Category: Buying a Home


Darn that DODD-FRANK!

Cropped image of businesswoman writing on checklist

Just imagine, after years of struggling to complete college, your son, little Johnny has finally has his head on straight. He graduated, he’s worked for the family business for two years and is doing well. He met a nice girl and they have married.

He wants to buy a home. Unfortunately, Johnny has not always made the best decisions. His credit is not where it needs to be. Based on the fact that he is now making better decisions, you decide to loan Johnny the money to buy the home. The title company you’re working with will prepare a note and mortgage to secure your loan, what could be easier, right?

That Darn Dodd-Frank! Your loan is probably in violation of this Act. Based on this violation, your note and mortgage may not be enforceable.

Dodd-Frank is federal legislation that came about as a result of the real estate crisis of the last decade. The Act created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) and other laws that regulate all consumer loan transactions.

One of the other laws is the Loan Originator Rule. In general terms, if the borrower will use the home for residential purposes (whether a primary residence, a second home or a vacation home) then the person arranging the loan is defined as a “loan originator.” A loan originator must have a mortgage originator’s or broker’s license. Pursuant to the Act, any person who offers and negotiates terms of a residential mortgage is deed to be a mortgage loan originator. Unfortunately, for mom and dad above, there are no exceptions for a person, who is not a Seller, to secure a mortgage with a residential property.

The Act does provide for certain exceptions. Namely, Seller financing, these exceptions are as follows:

One property exception: A Seller may extend credit, secured by a mortgage encumbering residential property and is not considered a loan originator if:

(a) they are a natural person, estate or trust;

(b) they provide financing for only one property in a 12 month period;

(c) they own the property securing the mortgage;

(d) they did not construct or act as the contractor for the construction of a residence on the property;

(e) repayment of the loan must not result in negative amortization;

(f) balloon payments are allowed, however the term of the balloon is not clear. Most practitioners believe that no shorter time period than 5 years should be used.

(g) while the Act does not prohibit adjustable rates, a fixed rate is suggested. The Act has restrictions, limitations and caps on rate charges.

(h) the seller is not required to investigate the buyer’s ability to repay the loan.

Three Property Exception: A Seller may extend credit, secured by a mortgage encumbering up to three residential properties and is not considered a loan originator if:

(a) they are a natural person, estate, trust or an entity;

(b) they provide financing for three properties or less in any twelve month period;

(c) they own the property securing the mortgage;

(d) they did not construct or act as the contractor for the construction of a residence on the property;

(e) the loan must be fully amortizing and there are no balloon payments or structures allowed;

(f) while the Act does not prohibit adjustable rates, a fixed rate is suggested. In this context, limits and caps are required’

(g) the Seller is required to make a reasonable investigation regarding the Buyer’s ability to repay the loan. Although formal documentation is not required, the investigation should be done in good faith and the results should be maintained.

While other exceptions exist, they are very complicated and are not practical for ordinary Seller financers.

Good news is Dodd-Frank does not apply to every loan. First, it only applies to residential loans. So, if you’re dealing with vacant land, commercial properties, rental properties or properties used solely for investment purposes, Dodd-Frank simply does not apply. Moreover, Dodd-Frank does not apply to non-residential buyers. So, if the buyer is a corporation, limited liability company or partnership etc., Dodd-Frank will not apply and the loan can be made without consideration to its restrictions.

So, now that we know that mom and dad have a problem trying to help little Johnny buy his home, what are we to do?

One solution would be for the mom and dad (the lender) to purchase the property from the underlying Seller first. Then mom and dad as the Seller could sell little Johnny the home and take back the note and mortgage under the one property exception. Yes, the transaction costs would increase, but the creative closers at the Florida Agency Network will work with you to keep these costs down.

Another solution would be for mom and dad to work through a mortgage broker. The mortgage broker will be required to comply with all of the various lending laws and regulations. While the broker will likely charge a fee for this service, it is another option that will allow the transaction to go forward.

What Is A Rate Lock?

Mortgage rates change constantly through an unpredictable combination of government policies and economic conditions. This video explains the common term ‘rate lock.’

A “Rate Lock” is a guarantee that a lender will honor a specific combination of interest rates and points for a given period of time. A lock protects a buyer from rate increases but commits them to a higher rate if mortgage rates fall below the locked rate.

As of 2014, rate locks aren’t usually an option until a purchase offer for a specific property – new-home or resale – has been accepted by the seller. The borrower’s credit score, the loan-to-value ratio property type, location and other factors plus, of course, market rates and market conditions will also affect rate-lock decisions.

Decide whether to lock or “float” based on your capacity for risk and your best rational knowledge about construction and closing schedules. If your rate lock expires an extension might be available but both you and the lender will be looking at current mortgage rates to decide the best option.

 

What Should I Look Out For During The Final Walk-Through?


Well, as this story shows, this will likely be the first opportunity to examine the house without furniture giving you a clear view of everything.
Check the walls and ceilings carefully as well as any work the seller agreed to do in response to the inspection.
Any problems discovered previously that you find uncorrected should be brought up prior to closing. It is the seller’s responsibility to fix them.

What Are “Home Warranties”, And Should I Consider Them?

You’ll see some pictures in this video to help you remember later, but essentially, home warranties offer you protection for a specific period of time, such as one year, against potentially costly problems like unexpected repairs on appliances or home systems which are not covered by homeowner’s insurance.

Warranties are becoming more popular because they offer protection during the time immediately following the purchase of a home a time when many people find themselves cash-strapped.

What About A Home Located In A Flood Plain?

A flood plain is an area of land adjacent to a stream or river that experiences flooding during periods of high discharge. Watch this video and it’ll make sense.

If you live in a flood plain lenders will require that you have flood insurance before lending any money to you. But if you live near a flood plain, you may choose whether or not to get flood insurance coverage for your home.

Check the National Flood Insurance Program site  at FloodSmart.gov  for more information. And work with an insurance agent to construct a policy that fits your needs.

What Does A Home Inspector Do, And How Does An Inspection Figure In The Purchase Of A Home?

As we show you in this video, an inspector checks the safety of your potential new home.

Home Inspectors focus especially on the structure, construction and mechanical systems of the house and will make you aware of only repairs that are needed.

The Inspector does not evaluate whether or not you’re getting good value for your money.

Generally, an inspector checks (and gives estimates for repairs on):

  • the electrical system
  • plumbing and waste disposal
  • the water heater
  • insulation and ventilation
  • the heating and AC system
  • water source and quality
  • the potential presence of pests
  • the foundation, doors, windows, ceilings, walls, floors, and roof.

Be sure to hire a home inspector that is qualified and experienced. It’s a good idea to have an inspection before you sign a written offer since once the deal is closed you’ve bought the house as-is.

What Is Earnest Money, And How Much Should I Set Aside?

Like the video shows, “earnest money” is money you put down to demonstrate your seriousness about buying a home. It must be substantial enough to demonstrate good faith and is usually between 1-5% of the purchase price though the amount can vary with local customs and conditions.
If your offer is accepted the earnest money becomes part of your down payment or closing costs. If the offer is rejected, your earnest money is returned to you. If you back out of a deal, you may forfeit the entire amount.

Is An Older Home A Better Value Than A New One?

Well, as this story shows, there isn’t a definitive answer to this question. You should look at each home for its individual characteristics.

Generally, older homes may be in more established neighborhoods offer more ambiance and have lower property tax rates. People who buy older homes, however shouldn’t mind maintaining their home and making some repairs.

Newer homes tend to use more modern architecture and systems are usually easier to maintain and may be more energy-efficient. People who buy new homes often don’t want to worry initially about upkeep and repairs.

What Questions Should I Ask When Looking At Homes?

As you’ll see in this video, many of your questions should focus on potential problems and maintenance issues.

Does anything need to be replaced? What things require ongoing maintenance like paint, roof, heating and AC, appliances and carpet?

Also ask about the house and neighborhood focusing on quality of life issues. Be sure the seller’s or real estate agent’s answers are clear and complete.

Like the video says, ask questions until you understand all of the information they’ve given.

Making a list of questions ahead of time will help you organize your thoughts and arrange all of the information you receive. The HUD Home Scorecard can help you develop your question list and keep a record for each potential home.

How Can I Keep Track Of All The Homes I See?

There are some great tips in this video, like:

if possible, take photographs of each house: the outside, the major rooms, the yard and extra features that you like or ones you see as potential problems.

Write things down as you go. And don’t hesitate to return for a second look.

Use the HUD Home Scorecard (www.hud.gov/buying/checklist.pdf) to organize your photos and notes for each house.