Archive for May, 2012

There are many more ways to communicate today than in the days of my youth.

May 29th, 2012

As a kid, I begged my parents to let me set up a tent in the backyard so my friend Mel and I could camp outside for the night. There apparently weren’t any parental guidelines at that time about allowing children to play with matches, so my girlfriend Mel and I built a small campfire outside of our tent and roasted marshmallows.  Actually, we turned them into black flaming torches.  Every day was an adventure.  When the sun came up, we wandered down to an old dam by the college of St. Scholastica and jumped from one broken pillar to the other to cross over Chester creek.  In the spring it was a raging river.  No life jackets.  I don’t think it ever occurred to us that we might drown if we fell in.  We brought along an old coffee can, some eggs, and collected enough sticks to create a makeshift bunsen burner.  There, on the other side of the dam we built a fire, made fried eggs and ate them, dirty hands and all. We were rich.  The universe was ours.  There was so much to do and see that boredom was a word reserved only for rainy days that kept us inside.  Even then, there was Tarzan and Jane to watch while eating peanut butter and pickle sandwiches.  When our parents wanted us to come home for the evening, they stood outside the door, cupped their hands to their lips and yelled “supper time.”  Read the rest of this entry »

“You have to keep your eye on the score to know how to play to win!”

May 21st, 2012

My boss is fond of saying something like that nearly every time I have a chance to talk to him.  There is a minimum credit score guideline for every mortgage program.  Even if your score is high enough to qualify for a certain program, higher scores are associated with less risk and therefore the rate for a particular program is also tied to the score.  The higher the score, the lower the rate you’ll be offered.  It doesn’t stop there.  Mortgage insurance rates and the amount you’ll pay for homeowner’s insurance are also tied to your score.

A credit score is like blood pressure.  It can change day to day but it generally stays in a certain range that is largely dependent on your regular behaviors . Read the rest of this entry »

Minnesota Housing Preferred Risk Sharing Program

May 14th, 2012

You’ve been looking for an opportunity to help more first time buyers get into a house.  This is it!  Last week,  Minnesota Housing joined forces with Fanniemae and launched this new program.  Here are the highlights!

  • 97% Loan to Value so 3% down
  • 30 year fixed rate
  • No mortgage insurance!

It comes with a very favorable interest rate and you can monitor that daily at

This is a great affordability tool as the absence of monthly mortgage insurance means the payment will be lower and/or the buyer can qualify for more home with a lower payment.  There are income restrictions, as with all first time buyer programs, but this one comes with the generous Minnesota Mortgage Program guidelines. Read the rest of this entry »

Just what makes a property eligible for a residential mortgage OR NOT?

May 7th, 2012

In a variety of forms, this question came up this week.  There are a lot of myths circulating on the subject.  Farm or hobby farm?  Lake Home or Cabin?  Fixer upper that is Habitable or not considered Habitable in its current state.

Years ago, I was doing a mortgage on a hobby farm of 40 acres.  The property was beautiful with a newer house set back on a hill with a long and winding gravel road up to the house.  My kind of place.  The appraiser took some great photos of the property.  The underwriter, who lived in Chicago required a little coaching on the subject of farm vs hobby farm as you need to drive quite a ways out of Chicago land to find what we in Minnesota find within commuting distance.  She did approve the loan but commented on the just how ugly the family dog was that the appraiser had snapped in one of the photos.  City Slicker.  It was a baby goat.  Read the rest of this entry »