Exciting News!

 There is a very exciting change coming in our local industry and I wanted to take the time to share it with you personally. 

 Very soon Landmark Mortgage will be joined by Professional Mortgage Corporation.  Both Landmark and Professional have been involved in local lending for over 20 years and have developed great reputations for quality, service and integrity.  Due to changes in the mortgage marketplace,  a dialogue began a few months back to explore how to be stronger moving forward.  After discussing business plans, strategies and our core values, it became clear that coming together would be the right opportunity for each of us to be able to best serve our past and future clients. 

 Landmark’s office and staff will be moving to Professional’s offices at 1255 Lee St SE (on the corner of Lee and Mission St).  Phone numbers and emails will all remain the same for the near future, though eventually we will consolidate once the dust settles.  Also, in mid-November our two names will come together to form the new organization: “Landmark Professional Mortgage Company.”

I will continue to offer the best in local mortgage lending and look forward to serving the mid-Willamette Valley for years to come. 

 I hope that you find this news as exciting as I do. This is a wonderful opportunity to combine our talents to better serve our community.

Please let me know if you have any questions that I can answer for you.  karen@landmarkmortgage.com

Karen Cox

Landmark Professional Mortgage Co.

Modification Reminder

I just heard of another homeowner that has paid for someone to help them with a modification of their existing home loan. Unfortunately, this did not turn out well. 

Please remember that a requesting a modification from your current lender does not COST you anything.  The only thing required from you is documentation, time, patience and perseverance.  Please do not pay someone for this service.   If you need additional help or don’t think you can do it on your own, there are non-profit sources out there that can and will help. Again you will need patience and persistence but it can be done.

NEDCOR is a non profit agency that can help, their contact information is 503 – 779-2680  or www.nedcocdc.org.

Please tell your friends and family that requesting a modification does not cost anything.  Not all lenders are modifying but I have heard several success stories.  Please just remember patience, persistence and time.

Loan Officer Credit Check Coming

This post will make me highly unpopular with my peers.  I have thought long and hard about it and I am really ok with that.

Loan Originators had to become licensed both Nationally and through the State of Oregon this year.  We had to pass a National Test, a State Test, be fingerprinted and pass a background check.  Oregon still needs to take the last step and that is pull a credit report on each loan originator. 

Each State can set their parameters for what a satisfactory credit report is-Oregon hasn’t made that determination yet.  Here are my two cents- I believe that a Loan Officer must have a credit report that is above reproach.  I believe that a Loan Officer can not be a good loan officer and counsel a borrower if that Loan Officer has credit difficulties of their own. I believe that a client should be able to aspire to be like their loan officer, ask them for budgeting advice, investment advice, etc…

The sentiment in the industry is that the last few years have been so hard on this industry that many loan officers, lenders, realtors, title & escrow people were hit hard by the change in the economy and they fell victim to foreclosures, bankruptcies, short sales, etc…  Many want to turn the other way and say that’s ok it’s the times that we are in.  Well I disagree.  These people, of all people, should have known this could happen and should have planned better than most people and been prepared.  This group of people should set the example and not lead the credit life of the average American. This industry should understand budgeting, saving and not living outside of your income level. (this group should not spend above their means)

Ask anyone the first rule for someone in a commission only or bonus dependent  job- 1) have at least 6 months of your living expenses in savings. 2) Don’t over extend, my third rule- have a backup plan and execute that plan before its too late!

How can these loan officers counsel a new home buyer if they have failed themselves?  Think about this: Would you go to an over weight nutritionist? Would you see a financial planner that has filed bankruptcy or can’t make his payments? Would you use a mechanic whose car doesn’t run? Would you have a roofer whose own house leaks, re- roof your house?

I know this is a harsh view but there are also several loan officers out there that weathered this storm and did not have any credit difficulties or walk away from a home, what do they get for their effort and conscientious behavior?  Just like the homeowner that is upside down in their house and can’t refinance it, nothing, just a good conscience to know that they are doing the right thing and continuing to set the example.

FHA Changes Again

Congress has approved the following MI changes for FHA loans. HUD will be issuing the mortgagee letter that implements the following:  Effective with all new FHA loans with case numbers pulled after Sept 7, 2010, the new UFMIP (upfront mortgage insurance premium) is 1% of the loan amount.  The new monthly premium amount goes from a .55 factor to a .85-.90 monthly factor.

To better understand these changes here is an example of the difference between now and after Sept 7.

200,000 purchase price – 3.5% down = 193,000 base loan amount.

Current                            Sept 7, 2010

2.25%=4342.50                1% = 1930   UFMIP

197,342                            194,930  total loan amount

88.46                                   136.71  monthly mortgage insurance

1059.26                              1095.65  New principal, interest and mortgage insurance payment at 4.25%

After Sept 7, 2010, it will be at least $36.39 more expensive for a borrower to purchase a home using FHA financing. 

If you are currently out there looking to buy a home, here is another reason, besides the many already positive reasons,  for homebuying to make a descision and put that offer in.    

For any questions, please call or email me at 503 585 1105 or karen@landmarkmortgage.com .

Loan Quality Initiative

There is now one more hurdle a borrower has to become a homeowner.

As of  June 1st, Fannie Mae is requiring a new credit report be pulled on ALL loan applications at the time of FUNDING. This was always a  possiblity with a lenders random audit or quality control process but now it is a requirement.

What this means is that buyers can not go out and purchase one thing for their new home until after the loan has been recorded.  If there is any new debt or even any inquiries into their credit before funding that were not there at time of application, their file will have to be re-underwritten and could possibly be denied in the ninth hour.  This can even happen if they have an existing credit card and the balance increases.

Please continue to counsel your buyers to NOT go shopping for that new refrigerator or washer and dryer until the home is truly closed and recorded.

This additional step at funding will, undoubtedly, cause further delays on closing dates as well.  Be sure to plan accordingly. 45 day closings or longer would be the best strategy.

Call or email with any questions, 503 585 1105, karen@landmarkmortgage.com

USDA/Rural Development

Great News!!

USDA announced yesterday that they have authorized the issuance of Conditional Commitments for Rural Housing programs to take place after the current funding is exhausted (which is on pace to happen this week). 


The guarantee fee will increase from 2.0% to 3.5% for purchases, and from 0.5% to 2.25% for USDA to USDA rate/term refinances.  This will help self-sustain the funding for the Rural Housing program going forward.

Please note:  Any files in process that are not able to get a commitment at the 2.0% guarantee fee will have to be re-disclosed at the 3.5% guarantee fee.