Archive for February, 2016

We are your key to successful home ownership – for today and years to come! …by Randy Cullen

February 26th, 2016

key to ownershipWith the Spring Parade of homes running through March 20th, now is a great time to be out looking at everything new construction has to offer – especially if you are a first time home buyer. There are some great programs for those first time buyers, and everyone knows someone who may be eligible to use first time home buyer financing. Let’s touch on the most popular program offered by Minnesota Housing for you to share with friends, family, and clients.

Minnesota Housing Finance Agency offers a statewide initiative called Start Up for qualified first time buyers. In our 11 county Twin Cities Metro Area including the counties of Anoka, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Isanti, Ramsey, Scott, Sherburne, Washington, and Wright, the new home needs to be in a development that has been zoned for residential housing, must be connected to city services, and the total purchase price cannot exceed $307,300. Start Up refers to a first time buyer, or someone who has not had a mortgage interest deduction on their federal tax returns for the previous three years. The program sets income limits based upon family size. For example, a 1-2 person household in our 11-County Metro area cannot have annualized income over $86,600 per year. The income limit increases to $99,500 for a 3-person or greater household. Start Up loans can be done for Conventional, FHA, VA, or RD (Rural Development) borrowers. This program also has 3 options for down payment assistance to offset costs and make the transaction more affordable.

Monthly Payment Loans – This program provides up to the greater of $5,000 or 5% of the purchase price, not to exceed $10,000. This money is used to help offset the costs associated with down payment and closing costs on a new purchase, and is set up on a 10 year repayment plan (120 months) at the same rate as the first mortgage. This program helps to relieve the up-front cash burden, allowing buyers to purchase the home they want without having to use every penny of their savings!

Deferred Payment Loan – This program provides the greater of $5,000 or 5% of the purchase price, not to exceed $5,500. To get access to the deferred payment loan, a 1-3 person household cannot earn more than $60,000 in annual income from all sources to qualify. Deferred payment means no interest accrues and no payments are due on this loan until the first mortgage is paid off or the home is no longer owner occupied.

Deferred Payment Plus Loan – This program allows up to $7,500 to cover the cost of down payment and closing costs. To have access to this deferred payment loan, not only must the qualifying income guidelines be met, but buyers must also meet two of the following four additional criteria:

  • Single parent household with a dependent
  • Household of four or more people
  • Have a disabled member in the household
  • Have a housing ratio of 28% or greater

There are so many opportunities to make the right choices when buying a new home and to make sure it is affordable and sustainable over the long term. Home ownership is a privilege that should not be taken lightly. The Bloomington Branch of Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation is staffed with seasoned professionals who can help your clients make the right choices. Be sure to share this information with anyone you know that may qualify. We are your key to successful home ownership – for today and years to come!   Randy Cullen NMLS #326128


The Spring Parade of Homes is here! …by Barb Crea

February 19th, 2016

parade of homesIT’S HERE… the Spring Parade of Homes begins this Saturday, February 20th and runs through March 20th with over 450 new homes to tour! Models will be open Thursdays-Sundays from noon to 6:00pm, with some builders offering extended hours. Four amazing new homes have been selected as the 2016 Spring Artisan Dream Homes and are located in Edina, Minneapolis, and Orono ranging in price from $1,625,000 up to $2,300,000. A $5 admission fee to tour these four amazing Dream Homes helps the BATC (Builders Association of the Twin Cities) Foundation continue their efforts building and remodeling homes for area families in need. Other Parade models are open for tour at no cost.

With the existing housing inventory so low, why not open up additional options for your clients by introducing them to new construction. Pick up a FREE Parade of Homes guidebook at your local Holiday Stationstore and take your clients out on a tour of the Spring Parade of Homes. Hey, you could rent a bus and take out a group on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon – now that would be FUN! Use the online ‘Trip Planner’ at  to create an amazing day for your bus tour.

The Spring Parade of Homes guidebook is jam-packed full of goodies to help your clients find their next home. It’s organized by location and builder, and includes photos, model descriptions, and directions. Great articles and tips are also included to help buyers be better informed about new construction – for example:

6 Reasons Buying a New Home Rocks

  1. Energy Efficiency: Minnesota’s energy codes make new homes not only eco-friendly, but much easier on the wallet!
  2. Safety & Health: Today’s construction technology offers safer, more durable building materials and products that are less expensive than ever before. Interconnected smoke alarms, radon mitigation systems, and other improvements mean you’ll sleep better in your new home knowing your family is safe and sound.
  3. Smart Technology: Up-to-the minute technology in new homes includes lighting, security, entertainment, and more.
  4. Comfort: From strong, silent floors to more reliable roofs; better sealed doors and windows and controlled air flow systems that reduce dust and mold allergens – New homes provide more draft-free comfort than ever before.
  5. Your Home Your Way: When you purchase new, you make ALL the decisions. Your new home builder can make your wishes come true, right down to the neighborhood, school district, floor plan, design, styles, colors, and so much more.
  6. Everything is NEW: One of the very best things about a brand new home that no one has lived in is – everything is NEW! You have the peace of mind that comes with warranties on all your appliances and the actual home itself.

As you and your clients tour the Spring Parade of Homes, The Kate Wilson Mortgage Team is here to help with the financing. Call us to get the expertise and personal attention your clients deserve, and keep the Construction Financing as Simple as 1Ÿ2Ÿ3 Read the rest of this entry »

There are options for those not so move-in ready homes in the perfect neighborhood! – by Randy Cullen

February 12th, 2016

borkenhouseFor many first time home buyers, trying to maneuver through the real estate and mortgage process can be daunting. Navigating the ocean of Realtors and Builders can make their palms sweat!  We all need to embrace these first time buyers, determine what they need, and help them find the right home in the right neighborhood. Collectively, we offer the experience and the wisdom they can draw from to make the right choices.

As our pre-approved first time home buyers shop for their perfect house, we often hear them comment about the condition of the houses they’re looking at. Not all of the housing stock is move-in ready – many homes have not been updated and can appear well worn and old looking. Some may only need minor repairs and a fresh coat of paint, while others fall into the category of a major remodel. Sometimes the house works, but there’s no garage or it’s missing that third bedroom or bathroom. If the repairs are minor in scope, buyers can ask the seller to make them and move ahead with the purchase.  However, if the home needs major remodeling such as kitchen or bathroom updates, or finishing the basement to add extra living space, your client may want to rethink the “buy now and remodel later” strategy. Staying under the loan limits set by FHA and Fannie Mae gives buyers access to low down payment options all wrapped into a purchase-renovation loan. The minimum required down payment to do a purchase-rehab loan and make all of the repairs and improvements can be substantially lower  than the amount of equity required in a home that you already own, live in, and then decide to remodel. Once a buyer closes on the purchase of a home and later decides to remodel, the new loan will be done as a refinance, which can be more restrictive and possibly limit the renovations. Read the rest of this entry »

Fannie Mae’s HomeStyle Renovation Loan is just one of the many construction and remodeling options we offer! – by Barb Crea

February 5th, 2016

hsr203k_websiteThe Fannie Mae HomeStyle Renovation Loan is another product in our extensive lineup of construction and home remodeling options. This conventional mortgage program can help your clients purchase a property AND repair or remodel it – all in one loan with as little as 5% down, and at an attractive interest rate! It also provides a refinance option that allows a homeowner to update an existing property and include the renovation costs in the new mortgage. With listing inventories low, a different approach may turn a frustrated buyer into a raving fan! Help them find a not-so-perfect house in the neighborhood of their choice and turn it into their dream home! The Kate Wilson Team of Fairway Independent Mortgage in Bloomington is here with all the financing tools to help make that happen.

The HomeStyle Renovation Loan is a single-close loan that enables a buyer to purchase a home that needs remodeling, or a homeowner to refinance their current mortgage and include the necessary funds for a full home remodel. Both structural and non-structure repairs and improvements are allowed. A licensed contractor is required to perform the work, and make sure whatever improvements and repairs are made will add value. This product cannot be used for tear-downs or to purchase a new construction home that is not finished. A tear down would consist of removing the foundation, which the program does not allow. Additions to the existing foundation are allowed…so hello room additions!

Property Eligibility: One-to-four unit primary residence, one-unit second homes, or one-unit investment properties are allowed including units in condominium developments and PUDS. Maximum loan-to-values vary based on property type. The possibilities are endless!

The loan amount is based on the “As Completed” value of the home rather than the current value. For purchase-rehab loans we look at the total cost and the “As Completed” value of the project, using the lesser of the two for calculating the loan-to-value and minimum required investment. For refinance-rehab loans, we use the “As Completed” value of the project to determine the maximum loan amount. For either option, this is a conventional loan up to $417,000. Read the rest of this entry »