Jeff’s Carlsbad Blog for First Time Home Buyers


Down Payment Assistance Programs in San Diego

First time home buyers can no longer take advantage of the Federal First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit, but if you are in California you CAN take advantage of the first time home buyer tax credit of up to $10K that California has over a 3-year period.

Read more about the California 2010 First-Time Buyer Tax Credit

A number of first time home buyers in Southern California may also qualify for one of the down payment assistance programs in San Diego.

These programs have income (maximum) guidelines based on total household size, but they offer a pretty decent amount of money for down payments (and in some programs for closing costs). The cool thing is there are no payments until you sell the home.

Want to learn more?

Read the article I just posted on Down Payment Assistance Programs in San Diego.

The Importance of Your Credit Score – What it Is, and What You Can Do to Improve It

Posted in Financial,Mortgage info by Jeff Dowler on April 4, 2010
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Having a strong credit history and score is critical in this buying market, especially since the banks are getting stricter with their lending requirements and the scores that are acceptable.

Many folks are not really even aware of their credit score and history until they start looking into buying a home. And sometimes there are errors that buyers are not aware of.

There are a number of things you can do to improve your credit score, as well as things you should not do because they will lower your score.

This article by a friend of mine back East is an excellent overview of what the FICO (credit score) is, what impacts it, and how you can improve it. A VERY worthwhile read.

Increasing FICO Scores to Purchase a Home


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Visit my Real Estate Consumer Blog at Carlsbad Real Estate News for lots of information about the general area

All content copyright © 2010 Jeff Dowler “The California Relocation Dude”

Changes Coming in FHA Loans

Posted in Financial,Mortgage info by Jeff Dowler on January 31, 2010
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Many first time buyers pursue FHA loans because they do not qualify for other conventional loans with higher down payment requirements, issues with credit scores and other issues. Indeed many home sales in the last year have been FHA financed.

Because of some financial issues, FHA has announced some changed in their loan qualifications and requirements. For example:

  • Those with credit scores of less than 580 will be required to put down 10%. Those with at least a score of 580 will still be able to put down just 3.5% (the current amount)
  • The up-front mortgage insurance premium will rise from $1.75% to 2.25%

You can read the FHA full press release here.

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All content copyright © 2010 Jeff Dowler “The California Relocation Dude”

New Changes in FHA Mortgages

Posted in Financial,Mortgage info by Jeff Dowler on January 21, 2010
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Lots of buyers, especially first time home buyers, have used or want to use a FHA loan to purchase their home. A primary reason is the low down-payment that has been a hallmark for FHA for sometime (recently raised from 3% to 3.5%).

If you are currently qualified, or hope to use an FHA loan, LISTEN UP.

There are some new changes in FHA Mortgages.

Jeff Belonger is a mortgage broker and friend in Philadelphia who writes often about FHA. Rather than try to summarize these changes, I suggest you hop on over to his article about FHA Loans.

READ MORE about FHA on the HUD website.

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All content copyright © 2010 Jeff Dowler “The California Relocation Dude”

Are Those Occupants Residents or Tenants?

A critical question buyers need to consider when buying a condo in Carlsbad, or anywhere else in San Diego, is  “are those occupants residents or tenants?

I don’t mean that we fundamentally care who is living there.

The issue has to do with the mortgage requirements that a minimum of 51% of the units in a condominium complex must be owner occupants (i.e., not second homes or investor-owned properties).

If you can find this out before  getting too far along in the offer process (your REALTOR will help with this) you can save yourself some possible disappointment.

During the due diligence process here in CA we investigate the status of the HOA, review HOA docs and budget and other matters, which includes the percentage of owner occupancy. But finding out before you get that far along will save time and heartache. It MAY be stated in the MLS but in my experience it usually isn’t.

While many condos do meet that requirement easily, there are some complexes that are popular with investors so it is an important detail to add to your due diligence as a buyer.

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All content copyright © 2010 Jeff Dowler “The California Relocation Dude”

First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Extended

Posted in Financial,Mortgage info,Taxes by Jeff Dowler on November 16, 2009
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As many folks know, the government signed an extension to the First Time Homebuyer Credit which includes a tax credit for move-up buyers.

Here is a GREAT SUMMARY of some of the key things to know about this new legislation from a colleague of mine in Arizona, Mike Jones.

This is something worth keeping in mind if you are thinking about buying, in addition to the good rates on mortgages.

Check out this website on the First Time Buyer Tax Credit to get answers to all your questions.

NEW California Mortgage Fraud Laws

Finally.

Some new laws have been passed in California to better protect consumers against mortgage fraud, which is rampant (I understand CA has the 4th highest % of mortgage fraud).

If you are in the process of shopping for a mortgage, this is a MUST READ to educate yourself aboutthe laws that protect you.

New Laws to Combat Mortgage Fraud in California

What You Should Know About FHA Loans

Posted in Financial,Mortgage info by Jeff Dowler on June 28, 2009
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Many buyers these days, especially first time buyers, are attracted to FHA loans, and with good reason.

Down-payment money is often a problem, and FHA only requires a 3.5% down-payment (and it can be gift money).

There are a couple of things you should know, especially if you are looking at condos:

1. FHA requires that the complex be FHA approved. Or, if it is not, you can get what is called SPOT APPROVAL which takes more time and adds to the process time frame. And there are no guarantees.

2. The owner occupancy of the complex must be 51% or better in order to use an FHA loan.

3. There is a 3-year guideline for conversions. Properties converted from apartments to condo in the last 3 years will not likely qualify for FHA financing.

Be sure to check with a qualified loan officer to make sure you understand the guidelines, as some properties that may interest you and fit your bduget may not qualify for this loan.

NOTE: Important update 10/17/09  – SPOT APPROVALS are no longer allowed by FHA with some new regulations that went into effect Oct. 1.  Check with your lender to see how this affects you.

Mortgage Protection Program for California First Time Buyers

The California Association of REALTORS has announced a new mortgage protection program for first time buyers in California through their Housing Affordability Fund (HAF).

You COULD receive up to $1500 per month for 6 months to help pay your mortgage if you are layed off.

Read more about the new mortgate protection program

New Fee Coming for Condo Purchase Loans

Posted in Financial,Mortgage info,What do I Buy? by Jeff Dowler on February 12, 2009
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Fannie Mae is implementing a new fee for folks who are buying condos.

The reason is that condos have been the riskiest buys in recent years with all the speculation, investors, and now the issues associated with short sales, foreclosures and REOs, the majority of which are condos. Condos statistically are a greater default risk, and so Fannie Mae is adding a new fee effective April 2, 2009.

Buyers will continue to have the option to use FHA loans (provided that the condo complex is FHA approved – many are not) if they qualify. Be aware that the interest rates may be different and FHA requires a 3.5% downpayment.

The fee announced by Fannie Mae will be 3/4 of a point (as a % of the loan amount) which can be fairly substantial. Something to keep in mind if you are considering a condo purchase.

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If I can provide more information about Carlsbad and surrounding areas, or the housing market in general, or otherwise assist you in your home search, please contact me by phone or text at (760) 840-1360 or email me at JDowler@remax.net.

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First Time Home Buyers Relocation Services and more How to get in touch with me

All content copyright © 2009 Jeff Dowler

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