REAL ESTATE NEWS March 2020
What's the skinny on jumbo loans?
Let's talk about conforming loans vs. jumbo loans in the mortgage world. The Guidelines Each year in October, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, or FHFA, collects data on the national median home value and compares that number to October of the previous year. If there is an increase, the conforming loan limit will increase by the same amount. In October 2019, the year-over-year median home value increase was 5.38%. Therefore, the conforming loan limit for a single-family home in 2020 will rise to $510,400, up from $484,350. The loan limits on multi-unit properties will rise to $653,550, $789,950 and $981,700 for a duplex, triplex and fourplex, respectively.
Loan Differences Loans amounts at or under these limits qualify as conforming loans. They "conform" to guidelines set forth by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Conforming loans make up the majority of residential loans funded. Loan amounts that are above these limits are referred to as jumbo loans. With a conforming loan, lenders are able to sell the mortgage in the secondary market, replenishing their credit lines in order to make more loans. Jumbo loans have no such robust secondary market. When a lender approves a jumbo loan, it assumes the risk should the loan ever go into default. Naturally, this makes it more difficult to qualify for a jumbo loan. The minimum credit score for most conforming loans ranges from 580 to 620. Jumbo minimums range from 720 to 740. Some jumbo loans can require a lower score, but the rates and terms are much more stringent. Down payment requirements for jumbo loans are also much higher. A buyer can secure a conforming loan with a down payment of just 5% (or even 3% for special first-time programs) with the help of private mortgage insurance. Jumbo loans have no such insurance policies available and require a minimum down payment of 20% of the sale price of the home. Providing a down payment of 25% or more will make it easier to qualify. Wondering if a jumbo loan is the right move? Reach out! I can help you find the right loan for your next move or investment.
Calling in the pros on HVAC repair
If you're a homeowner, the internet can be a great source of comfort when it comes to tackling do-it-yourself maintenance. Yes, Google can show you the simple steps to replace a furnace filter, but most other HVAC repairs are not of the DIY variety. Here's what to watch out for and when to call in the professionals:
Unusual Noises Modern, efficient heating and cooling systems should run almost silently. When you hear whistling, rattling, squealing, or knocking during operation, there's likely a problem. You can inspect the system yourself, but chances are you don't know much about the components inside your air conditioner or furnace. Rather than putting the safety of you and your family at risk, it's better to let an expert HVAC repair contractor take care of it. Nasty Odors When an air conditioning unit or heating system is working correctly, you shouldn't be able to smell it. If there is an unpleasant odor emitted, something is wrong. Your first step should be a filter replacement, but if the smell persists you likely have mold growing, a damaged air duct, or a clogged drainpipe. Each of these situations will require a thorough cleaning of the unit and the eye of an expert tech. Improper Airflow Clogs, blockages, and leaks can all lead to decreased airflow in your heating and cooling systems, causing them to run less efficiently and shortening their lifespan. Qualified HVAC repair technicians have the experience to quickly diagnose and address airflow issues. Rising Energy Bills Have you noticed that your energy bills keep going up every month? Unless you're experiencing a big swing in temperatures, increased energy usage means your unit is having to work harder to maintain your desired temperature. By keeping an eye on your utility bills, you can get a tech dispatched and get in front of a total breakdown and the headaches that come when your unit isn't running at all. A note on hiring the right HVAC company As with hiring any new contractor, take time to do your due diligence on HVAC service. Not all HVAC companies are the same, and you should never consider only one resource when determining the right one for you. Check credentials, licensing and insurance requirements in your region. Ask around for references and read reviews online. Finally, ask them for an estimate. Many HVAC repair companies will provide these at no cost. Get a quote from several different businesses before choosing one.