgage industry when the TRID Rule, or the “Know Before You Owe” Rule was implemented in the United States. TRID was created in order to bridge the gap of transparency between borrowers, regulators, and lenders through more consumer-friendly documents and additional time restraints in the lending process with the hope of creating a more informed, and therefore better protected consumer. In the two years leading up to the implementation of TRID, those in the lending industry feared that additional paperwork and time would deter potential buyers. Once TRID was implemented, there were a few hiccups in the road, but the mortgage industry has been changed forever.

With a year of the implementation of TRID officially under America’s belt, we want to take a look back on the up’s, down’s, and still-to-come’s.

THE TRID TRAIN, A TIMELINE:

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November 2013: TRID unveiled to the lending industry with the proposed roll-out date to take place August 1st 2015. Cue industry-wide panic attacks due to the copious amounts of work they will have to do in order to adhere to the new rule (think technology and work process overhauls).

November 2013- June 2015: Everyone freaks out about the implementation of TRID, concurrent with an “administrative error” prompting the CFPB to change the start date to October 1st, 2015.

June 24th 2015-  A proposed amendment to TRID is released where the official start date of the “Know Before You Owe” rule will be October 3, 2015.

October 3, 2015- TRID goes into effect, and companies are mandated to comply. Many express concern and complaints that the CFPB is vague in some sections of TRID and the lack of guidance offered in the following months.

January 2016- Ellie Mae’s Origination Insight Report shows that total time to close has reached a high of 51 days, an indicator that the 6 days added in the process were being added to the total time instead of integrated in. Lending companies continue to complain about vagueness and lack of education from the CFPB regarding TRID.

July, 2016- The CFPB responds to concerns by lending companies and other businesses impacted by TRID and put some new changes into place regarding the secondary market to better help and inform lenders. The proposed changes include: tolerances for the total of payments, expanding the number of housing assistance loans that would qualify for exemptions, including cooperatives in the rule, and clarifying how a creditor could provide separate disclosure forms to the consumer and the seller.

August 2016- NAR surveyed 2,500 REALTORS to get their perspective of how the TRID rule was working which revealed that the majority saw no changes through the implementation of the rule.

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TRID IN 2017

While there were a few up’s, down’s, and hiccups in the past year for the lending industry (as expected with any major industry overhaul), it is apparent that TRID has been a mostly beneficial and much needed industry update for the consumer. As Pete Mills from the Mortgage Bankers Association stated, “TRID was a massive undertaking from a systems and business processes standpoint,” Although many anticipated the rule would significantly disrupt the closing process for consumers, the impact of TRID on consumers was mitigated because lenders and other participants in the closing process dutifully prepared for the final rule.”

Many lending companies are still making adjustments in their strategy with the implementation of the new rules, but with a year of adhering to TRID under their belt, lending companies are now analyzing ways to better streamline processes and resources to better serve their clients and integrate the additional 6 days in the process instead of adding them. Ready to own the house of your dreams? We’re here to help you from the beginning steps of your planning period all the way until you step through the doors of your new home. Contact us today at Alpha Mortgage!

 

August Update

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One of the hottest months of the year in Wilmington, NC is almost over, but the housing market is still on fire! According to recent NC Regional MLS statistics, home sales in New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender counties combined have seen an 18% increase in home sales compared to last July’s home sales, and the median price of homes dropped about 3%. Similarly, Fannie Mae recently announced that it will maintain it’s forecast for 2016’s GDP at the same 1.8 percent forecasted in July after the second quarter growth was more than 1 point lower than predicted. So why didn’t America hit the predicted mark? According to the source, there was slowed growth in residential, non-residential, government and inventory investment in August. Fannie Mae is confident that August and September’s results will be different.

Now Trending: Roof Decks 

What is one of the most popular trends we’ve seen this summer with real estate development? Rooftop decks in urban areas. As demand for rentals rises and space for outdoor yards decreases in more heavily populated areas, roof decks have become a very popular and sought out addition for renters and those searching for their next purchase. Not only do they provide tenants with a private area to enjoy the sunshine, but they are also usually combined with luxurious amenities like pools, incredible views, fire pits, grills, and most importantly of all- fresh air that many millennials look for when searching for a space to inhabit. So what’s to come with this trend? Expect it to stay for a while. We predict that rooftop decks will become even more popular and expected in urban areas. We also predict to see the trend start popping up in areas that have landscaping for added value.

8 Reasons to Move to Wilmington, NC

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There’s never been a better time to relocate to ILM and its surrounding beaches. Between the bustling downtown river walk scene, the breathtaking beaches, the strong and connected community, as well as and the incredible year-round climate – Wilmington and its surrounding beaches welcomes and has something to offer everyone. What are your reasons to relocate?

  • Beaches- Once you visit North Carolina’s coast, your life is changed forever. Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and beaches surrounding Wilmington, NC all offer spectacular views of the Atlantic paired with relaxed southern feel that makes anyone feel at home.
  • Downtown- The bustling downtown scene provides Wilmingtonians with a taste of the city life, with incredible shopping, dining, and nightlife opportunities for people of all ages to enjoy. Take this and combine it with downtown Wilmington’s rich history and landmarks, and you are armed with activities to partake in for years!
  • Community – Wilmington is home to both Cape Fear Community College and UNCW which gives locals opportunity to support the colleges in activities like Midnight madness, cheering on sports teams, and more! The tight-knit Wilmington community also provides many festivals downtown during the year, houses incredible music talent at spectacular venues like Greenfield Lake Amphitheater, and Azalea Fest itself is a great look into Wilmington’s amazing community!
  • Incredible Shopping + Dining- From shopping centers, to one-of-a kind boutiques, Wilmington is an amazing shopping hub for the south east. Whether you are strolling down shops in The Forum, browsing at boutiques downtown, or hitting up one of the local surf shops, ILM loves fashion. Another thing that Wilmington loves is great dining. Fresh seafood and breathtaking views make Wilmington a desirable place for any restaurant to open, but Wilmington houses some of the best restaurants in the state.
  • Proximity- Wilmington is close enough to bigger NC cities like Raleigh and Charlotte for an easy weekend trip, and just far enough to provide the perfect getaway from your friends. When you live in Wilmington, you’re never too far for friends and family to visit! (And once you move to the beach, they’ll want to visit all of the time!)
  • Furry Friends are always welcome- Wilmington loves your four-legged friends! From the loop at Wrightsville Beach, to the many dog parks in the city, your pets are an extension of your family in Wilmington and are even welcomed at many outdoor restaurants! Bring your pup on the dog-friendly beaches, or Java Dog Coffee shop downtown- ILM knows your pets should enjoy the beautiful city as much as you do!
  • Healthy Lifestyle- Wilmington loves being active. From stand up paddle boarding, or running clubs, to yoga on the pier, and everything in between, Wilmington loves supporting healthy and active lifestyles that take advantage of the amazing climate and views the town and surrounding beaches provide.
  • Home Affordability – Not only does Wilmington and its surrounding beaches have a steady real estate market, but the options are endless. Wilmington has high-end homes and communities as well as more affordable options that are still in incredible locations.

Your dream house is waiting for you in Wilmington, NC, and once you find it, Alpha Mortgage  will help you turn your dream house into a reality! Contact us today!

Finding your Dream Home – Where to Start

Toronto Residence

Modern, brick, condo, ranch, one-of-a-kind, wood, restored, single-family, two-story, updated, beachfront, contemporary, finished- the options are endless. If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re about to embark on one of the most exciting experiences of your life- purchasing a home! Exciting, and a bit intimidating for first-time buyers. The home-buying process is different for everyone, but luckily we are compiling the best tips, research, and helpful information in the next few blogs to make the process as easy as possible for you. So where do you start? After you get pre-approved to show that you are a serious buyer, determine how much house you can actually afford, and get in the mindset to find your dream home, you need to get organized.

Here are the basic, but extremely important questions you need to answer to get on the right track of finding and buying your dream home:

  • What basic features do you want for your house? This may seem like a no brainer, but list out exactly what kind of house you want to live in with as much detail as possible. Once you list the basic features out, prioritize what is most important.
    • Home style (condo, ranch, two-story, etc.)
    • Architecture style
    • Landscape Needs
    • Bedrooms
    • Baths
    • Square Footage
  • Where do you want to live? Once again, it’s important to list out the state, city, neighborhoods, and areas you would be comfortable living in. Location. Is. Everything.
  • Think a little into the future… buying a home is a big commitment. Will you be expanding your family with kids (extra rooms, school districts, etc), will you still be at your current job (commute), and how long do you plan on staying in the house?
  • Needs + Wants – here’s the fun part. Now that you have the basics covered, what do you NEED in a house (non-negotiables) and what do you want in a house? Get on Pinterest, check out what you like, and write down as much as you can!

Once you know what you want, it’s time to go out and find that home (or create it)! Keep an eye out for our next blogs leading you through the rest of the home-buying process! Happy hunting!

 

2016 Housing Market Predictions

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New Year, New Housing Market? Not so much. According to many housing predictions, 2016 will bring a whole lot of the same to the table. But is this a bad thing? Absolutely not. While 2015 was known as the best year for housing since 2007 due to many factors such as increased employment rates, implementation of TRID, and more, 2016 will also continue the housing market’s upswing- just not as exponentially.  We’ll start to secure a ‘normal’ in 2016. Remember that word?!

Here are our 2016 Housing Predictions:

  1. Increased Interest Rates– The Federal Reserve is expected to continue to raise interest rates in the short term between now and 2016’s end, & homeowners who have adjustable-rate mortgages or home equity loans will most likely see their interest rate rise as a result.  Housing wire goes as far to say that Fixed-rate mortgages will also rise, perhaps up one-half of a percentage point between now and the end of 2016, reaching 4.5% for 30-year loans. Despite this increase in interest rates, mortgage rates will remain historically low. If the rates do start to rise in 2016, as gradually as they may, we could see slightly lower home-buying numbers next year. But these changes will be minimal due to the continued increase in economic expansion and employment numbers- meaning more people are becoming able to afford houses.
  2. Evolving Mortgage Process – Mortgages may be in reach for more Americans in 2016 due to legislation that would allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to take into account new ways to measure creditworthiness like evaluating rental history and utility bill payments instead of just the FICO credit score. More loans may also allow buyers to include income from room rentals, etc. More lenders are continuing to ease credit standards, and don’t see that changing in the future.  This is good news for potential homebuyers!
  3. Increased Housing PricesReverse Mortgage Daily reports that appreciation in national home price indexes will likely continue at a faster pace than inflation, but grow more moderately than last year. The CoreLogic Home Price Index was up about 6% over the last 12 months, and CoreLogic anticipates a rise of 4-5% during 2016. This increase in home sales and prices can be attributed to the improved economy, which has brightened the financial outlook for many families and enhanced their overall financial security. Prices may be higher, but they will still be affordable to most.
  4. More first time buyers– We expect first-timers to make up a bigger portion of the market than they did this year. The reason is simple: The market will be more welcoming to them thanks to the aforementioned slowing price growth and easier access to loans. It is important to note that Millennials & Young Gen X’ers are expected make up the largest demographic of home buyers in 2016 because they have recovered from the financial crisis, are entering their prime professional years, as well as their prime family raising years.
  5. Rental Homes & Millennials– According to a recent analysis by the Federal Reserve, outstanding student loan debt now totals more than $1 trillion. Student loan debt can create additional hurdles for mortgage shoppers. It increases the borrower’s total debt-to-income ratio, which can cause problems during the underwriting and approval process, and excessive debt can lower a person’s credit score. All of this makes it harder for Millennials to qualify for home loans.  This is why we predict rental homes will continue to increase in popularity- Millennials simply can’t afford homes. Rental vacancy rates for both apartments and houses are at, or near, their lowest levels in 30 years, and rents are rising quicker than inflation.
  6. Smart Homes/ Housing Tech – Smart homes and houses with more technological features available at time of sale will continue to become more popular. Features like beacon technology, security tech, VR and more will make homes more appealing. Smart home features will start to be expected by consumers in 2016.

We can’t wait to help you own your dream home in 2016! On behalf of all of us from Alpha Mortgage, we wish you a very happy New Year!

 

TRID For The Borrower- What It Means

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There are officially t-minus two days until ‘TRID Day’, and whether you are a potential borrower or an existing lender, there are no reasons to panic. On October 3rd, 2015, the TRID (also known as the ‘Know Before You Owe Rule’) Rule  will be implemented by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as a way to better inform and protect borrowers during the lending process. TRID (short for TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure) is the merging of the Truth In Lending Act and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act that aims to make the mortgage process more streamlined and highly functioning for regulators, borrowers, and lenders. Its goal is to create a more informed and therefore better protected consumer through regulated time constraints and clear, comprehensible documents for the consumer-which is why the act has attained the nickname ‘Know Before You Owe’.

The change comes in a time where transparency in every industry is essential for consumer trust and transaction, and when the Real Estate Industry has a need to shift priorities from stimulating the economy towards borrower comprehension in the lending process (seeing as it is one, if not THE biggest financial decisions they will make in their lives). The idea is that more time and more consumer-friendly documents will create breeding grounds for an all around more informed borrower.

So what specifically is changing under the TILA Act, you ask? Not too much. Here are the biggest two changes in the process:

1) Loan Estimate– As Rayce Robinson explains, what was originally the Good Faith Estimate has now changed to become the “Loan Estimate” or LE. The LE is created at the beginning of the lending process following the application submission of the borrower to their preferred lender and provides potential borrowers with a clear and accurate disclosure of any estimated fees during the lending process. The LE breaks things down for the buyer as well as makes it easier for buyers to compare estimates between firms.

2) Closing Disclosure– The Closing Disclosure, or CD, replaces the HUD-1. The CD is a detailed and accurate disclosure of every fee needed to close. The main difference with the CD is that lenders are required to provide borrowers with the document 3 days prior to closing to give them adequate time to compare the document to the LE as well as ask any questions they may have. Since last minute changes tend to occur when buying a home, after the borrower signs off on the CD, the lender need not add additional 3 days for changes unless they fall under three exceptions. 1) The last minute change caused APR to become inaccurate, 2) Borrower wants to change loan program, or 3) a pre-payment penalty was added to the loan.

The idea is to integrate the 3 days, not add them- something that will require planning, focus, and organization from all parties involved in the lending process.

TRID is going to be a refreshing change for the consumer in the Mortgage industry, and the biggest takeaway a potential borrower can get from the change is that there will be more transparency in a more simplistic fashion. It is important to find a lender who is trained, has tested, and integrated TRID methods into their practice- and at Alpha Mortgage, our loan officers are trained, tested, integrated and PREPARED to provide you with the best experience possible. Contact us today!

*Note: If you are looking to secure Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs), a reverse mortgage, or a mortgage secured by a mobile home or dwelling not attached to real property, it is important to recognize that TRID won’t apply to you. *

What is a Jumbo Loan & Would I Qualify

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It’s over halfway through 2015 and the luxury housing market is booming. According to the Washington Post, soaring prices and sales in the luxury market are factors due to the rapid growth of “jumbo loans” in the Washington area and around the nation. Nearly 1 in 4 mortgages originated in 2014 around the country were jumbo loans, spurred also by lenders’ efforts to make the mortgages more attractive to buyers. 

What is a Jumbo Loan?

A Jumbo Loan is a conventional mortgage with a loan amount that is higher than $417,000 in most areas of the United States, exceeding conforming loan limits imposed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the large financial agencies that purchase the bulk of US residential mortgages from banks and other lenders, allow for institutions to free up money to lend more mortgages to those looking to purchase homes. Jumbo loans happen when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not cover the full amount of the loan, which normally occurs when homebuyers are looking to buy larger, more luxurious homes, which come with a higher price tag.

Difference between Jumbo Loan and Conventional Loan

 In the past, jumbo loans have required higher interest rates from buyers, but according to the WSJ, low interest rates triggered a refinance flurry in the first few months of 2015 and the volume of jumbo mortgages—those above $417,000 in most places and $625,500 in some high-price areas—reached an estimated $160 billion in the first six months of 2015, up about 36% from a year ago at the same time, says Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance, which covers the industry. Since these normally higher interest rates have stayed relatively low, the main difference between a Jumbo Loan and a Conventional Loan is just the higher monetary amount and monthly payments that the loan is for.

Qualifying

So how do you know if you as a borrower qualify for a jumbo loan? To secure a jumbo loan, you must start by having a high credit score (greater than 700), and low debt-to-income ratio (no more than 45%)  . As a lender, there are some risks associated with providing jumbo loans since they are worth more money (and come with the potential to lose more). In order to secure a jumbo mortgage, you will have to put down a higher down payment than with a conventional loan. Along with a higher down payment (typically around 20% of the price of the home), the monthly payments and interest rates will also be higher- although in recent years interest rates for jumbo loans have been reduced. The Washington Post reports that today, the interest rates and down payment requirements are more aligned with conforming loans, making them more appealing for borrowers. Jumbo loan borrowers still typically need to prove they have cash reserves in the bank, a high credit score, a solid employment history and a low debt-to-income ratio in order to be approved.

Remember- jumbo mortgages are great solutions for those looking to buy higher-priced homes, and it is critical to do your research when trying to secure the best value. In the very near future, interest rates for jumbo loans are expected to rise especially if the Federal Reserve raises its interest rate benchmark (expected in September), so for the best rate, don’t wait! Need more assistance? We can help. Contact Alpha Mortgage today and make the first step in securing your jumbo loan.

What Makes a Good Loan Officer?

Wilmington, NC Loans

With 2015 upon us and the economy looking up, many people are looking towards purchasing a new home this year. It is no secret that one of the most important steps in property purchase involves communication and collaboration with loan officers. Loan officers, or Mortgage Originators, evaluate, authorize, or recommend approval of loan applications for people and businesses. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they are normally responsible for contacting companies inquiring about loan needs, meeting with loan applicants to gather personal information, obtaining and verifying financial information, explaining loan terms and types, analyzing and evaluating applicant’s finances, and eventually approving or denying loan applications. So what should you look for in a loan officer to make your home-buying experience as seamless and stress-free as possible?

A good loan officer holds many great qualities including time-management skills, problem-solving skills, and responsiveness, but 5 traits that an outstanding Loan Officer must have are listed below:
• They are transparent with customers- a great loan officer is always in line with all national loan regulations, but arguably even more importantly, they are open and forthcoming with customers and realtors about important information that can make or break a loan in a timely matter. They never over-promise or under-deliver.
• They are passionate about what they do- one thing that sets apart excellent loan officers from average is their love for what they do. It is apparent when a loan officer hates what they are doing, but through positive energy and attentiveness to customer needs, passion from a loan officer shines.
• They measure all of their data and information- great loan officers understand that nothing can be improved if it is not first measured. Best performers know exact numbers of leads, credit report pulls, contracts, and closings they have had in specific time periods because they understand how imperative numbers are both to potential borrowers and to their own success.
• They are accountable– They work for companies that hold employees to high work standards and ethical standards because they want to push themselves to their highest potential as a loan officer. They appreciate accountability because it shows borrowers and real estate agents that they can be relied on for closings.
• They are connected– The best loan officers not only know basic real estate principles, but they have rich professional connections with local real estate agents. Great loan officers have a deep base of knowledge they use to inform real estate agents about the closing process for clients, and maintain a positive communication process between the parties.
Looking for a Loan Officer on the North Carolina Coast? Alpha Mortgage has their own in-house team of specially trained Loan Officers that meet all of these qualifications! Check them out and contact one today to get the ball rolling on the purchase of your dream home!

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