Top o’ the mornin’ to ya! Its St Patrick’s Day and you are on the Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe program with me, Jo Garner, mortgage officer with Evolve Bank & Trust. Our guests today are Troy and Lynn McDonald with the Erin McDonald Agency of Allstate Insurance. Great to have you on Troy and Lynn….

Our topic today is “Quickest Route To The Gold on Landing Your Mortgage & Making An Insurance Claim.” Before we get into the “Quickest Route To The Gold” lets cover some real estate and mortgage news from the second week in March 2012.

Fannie Mae is rolling out the HARP program this weekend that will help homeowners who owe more on their home than the current value. It may take some lenders a few days to get the program operational and begin the HARP lending process. HARP is good program if your mortgage has been backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on or before May 31, 2009 and you have been making your payments on time.

The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 4 basis points this week, to about 4.15.The benchmark 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 4 basis points, to 3.38 percent. The benchmark 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage rose 11 basis points, to 3.14 percent.
If you want a list of the reasons for the rate rise, here are a few:
The economic Leprechauns seem to be out in full force throwing gold around.
Lots of people have been out on shopping sprees at the mall, spending the green stuff in stores, giving retail sales the biggest boost in 5 months.
Maybe one reason so many people were out shopping is because 227,000 of them just got jobs. While the unemployment rate is still high at 8.3%, reports show our labor market has improved for 3 months in a row.
With all of this golden news, the Fed at the Federal Open Market Committee painted a slightly more positive picture of the economy when they met this week.
They did a stress test on our nation’s banks. The Fed evaluated whether banks would have sufficient capital to operate normally and enough money to lend to consumers and businesses during a “severe” economic crisis. Of the 19 banks evaluated, 15 passed the test.
Now for the not-so-golden news…. FHA, the federal mortgage program best known for offering 3.5% down payment programs with more lenient guidelines on credit. They announced recently that they will almost double the upfront mortgage insurance premium they add to the mortgages they insure for borrowers. They will also be tightening up requirements for loan applicants with $1,000 or more in aggregate collection balances. Ouch!
The other not-so-good news is that investors funding home mortgages have stepped up the number of mortgages they are requiring originating mortgage companies to buy back. This has caused ultra-sensitive underwriting with more and more documentation being required of borrowers before and even AFTER closing.
My very capable assistant, Susan Belew, was trying to describe to a customer about why more documentation is being required today than in years past. Susan said ” these mortgage investors have turned into barracudas!” And it really does seem that way sometimes.
If you are on the path to getting a purchase or refinance loan on a house, it is more important today than ever that, WHOEVER you choose, pick an experienced mortgage officer to get you on the quickest route to landing your mortgage. Of course Susan and I would like it very much if you would give us the honor of assisting you in the mortgage process. You can call us directly at (901) 482 0354. Our direct (not on the air line) again is (901) 482 0354.
If you can think of anyone in your circle of friends currently renting who have said they do not have the money to buy a house, please give Susan and me a chance to talk with them. Today we have several different down payment assistance program from ultra low payback plans to grants.
We can get into more details on how to avoid delays and minefields in the mortgage process but first let’s get some wisdom from Lynn and Troy McDonald of Erin McDonald Allstate Insurance Agency….

Troy and Lynn, what are some of the trends you are seeing right now with insurance? Tell us about the Quick Route to the Gold on Getting Insurance Claims handled…..
Listen to the 3-17-12 podcast to hear Troy and Lynn McDonald of Erin McDonald Allstate Insurance talk about ways to get to the gold when you are dealing with insurance claims.
Hear their tip of the week about calling your insurance agent first and NOT the 1-800 # to save getting a claim logged to your record when there is no claim.
Also hear their tips on how to do the math on determining if you should file an insurance claim or cover it without a claim.
The McDonalds talked with callers about items and situations are not covered on a regular homeowner policy. Some examples are trees that did not fall on the house and were not struck by lightening and flood insurance.

Questions answered by Jo Garner, Mortgage Officer at Evolve Bank & Trust:
1. How can a home buyer or someone refinancing their home best prepare for the mortgage process?
A. Review your online free credit report to make sure there are no errors, surprise collections or recent late pays reporting. (Most of the time on the free credit reports you get online, the scores reflect much higher numbers than you will see on a mortgage Fico rating. Because the online scoring systems are on a much different rating scale than the traditional FICO credit scoring system. Check out for more information. )
B. Review your bank statements. Be prepared to document the source of any large deposits other than payroll that appear on your statements.
C. Check your last two years tax returns on the 3rd page to make sure your accountant has not shown unreimbursed employee expenses on the return. The mortgage company will deduct any unreimbursed employee expenses from your regular income. This could make the difference between qualifying for your mortgage and not. Truck drivers and salespeople almost always have unreimbursed employee expenses because they write off traveling expenses and marketing expenses. .

2. What are some things a home loan borrower can do to avoid negative surprises during the loan process?
A. If the homeowner is refinancing their home, we try to do some preliminary research to get an educated guess on where we think we will hit on an appraised value. The homeowner can do this too by checking and . Another step to take if the borrower is concerned about what value they may get is to consult an experienced realtor who is familiar with the neighborhood. Ask a trusted realtor for a free full analysis of sales like the borrower’s house in that borrower’s neighborhood over the last 6 months. By reviewing all the recent comparable sales in that neighborhood over the most recent 6 months, we can get a fairly good idea what to expect on an appraisal value before the homeowner pays for an appraisal.
B. If you are BUYING a home, get your contract accepted subject to a satisfactory home inspection. Don’t order an appraisal until you are satisfied with the home inspector’s report. The appraisal can cost several hundred dollars upfront. Don’t pay for the appraisal until you are sure the contract will be accepted at your price and the home inspection is clear.

Real Estate Tip of the Day: If you are about to apply for a mortgage for buying a house or refinancing one, do not pay down or pay off or adjust anything about your credit or assets before talking with an experienced loan officer. My assistant and I are trained on using Credit Simulators and working with the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac automated underwriting systems.
Sometimes a loan officer can analyze the borrower’s current financial situation and give advice on how to adjust assets or credit to help get the borrower a better rate or better terms on the approval.
Jo Garner, Mortgage Officer Evolve Bank & Trust (901) 482 0354 www.MoneyShoppe.NET
Give me an opportunity to work with you or someone you know on a mortgage on a primary residence, second home or investment property. I work help borrowers get mortgage financing on properties in the Memphis, Tennessee area and nationally.