Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Broken News! Call a Mortgage Professional to Discuss Your Down Payment Options

Yesterday, Shaun Donovan, the Secretary of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) announced at the morning session of a meeting of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) that HUD intended to allow the use of the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit as collateral on a bridge loan to assist borrowers with the 3.5% down payment required for an FHA loan and any closing costs. This was also posted on HUD's website Monday night in Mortgagee Letter 09-15. That posting has since been rescinded and pulled.

Why was this pulled? Because HUD had not fully prepared for this. Thank goodness they did not allow you to print coupons for it. Think if this had been announced on Oprah, and she had said to go to Well, this has happened to an extent.

Many Realtors, home builders, (and even some Mortgage Professionals) who have an active blog or Twitter account, have been shouting from their virtual rooftops that this is now available to First Time Home Buyers. IT IS NOT!!!!! It never was! I waited to post or tweet about this because it is too easy to get expectations built too high without the facts to support them. Secretary Donovan delivered the announcement in a prepared statement so it cannot be said that it was an idle comment by the Secretary. And, the Mortgagee Letter 09-15 was posted for awhile on the HUD website exhibiting that they had full intention of carrying this out. However, many things were not yet in place to allow this to happen at this time. Who would underwrite and fund the bridge loans? Will the IRS allow assignment of the tax credit to a third party?

The moral of this story? Be wary of "Breaking News" in real estate. Seek advice on property matters from your Realtor. A proper Mortgage Professional will always refer you to your Real Estate Professional for advice on selection, pricing, negotiation, etc. But, at the risk of upsetting my Realtor friends, partners and future partners, please seek advice on real estate financing from your Mortgage Professional. There is a vast array of programs and terms to suit prospective homeowners. These programs and guidelines change every day. Rate sheets have a life span of less than 6 hours in today's market. There are many down payment options from no-down and low-down to all you care to put down. This never-even-official program was not the only way to go. Allow your Mortgage Professional to prepare for you the best package of rate and term to meet your situation and desires. Allow your Realtor to find you the best home at the best price to you meet your situation and desires.

My role is to work as a teammate in the purchase of your home. I may post here about home values in our market. I do so, not as an appraiser or Realtor, but as an active participant in the real estate profession and to help Oklahomans understand that much of the national news about home values does not affect us here. National news affects lending guidelines for local buyers but not local values. I will NOT advise a client on the proper price to pay for a home (or to sell it for). I WILL advise them on the amount they can be approved for and how to pay for it. I will NOT advise a client on where to buy a home. I WILL advise them on what loan programs may be available in certain areas. Additionally, although I am knowledgeable on the First Time Home Buyer tax credit and other tax advantages of home ownership, I will NOT attempt to replace their current trusted tax professional or give specific advice on my clients' situation. I WILL link to IRS Form 5405 for reference and convenience.

If I can help you (buyers, Realtors, sellers - you will need approval for a new home), please let me know. It would be my pleasure to serve you with sound advice and not hype.

Tim Epps


Anonymous said...

Great reporting, Tim! What a big letdown from HUD. They should have known better.

Michael Siegle said...

But the link to the form 9-15ML is still up on the hud website.

Or more directly...


Tim Epps said...


You are correct that Mortgagee Letter 09-15 is now on the site. As of the writing of this post, it had been removed. HUD clarified their position on 5/29 and reposted ML09-15

I am preparing a new post with the updated information.

Thank you for your comment.