FHA loan in oregon

FHA Loans in Oregon – Loan Limits and Requirements

FHA loan in oregonBuying a home can be confusing and scary process with an endless list of items to do. Of all the pieces that go into buying a home, none is quite like the mortgage. With a range of different mortgage options, it can be difficult to decide which option is best. One such option is the FHA loan, specifically the FHA loan in Oregon. While the FHA loan comes with its own list of things to keep in mind, in many cases it is the best choice for home buyers.

This article is intended as an overview for anyone considering taking on a FHA loan in Oregon. It will touch on the key points to understand when considering a FHA loan, as well as the pros and cons of taking one out, and the process that is involved in securing one.

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What is an Oregon FHA Loan?

A FHA loan in Oregon is a mortgage that is insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). What separates this type of mortgage from a more traditional one is the lower down payment, along with less strict credit requirements. In many cases, the down payment required is only 3.5%, making it the perfect choice for those who don’t have the more standard 20%.

Different Types of FHA Loans in Oregon

types of fha loans in oregonDuring the course of shopping for loans several recurring terms will likely come up.

Fixed-Rate FHA Loan

A fixed rate mortgage is one where the interest rate does not fluctuate. It won’t get any lower, but it won’t go up. This means monthly payments will remain the same throughout the loan term, making it very easy to budget. This makes it an attractive choice for many borrowers.

30 Year FHA Loan

This is the most popular term for mortgages and FHA loans. A 30 year loan simply means that re-payment of this loan will take place over the next 30 years. Compared with another popular loan term of 15 years, a 30 year mortgage gives twice as much time to pay off. Keep in mind though that during those extra years the loan will incur additional interest charges making the total cost of the loan larger.

In addition to the above, there are other options that are available for FHA loans. These include ARM loans, hybrid, or a balloon mortgage.

Advantages of an FHA Loan in Oregon

fha advantages in oregonThe main benefits of the FHA loans are its low down payment and low, at least in comparison to other mortgages, credit requirements.

To start, banks are very motivated to approve these types of loans, which is evident in the fairly loose requirements. For people who may have been denied a mortgage loan in the past, have less than good credit, or lack a large down payment, an FHA loan in Oregon is an attractive choice. Due to the government backing and funding requirements, banks are much more likely to approve these types of loans.

The small down payment also makes them very attractive for first time home buyers. Traditional mortgages typically look for around 20% down payment, which can be difficult for many to come up with. This is especially the case for first time home buyers who lack any sort of home equity to negotiate with. FHA loans however, only need 3.5%! This allows a much wider range of people to apply for and be approved for this type of loan.

Disadvantages of an FHA Loan in Oregon

While there’s definitely some attractive positives to taking one, FHA loans do have some cons to keep in mind when considering getting one. This is mainly in the form of additional fees owed to secure the loan. At the beginning of the loan term there is an upfront funding fee of, at the time of writing, 1.75% of the total value of the loan. This amount can be working into closing costs however.

In addition to the upfront fee, there is also an annual fee broken into 12 monthly payments. This mortgage insurance is required to be carried for the lifetime of the loan. This too is calculated as a percentage of the total loan amount.

What Properties Qualify?

oregon fha loans property qualify

Not all properties are eligible for a FHA loan in Oregon, and there are additionally some requirements all properties need to meet. To start, FHA loans are primarily intended for those who intended to occupy the property in question. Therefore, they typically cannot be used for things like vacation, rental, or investment properties.

There’s also minimum property standards that need to be met before the loan is approved. Some items that a property will look for are:

● Asbestos
● Contaminated Soil
● Roofing expected to last for 2+ more years
● Located in an area of excessive noise
● Working bathroom with sink, toilet, and shower
● Structural soundness

This is just a short list of some of the items an inspector will look for. The housing department has put together a full list that goes into more depth on what disqualifies a property. If any issues are found, they will have to be fixed before the loan will be approved.

FHA Loan Limits Oregon

Another caveat of FHA loans is the limits imposed on how much can be borrowed. Each year, the max borrow amount is adjusted based on media home prices. This amount also varied for different residence types, and how many families are occupying a dwelling. A two family, duplex style home has a higher allowance than a single family home. Most buyers however, fall into the “One-Family” designation.

Currently, the range for “One-Family” dwellings ranges from roughly 275-408k. These values are based on county, so where a house is located can drastically affect the loan amount available. As noted above, this range is subject to change, so potential buyers should check the FHA website to get an updated look at the limits.

Credit Score

As with any type of loan, credit score is a major consideration when looking to get a FHA mortgage. For the standard 3.5% down payment, a credit score of 580+ is required. Those below this are not automatically disqualified, although additional conditions may apply.

The primary way to get one with a lower credit score is to offer a higher down payment. Typically, for those < 580, a down payment of 10% is required to offset the additional risk. They may also be subject to higher interest rates. They can also attempt to use alternative credit such as utility bills to prove credit worthiness. This is at the discretion of the lender however, so plan to call ahead.

FHA loan Requirements in Oregon

FHA loan Requirements in OregonWhile easier to get from a credit perspective, there are a number of additional FHA loan requirements in Oregon for securing a FHA loan. Some of these are unique to this type of loan, and may not be required for a traditional mortgage. Here is the list of requirements for those taking out a FHA loan:

● 3.5% down payment (potentially more for bad credit borrowers)
● Credit rating of 580+ (may be lower in certain cases)
● Steady employment history, usually at least 2 years
● Must be for a primary residence
● Property must be appraised and assessed by a licensed inspector

In addition, borrowers are also required to have debt to income ratios in an acceptable range. For front-end this is less than 31%, and back-end less than 41%. Finally, any bankruptcies or foreclosures should be 2-3 years in the past. In the time since, the borrower should have attempted re-established their credit.

How Do You Apply?

The first step to applying for any type of loan is to get your numbers in order. Make sure that your credit score is in the expected range and come up with budget estimates that keep your debt to income ratios acceptable.

Once all that is in order the next step is to find a lender that is approved to give out FHA backed loans. The FHA website has a handy tool for finding FHA lenders in Oregon that are approved. It does pay to shop around a bit as not all lenders will offer the same interest rates.

Once you’ve determined a reputable lender, you’ll be required to submit various documents that will verify things like employment, income, and credit. These documents include:

● W-2 from the last two years
● Tax documents
● Bank statements
● Proof of income
● Address of past residences
● Information on past employers

This information is then used to determine if you are eligible for a FHA loan in Oregon. Once you’ve gone through the approval process you’ll need to have the home inspected as mentioned above. This inspection must be ordered by the lender, and the inspection must pass, or issues must be fixed, in order to secure the loan.

What Are The FHA Loan Rates In Oregon?

The interest rates for FHA loans can change daily, so check with a lender to determine the current rate being charged. FHA lenders in Oregon do have the ability to charge their own rates, so it’s very likely that two lenders for the same loan will have different interest rates. In fact, many times the rate is up for negotiation, so don’t be afraid to ask your lender to go lower on the rate or match a competitor.

Rate Lock

fha loan in oregon rate lockOnce a lender has committed to writing a loan, they’ll provide the borrower with what is know as a rate lock. This will usually last from 30-45 days, but can last longer at the discretion of the lender. A rate lock simply locks in the interest rate at its current value and prevents it from moving with the market. Many lenders will also allow borrowers to pay to extend the length of the rate lock.

Keep in mind though, rate lock is a double edged sword. While it will keep your interest rate from getting any higher, it will also keep if from going lower.

Apply for your FHA Loan in Oregon Today!

FHA Loan in Oregon FAQs

1. Do You Have To Be a First Time Home Buyer To Qualify?

No, FHA loans are open to anyone who meets the requirements. Weighting the pros and cons can help you decided whether to go with FHA loan or a traditional mortgage.

2.What Is The Maximum Income Limit for FHA Loans?

There is no maximum income, if you meet the requirements you are eligible to apply for a FHA loan in Oregon. Keep in mind though, for higher income families that a traditional mortgage is likely to be cheaper over the life of the loan if they can supply a larger down payment.

3.Can you Refinance a FHA Loan?

Yes you can refinance into another FHA loan (called a streamline refinance) or into a traditional loan. Both options have their own set of pros and cons, so it’s important to understand each before making a decision.

Mortgages are one of the most confusing parts of buying a home, but hopefully this article has helped you decide whether a FHA loan in Oregon is the right choice. While certainly attractive on the surface, there are pros and cons to consider before diving in. Making sure you understand the full process is the best step to take to get the best deal when buying a new home!

How To Remove Portfolio Recovery From Your Credit Report

If you’re reading this article, I bet you’ve recently been contacted by a company called Portfolio Recovery Associates.

Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC, is a collection agency that buys old debts from lenders and companies who have been unable to collect the debt themselves.

How Portfolio Recovery Associates Works

Portfolio Recovery buys multiple accounts with old debt from companies that have given up and “charged off” the accounts.

In other words, when the original creditor has been unsuccessful in collecting on a debt, it will write off the debt as a loss. This is called a charge off.

Companies can still make a small amount of money by selling off their old debt to third-party collection agencies.

This is where Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC, comes into the picture.

Portfolio Recovery will buy old debt for pennies on the dollar. By purchasing old debt, Portfolio Recovery becomes the debt collector, gambling that it can collect on the debt and make a profit.

Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC, is not a scam. If you’re hearing from this Norfolk, Virginia-based collection agency, you owe the agency money, and it has a strong incentive to collect on your debt.

How To Deal With Portfolio Recovery

When you hear from Portfolio Recovery (or any other debt collector), let the agency know that you know your rights.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act outlines your rights as a consumer. You get to dictate how and when a debt collector contacts you.

First off, you should insist all future communication takes place in writing and via mail. This action will stop the collection calls and collection letters. But it also has a more important role to play.

Communicating in writing creates a paper trail so you can show evidence of agreements.

You can write PRA Group at 120 Corporate Boulevard, Norfolk, VA 23502. The agency’s website, www.portfoliorecovery.com, includes additional contact info if needed.

One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is dealing with collection agencies over the phone. They often end up making agreements the collection agency doesn’t honor.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by trying to deal with collection agencies on your own,
we recommend seeking help from Lexington Law Credit Repair.

Ask Lex Law for Help

Steps To  Remove Portfolio Recovery Associates (PRA Group) From Your Credit Report

When you owe Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC money, your account will also be reported to the three credit reporting agencies.

Having a debt collection company on your credit report could pull down your credit score by as much as 100 points — if you had excellent credit to begin with. Borrowing money will become more difficult.

In addition to settling the debt, you’ll also want this collection removed from your credit report with all three credit bureaus.

Here’s how to make this happen:

  1. Make Them Prove The Debt Is Yours
  2. Negotiate a “Pay for Delete”
  3. Hire A Professional To Help

1. Make Them Prove the Debt is Yours

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) require the major credit bureaus to report only accurate information about your debt.

So, if the PRA Group entry on your credit report is inaccurate, getting it removed should be easy.

Debt buyers like Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC, buy hundreds of accounts at a time from credit card companies like CapitalOne and Discover and from student loan servicers and lenders.

There’s a chance some details about your account got lost in the transfer from the original creditor. If so, you can get the debt removed from your credit report.

Of course, it’s even possible the debt was never yours to begin with. Sometimes Social Security numbers get typed incorrectly. It’s also possible the debt belongs to someone who has a similar name or address.

Disputing accounts this way doesn’t always work. First, the debt may be accurately reported. And, if it’s inaccurate, PRA Group could simply fix the errors and re-list the debt.

Debt Validation Deadline

You have to act quickly to use this strategy. The law gives you 30 days from the first time Portfolio Recovery Associates contacts you to request debt validation. If you wait beyond 30 days, the debt collector has no legal obligation to investigate your debt’s accuracy.

If you’d like to give this a try, use my sample debt validation letter.

Send it to the PRA Group as quickly as possible. If the agency can’t validate your debt, it’ll have to stop trying to collect and remove the debt from your credit report.

2. Offer to Pay Them to Remove the Collection

When you’re unsuccessful with the debt validation method, above, or if it’s been over 30 days since you first heard from Portfolio Recovery Associates, it’s time to consider a pay-for-delete agreement.

This is a great way to remove the collection from your credit report because it harnesses the power of your payment. Like I said above, debt buyers make a profit when you make a payment on your old debt.

So you can use your payment as an incentive to have Portfolio Recovery Associates remove the negative information from your credit reports.

You don’t have to pay off the full amount. In fact, since Portfolio Recovery Associates likely bought your old debt for much less than your balance, they’ll make a profit even if you pay only half the balance. Or even less.

I would start by offering to pay 50% of what you owe. This can start a conversation that leads to an agreement.

Delete and Remove the Account

Here’s the important part: Before making a payment, make sure your payment will delete the account from your credit history and cancel the entire balance. Get this agreement in writing before making a payment or beginning a payment plan.

Only after you’ve agreed in writing on an amount — and agreed that the amount will cancel your debt and remove it from the credit bureaus — should you write a check. (Don’t give a debt collection agency your bank account numbers.)

You’ll want to follow up in 30 days to make sure PRA Group has removed the collection account from your credit report. If it hasn’t, write another letter demanding that they fulfill the agreement. Finally, you can send a copy of your pay-for-delete agreement as a friendly reminder.

If you still don’t get the results, let your state attorney general’s office know and file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) could levy fines against debt collectors that violate your rights.

3. Have a Professional Remove the Portfolio Recovery Collection

On the other hand, some consumers don’t have time to write letters to debt collectors. If you feel this way you should consider hiring a professional credit repair company.

I suggest you check out Lexington Law Credit Repair.

Lexington Law Firm knows all about debt collectors’ efforts to intimidate consumers. They’ll cut through the red tape and get results within a couple months.

Lex Law typically get stuff removed from your credit report a lot quicker than you could on your own.

Check out their website here.

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Knowing Your Rights Helps Protect You

Be sure you know your rights in advance of contacting this debt collector. For example, Portfolio Recovery Collection cannot:

  • Threaten you with criminal action: Debt in the United States doesn’t go through the criminal court system. However, PRA Group could sue you and try to garnish your wages, but this would happen in civil court. A wage garnishment would require a default judgment against you followed by a judge’s order to garnish wages.
  • Call you at work: They also can’t make phone calls to your friends, family members, or employers about your debt.
  • Call phone numbers you’ve asked them not to call: The FDCPA gives you the right to decide which contact information debt collectors use. For example, Portfolio Recovery cannot send robocalls to your cellphone if you ask them to stop. Like I said above, I recommend insisting on writing and good old-fashioned snail mail.
  • Sue you after the statute of limitations has expired: Each state has a statute of limitations that sets an expiration date on a debt collector’s ability to win a lawsuit. A lawsuit filed after the statute expires won’t hold up. However, this doesn’t mean you no longer owe the money or that it will stop hurting your credit.

If you’re not sure about your rights or whether Portfolio Recovery Associates has violated them, seek legal advice from an attorney in your area.

How to Get Your Free Credit Report

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau gives you access to your credit reports once a year, free of charge, at www.annualcreditreport.com.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, you can get a free credit report once a week through April of 2021.

Monitoring your credit report will be key to getting Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC, off your credit reports and out of your life for good.

Atlantic Credit & Finance

Times are tough these days. Unfortunately, that means that a lot of people have had overdue bills move to collections.

If you have begun hearing from a company called Atlantic Credit & Finance, you are likely one of those people.

Atlantic Credit & Finance LLC is a third-party collection agency that works with creditors across the spectrum to collect overdue bills.

You may be tempted to ignore their attempts to contact you, but this is a mistake that can cost you down the line.

To begin collecting a debt from you, Atlantic Credit & Finance must first open a collection account on your credit report.

This collection account tells creditors and lenders that you’ve had trouble paying bills on time in the past and may continue this practice in the future.

This will lead to higher interest rates on loans or credit cards, which can cost you serious cash over the years.

To prevent damage to your credit history and wallet down the line, you need to take care of Atlantic Credit & Finance’s entry sooner rather than later.

Luckily, there are tried-and-true methods to remove negative accounts from your credit report for good.

Read on for our top tips on dealing with Atlantic Credit & Finance.

What is Atlantic Credit & Finance?

Atlantic Credit & Finance is a debt collection agency that is headquartered in Roanoke, VA, with an additional location in St. Cloud, MN.

Founded in 1996, they specialize in the collection of unsecured consumer debts from various industries, including health care, utilities, telecommunications, and credit cards.

How to Deal with Atlantic Credit & Finance

Dealing with Atlantic Credit & Finance is a nerve-wracking affair, but there are proper steps to take to ensure success.

Here are the essential rules to follow to stop Atlantic Credit & Finance’s harassment and remove the collection from your credit report.

Familiarize Yourself with the FDCPA

Many consumers have no idea that they are protected from certain abuse from debt collectors.

Debt collectors are certainly not going to tell you because they are willing to do whatever it takes to get payments on debt.

That is why it is important that you educate yourself on the FDCPA so that you can call out Atlantic Credit & Finance if they try to overstep their bounds.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is federal legislation that clearly outlines the types of behavior that are strictly prohibited by debt collectors.

This is so that debt collectors like Atlantic Credit & Finance cannot abuse your rights as a consumer in order to collect debts.

These are some of the practices that are prohibited under the FDCPA:

  • Calling before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m.
  • Calling you at work after you have told them to stop
  • Calling loved ones, neighbors, or colleagues about your debt
  • Using profanity or threatening violence against you

In addition to restricting practices, the FDCPA also grants you the ability to ask Atlantic Credit & Finance to contact you strictly through writing.

This is something that you should take advantage of quickly after you begin hearing from them.

Having all your correspondence in writing allows you to keep track of all your communications with Atlantic Credit & Finance.

It will also come in handy when you need to work out a settlement with them down the line.

Get a Free Copy of Your Credit Report

Ask for Debt Validation

Another right that is granted to you under the FDCPA is the ability to request debt validation.

This can help you determine if Atlantic Credit & Finance is pursuing you for someone else’s debt.

Even if you know the debt belongs to you, you should still take advantage of your right to dispute the debt.

This is because Atlantic Credit & Finance may be attempting to collect based on false information.

If you can prove this, you can have the debt removed from your record without having to pay a penny.

Start by writing a letter to Atlantic Credit & Finance, asking them to validate the debt.

You should ask them to verify specific pieces of information, such as the name, date of last account activity, and total balance.

We have a debt validation letter template that can help you get started on your own.

Atlantic Credit & Finance should get back to you within about 30 days with documents meant to prove that the debt is yours.

If they cannot validate the debt, they must contact the major credit bureaus and delete their entry from your report.

It’s important to remember that the FDCPA only grants you the ability to request debt validation within 30 days of Atlantic Credit & Finance’s first contact.

If you procrastinate this step, you won’t be able to verify that the debt belongs to you. This can make things harder for you in the long run.

Make a Pay-For-Delete Settlement

If Atlantic Credit & Finance is able to validate your debt, your next step is to negotiate a pay-for-delete settlement.

This is the most common type of settlement that people work out with debt collectors, but it is by no means simple.

Debt collectors are hesitant to grant pay-for-deletes because it essentially falsifies an official record.

However, you may be able to get them to agree if they are desperate enough for you to make your payments.

Start by offering to pay Atlantic Credit & Finance half of what you owe them and work from there.

Make sure that, no matter how much you settle on paying them, they agree to fully delete the collection account from your credit report.

A ‘paid’ status is not a sufficient compromise and will still affect your credit score and loan prospects.

Once you come to an agreement, have Atlantic Credit & Finance send you the full terms in writing.

Make your first payment on the debt when you receive this document and approve of the wording.

Atlantic Credit & Finance should remove their account from your credit report within 30 days of receiving your payment.

If they do not, you must reach out and remind them that they need to uphold their end of the bargain.

Work with a Credit Repair Company

If you’ve had a few missteps in removing Atlantic Credit & Finance from your credit report, you may benefit from the help of a professional.

A credit repair company is a type of credit professional that specializes in removing damaging accounts from your credit report.

They can work directly with Atlantic Credit & Finance to negotiate settlements and deletions so that you don’t have to.

In fact, it’s likely that you won’t have to communicate directly with them ever again.

There are many different credit repair companies to choose from, and all of them have different strengths.

Ask Lex Law for Help

Does Atlantic Credit & Finance Have Any Complaints?

The unfortunate reality is that most debt collectors have had complaints over the years. Atlantic Credit & Finance is no exception.

Since their founding in 1996, Atlantic Credit & Finance has had 45 complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and 136 complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

These complaints cite issues with customer service representatives, inaccuracies in reporting, and failure to respond to debt validation letters.

The majority of complaints filed against Atlantic Credit & Finance document violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

As mentioned above, the FDCPA lays out certain guidelines that debt collectors are supposed to follow regarding how to properly collect debts.

If you find that Atlantic Credit & Finance is violating your rights, you can file a complaint against them as well.

Conclusion

Debt collection is an unfortunate part of life, but a collection account doesn’t have to be a negative stain on your credit report for years to come.

If you follow the steps outlined above, you can successfully negotiate a deletion with Atlantic Credit & Finance and move on with your life free of debt.

Have any tips on how to deal with Atlantic Credit & Finance? Feel free to leave a comment below telling us how you do it.

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VA Appraisals: How-to Secure Your VA Home Loan

va appraisalIn order to officially secure financing on your next home purchase with the VA financing, you will need to obtain a VA Appraisal. This tool is used to determine the fair market value of the home you intend to buy. In turn, this helps both the buyer and the lender to protect their interests.

The VA home appraisal is a significant hurdle that must be crossed before you can move forward with purchasing your home.

How does this tool help to protect both you and the lender? Some homes are priced above what would be considered fair or reasonable based on their condition and the prices of the comparable surrounding homes.

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If you were to default on your loan, the bank would take ownership of your property. They want to ensure that they can resell the home to recoup their initial investment in your financing.

Similarly, not all homeowners intend to stay in one home for the rest of their lives. You may decide to move on or receive orders to be stationed elsewhere across the country.

The home you purchase should be able to be resold for at least the amount you originally paid in order to cancel out the mortgage debt you incurred.

The lender is the preferred party who will initiate the appraisal process and formally submit the request shortly after the home moves under contract. However, any party to the mortgage purchase may submit the request for a VA loans appraisal as long as it is a VA-certified inspector who completes the job.

Is a VA Appraisal the Same as a Home Inspection?

On the surface, you may notice that the VA loans appraisal is meant to financially protect the lender.

The VA appraisal is also designed to help protect veterans from purchasing a home in need of significant repairs. This must be completed prior to the closing of the loan in order to guarantee financing from the lender and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The timing of the VA appraisal prevents the sale from going too far without the property meeting minimum property requirements or being reasonably priced.

While the primary goal of the VA loans appraisal may first appear to be protecting your financial interests, it also ensures that the house meets the minimum property requirements. These are the basic rules established that make the house safe and sanitary.

Appraisers are looking for major hazards, including those with electrical issues, termites, or running water. It’s a cursory glance over many of the most important components of a home, but it’s not an exhaustive list.

A VA home inspection provides a more thorough examination of the property. This additional step is optional but highly recommended. A home inspection may uncover far more issues with the property than you could expect with an appraisal.

Inspectors are trained differently than appraisers, with an eye more for the finer details of your home. They will thoroughly inspect the roof, electrical, plumbing, and more.

Once you have a detailed look at any issues that present themselves, you may opt not to purchase the home (if you have an inspection contingency). The repairs could be too costly or more extensive than you’re willing to commit to.

However, a VA home inspection is a great idea to make sure that you know what to expect before you take out a thirty-year mortgage.

VA Loan Inspection Requirements

VA Loan Inspection RequirementsThis federal program wants to ensure that every property purchased by veterans and active-duty service members meets a few minimum standards.

These are known as the minimum property requirements (MPRs). They help to establish a baseline that determines whether a property is going to be safe, sound, and sanitary for your residence.

It may seem like another hoop to jump through or a delay in obtaining your financing, but these property requirements are designed to protect you as the home buyer. As we mentioned earlier, this is not an exhaustive list of issues that could be wrong with the home.

You would need an inspection for that. However, this is to make sure that it meets the VA loan inspection requirements in regards to basic health and safety.

For example, they will start by making sure that this is designed for residential purposes only and provides adequate living space.

There isn’t necessarily a magic formula to determine the amount of living space necessary, but it should be large enough to allow you to do all of the basic daily activities like eating and sleeping.

Beyond that, here are a few other items that are included in the VA home inspection requirements:

  • Electrical and plumbing systems are safe. The property must be able to demonstrate that all of these systems work appropriately and will continue to do so. It should be noted if it becomes apparent that a significant repair is looming on the horizon.
  • Heating is adequate. The home must have heat in order to make a safe living environment. This will be tested as part of the minimum property requirements.
  • Water is available. Clean drinking water is a must-have feature for any home.A VA loans appraisal will make sure that there is running water available and provide testing of well water to determine whether it is safe to drink. Public or county water can usually forego this additional testing step.
  • Roofing is in good shape. Your roof protects the entire home from the elements. It should be in good shape now and for the foreseeable future. Read more about VA Roof requirements here.
  • Property is accessible from a street. You should be able to enter and exit your home without illegally trespassing on someone else’s property. This requires a permanent driveway or a permanent easement with a neighboring property.While you may be allowed to share a driveway with someone else, additional documents might need to be drawn up to outline the responsibilities of each party when it comes to maintenance and upkeep.
  • No defective construction. This category includes a wide variety of issues relating to the structural integrity of your home. It may start at the foundation, checking for cracks or rotted wood in the crawl space. The foundation should be stable and not in need of current (or future) repair.Water damage is also taken into consideration when looking at the lower levels of the home. From there, you can move all the way into the attic. Here, ventilation is going to be key in order to prevent future issues with mold.
  • Termite inspection. Would you really want to purchase a home that was infested with termites and other pests? A basic termite inspection provides answers to some of these extremely pressing issues.The VA appraisal should also take a look at whether there is any damage done by a previous infestation, such as rotted wood or significant repairs needed.
  • No safety or health hazards. It seems like this should go without saying, but your VA loans appraisal is concerned with identifying any potential health or safety risks that this property poses. This could include exposed wires, leaking sinks, or a dry rotted roof. Anything that poses a concern for safety is noted and needs to be repaired.
  • No lead-based paint. Older homes may have been decorated using lead-based paints prior to the year 1978. The dust created by this paint can lead to lead poisoning. Your inspector should check to make sure that the paint on the walls does not fall into this category.

VA Home InspectionThe basic premise of a VA appraisal is to make sure that your potential home can live up to all of these minimum property requirements.

Sometimes, that turns out not to be the case. Before you despair over potentially losing your dream home, you may still be able to work out a way to secure financing for this specific property.

Depending on the issues and the agreeability of the sellers, the current homeowners may be willing to make the necessary repairs.

You may even be able to cover the cost of the repairs yourself in order to move forward with the financing. Either way, these minimum property standards should be met on any home you will live in.

These standards aren’t set out by the federal government simply because they are guaranteeing a portion of your financing. These are standards that all properties should meet to make your living spaces safe and sound.

If the property doesn’t meet these minimum standards, you may really want to consider whether it’s going to be the best house for you. You should always have the option to walk away from the purchase and continue on with a new search for the perfect home.

VA Appraisal Timeline

How long can you expect this stage of your financing approval to take? Many new home buyers are anxious to get themselves into their new home and resent the idea of waiting for an additional step. Understanding the VA loan appraisal timeline can help you to prepare yourself for the anticipated time required to complete this essential step.

It begins when the lender (or another member of your loan team) sends the official request to the VA.

This notifies them that you are ready to move forward with the VA home inspection for minimum property requirements. An appraiser will be assigned to your file and schedule a time to complete the walkthrough.

The VA will send out an independent inspector to take care of this step. A third-party who works for neither the Department of Veterans Affairs nor your lender ensures that you are getting an objective look at the home.

They do not have to protect anyone else’s interests in financing the property except for yours.

Overall, it should take ten business days or less to compile the full report. Homeowners may experience a delay in some areas where there could be a shortage of available independent inspectors. It’s always best to plan for a few extra days just in case something else arises that you weren’t expecting.

Fortunately, the appraisal process is relatively short. This gives you plenty of time to move forward with a home inspection as well if you choose to do so.

VA Home Appraisal Fees

As you may have already guessed, a VA appraisal isn’t completely free. The prospective home buyer is required to pay for the appraisal upfront whenever the task is completed. Many home buyers choose to have a thorough home inspection completed first in order to spare them from paying the VA appraisal fee on a property they won’t purchase. This is one way to save money on a house that could be a potential money pit.

However, they are both essential aspects of making a wise investment and the appraisal is non-negotiable.

Your VA appraisal should cost anywhere from $300 to $500, depending on the state and the type of home you purchase. For example, a VA appraisal on a single-family home is typically more expensive than a similar appraisal on a manufactured home. You will be responsible for this fee at the time services are rendered.

The initial cost could be reimbursed during your closing costs based on your negotiations with the seller. It isn’t a guarantee that you will be able to recoup these costs though.

Read more about VA Appraisal Fees here.

VA Appraisal Challenges

va home appraisalSometimes, a property does not appraise for the list price when your appraiser determines the fair market value of the property. Lenders may hesitate to offer financing on a property that isn’t worth as much as you are currently projected to pay. If you were to default on the loan, they would not be able to recoup their costs based on what the property could potentially sell for.

When this happens, homebuyers are presented with a few different choices. The simplest option is to walk away from the property and find another house that would suit your needs. Unfortunately, most buyers are very committed to a specific property by the time the appraisal returns. You may not want to start the house hunting all over again.

The second option is to request that the seller lower the price to meet the fair market value determined by the appraiser. You may have some success with this method and still be able to secure full financing for the property. The seller could opt to meet you in the middle of the appraised value and the list price, which still leaves you in a bit of a bind.

You may be required to bring cash to closing if you still want to proceed with a home that costs more than it’s worth.

For many prospective buyers, this isn’t going to be a possibility. One of the largest advantages of opting for a VA loan is that no down payment is required. Buyers may not have thousands of dollars saved up to cover the additional expense of putting down money at closing.

It’s even possible that you don’t believe the appraisal was completed fairly or accurately. Perhaps you found comparable properties in the area that appraised for much higher than what your desired property did. You can always call the appraisal itself into question with a Reconsideration of Value appeal.

Reconsideration of Value

A home buyer, lender, or real estate agent can request that the appraisal be reconsidered by submitting what is known as a Reconsideration of Value (ROV).

You will need to notify your lender of the request and give them an opportunity to review both the appraisal and the reasons why you believe it should be reconsidered.

If you have any substantial claim to request a revised appraisal, the lender will then forward the information over to the appraiser who was initially assigned to your property.

It will require a lot more work on your part than simply signing a letter requesting this ROV. Research other properties in the area of your pending sale to be used as comps, explain why remodeling changes boosted the home’s market value, and any other details you find pertinent that weren’t accurately included in the initial appraisal report.

Furthermore, you should even take the time to thoroughly check and recheck the numbers in the first appraisal.

It’s possible that there were errors in addition or other math sections that led to a lower appraisal value. These are relatively easy to fix, but they can take quite some time to spot.

The Reconsideration of Value is still not a guarantee that the home will appraise for the asking price.

If this doesn’t yield any results, you will have to come to grips with one of the three main options you have left: renegotiate with the seller, bring money to the closing, or walk away from the property altogether.

Conclusion

A VA home appraisal is a necessary part of the home buying process when you make use of this advantageous federal program. It can help to ensure that the home meets some very basic minimum property standards and allows you to make sure you receive a good deal on the property. Be certain not to confuse it with a VA home inspection though.

Take the time to carefully read over any appraisal reports generated on a potential property. You should know everything there is to know about a home you plan to purchase. Allow this stage to help you make an informed decision about the purchase of a particular property.

VA Appraisal FAQs

VA Home Appraisal faq

What is the difference between a VA appraisal and a VA home inspection?

A VA appraisal is designed to assess the fair market value of a property and ensure it meets the minimum property standards. It provides a cursory look at some of the most important features related to safety and health in the property. A VA home inspection is a separate process that takes a much more in-depth look at any potential issues with the property.

Only the VA home appraisal is typically required, but it’s highly recommended that you have both.

What does a VA loans appraisal cost?

The cost for a VA loan appraisal varies based on the type of property you are attempting to purchase and the state in which it is located. For detailed specifications regarding the appraisal price, you can select your state from this list.

Are there new appraisal requirements in 2018?

No, there are no new appraisal requirements for 2018.

Who orders the VA appraisal?

Anyone who has an interest in the sale of the property may order the VA appraisal, but it is preferred that the lender initiate the request.

I got an appraisal. Do I have to get a home inspection too?

Only the VA appraisal is absolutely required for the purchase of the home. However, a VA appraisal takes only a cursory glance at some of the main areas of the house to determine if it meets the minimum property standards. A home inspection, while optional, is highly recommended because it takes a more thorough look at the state of the home.

What are the VA minimum property requirements?

  • Residential property with adequate living space
  • Safe electrical and plumbing systems
  • Adequate heating
  • Clean drinking water availability
  • Sturdy roofing
  • Street-accessible
  • No defective construction
  • Current termite inspection
  • No safety or health hazards
  • No lead-based paint

Why did my home fail the VA Home appraisal?

Your potential property could fail the VA Home Appraisal for an inability to meet any of the minimum property requirements. This often means that the home doesn’t have adequate heating or electrical systems, has a roof in disrepair, or is infested with pests (including termites). However, this list is by no means exhaustive of all the possible ways a property could fail the VA appraisal.

Resources

How-to Challenge a VA Loan Appraisal

Appraisers/Staff Appraisal Reviewer

Should I Apply for Another Credit Card?

You might be wondering how many credit cards you should have, and if you’re ready to apply for another one. While there isn’t really one answer since everyone is different, there are some things you should keep in mind when you’re applying for your second or third credit card. While it sounds enticing to have a credit card that offers tons of rewards, a credit card for airline miles, and a credit card for groceries, this isn’t usually the best idea.

Contrary to popular belief, having multiple credit cards does not typically affect your credit score. Your total debt owed makes up 30% while your payment history makes up 35% of your FICO score. Other things that factor into your FICO score is new credit, credit history length, and the type of credit you use. According to Value Penguin, Americans carry 2.35 credit cards on average.

Differing Networks

It’s always a good idea to have two cards from differing networks. This means you can have one Mastercard and one Visa, or one Discover and one AMEX, or one Mastercard and one Discover – the options are endless. This is a good idea if you’re ever somewhere that accepts only one form of card such as Mastercard. Similarly, some places don’t accept AMEX, so it’s always a good idea to have a second or third one of a different network on hand.

Consider Your Personal Finances

If you’re someone who always pays back their credit card on time and has a great credit score, then go ahead and apply for another credit card. On the other hand, if you’re someone who continuously maxes out their credit card and keeps missing payments, then it might be a good idea to hold off on another credit card – at least until you can pay back the debt you’ve accumulated with the other ones.

If you’re savvy about maximizing your cash back or rewards, then it’s a good idea to get a second or third card with a lot of benefits. That way, you can spend them at various places like airlines and grocery stores while you rack up points and cash back bonuses.

If you have poor credit, we suggest only having a secured credit card. A secured credit card requires a deposit and helps you build up your credit while you pay the card off.

You’re Planning to Buy a House or Car

If you’re planning to buy a house or a car in the near future – we’re talking within six months – then it’s a good idea to hold off on getting another credit card. Opening a credit card lowers your credit score which could impact your chances of getting approval for a mortgage or car loan. Stick with what you have now and work on improving your credit score for the time being if it’s low.

There are many factors that go into how many credit cards you should have. One of the most important things to consider is your personal finances and payment history with other credit cards. If you feel you’ve been responsible with your past credit cards and can reap the benefits of having more, then start applying today! If you have poor credit and would like to stabilize your finances before applying for another card, then hold off until you are more ready.  

The Lesson of Marvin Miller, Not Just a Baseball Player’s Champion

Labor leader and union organizer Marvin Miller, the man who revolutionized the business of baseball in America, died this week at age 95. As executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1966 to 1982, Miller’s signature achievement was overturning the game’s 100-year-old “reserve clause” – the contract provision that chained a player permanently to the team that originally signed him.

By ushering in the age of free agency in which baseball players could finally sell their talents to the highest bidder, he transformed the economic landscape of the national pastime. In the process, he helped make his player-constituents, as well as the generations of athletes who followed them, wealthy — many of them exuberantly so.

Over the course of his leadership — and largely because of the union’s solidarity during a few bitter strikes and lockouts over the years — Miller succeeded in increasing player salaries enormously. He also created an arbitration system for salary negotiations, beefed up the league’s pension plan substantially and infused his players with the professional dignity and economic influence that other American workers had achieved for themselves over the preceding decades through the power of collective bargaining and aggressive union actions.

A hero to some, yes, but there is a strange dissonance between Miller’s legacy and the lessons we should be learning from his life’s work, especially during these times of dwindling union membership and organized labor’s reduced clout, vs. a resurgence of capital accretion and management’s growing power and privilege.

Marvin Miller’s Legacy vs. His Lesson

Miller’s legacy, arguably, is that he succeeded so brilliantly – average player salaries were $19,000 per year in 1966 and today they are more than $3 million – that we no longer see baseball players as just another group of oppressed working stiffs who needed to do battle against entrenched and unjustly wielded economic power. Let’s face it: these guys make pretty good money for knocking a ball around, certainly much, much more than the vast majority of us who watch them do it.

What we should be considering, though, is the overall lesson Miller taught. That is, whenever and wherever workers organize and collectively bargain for their own benefit and win the fight, management also tends to reach new heights of economic prosperity. No one can argue, for example, that MLB owners have not shared in the wealth generated by the modern sports industry that Miller’s efforts helped to create, regardless of the astronomical pay packages of some of the game’s biggest stars.

And that paradigm is true in any industry — not just baseball — whether it’s the high-tech field where the Microsoft workers of the world remain non-unionized, or where low-tech Walmart employees struggle for fair wages and decent benefits. A well-paid, unionized work force need not be an impediment to management’s long-term profit potential.

Henry Ford understood this dynamic a century ago: management needs labor to have enough money to spend so that goods and services don’t languish and die for a lack of buyers. His own workers needed to be paid enough to be able to afford the very cars they manufactured, so he raised their wages, sold more cars and made more money.

But just as important is the notion that society as a whole benefits when labor wins its contests with capital, because no civilization in history has staved off decline for long when the gap between the haves and the have-nots reached a critical mass.

And while $3 million might be overstating the case, when Walmart workers need food stamps to feed their families and fast-food workers makes wages that keep them below the Federal Poverty Level, we’re getting perilously close to a dangerous tipping point.

Needed: Another Marvin Miller

Miller was a trained economist. Before baseball, he cut his teeth in trade union struggles between working class steel workers and their factory bosses. He was a veteran of hundreds of union negotiations, and professional baseball was simply another arena where the classic, adversarial battle between labor and management needed to be played out.

When he arrived at the helm of the Players Association, he found a baseball industry completely under the control of the team owners – some of the wealthiest men in the country – who treated players like indentured servants. He also found a loosely knit membership of ballplayers who were neither educated in the principles of collective bargaining and union tactics, nor knowledgeable concerning their own worth as irreplaceable, skilled talent.

So, while figuring out how to take on the owners, he also had to tutor his new employers in economic theory and labor relations strategy, and most importantly, convince them that they needed to coalesce around a set of demands that they would be willing to go to the mat for.

Today, in modern America, whether it’s in the hi-tech digital domain, the long aisles of the big box stores, or the kitchens of our fast food outlets, the income gap between workers and owners continues to widen and the working class is losing more and more of its share of the nation’s wealth.

So perhaps what we need today is another Marvin Miller — someone whose acumen, negotiating skill, strong will and unassailable moral compass can galvanize the needs and yearnings of the current generation of oppressed working stiffs being poorly used by the economy’s new “team” owners.

Who’s going to lead the way in leveling the country’s economic playing field, just like Marvin Miller did for America’s Field of Dreams?

Why It Pays to Stage Your Home

Staged homes sell over eighty percent faster than homes that are not staged.  After having lived in one of the hottest home markets in America – Los Angeles – and working in home staging in that same city, I can say from personal experience that the difference staging a home makes in the sale of that home is significant.  That said, the numbers speak for themselves. It’s estimated that for every hundred dollars invested in staging, the potential return is four hundred.  So how do you stage a home, what might it cost and why should you do it?

What is home staging?

Home staging is the process of adding furniture and decorative accessories to a house to make it look lived in, or present it as it might look if it were lived in.  It not only makes a home more beautiful, but it allows your buyers to imagine what life in the house might look like. Rather than presenting empty rooms, adding furniture, magazines, plants, and art creates a live, dynamic space that can excite and inspire your buyers.  In addition, you have the opportunity to highlight the features of your home, such as that dramatic high ceiling or cute, cozy nook. In addition, you can make the not-so-great spaces present better, changing the focus of a room with an awkward layout, for example, from its faults to instead how the space can flow and function.  

How much does home staging cost?

Home stagers’ rates will vary largely depending on your location.  In a large city like Los Angeles, a complete home staging can easily reach over $5000, while the national average for a complete staging is closer to $2000.  Staging costs will also vary according to how large your home is, how many rooms you want to stage, and whether or not your home is vacant.  As you might imagine, the larger the staging space is, the higher the cost will be. If your home is vacant, furniture rental will be required.  If your home is not vacant and you don’t want to do a full staging replacing your existing furniture, you can also consult with a stager to decide how to simply work with your existing arrangement for a much lower cost.  The level of staging is up to you, and a consultation with a stager is usually a good place to start to get ideas about your options. Consultations usually cost a couple to a few hundred dollars for a walk-through to decide how to best present your home.

Why should you stage your home?

As mentioned, the statistics don’t lie.  Staged homes on average sell much faster than empty homes – in some cases more than twice as fast – with the average staged home staying on the market less than a month.  Meanwhile, depending on which survey you reference, the sale price of staged homes ranges anywhere from six percent to seventeen or even twenty percent higher than non-staged homes.  Especially in today’s day and age, where the majority of potential buyers look at homes on the internet before even deciding which ones to visit in person, having great photos of your beautifully staged home alongside your listing can help you get more buyers through your door.  

Home staging can be a great tool for helping to sell your home in any market.  While you don’t want to depend on it as a last resort to sell your house or use it as an excuse to overprice your home, home staging can reinvent your house as a new and enticing option for potential buyers, and offer a great return on investment when you do decide to sell.  

Absolute Resolutions Investments LLC

Debt collection is a pervasive part of life in America. Nearly 70 million Americans were contacted by debt collectors in 2017, and that number is continuing to grow in the current climate.

If you have a debt that has moved to collections, you may start hearing from a company called Absolute Resolutions Investments LLC.

They are a third-party collector that has been hired by your original lender or provider to collect money for your debt.

Absolute Resolutions Investments LLC uses a number of tactics to bully consumers into paying debts, such as incessant phone calls and letters.

These are certainly frustrating, but they are not the worst thing about having a debt collector on your trail.

In order to legally collect money from you, Absolute Resolutions Investments LLC must first open up a collection account on your credit report.

This entry tells reviewers that you have a history of non-payment and it can affect your credit score and ability to qualify for loans.

You can prevent this collection entry from causing extensive damage to your credit score by removing it before it’s too late.

To learn more about how to deal with Absolute Resolutions Investments LLC, check out our guide below.

What is Absolute Resolutions Investments LLC?

Also known as ARI, Absolute Resolutions Investments LLC is a small collection agency based out of Bloomington, MN.

They have been in business since 2001.

Absolute Resolutions Investments LLC is sometimes called Absolute Resolution Corp, so don’t get confused if you hear both names being thrown around.

They collect a variety of debt types including credit card debt, financed purchases, retail debt, utility bills, and more.

How to Deal with Absolute Resolutions Investments LLC

The trick to dealing with any debt collector is to understand your rights and use them to help remove collection accounts from your credit report.

Here are the three essential steps to dealing with Absolute Resolutions Investments LLC’s entry on your credit report.

Understand Your FDCPA Rights

Most consumers with debt are completely unaware that there are laws that protect their rights.

Specifically, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) protects consumers from abuse, deception, and harassment from debt collectors.

Under the FDCPA, Absolute Resolutions Investments LLC is bound to the following conditions:

  • They cannot contact anyone but you about the debt.
  • They cannot threaten you with wage garnishment or lawsuits without intending to do so.
  • They cannot call you at inappropriate hours, specifically before 8 a.m., or after 9 p.m.
  • They cannot use profane or obscene language.
  • They cannot misrepresent themselves as a government or court official on the phone.

The FDCPA also affords consumers the right to ask Absolute Resolutions Investments LLC to make adjustments to how they communicate with you, such as only communicating through U.S. Mail. You should take advantage of this for a number of reasons.

First, having Absolute Resolutions Investments LLC only communicate with you in writing allows you to keep track of their correspondence.

If they are bombarding you with letters or communicating threats, you can hold onto them and report them to the CFPB or BBB.

Second, you can hold them to any promises they make you. Debt collectors are notorious for saying one thing and then turning around and doing the opposite.

Having written communication allows you to refer back to previous conversations and have tangible proof of agreements. This will come in handy later on.

Get a Free Copy of Your Credit Report

Request Debt Validation

Another right that is set forth by the FDCPA is the right for you to ask Absolute Resolutions Investments LLC to validate your debt.

Essentially, you are asking them to provide proof that you are the true owner of the debt and that they are allowed to collect it.

It is highly important that you do not procrastinate this step. The FDCPA only guarantees the right to request debt validation within the first 30 days of contact with a debt collector.

If you wait beyond that, Absolute Resolutions Investments LLC is not required to provide debt validation.

The first thing you will need to do to get this process started is to write a debt validation letter. This is easier than it sounds.

We have a debt validation letter template that can help you get started.

Once you send this to Absolute Resolutions Investments LLC, you should hear back in about 30 days.

They will send you lots of documents that are meant to prove that they have all the information they need to collect the debt.

Go through each page and review the information. If you see something that looks inaccurate, make a note, and compare it with your own information on the debt.

You can then file a dispute with the major credit bureaus.

If they find that Absolute Resolutions Investments LLC is reporting false information, they will remove the account.

You will no longer be on the hook for paying the debt at all.

Work Out a Settlement

If you are unable to get the entry removed through debt validation, your next step is to settle up with Absolute Resolutions Investments LLC.

You will need to work out a pay-for-delete settlement with them in order to remove the collection account.

A pay-for-delete agreement is a pretty self-explanatory concept.

A debt collector will agree to stop reporting the debt to the three major credit bureaus in exchange for your payment on the debt.

What Absolute Resolutions Investments LLC will not reveal is that they are sometimes willing to let you pay less than the full amount to get a deletion.

This is because most debt collectors purchase debts for pennies on the dollar and don’t need you to pay the full amount in order to make their money back.

Offer to pay Absolute Resolutions Investments LLC half of the total amount of the debt and see how they respond.

They will likely try to work you up from that, which is fine as long as they agree to fully delete the collection account.

Once you come to an agreement on payment amount and terms, have Absolute Resolutions Investments LLC send you a letter that clearly states the agreed-upon terms.

Once you receive this letter, make your first payment on the debt.

You should notice that Absolute Resolutions Investments LLC’s entry disappears from your credit report within about a month of submitting your first payment.

If it does not, you will need to reach back out to them and remind them that they need to delete the account.

Hire a Credit Repair Professional

If you are having trouble dealing with Absolute Resolutions Investments LLC on your own, you should turn to the help of a credit repair specialist.

I recommend working with Lexington Law. They have many years of experience helping people just like you take control of their credit again.

Ask Lex Law for Help

Does Absolute Resolutions Investments LLC Have Any Complaints?

Debt collectors are notorious for being aggressive line-steppers.

There are rules that they are supposed to follow regarding proper debt collection, but they often ignore them in order to go after people’s money. Absolute Resolutions Investments LLC is no different.

Absolute Resolutions Investments LLC has had several complaints filed against them with various oversight bureaus such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

The majority of these complaints are in regard to violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

Conclusion

Removing Absolute Resolutions Investments LLC from your credit report can be difficult at times, but it is not impossible.

You can clean up your credit report by following the steps outlined above and staying on top of the situation.

Do you have any tips on how to deal with debt collectors like Absolute Resolutions Investments LLC? Feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Unemployment Drops as Job Market Shows Slow Growth

Unemployment rates fell this week, and analysts are predicting a further decline as more businesses reopen in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

Weekly unemployment benefit applications fell by 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 393,000 applications, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The previous week saw 416,000 initial claims with a four-week average of 405,250 initial claims.

The decline this week follows a sharp spike in the wake of Sandy that pushed the unemployment applications to 451,000. The storm, which made landfall on October 29, cut off power to more than 8 million homes and businesses in 10 Mid-Atlantic states. Today, many of these businesses are beginning to reopen and resume normal operations.

Unemployment Falls in Half of Metro Areas

Of the 372 largest cities in the United States, unemployment rates dropped in 201 metro areas. The rates rose in 116 and did not change in 55 cities. The Labor Department also said that 180 cities have an unemployment rate below 7 percent – which is up from 107 cities the same time last year.

Of the largest cities in the United States, many in the West are continuing to see some of the highest unemployment rates. Yuma, Ariz., tops the list of those with the highest unemployment rate, with 29.8 percent. That is followed by eight California cities – El Centro, Yuba City, Merced, Visalia-Porterville, Modesto, Fresno, Hanford-Corcoran and Stockton – and Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton, N.J.,, with rates that range from 28.1 percent unemployment to 13.3 percent.

At the same time, some Midwestern cities have some of the lowest unemployment rates nationwide. Bismarck, N.D., boasts an unemployment rate of 2.2 percent. That is followed by Fargo and Grand Forks, both in North Dakota, with unemployment rates of 2.8 and 3.1, respectively. Other cities, including Lincoln, Neb.; Midland, Texas; and Iowa City, Iowa, follow, with equally low rates.

Unemployment Benefits Help to Stabilize Economy

Overall, state and federal unemployment insurance programs have cost about $520 billion in the past five years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The jobless typically receive 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits and then shift to the federal jobless benefits, called Emergency Unemployment Compensation, for up to another 47 weeks.

Congress first enacted the federal benefits in 2008. These federal funds are scheduled to stop at the end of the year if lawmakers don’t make some changes. More than 2 million Americans would lose benefits at that point. The Congressional Budget Office said that preserving these unemployment benefits would help add 300,000 more jobs nationwide.

“The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, independent economists, and policy think tanks have consistently found that unemployment insurance is one of our best economic stabilizers and generates tremendous bang for the buck relative to other economic policies,” Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., wrote in a letter to party leaders this week. “Given the potency and efficiency of unemployment insurance there should be no reason to let it lapse or expire.”

At the same time, the Federal Reserve is eyeing changes to interest rates but said it probably won’t happen until unemployment reaches 6.5 percent, which hasn’t happened since 2008.

va loan in missouri

VA Loan in Missouri – Loan Limits and Eligibility

What is a Missouri VA loan?

va loan in missouri
Applying for a VA loan in Missouri often has the most favorable terms and conditions. In fact, this program has the potential to save Missouri homeowners thousands of dollars.

Navigating through all of the financing options available for prospective home buyers can be overwhelming.

You should understand all of the benefits associated with a VA loan in Missouri to ensure that you receive the best possible financing.

We Specialize in Helping Veterans find Home Loans – Pre Qualify Today Click Here.

The VA loan program allows veterans and service members to receive better terms from their lenders. A private lender issues the financing with a small guarantee from the Department of Veterans Affairs on the overall loan value.

This makes lenders more likely to give out favorable terms and to approve individuals who may not qualify for traditional mortgage programs.

VA Loan in Missouri Benefits

va loan in MOThe benefits of receiving a VA loan in Missouri can save potential home buyers thousands of dollars in unnecessary fees. Find out the most advantageous parts of this loan program below.

No Down Payment

The largest upfront cost associated with purchasing a new home is your down payment. Traditional financing often requires a twenty percent down payment.

This could mean waiting a few years to purchase a home while you scrape together a large enough savings account.

With a VA loan in Missouri, home buyers are not necessarily required to come up with a down payment. This savings alone is what makes the program so appealing to potential buyers.

No Private Mortgage Insurance

When you purchase a home with little to no down payment, most lenders will require you to carry private mortgage insurance. This monthly fee usually equals 0.3 percent to 1.5 percent of the loan value each year.

It represents a significant cost to homeowners each month and may limit what sort of housing they can afford. A VA loan in Missouri does not require private mortgage insurance, which represents yet another source of savings.

No Penalty for Early Payoff

Some families dream of being debt-free and are willing to work hard to make that dream a reality. Paying off a mortgage early eliminates some of the cost associated with interest rates, but the fine print dictates what sort of penalties you will face for this. With a VA loan in Missouri, you won’t face any penalties or fees for choosing to pay off your loan early.

Loan Assistance Programs

The ultimate goal for VA loans is to make homeownership affordable for all individuals and families. If you are struggling with financial hardship and may be facing foreclosure, there are trained loan experts available to assist you through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

They can help to connect you with resources to prevent you from losing your home.

Eligibility

How can you qualify for a VA loan in Missouri? You must obtain a Certificate of Eligibility for meeting the service requirements set out by the government. The service requirements will vary based on your dates of service, the branch you served in, and your enlistment dates.

Surviving spouses may also qualify for a VA loan in Missouri if they meet the eligibility requirements.

You can find more information regarding the criteria for a Certificate of Eligibility here.

From there, you will need to find a property that qualifies for financing with a military mortgage. Single-family homes, condominiums in a VA-approved project, and manufactured homes with lots will all qualify. New construction homes are also allowed, and you can use a VA loan in Missouri to build your own home.

Some people may be interested in using VA loans to purchase and remodel a new property at the same time. The financing could also be used to install energy efficient upgrades or improvements to an existing property.

VA loans can be used to refinance your current home. This allows you to take advantage of lower VA loan rates in Missouri without selling your current property. Over the duration of your loan, this savvy move could save you thousands of dollars in interest.

Loan Limits by County in Missouri

missouri-st-louis-va loans
The amount of financing you receive in a VA loan is subject to approval by your lender. The final decision will be made based on your credit score, income level, debt-to-income ratio, and other factors. However, there are also VA loan limits in Missouri.

These loan limits are the maximum amount that can be borrowed for a home without making a down payment. Technically, there are no maximum loan amounts for this program but you will be required to come up with a down payment for homes in excess of the VA loan limits in Missouri.

The specific loan limit often varies by county with higher limits in areas that see significant increases in the cost of living. However, the VA loan limits in Missouri are all equal at $453,100 in every county.

Regional Loan Centers

There are eight regional loan centers available to offer assistance to veterans who want additional information about the VA loan program. You can connect with trained representatives who can answer questions regarding your eligibility, the application process, and how to get started with receiving a VA loan in Missouri.

This is also an ideal contact for homeowners who feel they may be facing foreclosure. A regional loan center can often connect you with available resources that could prevent this from occurring.

In Missouri, you would need to contact the regional loan center located in St. Paul.

Missouri Home Prices

Making sure you can pay the monthly mortgage payments on your new home is essential before you sign on the dotted line.

Take the time to research the real estate market in your state, as well as the specific prices of homes in your desired area. This can help you to make the decision about whether homeownership is truly affordable for you right now.

The median list price of homes in Missouri is currently at $165,900 with a square foot price of $106.

To compare it with two major cities, you can see the median list price for both Kansas City and St. Louis below:

Kansas City: $184,450 with square foot price of $119
St. Louis: $144,900 with square foot price of $117

Regional Benefit Offices

Contact the regional benefit office in your area if you have any questions about the VA loan program in Missouri. They may also have information regarding additional resources available in your area.

St. Louis Regional Benefit Office
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132

FAQs


I have bad credit. Can I get a VA loan in Missouri?

Yes, you can still qualify for a VA loan in Missouri with a low credit score. You will need to do additional research to find a lender who is willing to issue loans to individuals with bad credit. There are no minimum credit score requirements for this loan program though. If you can find a lender to issue the loan, the federal government will still guarantee your financing.

You may face higher VA loan rates in Missouri if you have bad credit.

Can a surviving spouse receive a VA loan in Missouri?

Yes, a surviving spouse who meets the eligibility requirements can receive a VA loan in Missouri. You must be either un-remarried or remarried past the age of 57 and after December 6, 2003. You must also meet the following criteria:

  • Must be the spouse of a veteran who died while in service or from a service-connected disability
  • Must be the spouse of a service member who is missing in action or a prisoner of war
  • Must be the spouse of a totally disabled veteran whose disability may not have been the cause of death
  • What is the VA loan rate in Missouri?

    The government does not set a specific VA loan rate in Missouri. Instead, each individual will receive an interest rate based on their personal financial history, economic factors, and the private lender. These rates will fluctuate over time, so be sure to check with your lender to see what today’s VA loan rates in Missouri happen to be.