Sep 152022

For more information, please contact me at (512) 261-1542 or

By G. Steven Bray

The recent spike in interest rates may have made it harder for you to afford the home you want. For a $300k home, a 1% increase in the interest rate means a roughly $200 increase in the monthly mortgage payment, and that means you need a $400 raise to qualify for the same home before rates went up.

If you can’t convince your boss to boost your paycheck, I have another option: a Mortgage Credit Certificate. The certificate provides a tax credit equal to 20% of the interest you pay each month as part of your mortgage payment. And here’s the important part: we can treat that tax credit as additional income to help you qualify for more home.

A $300k 30-year mortgage with a 6% interest rate could generate a tax credit of almost $3600 in the first year. That boosts your qualifying income by almost $300 per month.

See how large a tax credit you can get. Click this link to take a short four-question quiz. Or just give us a call. We’d love to help you buy a home.

Freddie adds another low down payment option

 Loan Programs, Residential Mortgage  Comments Off on Freddie adds another low down payment option
Aug 202018

For more information, please contact me at (512) 261-1542 or

By G. Steven Bray

Freddie Mac recently joined Fannie Mae in offering a 3% down conventional loan program with no income limitations. Freddie calls its program HomeOne, and like Fannie’s program, it targets first-time homebuyers.

A lot of folks hear that, first-time homebuyers, and tune out, but you may be a first-time homebuyer and not realize it. Fannie and Freddie define a first-time homebuyer as someone who hasn’t owned real estate in the last 3 years. Freddie expands that definition to allow folks who owned a home with their ex-spouse to qualify.

If you’re buying a home with another person, only one of you has to be a first-time homebuyer. And if all of you are first-time homebuyers, one must complete a homebuyer education course prior to closing. The cost is minimal, and most folks complete the course online.

The programs are limited to single-family homes and condos and have a min credit score of 620. The 3% down payment may come from your own funds or from an acceptable gift source, such as a family member. It can’t come from the seller, but the seller can contribute up to 3% of the price towards your closing costs.

With this offering, Freddie and Fannie finally have comparable low down payment programs. The two have nuanced differences, so give me a call to see if one program is more appropriate for you than the other.

Next time, we’ll look at conventional low down payment options that specifically target low-to-moderate income folks.

Fannie Mae wants to give you money

 Loan Programs, Residential Mortgage  Comments Off on Fannie Mae wants to give you money
Sep 182015

For more information, please contact me at (512) 261-1542 or

By G. Steven Bray

If you’re a 1st-time homebuyer, Fannie Mae wants to give you money – that is, if you buy a HomePath home. Fannie uses its HomePath program to dispose of properties it has recovered through foreclosure. Fannie will give qualified 1st-time homebuyers up to 3% of the purchase price to pay for closing costs.

In order to qualify, homebuyers must not have owned a home in the last 3 years (which Fannie defines as a 1st-time homebuyer) and plan to live in the home. Additionally, homebuyers must complete on a homebuyer education course. The 4-1/2 hour course is completely online and covers the complexities and responsibilities of homeownership.

If you want to take advantage of the assistance, keep in mind you must complete the course before you make an offer on a HomePath home. The course costs $75, but Fannie will reimburse the fee at closing.

Click here for the course sign-up and additional program information.

Could fewer cash sales be good 1st-time homebuyers?

 Investment, Real Estate Market, Residential Mortgage  Comments Off on Could fewer cash sales be good 1st-time homebuyers?
Sep 162015

For more information, please contact me at (512) 261-1542 or

By G. Steven Bray

Based on the most recent data from Corelogic, cash sales of homes fell for the 29th consecutive month in May to 31.9% of total sales, which represents the lowest share since 2008. The percentage of cash sales peaked in Jan 2011 at 46.5%. Prior to the housing crisis, cash sales averaged about 25% of the market.

While this statistic may reflect a healing housing market on a national level, it’s interesting to view the data on a more local level. Cash sales still represent almost half of all sales in FL, GA, NY, and NJ. Given that the strengthening dollar is dissuading cash sales to foreign buyers, it’s likely these elevated percentages still indicate distress in these markets. In TX, the share of cash sales has dropped to 28%.

One positive takeaway from declining cash sales is it may indicate less competition from investors for a tight housing inventory. Given that investors tend to purchase lower-priced homes, this may open up more inventory for first-time homebuyers.