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June 9th, 2014 11:46 AM

It seems one of the most popular inquiries I receive is the need for down payment assistance (DPA). There are a few different options available to buyers, and not only first time home buyers. Right now really is a great time to purchase; there are many different outlets for those needing DPA and loans with a lower down payment.  Some of these options are newer but others have been around for a while, such as VA & USDA.  Outside of those I also wanted to let you in on another loan option that gets set to the side, a rehab loan.  Here is a little insight into these options:

Currently the two DPA grants are available to even non first-time home buyers.  There is a 4% grant option, and also  up to 5% as well.   Both can be used for down payment assistance and/or closing costs and again it is a grant, not a loan, so it does not need to be paid back.  They are both used with a government loan (FHA, VA & USDA/Rural); you need to have a minimum FICO score of 640 and there are income limitations (vary with programs, discuss with lender).  You are required to contribute $1000 of your own funds towards the purchase. Please note that your earnest money, appraisal and inspection can be counted towards this amount.  You are also required to complete a Home Buyer Education course.  Here is a link for the information on the classes.

Outside of the two grants available there is CHFA, CHAC & HOAP.  These options are not grants; you are required to pay these back.  Each program has their own specific requirements and guidelines, make sure to review and discuss with your lender.  (Keep in mind that not every lender is approved to work with all (if any) of these down payment assistance programs.)   

Outside of the DPA programs, the other loan options available that could be of interest, and again as I previously stated commonly get overlooked is a rehab loan, VA & USDA loan.  Here is a brief description of each:

A rehab loan lets you finance all rehab/renovation costs into your mortgage.  The most common program for rehab is the FHA 203(k), but now there is a conventional loan option as well.  The conventional rehab loan is quickly gaining popularity once our clients are made aware this is available.  These loans are very helpful when you find a property that needs some remodeling/updating, or even if you come across a property that is uninhabitable/unwarrantable.  These loans allow you to purchase the property only because you are doing the needed repairs/rehab to make the property warrantable. Note: these loans can also be used for refinancing! Again, make sure to discuss details with your lender, each program has specific guidelines and qualifications.

Now, VA & USDA loans are some of the best loan options around, they are loans with 100% financing (if needed)! Yes, they have specific requirements and qualifications, VA you need to be a qualified veteran, wife or widow of a qualified veteran.  For USDA the property needs to be in qualifying area.  IF you or your property falls into the arena of these qualifying factors, you should discuss and address these options with your lender. 

Again, not every lender has the ability to provide these loans and programs so you will need to do your research.  Once you have found a lender they should guide you through your options and help you decide on which option would be best for your unique situation.

If you would like to know more about these programs please contact us.  We are always happy to help.

Posted by Ray Williams on June 9th, 2014 11:46 AMPost a Comment (0)

May 1st, 2014 12:04 PM

Many home buyers get a little confused as to the difference between an appraisal and a home inspection.  Both are shown as deadlines on the purchase contract.  You may be asking yourself “why is it needed if you are getting an appraisal, why would you need an inspection too?” Although the home inspection is optional, it  is also highly recommended.

The key difference between an appraisal and an inspection is that the appraisal assesses the market value for the property you are purchasing.  It gives you the value of what the property is worth by taking into factor the condition of the property (including any upgrades) and the surrounding comparable sales/active listings of similar properties.  It assures that the purchases price of the property is in line with the necessary value needed for your mortgage financing needs.  

If you are doing a government loan (FHA/VA, USDA) the appraiser will look for specific health and safety items that need to be sufficient and/or in compliance to HUD guidelines. These include items like peeling paint, stair rails installed, exposed electrical (ask lender for other concerns they may look into). Conventional mortgages and VA mortgages have different requirements as well.  Regardless of what type of loan you are doing your appraisal is focused on the value of the property.

An inspection is completed by a home inspector; they will look at all possible health and safety concerns of the property.  They inspect what you “don’t” necessarily see in a walk thru of the property.  They will be checking the plumbing (pipes), radon, possible lead paint exposure, any signs of structural issues, ventilation, heating, air conditions, electrical, drainage, etc.  If they feel there are any issues to be addressed they will advise for you to hire a professional in that specific field of expertise, such as a structural engineer, plumber, and electrician.  They will provide you with an idea of what is happening with the property and if they foresee any future problems. Some issues found could be a very costly expense. This is why the inspection is extremely important and highly recommended. It is a good idea to be aware of an issues and then making a calculated decision after knowing the facts.  Once you have your home inspection results back you can decide how to proceed with respect to requests you may make to have the seller fix items. The last thing you want is to do is purchase a property and a week later find out your need to replace the electrical, replace the roof or a deal with a severe plumbing issue!

It is always good to be informed and prepared on the property you want to purchase.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us, we are always here to help.


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Posted by Ray Williams on May 1st, 2014 12:04 PMPost a Comment (0)

March 11th, 2014 7:46 PM

Have yo
ur heard of the MCC?  The Mortgage Credit Certificate. If you haven't and you are a first time home buyer you need to learn about it

This tax credit gives you the opportunity to put more money in your pocket. Literally. 

Here is an example of how:

Loan = $270,000

Rate = 4.00%

Annual Mortgage Interest = $10,800

20% MCC of annual mortgage interest ($10,800) = $2,160

So with the MCC you would get the tax credit and also tax deductible interest on the remaining interest. Without the MCC you will have $10,800 tax deductible interest. Now let's say if you were in the 18% tax bracket it would work like this;


$10,800  x .18 = $1,944 (tax benefit from mortgage interest)



20% MCC (10,800) = $2,160

$8,640 (remaining interest) @ 18% Tax Bracket = $1,555

Annual Total Tax Benefit w/MCC = $3,715

**Consult your tax adviser , we are not able to give tax advice**

Now this is just an example, of course amounts will vary depending on your loan amount and interest rate, also on the MCC rate (which can vary depending on provider and county).  This is something you need to discuss with your lender and your lender has to be approved to provide the MCC. 

There has been recent changes in the application fee for the MCC with CHFA.  Again, please discuss with your lender for all the details.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.  We are always happy to help.

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Posted by Ray Williams on March 11th, 2014 7:46 PMPost a Comment (0)

February 27th, 2014 2:47 PM

It is a pretty exciting time to live in the Denver Metro Area.  There are many up and coming new developments, both neighborhoods and businesses. All of which will help bring stabilization to these neighborhoods, as well as, possible new employment opportunities.  With the completion of RiNo (River North), Sunnyside and BelMar areas. These areas consist of a combination of retail business, highlighted with an urban living environment that appeals to younger millennials and Gen-Xers alike.  Property values in these areas have been spiking and rental rates have increased as well.  Denver is also sparking interest as one of best cities to relocate to!  We are top on the list alongside with San Francisco and New York.  Businesses are looking to relocate or expand their business in Denver because not only is the rental cost lower but the median home price is also much lower, which increases standards of living for residents. To add to the benefits we have a great downtown city life accompanied with beautiful parks and outstanding school districts. 

Listed below are a few links to some upcoming developments, some you may already know about but some you may not have heard of yet.  

25/70- www.25-70.com

Union Station Development

Old Gates Rubber Co Building 

St. Anthony Central Hospital now known as Sloans

Great resource- http://denverurbanism.com/

Now if you are a Colorado native such as I am, then you have seen many changes and the redevelopment that has already been done.  Some I was very sad to see go and/or change.  BUT after seeing the redevelopment it is refreshing to see how much it helped these neighborhoods stabilize, grow and change, bringing in so much more value and prosperity to these areas.  Change is not always easy to accept but is necessary.

"The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings." --Kakuzo Okakaura

~Cheers Denver

Posted by Ray Williams on February 27th, 2014 2:47 PMPost a Comment (0)

What should your lender be doing for you?  The obvious answer is "help me get a mortgage".  Yes, but don't you want and expect more? If not, you should be. 

It isn't just about getting you approved for a mortgage; it is about helping, guiding, educating and doing everything in their effort to make you feel comfortable and confident about the mortgage you are getting into.  Taking the time to hear and acknowledge your personal goals and situation behind the mortgage.  Are you refinancing? Why are you refinancing? What is your objective and goal?  Are you purchasing? Is this your first home? How long do you plan on living in this house? What are your future goals? Is this a second home? Investment? Many questions should be asked in figuring out what exactly you are looking for and where it fits in your future. 

This is what your lender should be doing for you:

1.    Explaining and helping you review your credit report then educating and assisting you with any areas that may need to be addressed.

2.    Discuss what loan programs are available for you.

3.    Explain the details and difference between all loans options that are best suited for your unique situation.

4.    Assist you through the whole process, beginning to end. Whether you are refinancing or purchasing a home.  Your lender should be able to help guide you through the process minimizing any confusion and/or stress.  Along with answer any questions along the way.

5.     Good communication! This is vital.  There should be an open line of communication with your lender.  You should be able to get in touch with your lender, not always leaving voicemails.  They should be quick to respond either by phone and/or email.  If purchasing a house, they should also be in good communication with your Realtor.

Now you just need to ask yourself...."Is your lender doing all of this?"

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Posted by Ray Williams on February 20th, 2014 2:32 PMPost a Comment (0)

Calling all Realtors & Buyers.... There are times when in a purchase contract, after the home inspection, some repair issues could arise. This is when the buyer is wanting specific repairs to be done to the home in order for them to feel comfortable buying the property.  In most cases the seller is more than willing to do the repairs and/or give a seller credit to help with the cost of repairs after closing.  In some cases, the option is discussed by the parties to put the cost of repairs into an escrow account at closing with the title company, in which the funds are set aside from the seller for the buyer to make the repairs after closing.

Word of caution... any health or safety issues that are needed done should be addressed with the lender prior to assuming this is acceptable. Why? Because depending on the loan program, many investors will not allow a property to close if the repairs have anything to do with a health or safety issue.  So it is best to ask your lender if the repair would be allowed.  Last thing you want is to delay and/or jeopardize a closing when the settlement statement comes out and there is an escrow holdback that the lender's closing team questions and learns is a major deal.  Also, if the seller is going to give concessions to offset repairs, make sure with the lender those concessions don't, in turn, cause the total seller concessions to exceed the allowable loan program concessions.

If you have any questions please give us a call we would be more than happy to help.

Ray Williams
Branch Manager- Mortgage Maestro Group with Summit Mortgage

Posted by Ray Williams on February 5th, 2014 4:09 PMPost a Comment (0)

January 31st, 2014 1:10 PM

So, while Fannie Mae was on board with allowing people to use gift funds for down payment this fall for Conventional mortgages. The PMI companies have now transitioned as well. So what this means is that if you are buying a primary residence 1-Unit (only, not rental property either) then you no longer need the first 5% to be your own funds. This is great news for those with good credit and conservative debt, but maybe lacking down payment funds! Talk to us about this, because the different PMI companies have different tolerance levels and requirements (separate from Fannie Mae).

Ray Williams (@MtgMaestro)
Branch Manager
The Mortgage Maestro Group
@Summit Mortgage

Posted by Ray Williams on January 31st, 2014 1:10 PMPost a Comment (0)

January 22nd, 2014 3:40 PM

Unless you’re living in a bubble, you can't help but see and hear how much Denver is growing and that it is one of the most desirable cities to live. 

More and more people are passing up NYC and San Francisco because they are too expensive.  Denver offers not only great parks but also good schools and a vibrant city life, all at a portion of the cost.  This is a great place for not only young adults looking to prosper but also a great place for families.

Denver now has a the vibrant downtown along with it has a growing and diverse industries from mutual funds, natural gas, technology as well as art and food.

With the city's expanding young population it has boosted the Real Estate market with adding more residential projects in downtown Denver. 

Colorado has some of the nation's most popular skiing destinations including Vail and six other resorts that are only a two-hour drive or less from Denver. 

The city is also attracting young companies that are seeking an educated workforce.  DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc. (DVA), the county's second-biggest dialysis provider, relocated from Los Angeles in 2010, they were lured by Denver's affordability, diverse talent pool and accessible mass transit, said David Maughan, senior vice president of operations.  They have found it much easier to recruit to Denver with lower taxes, lower cost of living and so many sunny days, he stated.

With office rent still below the national average it makes for a demand and increase for office space.  

We are so proud of Denver and we look forward to its growth.  If you are looking to purchase a home in Denver please contact us or complete our online loan application to get started.

Resources: Article from Bloomberg


Ray Williams

Posted by Ray Williams on January 22nd, 2014 3:40 PMPost a Comment (0)

We can talk all we want about the amazing opportunities for first time buyers and those who want down payment assistance programs. But don't take it from me or my team~ Here is an article on MSN.com  listing the 10 top states for first-time buyer programs.

Bear in mind- The programs mentioned here, are not limited to first time Buyers alone. Make sure to ask about them, from multiple perspectives. One, if you need the assistance. And two, you may have savings and just want leverage and to keep your savings in the bank for a rainy day.



Posted by Ray Williams on January 14th, 2014 9:07 PMPost a Comment (0)

December 31st, 2013 11:26 AM

Hard to believe that the year is coming to an end today! WOW! What a year it has been. It started with a bang, getting married in February and honeymooning in Africa from there. A close family member continues to kick cancer up and down the block! My grandmother continues to have such vigor for life, only to be attributed to her Italian blood.

My team expanded, and we continued to grow our reach in Denver known as mortgage lenders who get things done, and deliver over and over again. We had a banner year together so I am looking towards 2014 with optimism.

I was fortunate enough to be awarded a second consecutive 5 star mortgage lender, which is humbling. I also was able to get 2 continuing education classes approved through the state of Colorado to teach the Real Estate community about sweet lending programs (a la: FHA 203K loans). We are in the beginning stages of developing a new website that you will see at the end of 1st Q 2014, so be on the lookout!

As for the housing market in Denver, it is moving in the right direction. We have had numerous past clients buy up and sell their old homes for gain. Inventory has been slim, so there has been more patience for my buyers, but they have been finding good homes.

And interest rates, oddly ended where I predicted they would, in the upper 4% range at the end of the year. So that has been a hot topic this winter as well. Where will rates go? I have felt for a while that we will likely see rates in the mid 5% range by the end of next year. However, there are so many domestic and international aspects that impact our markets that could impact things alone. If the economy continues to show signs of recovery, we will see tapering, and that will lead to higher interest rates.

So we look ahead to 2014 tomorrow. And with that I leave you with this. Life is fleeting. You have one shot, and are promised nothing. There will be bumps in 2014, and so make the most of it. Walk with a purpose, and fill those blank pages with memories of those you care for and love. Surround yourself with greatness and strive for more. Be Well Colorado and Happy New Years to you all! 2014 is going to be amazing!

~ Ray Williams

Branch Manager Summit Mortgage - Denver

The Mortgage Maestro Group

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Posted by Ray Williams on December 31st, 2013 11:26 AMPost a Comment (0)


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