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By Sean Hyland | Agent in 23188
  • New FHA and HUD Guidelines

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Williamsburg, Financing in Williamsburg, Credit Score in Williamsburg  |  April 12, 2012 6:20 AM  |  426 views  |  2 comments

    FHA MIP Increase

     HUD has formally announced the deadline for the increase in mortgage insurance on FHA loans (HUD Mortgagee Letter 2012-4). The increase formally takes place on all FHA case numbers issued on or after April 9, 2012. This means you have until early afternoon of 4/6/12 to get your buyers locked into the lower prices.  In order to issue an FHA case number, per HUD guidelines, you must have a contract on a specific property and the buyer must make application by the deadline. 

     Changes to Credit Requirements

     A new HUD Mortgage Letter (2012-3) has announced changes to credit items that are effective with FHA case numbers issued on or after April 1, 2012.  Below is an outline of the items affected (including the “old” policy and the new policy):

     Disputed Credit Items

     Old policy – If the credit report reflected accounts that are in dispute, the loan must be manually underwritten (cannot use the automated systems with the waivers that these systems offer).  This was waived if the account had a zero balance, marked paid in full or resolved, less than $500 AND more than 24 months old as of the date of the dispute.

     New policy – If the credit report reflects accounts that are in dispute, the loan must be manually underwritten.  This is waived if the total outstanding balance of all accounts or collections in dispute are less than $1000AND the disputed accounts are aged 2 years from the date of last activity.

     Summary – If your buyer has any disputed accounts, they need to get the dispute REMOVED!  Most of the disputes that we see are on accounts that are less than 2 years old so the new policy would not apply to them.

     Unpaid Collection Accounts

     Old policy – HUD did not require a collection to be paid off, regardless of the amount (although the underwriter had authority to require it if it was necessary to improve the financial picture of the buyer and the position of the mortgage lien).

     New policy – If the total outstanding balance of all collections accounts is =/> $1000, the buyer must resolve ALL the accounts either by paying them off or negotiating a payment plan (the payment of which must then be added to debts in calculating the debt ratio).  NO EXCEPTIONS!

     Summary– If your buyer has any collections totaling $1000 or more, they must PAY THEM OFF!


     There continues to be NO change to HUD’s position regarding judgments.  ALL judgments MUST be paid off at or before closing.  If paid off before closing, the buyer must provide a “Notice of Satisfaction” (NOS) directly from the courthouse showing the judgment is paid.  NO other documentation is acceptable as, until the courthouse clears the debt, it remains outstanding and can affect the lien position of the mortgage loan.

     Taken from an article from Mary White, Benchmark Mortgage

     My commentary:

     As you can see, working with the right lender is more and more critical to your loan processing. Don't let these items sneak up on you at the end of the transaction-get ahead of these issues right away! 

  • March Statistics

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Williamsburg, Home Buying in Williamsburg, Home Selling in Williamsburg  |  April 11, 2012 10:20 AM  |  232 views  |  No comments

    March 2012 Highlights


    Residential active listings decreased, 19.17% year-over-year, to 11,606 (March 2012) from 14,360(March 2011).

    Under Contract (Pending) Residential Sales

    Total residential under contract sales increased by 6.71% when compared to March 2011 (2,051 vs. 1,922).


    Total property sales and total residential sales decreased when compared to March 2011 showing drops of -3.3%

    and -3.61% respectively.


    There is currently 7.57 months’ inventory of residential homes on the market in the Hampton Roads area, an

    increase from last month (7.46) and down 23.77% from March last year.

    * Months’ Supply Inventory estimates the number of months it will take to deplete current active inventory based on the prior 12 Month's supply.

    Stats provided by REIN MLS. April 9, 2012


  • Grant For Disabled Veterans

    Posted Under: Financing in Williamsburg, Remodel & Renovate in Williamsburg  |  April 10, 2012 7:03 PM  |  163 views  |  No comments

    Granting Freedom Overview

    You’ve been there for us when it counted. Now Granting Freedom is here for you, with money to make your home more accessible. Granting Freedom is a grant program for home modifications for disabled veterans or disabled servicemen or women who sustained a line of duty injury resulting in a service connected disability. VHDA partners with the Department of Housing and Community Development, Community Housing Partners and other community groups to make this program available. Watch Video.

    Program Highlights

    Granting Freedom LogoGrant funds can be used to widen doorways and add ramps to make a home wheelchair accessible, to install grab bars in a bathroom or to make other modifications recommended by the VA that help eligible recipients feel more at home. Currently, over $1 million of funding is available, first-serve basis, to pay for modifications to houses and apartments.

    Application Process

    If you’re interested in applying for grant funds, you’ll need to submit an application and W-9. These forms can be downloaded below. The Granting Freedom application package includes detailed instructions and outlines program specifics.

    Completed applications and questions should be submitted to the Grant Administrator.

  • Tough Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Agent

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Williamsburg, Home Buying in Williamsburg, Home Ownership in Williamsburg  |  April 9, 2012 3:35 PM  |  227 views  |  1 comment
    I found this great article from Barbara Corcoran.  If you don't know her, she is a Today show contributor and co stars on Shark Tank with the likes of Mark Cuban. 

    So you think you have found the house you want. It’s been a long search, and you feel about ready to give in and move in. Before you take the plunge though, you should stand back a moment; this is a big commitment and there are a lot of things that could stand between you and the happiness you seek in your future home. There is also a good chance you can get a better price.

    Why not put your broker to work and ask some key questions? They will help you determine whether or not the home you’re about to buy is actually a good deal. These are tough questions that could save you a bundle:

    Why are the owners selling?
    The broker doesn’t have to tell you (they're getting divorced, they’re moving to Dallas, etc.), but when you uncover the reason they’re selling, it tips their cards and is the best indicator of how anxious the seller might be. This in turn lets you know how willing they might be to negotiate.

    How long has the house been on the market? Can you give me its pricing history?
    A house that’s been on the market for two months with three price reductions gives a whole different message than a house that’s been on for two months with no price reductions. The owner of the first house is far more negotiable.

    Can you provide me with comparable sales to support the sales price?
    Bank appraisers use brokers to find similar home sales in the neighborhood. If the broker can provide comparables, you won’t be disappointed when it comes time to get your financing.

    What’s the price per square foot in the neighborhood?
    This brings the house price down to a common denominator. Every house is assessed and square footage is listed in the tax assessor’s office, along with the land area and whatever improvements have been made.

    Is this the most expensive house on the block?
    You don’t want to be buying the most expensive house on the block. The middle-priced homes always sell at the best prices.

    Are the owners behind on their real estate taxes?
    If the owners are behind in their real estate taxes, it’s often the earliest sign of a potential foreclosure. You might wait or negotiate hard. This public information can be found at the county clerk’s office and is often posted online.

    When the real estate market last dropped in the late ’80s, how did this community do?
    Some towns weather a storm much better than others. This question will give you a historic perspective.

    How many houses are in foreclosure in the area?
    Rates vary wildly and you shouldn’t be buying in an area drenched in foreclosures. For example, in Nevada almost half of all homes are in foreclosure.

    How are the houses reassessed in the town?
    Some towns reassess when title passes, some when capital improvements are made, and some towns only every five years. Knowing how your taxes will increase in advance avoids surprises.

    Are there any “unknowns” in the neighborhood I should know about?
    These include things like garbage routes, car repair shops, empty lots, landfills, wetlands and pending zoning changes. You rely on your realtor for local knowledge, so be sure to ask about items like this.

    Is there parking at the train station?
    Everyone asks about commuting time, but many stations don’t have enough parking spaces. If you plan on using the station to commute or to take trains regularly, this could factor highly in your decision. If there is parking, ask if it is free or if there is a charge.

    What are the SAT scores?
    The more nerds who live in a town, the better the real estate values. If the broker doesn’t know the scores, he or she can refer you to the Web site greatschools.net or homefair.com.

    What are the monthly utility bills for the house?
    This is good to know before you sign a contract. An old, inefficient heating system could add thousands of dollars to your yearly expenditure. You may think you can afford the mortgage, but can you afford the bills?

    What’s under the wall-to-wall carpet?
    Houses built before 1945 almost always have hardwood floors. Newer houses with wall-to-wall carpet most often have plywood. Look in the closets — usually builders don’t carpet inside the closets. Hardwood floors are not only nicer for you, they’ll also add to the resale value of the house.

    Are sanitation services included in the taxes?
    Some towns will remove garbage from your backyard, some pick it up a few times a week without charge, some charge for certain items and some charge for everything. These and other little expenses like them can add a lot to your yearly expenses. Quiz your broker accordingly!

    Buying a house raises many questions, and your broker is there to answer them for you. If my questions are not relevant to your situation, ask some of your own. I constantly ask questions of everyone I meet; knowledge is a very powerful thing, and when you are buying a home it could prove invaluable.

    For more of Barbara Corcoran's real estate tips and advice, visitbarbaracorcoran.com.

    © 2012 MSNBC Interactive. Reprints

  • Foreclosures and Short Sales Williamsburg VA and Peninsula

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Williamsburg, Foreclosure in Williamsburg, How To... in Williamsburg  |  April 3, 2012 11:25 AM  |  250 views  |  No comments
    What Is The Difference Between  A Foreclosure and Short Sale?

    Many homeowners may find themselves in the position of being near a foreclosure process.  Some of these homeowners may be offered an option called Short Sale.  Although this process may save the homeowners from going through a Foreclosure, there is a lengthy process involved and it can take several months to complete.  Some key points to remember if you are considering the Short Sale option:
    1. You must request this option in writing to your lender.
    2. Permission must be granted by your lender (since you are asking them to accept an amount that is lower than the mortgage balance owed).
    3.  You will want to speak with an attorney on the effects this process may have on your credit scoring/rating.
    4.  You will want to get the exact terms from the lender and request any credit reporting procedure (as it pertains to your case) be put in writing also.

    For Buyers Looking to Purchase a Short Sale

    Although the process may take a little longer than buying a Foreclosure, this can sometimes pay off in the end.  Many times, you will find that you can walk into the settlement transaction ahead in equity. 
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