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Brent Mendelson's Blog

By Brent Mendelson | Mortgage Broker
or Lender in Bethesda, MD
  • VA SSM guidelines for Connecticut

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Connecticut, Agent2Agent in Connecticut, Military Movers in Connecticut  |  March 17, 2014 8:49 PM  |  304 views  |  No comments

    Effective immediately, the Department of Veteran affairs will process and approve applications for same sex married couples where legally possible. Please note that the process for loan approval is subject to final approval from VA. Here is what we were told to do in order to gain VA approval of the loan application.

    VA requires

    (1) date and State of marriage; (2) State of residence at time of marriage; (3)State where subject property is located; (4) current State of residence; and (5) estimated date of loan closing. VA staff will then notify the lender if both spouses’ incomes may be applied.

    This next section is EXTREMELY important also.

    After we as the lender forwards the above information to the VARO <VA Regional Office> they then forward to the VA main office in Washington, DC. This could be anywhere from a 1 to 10 business day process- plan accordingly. In the meantime, loans cannot be closed until the VA Main Office sends email that the borrowers meet VA’s criteria. Borrowers MUST be married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage AND the property is in a jurisdiction that recognizes those marriages.

    I have requested clarification on my following sentence. "If a same sex couple is married in Maryland, moves to Virginia and wants to buy a home in New York can the VA benefits be used as a married couple? My guess is yes but I do not guess on important questions like this. I'll provide an update as soon as possible and if there are any questions or scenarios please let me know. I specialize in VA loans and if I can assist in any way please let me know.

    Thank You,

    Brent Mendelson
    1st Mariner Mortgage
    Senior Loan Officer
    Licensed in all 50 states
    Office 240-235-5314
  • VA loan update for Connecticut military

    Posted Under: Financing in Connecticut, Agent2Agent in Connecticut, Military Movers in Connecticut  |  November 17, 2013 8:42 PM  |  194 views  |  No comments
    Contrary to some opinions in the industry VA loans are the easiest loans to get versus FHA and conventional. It's VERY important to understand that there are two factors at play here. The first is VA and what they do and don't allow. The second is what lenders are willing to do. VA is very lenient on credit scores. Lenders however will often use what we call an overlay. So while VA allows down to a 600 credit score most lenders want at least a 640 and some are as high as a 680. 1st Mariner will do them as low as 620 on purchases and 600 on an IRRL. I'm sure some lenders will go even lower than us.

    So that being said there are many VA lenders that won't do the entire amount of a VA jumbo loan at 100%. What's a jumbo loan? Any loan amount greater than $417,000 in any county in the US. Take the highest county loan limit in the US which is $843,750 That means 1st Mariner Bank will loan you <assuming you have an approvable loan> 100% of the county loan limit with no mortgage insurance. If you have a VA disability the funding fee is generally waived. It really doesn't get any better than that. UNLESS you want to buy a house over the county loan limit. What if you want to buy a home for $975,000? Are you allowed, how does it work. The answer is yes you can buy it and do not need to pay the entire difference as many people think. it works very simply.

    You take the purchase price and multiply .25% and take the county loan limit and do the same. In this example the veteran would be able to buy the house and only put down $32,813. That's less than 3.5% and there is no mortgage insurance. You can NOT get a better deal on another type of loan Conventional loans would normally require 20% minimum down payments and very other extremely stringent guidelines and perfect credit.

    VA must conform to the lender and VA rules but this loan provides more flexibility than any other loans on the market. But if the county loan limit for VA is only $417,000 and you buy a $517,000 you can do it and only put down $25,000. Again no MI and low rates and usually very helpful lender credits to help pay closing costs.

    I hope this was helpful and please let me know any questions. I am licensed in all 50 states and have veteran references upon request.

    Thank You,

    Brent Mendelson
    Senior Loan Officer
    1st Mariner Mortgage
    Office 240-235-5314
    Cell 301-412-0259
    Nmls #111407

  • Features and benefits of a VA loan

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Connecticut, Financing in Connecticut, Agent2Agent in Connecticut  |  December 7, 2012 1:38 PM  |  173 views  |  No comments

    My name is Brent Mendelson and I specialize in VA loans for both purchases and refinances.
    I wanted to take a few minutes and explain how a VA loan works, the features and benefits, a few of the restrictions lenders and VA put on the loan and the main drawback of a VA loan.

    First the benefits.

    A veteran can purchase a home with no down payment. That's right no money is required.
    Even better the loan has no mortgage insurance as conventional or FHA loans.
    There is a funding fee that is waived if the veteran receives VA disability.
    The funding fee ranges from 2.15% for active duty military to 2.4% for National Guard/Reserves if you are a first time buyer. If you are a subsequent user the fees are 3.3%

    If you put down 5% or 10% the funding fee is reduced across the board for all buyers.

    Active duty or retired Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard are of course eligible provided they were honorably discharged. A little known fact is members of NOAA and the Public Health Service are also included in the VA loan program.

    Surviving spouses of veterans who died in service or from service-connected disabilities (whether or not such surviving spouses are veterans with their own entitlement)

    The loan limits could be as high as $625,500 depending on which county you wish to live. Here is a link for every county in the US. http://www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/documents/docs/Loan_Limits_2012_Dec_2011.pdf

    If the county you seek isn't listed then the limit is $417,000

    If anyone else knows a loan program that allows a loan of $625,500 with no money down, no mortgage insurance and a possibility of no funding fee please let me know. :) The funding fee is rolled into the loan, you
      do not have to pay it in cash.

    The loan process works much the same as any other loan as far as documents required except for a DD-214. There are other steps though that involve the actual home you wish to buy,

    VA residual income is one of the major underwriting guidelines required to qualify for a VA mortgage.  Residual income is calculated by determining the gross monthly income of the veteran and spouse.  Then deduct from that total gross monthly income the following monthly expenses:

    • State Taxes
    • Social Security
    • Federal Taxes
    • Proposed new monthly house payment (PITI: principle, interest, taxes and insurance)
    • Estimated Maintenance and Utilities
    • Monthly Child Care Expense
    • Alimony or Child Support
    • Monthly consumer debt payments: installment and revolving credit cards

    These are important guidelines and again if the loan officer isn't up to speed on VA loans this is where it generally falls apart.

    There are both fixed rates and ARM'S available as well.
    The loans are assumable which means when you sell the home under certain circumstances the  buyer could assume the actual terms of the loan. In an era of 30 year fixed rates around 3% this could be a HUGE factor in selling the home.

    You are only allowed one VA loan at a time under almost all circumstances but there are exceptions to this rule.

    If rates ever do fall you are eligible for a low cost reduced paper work refinance loan called an IRRL.

    You can also do a cashout to up to 100% limit later if need be also. Most lenders do limit you to 90% however.

    Credit scores are not a priority to VA but they are to lenders. Most will not approve loans under a 640 however 1st Mariner mortgage will down to 600 scores under certain circumstances.

    You can get up to 6% of closing help from the seller but..... you'll probably not need it right now because VA loans currently come with very large lender credits under most circumstances. This amount is different in every case and subject to change with no warning.

    If you have any questions about VA loans in general or specific questions please let me know. We offer VA loans in almost all 50 states for purchase and refinance loans.

    Now for the downside to these loans. There aren't many but there are a few that Realtors and buyers and sellers need to know.

    VA appraisals have never been selected by lenders and are randomly assigned.
    They are much tougher on certain repair aspects of the appraisal process usually on paint and wood issues. Chipped and pealing paint and a rotted deck will ALWAYS be flagged for repair per VA rules. There is no rehab loan like the FHA 203K loan.

    No one else other than a spouse can be on the loan to help qualify for the loan. Not even if the couple is engaged and living together the non married spouse CAN NOT be on the loan.
    There is no non occupant co-borrower.like FHA allows.

    If a married couple uses a VA loan and gets a divorce it's much tougher to remove the spouse from the deed and loan. You can do it but it must be an IRRL hybrid loan.

    The last one might be the biggest downside but actually has the least actual basis in reality.
    Many sellers and their agents believe VA loans involve more red tape than other loans.
    This is up to your lender to step in and help them understand the steps involved and relieve them of the mis-guided anxiety they may feel. VA loans should take no longer than a conventional loan if you have the right VA lender working for you.

    I am the right lender for your VA purchase clients. If I can ever be of service to explain these loans or pre approve your veteran loan please do not hesitate to contact me. I hope this was helpful.


    Brent Mendelson
    1st Mariner Mortgage
    Licensed in ALL 50 states

  • Can a Connecticut veteran refinance is underwater?

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Connecticut, Financing in Connecticut, Agent2Agent in Connecticut  |  August 16, 2012 10:48 PM  |  377 views  |  1 comment


    I wanted to discuss a little known feature of the VA loan program. It's called the IRRL loan which stands for Interest Rate Reduction Loan.

    If you already have a current VA loan and have been current on the loan you should be eligible for the refinance program. We offer this program in 49 of the 50 states. Sorry Nevada! Soon I hope.

    Here's why the program is an incredible opportunity in general and specifically with First Mariner Mortgage.
    First Mariner has zero lender fees to obtain a VA streamline refinance. The only fees we charge are 3rd party fees for credit and flood cert. Total cost is $40 dollars.

    No appraisal is required using 1st Mariner Mortgage's direct portfolio program in most cases.
     This is HUGE if your property is upside or underwater and other lenders have said no without an appraisal.

    There are no assets required and no income documents required either. No paystubs, no W-2'S no tax returns for self employed borrowers. You basically sign the loan application, provide a mortgage statement, hazard insurance and your note and HUD-1 and that's it. The loans are MUCH faster as a result and close on average in about 3-4 weeks.

    You can go to 100% of the value of the house if need be.
    There is also no mortgage insurance for VA loans.
    If you receive VA disability there is no funding fee.
    If you do not receive disability the funding fee is lowered to .50% and the fee can either be rolled into the loan or paid for in cash with a lender credit.

    The rates are extremely low now and a very popular option is to slightly increase the rate and receive a lender credit to help pay the closing costs and thereby keep your loan low without adding all the normal closing costs for other types of loans. 

    There are also 15, 20, 25 and 30 year mortgages as well as ARMS if you are interested. 

    I specialize in VA loans and have for almost 10 years. I am proud to assist our military community in saving money and paying off their mortgage as quickly as possible. For testimonials from past clients please refer to http://reviewbrentmendelson.blogspot.com/

    It costs nothing to call and review options with a VA loan specialist.

    Any questions or anything I can do to help in any way please do not hesitate to ask. 

    Thank You,

    Brent Mendelson
    1st Mariner Mortgage




  • Connecticut gets no help from Fannie/Freddie

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Connecticut, Home Selling in Connecticut, Financing in Connecticut  |  November 22, 2011 12:09 PM  |  509 views  |  No comments

    I wrote this last week and am going to post this in all 50 states to garner maximum exposure. I fear for the future of this country in the wake of yesterday's "super committee" failure. If Congress and the President can't get something like that right then there is NO way they can possibly "fix" the housing market. Please feel free to re post if you agree with that I say. Maybe send to a member of Congress?

    Full Disclosure. I am a card carrying member of the Republican Party and did not and will not vote for President Obama. I have no problem giving the President credit when he has a good idea and does the right thing. I want him to do well and succeed. Things as a whole will improve for the nation and I love this country more than a political party.

    However the President's "plan" for underwater mortgages is incredibly lacking in urgency, details and a true sense of what the problem even is let alone how to fix it.

    When we needed true leadership we received a speech in Las Vegas that was long on promises but short on well everything else.

    This week we FINALLY had at least an outline of the new and improved "plan"

    We can't even take applications for it until December 1 and if you are underwater by at least 125% then you can't deliver the loans to Fannie until MARCH of 2012.

    Mr. President, people are hurting NOW. Giving a speech in October and offering even a sliver of help until March is 5 syallbles and one word. UNACCEPTABLE.

    The reason for the delay is embarrasing to our political system that aids and abets Fannie as well as Fannie themselves. They need to reprogram the computer basically to say it's OK to accept over 125% This is in the instructions themselves as to the reason why. First off I'm guessing a simple computer fix. Secondly all Fannie needs to say is "casefile will read ineligible but if LTV is sole reason then acceptable". This has been done on confirming jumbo loans until the software was fixed.

    Either way to me this is unacceptable.

    Not to mention no word on appraisals as to whether they are needed. How can you not address something that simple?

    If it's left to Congress and the White House and the same groups and organizations like Fannie and Freddie to get us out of the mess then folks we have a long hard road ahead of us. Until the housing market leads the way for a national economic recovery we will sit idle for far too long of a time. Our homes are our most treasured possession and the most expensive item any of us will ever purchase. People won't feel wealthy and spend until they feel their home is on safe ground. This is a crisis of confidence that is depressing consumer spending.

    If you agree call Congress and urge them to revamp the "plan" 202-225-3121 is the Capitol switchboard.

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