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By Chris Rooney | Broker in Prior Lake, MN
  • Short Sales and FHA’s and VA’s, Oh My!

    Posted Under: Financing  |  May 5, 2014 8:44 AM  |  54 views  |  No comments

    Short Sales and FHA’s and VA’s, Oh My!

    January 20, 2014

    This past Saturday’s show covered many different topics that our listeners had multiple questions on.  The first one was short sales.  A listener asked to give a definition for short sales.  Wendy Haisley from Markve & Zweifel defined short sales as when someone has to leave a property due to income loss, inability to make the payments, wanting to sell or needing to sell due to divorce, relocation, etc., and they owe more than what the property is worth and cannot afford to pay off the mortgages in full.  In order to help yourself, you accept an offer on the property subject to the lender approval and submit the offers to the lenders.  The lender does a review that is necessary under their investor guidelines and decides if they are going to allow you to sell that property ‘short’, paying them less than what you owe and then waiving the balance so that you can move on without owing anything on your previous mortgages.

     After hearing this definition, you might find yourself in a similar situation where you need to have a short sale.  People do not always view short sales as the best option to choose from, but that’s because many people do not seek out the professional advice from their lender, realtor, or attorney.  These professionals can help you get back on your feet without prematurely moving due to fear of getting kicked out of your house.  Markve & Zweifel is a great place to seek advice in these cases.  Check out their website here

    There were a few questions asked about requirements for loans.  The first question asked whether or not you can be approved for a VA loan less than two years after a short sale if credit scores, income, debt, etc. are all good.  Nick Kelvie from First Option Mortgage brought up the fact that there are many requirements for approval of VA loans including about a three year wait depending on your credit score.  The answer to that question, unfortunately is no, you cannot be approved for a VA loan less than two years after a short sale.  Lenders do require a minimum credit score of at least 620 for approval of a VA loan.  There are also other income sources used to qualify for a VA loan including Retirement Income, Social Security Income, Child Support, Alimony and Separate Maintenance, BAH, BAS and Disability Income.  To find out more about qualifying for a VA loan, check out this website.

    Another listener asked about how to be approved for an FHA loan.  A few things to be aware of before applying for an FHA loan is that you must be an occupant in the residence that you are applying for and it must be your primary residence.  If your home exceeds the amount of the maximum mortgage amount for your area you would need to put additional funds down to hit the maximum loan limits.  While there is a minimum credit score you need for an FHA loan, you will also need to be able to prove that you are capable of paying bills on time.  You should also be able to show lenders a consistent work history for two years before applying for the loan and show that you will have three years of expected work after the loan approval.  One other thing to work on is reducing your debt-to-income ratio below by paying off credit cards or loans.  There is so much more information about FHA, loans but a good way to start is checking out these frequently asked questions here.

  • Mortgage Rates & Monthly Payments

    Posted Under: Financing  |  November 4, 2013 9:57 AM  |  83 views  |  No comments

    Is now still a good time to buy?

    September 15, 2013

    … When life hands you lemons… What about when life hands you mortgage rates higher than you expected?!

    As I’ve watched the housing market this summer, I have noticed some big changes. We started the summer with record lows in mortgage rates meaning buyers were everywhere – eagerly looking to get into their dream home. They had their financing worked out and attacked the market with multiple offers everywhere. Houses sold quickly. The hope was that was going to last, but unfortunately good things do come to an end – at least when referring to low interest rates. As these summer months flew by, rates began to rise and those eager buyers began to worry if it really was the right time to buy?

    Sharply rising rates cause uncertainty. When rates are low it enables qualified homebuyers to get financing and they get excited to start looking and purchasing. When rates begin to rise that translates to higher monthly payments which can really scare off potential buyers. They start to think, can I really afford to pay more a month on my mortgage? Should I just stay where I am? Should I just continue to rent?

    The best thing to do is to not react emotionally to the rate changes. In reality, historically, rates are still very low. They will go up and down with the economy, but when the rates rise, don’t automatically assume a home purchase is now out of reach. Look at the numbers and do the math. Figure out if the extra per month in your mortgage payment is really going to be the deciding factor, or if you can realistically afford it. When that number reaches an unrealistic amount, you’ll know your decision.

    If you are wondering if it is the right time to buy or sell in today’s market, please let me know. I am happy to sit down and analyze if the time is right for you!

  • 5 Step Tax Season Plan to avoid your own fiscal cliff

    Posted Under: Financing, Property Q&A  |  November 4, 2013 8:53 AM  |  64 views  |  No comments

    5 Step Tax Season Plan to Avoid Your Own Fiscal Cliff

    This week tax season jumps into full swing and so do the nervous ticks and twitches that come with it.

    That means you have a choice. You can be one of those agents who waits until April 15th and risk an audit, or worse—major penalties. Or, you can get smart and develop a plan for attacking this and next year’s tax season.

    Take the dread out of one of every business owner’s most feared seasons. Here’s how: 

    1. Round up your receipts and make them electronic

    2. Start tracking your mileage now

    3. Get your extension early if needed

    4. Don’t neglect the obvious

    5. Talk to your pro about your future, too

    Click the image to read more from Trulia’s article
  • Minnesota weather causes foundation problems

    Posted Under: Financing, Remodel & Renovate, Property Q&A  |  January 28, 2013 1:13 PM  |  112 views  |  No comments

    Harsh Minnesota weather can get you down

    -Literally! Find out how your house settles and sinks with moisture changes in the soil…

    Here in Minnesota, we all know the weather can be brutal and with temperatures varying dramatically in the next few months, now is a good time to start thinking about how this affects your house!

    The Real Estate Radio Hour crew, Chris Rooney and Andy Prasky, brought in foundation expert, Jesse Trebil from Jesse Trebil Foundation Systems to talk about your house settling as we enter that March/April freeze and thaw cycle.

    “It’s normal to see a bit of settling, windows and doors sticking, and cracks appearing in your sheetrock. However, because of the drought Minnesota has been in since summer, we are seeing more and more issues this year,” said Trebil. It depends what kind of soil your house is sitting on and the lack of moisture in that soil. If your soil is expansive, such as black dirt or clay, it also shrinks when it loses moisture. This, according to Trebil, is what causes the issues.

    “We have a pier system that can lift your house back to level so it’s not resting on the soil that has a tendency to fail,” said Trebil. They go around the foundation of your home and install these foundation piers, which are engineered to hold and support your house.

    One listener asked for the price range to do this and because it varies with each house it is hard to estimate without knowing specific details. Trebil and his crew offers free estimates where they come and laser your house to tell exactly where it’s settling and where these piers would need to be placed. After doing this they can get you a firm price.

    In addition, as we enter spring in the next few months, Trebil said we will also see a lot of wet basements. For those thinking about finishing your basement but have always been hesitant, Trebil said he had solutions to that as well. Their patented waterproofing system gets below the water table in your floor. “If you have a dry sub-soil below your floor, you’ll have a dry floor,” said Trebil. Draining water from your walls prevents seepage there as well.

    To avoid mold growth in damp basements, Trebil discussed his E-3 Wall system made from a plastic stud and foam insolation. This snaps together and when finished looks exactly like ordinary walls. However, because it’s not made from organic materials, it will never rot. Check out www.safebasements.com for more information on any of Trebil’s solutions heard on the show this weekend.

    Also joining Prasky and Rooney in studio was Matt Helling from Cambria Mortgage. “Andy and I have been seeing a lot of VA Loans recently,” said Rooney. Wondering if the qualifications have changed or loosened to allow more veterans to obtain these loans, Helling clarified this is not the case.

    “The qualifications haven’t been changed, but we are seeing more and more of them,” said Helling. “People just didn’t know about the programs or didn’t understand them before. We’ve had veterans come in to take out a regular home loan who didn’t know they qualified for, what I think is, one of the best loan programs out there.”

    VA Loans are true no-money down, 100% loan to value loans. They do not need mortgage insurance and the VA restricts costs so generally, closing costs and other fees are lower than conventional loans. “It’s a benefit that is earned,” stated Helling. 

    For more information on VA loans visit www.cambriamortgage.com or go to www.realestatradiohour.com to ask specific questions that Rooney and Prasky are happy to pass on to Helling himself. Stay tuned for next week!


  • Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act Extended!

    Posted Under: Financing  |  January 28, 2013 1:02 PM  |  48 views  |  No comments

    H.R. 3648 – Extended

     The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 was extended through January 1, 2014.  The extension will exempt from taxation mortgage debt that is forgiven in a loan modification, short sale or foreclosure.

    Click to see the Act:

    H.R.3648 Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007

  • Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act!?

    Posted Under: Financing, Foreclosure  |  January 3, 2013 7:40 AM  |  86 views  |  No comments

    Thoughts on the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act?

    The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 could be extended. Set to expire on December 31, the Act has played a major role in this 2012′s rise in short sales. Jeff Zweifel from Markve and Zweifel will be on the show this Saturday to discuss this further.

    But just for your information before tuning in….

    The Act helps people by forgiving or reducing mortgage debts over the past five years. According to the IRS, if your debt is canceled or forgiven, that canceled amount can be taxable income. The Act allows taxpayers to exempt mortgage debt that is forgiven by a lender during a loan modification, short sale or foreclosure. 

    Therefore, if extended, the provision would continue to be applied for debts forgiven since 2007. If it is not extended, 2013 borrowers would need to claim debt reduction/mortgage relief as income. This could be thousands of dollars for some people! 

    Tune in tomorrow at 10 am to hear more from Jeff, who specializes in short sales, only on 830 WCCO.

  • December 15, 2012

    Posted Under: Financing, Remodel & Renovate  |  December 18, 2012 10:22 AM  |  74 views  |  No comments

    We covered a lot on this weekend’s show!

    To start, we’ve seen a lot of houses with foundation issues and noticed how that affects the buying and selling process. Obviously there are certain problems you would want to get fixed right away, but especially when you’re thinking about selling. Once you know those problems, you can weigh your options – how much is it going to cost me to fix vs. how is my home perceived with the current foundation issues. We brought in foundation expert Jesse Trebil, who could help ease some of those concerns and answer some questions many homeowners have.

    There isn’t a house in Minnesota that doesn’t have a crack in the foundation, Jesse said. It’s the “angry cracks” the professionals at Jesse Trebil Foundation System look for when evaluating a home. These are cracks that are leaking water or shifting and opening up. This movement means that the strength of your walls has been compromised – a cause for concern for anyone! So if you’re noticing bowing walls, uneven floors or sticking doors and windows, you may have a bigger foundation issue than just normal settling.

    Jesse mentioned different techniques his company uses to fix these problems to save you time, money and eliminate the mess. Check out his website, www.safebasements.com to learn more. These are innovative ways to correct problems and Jesse Trebil Foundation System actually has patents on some of the products they use. Recently, they have developed a new wall system made of completely recycled materials so there is no risk of rot or mold growth – perfect for that damp basement you’re looking to finish. This non-load bearing energy wall is completely independent of the foundation, as well. So, as your foundation moves, these walls won’t bow or lean because of it.

    In addition to Jesse, we also had Matt Helling and Alissa Csiki from Cambria Mortgage in studio. They talked about Jumbo mortgages since we seem to be running into those more and more, yet many are still confused by them. Matt clarified; Jumbo mortgages are any mortgage over $417,000 and occur through a private transaction instead of via the government. Because of this many view them as more of a risk and are hesitant because of their history of having exceedingly high rates. This however is no longer true and Matt and Alissa were able to explain why Jumbo mortgages are worth looking into.

    Many of our clients that wanted to go with a Jumbo loan thought they needed to put 20-30% down. However, that is not the case. Alissa added that many believe they should put more down to get to that conforming $417,000 loan limit thinking there’s a huge difference in rates. But in the last few years, jumbo mortgages have become very competitive with conforming mortgage rates. Therefore, you could save your money, and put a minimum of 10% down and still get a great rate. 

    Thanks to Matt and Alissa for clarifying that Jumbo mortgages are no longer ‘jumbo’ concerns. Also, many worry about foundation issues and repair costs. So, hopefully this weekend’s show and Jesse Trebil helped ease some of those concerns, because in many cases it’s not as expensive to fix as you think.

    Tune in next weekend to learn more!

    -Chris Rooney

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