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Why You Should Pay Attention to Open Enrollment Time

Your Choice If you are employed by a company that offers flexibility in choosing your benefits, the open enrollment period is right around the corner. It’s your chance to make changes to your benefits. Many employees simply opt to maintain their current benefits. That could be the best choice for you, but before you default to your existing slate of benefits, consider if there are any potential financial advantages to making a few changes. Finding cost-effective health insurance Many employees now pay part or...

Fannie Mae Relaxes Down Payment Requirement

Downpayment Myths Many homebuyers believe that you need a 20% down payment, or you're stuck with a high cost FHA mortgage with mortgage insurance. This is a misunderstanding that has stood the test of time, and yet has never been true. Currently, Fannie Mae requires a minimum 5% down payment to qualify for a home mortgage loan up to the conforming loan limit of $417,000.  Borrowers using conventional financing up to the California high balance loan limit of $625,500 are required to have...

New California Grant Bridges the Qualifying Gap

Sapphire Grant The NHF Sapphire Grant is offered by the same organization that offers the CHF Platinum Home buyer Grant, but with a twist. The NHF Sapphire Grant lifts some of the more restrictive qualifying guidelines found in most all California homebuyer assistance programs to date.  Down Payment or Closing Costs The Sapphire Grant is very similar to the CHF Platinum Grant in the sense that it's available either as 3%, or 5% of the first loan amount, and can be used to cover either...

What is a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage?

Reverse Mortgage Maybe you've seen commercials on TV about Reverse Mortgages.  Mortgage companies offering this Government insured mortgage solution are famous for using Celebrity spokespeople to build awareness for this underutilized home mortgage loan program. A Home Equity conversion Mortgage (HECM), also known as a Reverse Mortgage, is government insured loan program offered by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). A Reverse Mortgage allows eligible borrowers, 62 years of age or older, to access a portion of your home's equity, and take tax-free funds...

CalHFA Conventional Assistance Options

Reduced Mortgage Insurance Conventional financing offers many benefits over FHA financing for homebuyers in California. The first, and maybe most significant advantage of using a Conventional mortgage is the ability to avoid permanent mortgage insurance required with all FHA financing. In addition to a lower monthly mortgage insurance payment, Conventional financing also does not require an up-front mortgage insurance premium. The impact of FHA up-front mortgage insurance is often not realized because it is typically financed into the first loan amount, and spread out...

CalHFA Zero Interest, Zero Out of Pocket?

California Assistance The California Housing Finance Agency, also known as CalHFA, continues to create homeownership opportunities for more California home buyers with new guidelines and programs announced this week. CalHFA announced last week that it is removing the minimum borrower contribution requirements for homebuyers. This essentially means that they will allow you to buy a home using CalHFA assistance programs, lender and/or seller credits and, in the end, you may not have to pay a single dollar out of pocket. Is Low Cost Higher Risk? One of...

Calculating the Cost of Buying a California Home

Cost of Ownership Home prices continue to rise in California, not nearly at the pace we experienced in 2013, and not quite as much as many home sellers would like. At any rate, as home prices increase, so do downpayment and closing costs as these variable expenses are tied to the sales price, or financing of the home. The timing of the market is critical for first time buyers, and low to moderate income families trying to become homeowners, as affordable housing slowly...

Creative Ways to Pay for Downpayment and Closing Costs

More Than Assistance There are many ways that you can raise the money to cover your down payment or closing costs without liquidating your personal savings. Downpayment and Closing cost assistance programs are also available options, but only if you meet the income and loan amount limits. I really want to dig deeper and talk about sources that can be used for down payment or closing costs that you might not have thought of. Here's a list of common, and creative ways to come...

3 Ways to Buy a California Home with NO Money Out of Pocket

BREAKING NEWS EFFECTIVE October 6th, 2014 - After I wrote this article last week, CalHFA issued changes to guidelines eliminating the minimum borrower contribution requirement when using their assistance loans. In light of this change, I have updated the information in this article by removing the minimum $1,000 contribution requirement. What we are left with is 3 options for buying a home in California with NO money out of pocket when it's all said and done! Cost of Ownership Coming up with a down payment...

More Women Are Taking Control of Their Finances

As women’s economic, political and social power increase, they’re also taking a more active role in their finances. According to the recent Ameriprise Financial Women and Financial PowerSM study, women of all generations are involved in financial decision making — either shared or on their own — in their households. In fact, among the Boomer, Gen X and Millennial women surveyed, only 4 percent said they weren’t involved in financial matters. More than half (56%) share in making financial decisions with a spouse...

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