Real Estate

Mortgage Applications Defy Forecasts, Up 54% Since April

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 28, 2020 - 1:00am

Home buyers are entering the market at a much brisker pace. Applications for home purchases mark their sixth week of consecutive gains.

 
Categories: Real Estate

Seller’s or Buyer’s Market? It’s Up for Debate

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 28, 2020 - 1:00am

Buyers and sellers may both find an advantage in the housing market, but as one real estate analyst notes: “We are in uncharted territory.”

 
Categories: Real Estate

New-Home Sales Post Unexpected Increase

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 27, 2020 - 1:00am

“The April data for new home sales show the potential for housing to lead any recovery for the overall economy,” says the chairman of the builder’s trade group.

 
Categories: Real Estate

Fannie, Freddie Launch Resources on COVID-19 Relief Options

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 27, 2020 - 1:00am

The GSEs have launched sites with information about financial recourse for struggling homeowners and renters.

Categories: Real Estate

Is Your Brokerage’s Office Ready to Reopen?

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 27, 2020 - 1:00am

Use this guide to help put into place your policies and precautions before agents return to the workplace.

Categories: Real Estate

Pets Get Priority When Shopping for Homes, Survey Says

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 27, 2020 - 1:00am

Nearly two-thirds of pet owners would forgo a home that doesn't meet the needs of their furry friends.

Categories: Real Estate

Bigfoot Sighting: Creature Appears to Lurk in Listing Photos

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 27, 2020 - 1:00am

Wonder where Bigfoot is isolating during the pandemic? He’s in a $999,000 listing.

Categories: Real Estate

Most Consumers Aren’t Afraid to Return to the Market

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 26, 2020 - 1:00am

Home buyers and sellers are depending on their real estate agents for information and reassurance about conducting transactions during the pandemic, according to a new survey.

Categories: Real Estate

Landlords Get Creative to Maximize Rent Collections

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 26, 2020 - 1:00am

Find out how one property management company has achieved a 96% success rate in collecting rent payments during the pandemic.

Categories: Real Estate

Consumers Worry About Pandemic Financial Options

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 26, 2020 - 1:00am

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says it received a record number of consumer complaints in March and April.

Categories: Real Estate

Could Your Home Office Be Dangerous?

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 26, 2020 - 1:00am

Use this checklist to keep your remote workspace safe.

Categories: Real Estate

Furloughed Redfin Agents Are Gradually Returning

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 26, 2020 - 1:00am

As the housing market shows signs of picking up, the brokerage is bringing back furloughed agents.

Categories: Real Estate

More First-Time Home Buyers Are Entering the Market

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 26, 2020 - 1:00am

A shift in the mix of home buyers is occurring during the pandemic.

Categories: Real Estate

Refinancing Your Mortgage in a Pandemic: Expect Longer Waits, Virtual Process

Daily Real Estate News - May 25, 2020 - 4:05pm

(TNS)—Heather Morris wanted to pull some cash from her Georgia home to pay for renovations, and she was eager to take advantage of rock-bottom mortgage rates. But when her lender told her in March that it could take six months to process her refinancing, Morris wasn’t hopeful.

“I didn’t think it was going to happen,” Morris recalls.

She persevered, and Morris’ refinance with Navy Federal Credit Union closed in mid-May. In addition to a longer-than-normal wait, Morris experienced other oddities, such as donning a mask and staying inside her house while a masked notary stood on her front porch. They passed documents back and forth through the front door. “Doing the paperwork was different,” Morris says.

As Morris saw firsthand, the mortgage industry is coping with a one-two punch that has complicated the process of refinancing. First, a drop in rates in March led to an avalanche of applications. Then the coronavirus pandemic disrupted long-established processes for guiding refinances through the lending system.

As a result, a refinancing process that once required just three or four weeks now can drag on for eight or nine weeks.

“The clients understand what’s happening, and they’re dealing with it,” says Joe Rodriguez, vice president of residential lending at Provident Bank in Jersey City, N.J.
In March, mortgage rates fell to historic lows. That led to a flood of applications from homeowners looking to lower their rates, or to take advantage of equity gains delivered by a decade of rising home values. “The whole industry got slammed in March with new applications,” Rodriguez says.

Inevitably, all those new applications created backlogs. “Our volume went up 400 percent,” says Kevin Parker, vice president at Navy Federal Credit Union. “Imagine anyone having 400 percent more work.”

Navy Federal has been warning borrowers like Morris that the process could take up to six months, although Parker says it rarely drags on that long.

Approving a mortgage is a complicated process, one that requires a lender to validate a borrower’s income, check the value of the home being used as collateral and scrutinize the title history of the property.

Just as refinancing applications picked up, the coronavirus pandemic dramatically changed the way everyone in the mortgage industry works. Loan officers no longer go to the office. Appraisers stopped walking through houses. And no one gathers around the title company’s closing table.

“We had to figure out how to deal with the virus and still do business,” Rodriguez says. “The process is a little slower because everybody’s working from home right now. Things that would take an hour to do are taking a day sometimes.”

For instance, Rodriguez and Parker both say it’s harder to verify a borrower’s employment. A task once dispatched with a quick call to the borrower’s human resources department now means leaving a voicemail and waiting a day or two for a response.

The combination of large volumes of applications and the coronavirus’ curveball means loan processors must be meticulously organized, says Ed Conarchy, a mortgage adviser at Cherry Creek Mortgage Co. in Gurnee, Illinois. “Any trip-up in meeting those important milestones and the refi process can unravel.”

Meanwhile, homeowners looking to refinance may have to get in line behind buyers who need a mortgage so they can close on a house.

The mortgage industry already had been digitizing, and lenders quickly adapted to many changes. One stumbling block, though, is that most lenders still require some documents to be signed in the presence of a legal witness and notarized—”wet ink” signatures, in industry jargon.

That was what led Heather Morris to put on a mask and pass papers to the notary on her front porch. Morris’ elderly mother was staying with her, and she didn’t want to take a chance by letting someone into the house.

Outdoor signings have become something like the new normal, says Navy Federal’s Parker. “We’re seeing settlements being done in driveways, or on decks.”

And sometimes, documents are being signed remotely. Jim Campagna, founder of SnapFi, a mortgage lender in San Jose, California, says he pulled off his state’s first remote online notarization in early May.

California requires notaries to personally witness the signing of documents, but the state has relaxed those rules a bit during the pandemic. That led to Campagna’s client, a Silicon Valley homeowner, signing documents while a notary in Virginia looked on by videoconference. To prove his identity, the borrower held up a driver’s license to his computer’s camera.

Campagna hopes remote online notarization grows more common, and allows for refinancing to complete its transformation to an all-digital exercise.

“The majority of our other documents have been digitized for some time,” Campagna says. “So what’s really been holding back the transaction is the notarization process.”

What You Can Do to Secure a Smooth Refinance

Here are a few ways you can make the refi process as smooth as possible:

— Get your paperwork in order. Don’t let something simple like a missing document delay your refinance. Collect PDFs of financial documents, including pay stubs, bank statements, tax returns and retirement accounts.

— Make sure the lender will honor your rate lock. In normal times, lenders extend rate locks for 30 to 60 days, meaning you won’t have to pay more if rates go up before your loan closes. These aren’t normal times, though, and many refinances aren’t closing within 30 to 60 days, so make sure your lender is willing to extend your rate lock if your deal is delayed.

— Keep your credit score tight. Now isn’t the time to miss a payment, take on new debt or otherwise do anything to lower your credit score. Lenders are being especially strict about borrowers’ credit histories.

©2020
Bankrate.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

The post Refinancing Your Mortgage in a Pandemic: Expect Longer Waits, Virtual Process appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

Builders Bullish on Single-Family Homes Built for Renting

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 22, 2020 - 1:00am

Homebuilders say new homes for the rental market could help respond to housing affordability and down payment challenges.

Categories: Real Estate

In Listings, Show Off That Pool, Outdoor Space

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 22, 2020 - 1:00am

More house hunters are reportedly looking for homes with a pool and outdoor areas during the coronavirus pandemic.

Categories: Real Estate

Home Sellers May Need Some Patience

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 22, 2020 - 1:00am

While selling prices are remaining constant, the process of selling is taking longer as COVID-19 cautions persist.

Categories: Real Estate

Mortgage Rates Hover Near Record Lows, Could Decline Further

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 22, 2020 - 1:00am

Low rates are giving potential buyers “a good reason to continue shopping even amid the pandemic,” says Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

Categories: Real Estate

Prices Strong Despite Lockdowns Hindering April Sales

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 21, 2020 - 1:00am

Record low mortgage rates will likely be a key factor in driving housing demand as state economies gradually reopen. Read more from NAR’s latest housing report.

 
Categories: Real Estate

Markets Where Home Buyers Find Greater Affordability

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 21, 2020 - 1:00am

The number of homes for sale has drastically declined. But home shoppers in these metros may have more luck.

Categories: Real Estate
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