Archive for April, 2016

April 29th, 2016

imagesIn 2016 alone, over 8,030 veterans will take their own lives. That is more than two and a half times of the 3,000 American lives lost during the tragic events of 9/11. Veteran suicide is due to post traumatic stress disorder, homelessness and the overwhelming stress of coming home and coping with what they have seen and done. In an effort to support programs that work to eradicate veteran suicide, Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation’s nonprofit American Warrior Initiative (AWI) started the 22 For Warriors Campaign: #AWI22Challenge.

- Every day approximately 22 veterans commit suicide.

- Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation’s nonprofit American Warrior Initiative issued a challenge to all employees of the national mortgage lender to do 22 pushups a day for 22 days, donate $22 on the fundraising site and nominate 2 non-employees to join the challenge.

- 100% of funds from the first leg of the challenge will be utilized for the purchase of service dogs for U.S. veterans at risk due to PTSD. Secondary legs of the challenge will benefit veteran organizations dedicated to preventing suicide.

“They’ve served us, now it’s time for us to serve them,” said Steve Jacobson, chief executive officer of Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp.  For donation and campaign information please visit:

The objective of the non-profit American Warrior Initiative (AWI), sponsored by Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation, is to educate, encourage, and inspire Americans to give back to our military. A key part of this initiative is the education platform for real estate agents and mortgage professionals. To date, AWI has trained over 5,000 real estate and mortgage industry professionals resulting in over $300,000 in donations for American veterans and veteran organizations in 2015 alone. For more information, please visit or Read the rest of this entry »

April 22nd, 2016

Certified Military Res SpecialistFairway’s American Warrior Initiative launched on April 4, 2012. Its mission is to inspire, educate and give back to our military and their families in an effort to provide both active military service members and their veteran counterparts a place to find inspiration and knowledge. A key part of this initiative is the education platform for real estate agents and mortgage professionals.

Boot camps are held throughout the country where real estate agents have the opportunity to not only receive continuing education credits, but also the certification of “Certified Military Residential Specialist.” The objective in offering the Certified Military Residential Specialist Program is to provide a platform whereby Real Estate Professionals can be trained and equipped to handle with excellence the home purchase needs of active duty and former military clients.

Why would a real estate professional consider training to provide veterans with a more professional and positive real estate experience? One reason is this is a way to honor the men and women of the United States military and their families for their service to our nation, and to fulfill the obligation we have to each and every one of these heroes for the freedoms we enjoy. Another reason is that the men and women of the military are often a “targeted population” with some businesses cheating, scamming, and overbilling. Many are young, financially inexperienced, and transient, unaware of dishonest businesses. This is an opportunity to become a “watchdog” for the warrior by pursuing excellence in serving the home purchase needs of military clients.

For the past 15 months, Fairway has entered into an entirely different season of giving back to the wounded heroes of America. Dozens of local initiatives were funded by the Fairway branches across the nation which took the American Warrior Initiative to an entirely new level.

The AWI is coming soon to Minneapolis – Stay tuned for more information!

None of us can do everything but all of us can do ONE THING. What is YOUR one thing today?

April 15th, 2016

TERMITE-INFEST-MAP2-590x401With all of the new construction in our market, this is a great time to review the FHA Termite Inspection and Treatment guidelines. FHA has updated the maps, which now include most of Minnesota in the Termite Zone . . . thanks global warming! So, now treatment is required unless the subject property is located in an area that is listed as “no infestation” or “slight infestation” as indicated on HUD’s Termite Treatment Exception Areas list. This link takes you to the HUD.GOV website, then click on “Termite Treatment Exception Areas” for the list of counties in Minnesota that are exempt from treatment (there are 23 northern MN counties listed).  The rest of Minnesota and all of Wisconsin are now included in the “need treatment” zone.

There are, of course, forms to be completed by the builder and service provider. So much for the paper reduction act! Form HUD-NPMA-99-A, Subterranean Termite Protection Builder’s Guarantee, is required for all New Construction. If the building is constructed with steel, masonry, or concrete building components with only minor interior wood trim and roof sheathing, no treatment is needed. Form HUD-NPMA-99-B, New Construction Subterranean Termite Service Record, is required and details the services provided to the property by the treatment provider. From our discussions with a pest control company, treating the soil for new construction is not the best approach – when the soil is disturbed during the building process, the treatment is not effective.  The best approach is to use perimeter treating inside, and bait stations outside. Our experience with this most recently was a service cost of roughly $300 for these two items. Costs will vary based upon the size of the home.

As the mortgagee, we collect the Wood Infestation Report (if required), Form HUD-NPMA-99-A Subterranean Termite Protection Builder’s Guarantee, FORM HUD-NPMA-99-B which is the service record from the provider detailing the treatment or service provided, and the invoice for the work.

This procedure can be very confusing, so if you have questions just give us a call at
952-852-0222.  We’ll make sure you get the answers needed to assure all FHA requirements are met.

– Randy Cullen NMLS 326128

The 2016 Housing Market is seeing renewed optimism!

April 1st, 2016

Optimistic Numbers Chart-KKMThere is renewed optimism in the housing market. The March issue of Keeping Current Matters reports that Inman News did a survey of top agents across the country – the question asked, “Are you optimistic about the 2016 housing market?” The results, noted in the chart, suggest that 73.7% are either somewhat optimistic or extremely optimistic about what 2016 has in store. The National Association of Realtors’ Existing Home Sales Report confirms that we have seen an 11% increase nationwide over last year at this time. Our Midwest region came in above the national average, showing an 18.2% increase in existing home sales.

Sales are up and inventories are down. Anyone who has been out looking to purchase a home is facing this issue head on. When fewer homes are on the market, prices can be driven up by multiple offers.  Mark Zandi, the chief economist of Moody’s, said it this way, “The most important housing market trend in 2016 will be the developing housing shortage. New housing construction has picked up in recent years, but it remains well below that needed to meet demand from newly formed households, second home buyers, and obsolescence of the existing stock of homes.”  These comments are the reality of our market. I see it come true every day – with multiple offers on nearly every existing home sale and new construction purchase contracts flooding in like water from a fire hose!

Our spring buying season started early this year, and current supply levels aren’t even close to what’s needed to accommodate the subsequent growth in housing demand. When you a look at housing supply numbers over the last twelve months you will see that in the last seven months, supply has been below where it was last year. To reflect a balanced market, the inventory of homes for sale should be around six months. We haven’t seen six months in the last couples of years, and currently we are struggling to keep it at four months’ inventory. For someone who owns a home and is thinking about putting it on the market, this is great news. For those out looking to purchase a home, it can be challenging when facing increasing prices and multiple offers.

It has been noted that one possible reason for the lack of current home inventory is due to many homeowners who may want to sell, but don’t understand the equity position they’re in right now in their current home. A Realtor is an excellent resource to help you understand the current market value of your home. Realtors can tell you how to prepare your home to enter the market and get top dollar. If you don’t have a Realtor, give me a call and I can offer suggestions. There are also some helpful online tools available. Fairway has partnered with Home Scouting and offers a free online resource that you can access 24/7. Search for Home Scouting on your computer or download the app on your mobile device, enter the code of 6128168525 and you are set – search for a new home, see what’s for sale in your area and what prices homes have sold for recently. This is a great tool to get an overview of the current home market in your neighborhood!

When you think about buying a new home, selling your current one or retaining it for investment, upsizing, downsizing, or rightsizing – remember to lean on the professionals. Together, we can make the magic happen to find and finance the perfect home for you!     – Randy Cullen NMLS 326128