Friday, August 30, 2013

Meet Kristine Hathaway

I love people! One of the greatest pleasures in my life is to help people achieve their dream of home ownership and financial stability. As a mother of three and grandmother of 9 I understand the importance of preparing to purchase that first home as well as preparing for retirement years utilizing a reverse mortgage. With patience and understanding I explain the complex process of obtaining a mortgage to both the young and the mature.
My mission is to provide the highest level of help in every step of the loan process. I am driven by service and committed to the principle of the Golden Rule:
  •  You will be treated as though you are family
  • You will learn the loan process and your options
  • Your transaction will be handled with the highest integrity

My focus is to guide you through the process so effectively you feel compelled to help others by introducing them to me. 
Services I offer are:
  • Purchase mortgages – Conventional, FHA and VA
  • First time home buyer programs
  • Reverse Mortgages
  • HARP 2 Refinances
  • FHA and conventional Refinances
  • Budgeting counseling – Debt snowball
  • Credit Counseling
I look forward to being of help to you.
Let’s talk soon!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Meet Michael O'Rourke

Michael O'Rourke
As the owner of Big Valley Mortgage, I would like to thank all our employees, who over the years, have become like family. I would further like to thank all our loyal clients who have looked to us when they have needed Real Estate professionals. It is with everyone's help that we are privileged to serve the very community we live in.

Feel free to contact me at 707-455-7070 ext. 304

CA DRE LIC # 01259806/01215943
NMLS # 214645/1850
479 Mason St. Suite 109
Vacaville, CA 95688-4505

Phone: 707-455-7070 ext 304
Fax: 707-455-8337


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Weekend Warrior August 24th 2013

Existing home sales jumped 6.5% in July which was far beyond any analysts expectations.  The National Association of Realtors believes that the jump was primarily due to panic in the market over rising interest rates.  It is believed that many fence sitting home buyers have been jumping into the market to make their purchases because of the belief that mortgage rates will continue to rise.  In recent times a jump of this magnitude may have been attributed to either seller concessions or a government stimulus program for home buying.  No such events have occurred to impact home purchases so interest rates seems to be the clear cause of the home sales increase.

The supply of homes coming on the market is currently keeping pace with sales keeping inventory numbers virtually unchanged.  The current supply of home remains at 5.1 months which is the same as June and only slightly higher than May?s inventory number of 5 months..

Mortgage rates rose very sharply in the week of August 16th as well as this week.  The cause of rising interest rates is primarily based upon the belief that the Fed is getting closer and closer to tapering their economic stimulus program.  It is this program that has been keeping mortgage rates artificially low.  Although the Fed has not started to ease the program, many investors have been selling their bond holdings in order to minimize their losses when the Fed does begin tapering.  As interest rates rise the value of bonds deteriorates which means investors could suffer significant losses if rates rise rapidly and they don?t sell their bond holdings.  Rising rates have caused mortgage applications for refinances to plummet 8.0% in the last week.  Purchase applications rose 1.0% which ties into home buyers jumping into the market.

On Wednesday the release of the FOMC minutes from the most recent committee meeting indicates that the Fed is cautious about cutting back on their stimulus program in the near term.  However the overall indication is that the Fed will reduce their asset purchases if the recovery continues on track.  It appears that the September meeting could be a turning point for Fed policy.  The data released in the remainder of August and early September will be the guide for the next action to be taken by the Fed.

Based upon the minutes of the most recent Fed meeting, it appears that there is heavy debate within the members on what to do in regard to economic stimulus.  It seems that with each passing month there is more separation between members that want to end the program versus those that want it to continue.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency reported that home prices continue to rise rapidly.  The most recent FHFA report shows that home prices increased .7% in the month of June.

Market moving reports for next week are:

  • Monday August 26th  Durable Goods Orders
  • Tuesday August 27th  S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index
  • Wednesday August 28th - MBA Applications and Pending Home Sales
  • Thursday August 29th - First Time Jobless Claims and GDP
  • Friday August 30th  Consumer Sentiment

As your mortgage professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate information.  I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can.  Please feel free to reach me at (707) 455-7070.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

All Is Not Rosy

All is not rosy in the economy and investors are not sure where to turn to place their money.  Recent economic data along with corporate sales information indicates that the economy may be slowing down again.  More and more we hear the rumor mill on Wall Street talking about how the economy is not quite as strong as people believe.  Some analysts are raising the expectations of falling back into a recession to the highest level of chatter we have heard in over a year.

As far as investors, they just don’t know what to do.  The stock market this week is down almost 300 points as of Friday morning.  Usually investors in this situation would turn to bonds as the place to stash their money however bond prices have been rising as well.  Traditionally when the stock markets falls, bond yields rise.  However in this last week we have seen deterioration in both the stock and bond market making it harder for investors to protect their portfolio values.

Mortgage rates have hit their highest point in over a year and it seems like they are going to keep rising.  The cause of the rate increases is anyone’s guess however many investors are still blaming The Fed for it happening.  Ever since the Fed indicated that they will begin to taper their economic stimulus program in the fall of this year interest rates have been creeping up.  We are now in the month of August and the fall is just around the corner which has many bond holders getting more and more nervous.

Next Wednesday the Fed will release it minutes from their last meaning which may shed some more light on their future economic plans.  There is certainly fear that the minutes may reveal even stronger language that the Fed is closer to ending the stimulus program than many have been wanting to believe.  Wait until Wednesday and we will know more.

Retail sales rose only 0.2 percent in July after the previous month was revised upward to 0.6 percent from 0.4 percent.  The July number fell short of expectations which sent some jitters through the market.  Additionally Wal-Mart and Cisco reported sales below expectations which further dampened the spirits of investors.  As I said in the beginning of this report, investors would have normally jumped into bonds on this type of news however bonds prices are rising simultaneously making bonds unattractive as well.

Inflation on both the wholesale and retail level continues to remain subdued and does not indicate any upward pressure on prices coming any time soon.  The producer price index came in much softer than expected in most part due to a surprise drop in energy costs.  The index remained unchanged for the month of July after having jumped 0.8 percent in June.  The consumer price index rose a minimal 0.2 percent after jumping 0.5 percent in the prior month.

Market moving reports for next week are:

  • Wednesday August 21st - MBA Applications, Existing Home Sales and FOMC Minutes
  • Thursday August 22nd - First Time Jobless Claims and FHFA Home Price Index
  • Friday August 23rd – New Home Sales

As your mortgage professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate information.  I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can.  Please feel free to reach me at (707) 455-7070

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Changing Your Score

It's virtually impossible to change your score in the time between when most people decide to buy a home or refinance their mortgage and when they apply. So the short answer is, you really can't "on the spot." But there are strategies you can live with to make sure when you apply for a loan your score is as high as possible.

Make sure that the information each of the three credit reporting bureaus has on you is consistent and up to date. Order a copy of your credit report about once a year, and dispute any inaccuracies.

Note: Theoretically, if a series of credit reports is requested on your behalf during a limited amount of time, your score goes down until time passes without any inquiries. Changes in the law though have made "consumer-originating" credit report requests not count so much. Also, a series of requests in relation to getting a mortgage or car loan is not treated the same as a number of credit card requests in a limited time. This is because the credit bureaus, and lenders, realize that people request their own credit reports to keep up with what's on them, and smart consumers shop around for the best mortgage and car loans.

Unsolicited credit card solicitations in the mail don't count against your credit report, so don't worry.

The two main components of your credit score are your payment history and the amounts you owe. Bankruptcy filings and foreclosures, which can stay on your credit report for as long as 10 years, can significantly lower your score. It's never a good idea to take on more credit than you can handle.

Late payments work against you. It's extremely important to pay bills on time, even if it's only the monthly payment.

Don't "max out" your credit lines. Since the size of the balance on your open accounts is a factor, lower balances are better.

It's said that by carefully managing your credit, it's possible to add as much as 50 points per year to your score.

Monday, August 12, 2013

How To Look For Good Investment Properties

Finding the property that perfectly suits your lifestyle has no formula. Some people get their dream properties by chance and others land on the right buy only after a long time of patiently searching. Listed below are essential pointers on how to look for properties.

Assess your preferences. Ask yourself what exactly you want to purchase. Consider the things that are important to you - career growth, family, your lifestyle, the neighborhood and so on. Do you prefer a rural or an urban area? What about climate conditions?

Get enough information to know more about prospective properties and locations. You can start asking people close to you for some recommendations or do a research online. There is no need to rush when buying. Having enough information prior to your purchase will lead you to a good buy.

Check your financial capability. Do you wish to pay in cash? What are some financial options available for you? Are there services that will boost your buying power and borrowing capacity?

Seek help from a real estate agent. They have connections and they can provide you services to make sure that you get the best property. They know about market values, the financing you may need, and they can negotiate on your behalf.

Article Source:

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Signs of A Recovering Housing Market in 2013

The housing market recovery in the U.S. during 2012 was helped by the bottoming out of home prices, record-low rates, decline in foreclosure activity and healthy rental markets. Real estate analysts are pleased with the directions things seem to be heading and are anxious to see what 2013 has in store for the industry. The following are signs of a recovering housing market.
Higher Demand
Phoenix, Miami and North Virginia are seeing dramatic increases in rental and purchasing values. As the prices continue to rise, the need for demand elevates in those areas, especially as the price of rent continues to sky rocket. Renters won't want to waste that kind of money for something that they don't own and will take advantage of the lenders low interest rates. If you're interested in going down the path to home ownership, a real estate agent can help with everything from finding the ideal home, negotiating a fair sale, having a building inspector look over the property and knowing what to expect during the lending process.
Mortgage Lending and Underwriting
The current guidelines for lending institutions and underwriting are rigid, thus making a home loan obtainable for homebuyers without good credit is especially difficult. The future outlook will continue to look bleak, and the subprime free-for-all has ended. Unfortunately, not everyone will be able to afford the luxury of qualifying for a loan. Credit worthiness is more important than ever. Equifax warns that there is no quick fix to eliminate past aspects of your credit history. Ideally, you must handle your credit responsibly over a long period of time. In order to improve your credit worthiness, it is important to pay your bills on time, get and stay current on credit card payments, pay off debt rather than shifting it to a new credit account and shop for loan rates within a short time period.
Decline in Foreclosures and Distressed Assets
The number of foreclosures and Real Estate Owned (REO) dwellings is still quite high, but lending institutions aren't as quick to unload their inventory all at once. States such as Nevada, California and Florida are still experiencing a faster pace of foreclosures, but they are an exception to the trend. In addition, banks are learning to handle more short sales. Short sales happen when a bank agrees to accept less than the amount of the mortgage the seller owes to the bank. Banks would rather perform a short sale than a foreclosure any day. A foreclosure takes a long time and creates a huge expense for the banks; a short sale saves both time and money.
Job Security
The forecast for the coming year looks promising, and the housing market is expected to continue to see a gradual increase in home prices. As the job market improves, so will the home prices improve. According to Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder, temporary and contract jobs are on the rise in 2013. Moreover, the west and the south are leading the way for where the jobs will be. In the West, twenty-eight percent of employers plan to add full-time, permanent workers in 2013 (up from 24 percent in 2012). In the South, 27 percent of hiring managers anticipate adding full-time, permanent employees in 2013 (up from 23 percent in 2012). In addition, small businesses will have an impact on employment in 2013. They are showing signs are increasing headcounts and there is a tendency to "re-skill" workers to fit positions in 2013. As workers become permanently settled in secure employment, they are more likely to look at home ownership options.
As we notice signs of a recovering housing market, the due diligence process for buying a home remains as vital as ever. 

Article Source:

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Weekend Warrior August

Rising mortgage rates combined with rising home prices are reducing the sales of existing homes according to the National Association of Realtors. NAR?s pending home sales index for June declined 0.4 percent. Additionally the lack of home supply is also impacting home sales on all levels.

Home sale data based on region showed another strong gain of 3.3 percent for the West. The East was essentially flat and both the Midwest and the South showed slight declines.

The plus factor to limited housing inventory is that home prices are extending their run of strong gains. Sale increase in May was a little softer than prior months, at 1.0 percent which is still quite strong though. The prior two months showed gains of 1.7 and 1.9 percent. May's data show gains across 18 of 20 cities measured by the Case-Shiller Home Value Index. Year-on-year, sales show a 12.1 percent gain in May which matches April's recovery high. Home price appreciation is a major plus that's lifting consumer spirits and the economic outlook.

The approximate 1 percent increase in mortgage rates the last 3 months, which has been primarily driven by the Fed?s expected tapering of their stimulus program, seems to be having an impact on mortgage applications. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that for the week ending July 27th applications for purchase mortgages declined 3% while refinance applications dropped 4%.

On Wednesday ADP reported that private payroll employment showed significant month-to-month improvement in job growth. ADP reported a moderate increase of 188,000 for private payrolls in June versus a slightly revised and less than moderate 134,000 gain in May. Friday at 8:30AM EST the government will release the latest figures for national employment. The consensus is that the report will show an increase of 195,000 new jobs. The word of caution is that lately analyst predictions on this number have been somewhat inaccurate and overstated as recent employment figures still show the labor market recovering more slowly than we would like to see.

The latest report on first time jobless claims is that they are mostly at their lowest points of the whole recovery. However, the results are less than convincing due to seasonal distortions tied to temporary summer layoffs in the auto industry. Initial claims fell 19,000 in the July 27 week to a recovery low of 326,000.

As far as economic growth, the second quarter GDP topped expectations but partly due to the fact that the first quarter GDP was revised down to 1.1%. GDP for the second quarter came in at 1.7% however expectations are that the government will likely revise this figure downward when they release the 3rd quarter growth figures in October. (I am starting to wonder what is the point of the government releasing figures that are always being revised?)

Market moving reports for next week are:

  • Monday August 5th ? ISM Non-Manufacturing Index
  • Wednesday August 7th - MBA Applications
  • Thursday August 8th - First Time Jobless Claims

As your mortgage professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate information.  I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can.  Please feel free to reach me at (707) 455-7070.

Michael O'Rourke
Branch Manager/Mortgage Banker
Big Valley Mortgage/A Direct Lender
ph. 707-455-7070
fax 707-455-8337