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March 2011

February 2011

VA Loans and Veteran Homeownership in Nevada

Downtown Las Vegas as seen from the Stratosphe...Image via Wikipedia

When Congress created the VA Home Loan Guaranty program in 1944, Las Vegas would have been unrecognizable compared to the city it has become today. Now, thanks to the federal government’s generous subsidized home loan program, military homebuyers have the ability to use a Nevada VA loan to purchase a home in Nevada. Because of their great terms, VA loans are popular among military members and have aided more than 19 million Vets in purchasing a home.

After picking out a home in Las Vegas, buyers must consider their financing options. Two things that are central to choosing a financing option are down payment requirements and interest rates. Military buyers in Las Vegas will be happy to learn that VA loans keep both far lower than traditional loans. In fact, in the VA loan program, homebuyers seldom make a down payment.

Interest rates are competitive in Nevada VA loans, too. It’s important to know that the VA does not issue loans, but guarantees up to 25 percent of each loan against an unlikely default. With the VA’s backing, VA-approved lenders like VA Mortgage Center and other national lending leaders take on less risk. Thus, they are inclined to provide lower interest rates to qualifying military personnel.

Other savings through a VA loan include lower closing and concession costs, no private mortgage insurance and no prepayment penalty. The latter two are especially helpful in saving military homebuyers money on a repeated basis. Not all the perks focus on saving money, though. For instance, the program comes with services to help borrowers when they are about to default on a loan (although to be fare, this doesn’t occur often with VA borrowers). Nevertheless, it’s nice to have a helping hand if you find yourself in a tight spot.

Additionally, Nellis Air Force Base is located just a few miles to the north, so Las Vegas is a great city for active-duty service members to look for a home. Interest rates are capped for active-duty personnel, so buying property near or at Nellis could be especially beneficial as the housing market continues to rebound. The VA loan limit in Nevada is the standard $417,000, allowing homebuyers to finance up to 100 percent of a home worth that much.

A Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is the first thing you need to get a Nevada VA loan. Via the VA website or a VA-approved lender, COEs affirm that you meet the qualifying terms for the program.

Generally, people who may qualify fall into one of three categories:

-Military members who served on active duty for 181 days or 90 days during peacetime or wartime, respectively.

-Reservists or members of the National Guard who served for at least half a dozen years.

-Spouses who have not remarried and survived their husband or wife who died in the line of duty or because of a service-related injury.

This post comes to you from James Kelley, an author of and law school student at the University of Missouri. 


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HAFA Program Revisions Effective 2-1-11

In my book, the jury is still out on whether or not HAFA short sales are working.

According to the Congressional Oversight Panel, the Troubled Asset Relief Program watchdog, the Treasury has spent $4.3 million through HAFA, inducing roughly 661 short sales since the program launched in April 2010.

The Treasury, in an effort to get more HAFA short sales completed has revised some program requirements that became effective February 1, 2011.

Here is a brief summary:

  • A borrower's reason for relocation no longer needs to be connected to employment nor be of a certain distance from the property. Borrowers may have moved up to 12 months before certain dates in the HAFA process but may not have purchased another home.
  • Servicers are not required to determine if the borrower's total monthly mortgage payment exceeds 31% of gross income. Borrowers will still be required to show a hardship.
  • Servicers are now required to communicate approval, disapproval, or a counter offer no later than 30 calendar days after receiving an (i) executed sales contract, (ii) Alternative Request for Approval of Short Sale, and (iii) a signed Hardship Affidavit.
  • If an unsolicited borrower requests HAFA, the servicer has 30 calendar days to determine the borrower's eligibility and, if eligible, send the borrower the Short Sale Agreement.
  • HAFA will no longer impose a 6% cap on payments to each subordinate mortgage/lien holder. The $6,000 aggregate limit is still in effect.

The benefits of HAFA for the Seller continue to be:

  • No deficiency judgment
  • No seller contribution or promissory note
  • $3,000 relocation payment to seller

Read the official HAFA Policy Update

Check the Making Home Affordable Housing Scorecards

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CFAC Designation Course is February 23rd - Las Vegas Short Sale Training

Help Your Client Find the Best Alternative to Foreclosure…

Next CFAC℠ Designation Course 

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FHA Extends 90 Day Anti-Flipping Waiver to Expedite REO Sales

There is some good news for the Las Vegas Real Estate market and home buyers wishing to purchase a home with FHA financing that was sold at a trustee sale and now on the market for sale (aka "flipped").

The Federal Housing Administration has extended the suspension of its ‘anti-flipping rule’ through the remainder of 2011. 

FHA regulations typically prohibit insuring a mortgage on a home owned by the seller for less than 90 days, but in February of last year, FHA temporarily waived this regulation through January 31, 2011, noting that in today’s foreclosure-ravaged marketplace, the agency’s research has shown that acquiring, rehabilitating, and reselling distressed properties often takes less than 90 days.

The waiver contains strict conditions and guidelines to protect FHA borrowers against predatory practices of “flipping” where properties are quickly resold at inflated prices. The agency’s anti-flipping waiver is limited to those sales meeting the following criteria:

  • All transactions must be arms-length, with no identity of interest between the buyer and seller or other parties participating in the sales transaction.
  • In cases in which the sales price of the property is 20 percent or more above the seller’s acquisition cost, the waiver will only apply if the lender meets specific conditions.

Read the full story at DSNews


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