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Brent Mendelson's Blog

By Brent Mendelson | Mortgage Broker
or Lender in Bethesda, MD
  • VA rules for SSM married couples

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Minnesota, Agent2Agent in Minnesota, Military Movers in Minnesota  |  March 17, 2014 8:25 PM  |  199 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
  • Minnesota VA loan update

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Minnesota, Financing in Minnesota, Military Movers in Minnesota  |  November 17, 2013 9:07 PM  |  229 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

  • Rules on getting a loan after a recent bankruptcy

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Minnesota, Financing in Minnesota, Agent2Agent in Minnesota  |  June 21, 2013 8:36 PM  |  178 views  |  No comments

    I get many calls for loans with one or both of the borrowers coming out of a bankruptcy. There are different rules for both chapter 7 and 13. Some of the other factors are why the BK occurred, what type of loan you wish to get <VA,FHA,CONVENTIONAL> how many BK filings there have been and by far the #1 most important factor is have you reestablished and maintained good credit since the BK? If you filed a BK and have been late on bills after that it is extremely difficult to get a new loan. Especially on a purchase. Not impossible though. I just did it for a borrower but it was a SERIOUS battle.  A few things to understand if you are going to try and get a loan within the BK period.

    1. Chapter 7 and 11 require a 4 year waiting period from the discharge date. Not the filing date. Discharge date is when the judge signs the paperwork basically starting the clock.

    2. Chapter 13 is a 2 year waiting period and only 12 months for FHA from the discharge date or four years from the dismissal date.

    3. Again it's very important to understand that these are generally minimums that are allowed and banks can and do add additional overlays onto the basic guidelines.  For example there could be a bank that applies a 4 year waiting period and 5 years for multiple filings for loans they will accept. And even if you are past that minimum requirement the loan would still receive extra scrutiny and stand a higher chance of being denied even if approved by Fannie and Freddie. Just because a bank can make a loan doesn't mean they will.

    4. The loan size also matters. Over 417k borrowed is more restrictive and less than that will be slightly easier to obtain.

    Additional requirements can be broken down into two categories.

    Extenuating Circumstances and Financial Mismanagement

    For extenuating circumstances the guidelines are.

    Minimum 620 credit score.
    24 months re-established credit after the discharge date of the BK.
    3 tradelines open and active and paid on time are the general rules.

    For financial mis management the guidelines are

    680 credit scores minimum
    48 months re-established credit since the discharge/dismissal of the BK.

    The following additional credit requirements apply to both of the above guidelines.

    No more than two installment or revolving payments more than 30 days late in the last two years.
    No debt of any type more than 60 days late at all in the time period.
    No housing lates since the discharge date.
    No new records for BK'S, foreclosures, judgements, collections or chargeoffs.
    Proof that credit history doesn't have multiple accounts with credit cards maxed out or near the credit limits.

    There is more depending on each unique situation but this is enough to see if you meet these guidelines. No one involved should ever relax and assume it's a done deal but it is possible If the loan officer is on the ball and doesn't accept the initial resistance AND the borrower know that they will have to work harder for it than a normal loan you have a chance to buy your new home or refinance and save money. Good luck, I hope this was helpful and please let me know any questions.

    Thank You,

    Brent Mendelson
    Senior Loan Officer
    1st Mariner Mortgage
    nmls #111407

  • Can I refinance using a VA streamline if upside down?

    Posted Under: Financing in Minnesota, Agent2Agent in Minnesota, Military Movers in Minnesota  |  March 8, 2013 8:38 AM  |  197 views  |  No comments

    If you are a veteran and own a home or know someone who is you should read this blog.

    1st Mariner Mortgage has a streamlined VA loan program that in my opinion is 2nd to NONE.
    Here's what we can do and also listed are the major differences.

    1. Appraisals are NOT required on a VA IRRL no matter which servicer you currently have. Most banks will only refinance their own VA loans with no appraisal.

    1st Mariner charges no processing fees, no origination fees to close your VA IRRL loan. TOTAL fees from us are less than $50. Most banks charge $500-$1,000 to process these loans.

    Working with Brent Mendelson and 1st Mariner can also save you an estimated $750 in settlement fees than other lenders and title companies. One of our national title companies charges NO settlement fee on VA IRRL loans where allowed by law. Your state is one where we can offer no settlement fee and no lender fees. I do not believe you will find a better loan program out there with rates this low and most of the fees waived.

    1st Mariner has a program to refinance VA loans with credit scores as low as 600. Most banks will not touch these loans unless you have a 640 score. The rate is not the same as if you are above 640 but it is still probably better than what you have.

    You do not need W-2's, tax returns, bank statements etc to have your loan approved. It's the easiest loan out there today.

    It cost NOTHING to talk to me and find out if this is the right loan program for you. Don’t wait, rates have been headed up and we want to save you the most money we can.


    If you have struggled in the past to find a lender willing and able to help I would be happy to take a look and offer any advice. Again this is a no cost, no obligation phone call.

    I attached a Google search engine thread so you can also find out more about me.

    I look forward to talking soon and seeing how we can save you money for years to come. Please let me know any questions.


    Brent Mendelson

    Senior Loan Officer

    1ST Mariner Mortgage





    Lending in all 50 states


  • Minnesota Buyers to face higher interest rates Nov 1.

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Minnesota, Financing in Minnesota, Agent2Agent in Minnesota  |  October 8, 2012 5:04 PM  |  206 views  |  No comments

    close [x]
    At the end of October there are HUGE changes coming again to the way loans are priced. Below is a more technical anaylsis of what will happen and why but in a nutshell the change are as follows.

    If your loan is locked BEFORE the end of October and closes within its projected timeframe there will be no change to the rate and pricing. The danger will be if loans are locked and have to be extended after October 31st it will be VERY expensive, almost impossible to honor the lock pricing as currently structured.  So just to clarify if you lock now and close within the time frame the lock says you are good. If ANYTHING goes wrong, no matter what it is going to be a HUGE problem for all parties. It will mean higher rates, points to be charged or in the case of tight DTI ratios it will kill the deal at the last minute. Short sales and foreclosures are particularly vulnerable.

    You might get a GREAT RATE but you better start asking how long the lock is for or you are going to find out in Nov it will be a different story. There will be a lot of blame passed around but there is nothing the loan officer or even the lender can do. Fannie and Freddie are run by Congress so we all know what that can mean. 

    Last thing and very important.
    FHA/VA would not be affected by the G-Fee increases because FHA collects MIP and insures the loan. VA collects a VA Funding Fee and guarantees the loan.

    I hope this was helpful and please let me know if there are any questions.



    Brent Mendelson

    Senior Loan Officer

    1ST Mariner Mortgage





    Lending in all 50 states


     Congress mandated the FNMA and Freddie Mac properly measure their risk of insuring mortgage securities, therefore, later this month, both GSE’s will be adding 10 bps to their “G-Fee” (Guaranty Fee). The financial impact of this is an increased cost within the transaction of approximately 40 – 80 bps.

    -   The G-Fee is an annual insurance payment made to the GSE’s for guarantying the flow of monthly P&I payments to the investors in the MBS’s.

    -   Since mortgages are assumed to have a life-span of 4 – 8 years (varies by bank and owner of MBS’s), the financial impact is 10 bps x 4 – 8 times = 40 – 80 bps.


    Earlier this year, the US Congress made FNMA and Freddie Mac absorb the cost of the Payroll Tax Holiday by adding to the G-Fee in March. This was also a 10 bps increase to the G-Fee.


    The financial impact of the G-Fee increases are significant:

    -   Prior to 2007, a large bank would have paid 12 – 15 bps in total G-Fee.

    -   By November 1, this will have increased for three reasons:

    o   The GSE’s no longer show significant favoritism to large lenders, therefore, the base G-Fee rose to 25 bps to most companies from 2008 – 2011.

    o   The Payroll Tax Holiday expense: +10 bps

    o   Added G-Fee risk adjustment: +10 bps.

    -   Therefore, today’s rates have the following additional expense paid to the GSE’s in the pricing:

    o   13 + 10 + 10 = 33 bps x 6 year life = 198 bps.

    o   This equates to roughly an increase of 50 bps of additional INTEREST RATE from 2007 – 2012..

  • VA IRRL Features and benefits

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Minnesota, Financing in Minnesota, Agent2Agent in Minnesota  |  June 25, 2012 10:04 PM  |  228 views  |  No comments

    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 spefically 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. If for some reason an appraisal is required we pay for it not the veteran. 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 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. 

    I closed an IRRL this evening. It took three weeks and the borrowers received a credit of $4,808 to help pay closing costs. So their payoff was $245,423, we made the new loan $244,000 and the clients brought $1,078 to the table and it was only that high because a year's worth of homeowners insurance was due in the amount of $810. They are getting back $2,453 in their current escrow account and do not have a July payment. 

    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




  • Minnesota has higher FHA fees starting April 10

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Minnesota, Financing in Minnesota, Agent2Agent in Minnesota  |  April 6, 2012 9:59 AM  |  312 views  |  No comments

    There are MANY big changes coming for the FHA program in the next few months. One good but mostly higher fees for the borrowers. Please remember FHA is NOT just for first time buyers. Sometimes it makes sense to even refinance into an FHA loan from a conventional loan.

    On April 9th any case number pulled by a lender will result in higher upfront mortgage insurance premiums and also a higher monthly mortgage insurance (MI) payment. All lenders must do this as the rules are set by FHA. So on a $250,000 loan right now the payment would be $2,500 as a one time fee that's financed into the loan over 30 years and a monthly fee of $239.58 assuming the minimum down payment of 3.5%

    For any case numbers pulled after April 9th the fees would be $4,375 on the one time financed portion and $260.42 per month. Doesn't sound like alot but just on the monthly portion that's $7,502.40 cents over the 30 year period of the loan. Not to mention another $10,626 estimated in finance charges over the 30 year period. So this small change will cost the borrower $18,128.40 estimated over the life of the loan. Now that's some real money. If you borrow more you will pay more of course.

    Here's the breakdown of all the changes.

    For loans under $625,500 the new fees will be 1.75% upfront and 1.25 monthly if you put down less than 5% If you put down 5% or more than the fee will be 1.10% of the loan amount monthly.

    On the jumbo loans those will change April 9th and further change will be made to increase fees on June 1st. I hope that people get in to a loan officer before the 9th of April. All that you have to do is get the case number pulled and then you can close in the normal time frame.


    Brent Mendelson

    Senior Loan Officer

    1ST Mariner Mortgage





    Lending in all 50 states

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