Friday, August 7, 2009

Southern Oregon Seniors, Did You Know You Could Use A Reverse Mortgage To PURCHASE A Home?

A lot of information goes around about the Reverse Mortgage that is the tool many senior homeowner’s choose to use to help bridge the gap between their retirement benefits and their everyday expenses, but Southern Oregon Seniors, did you know you could use a Reverse Mortgage to PURCHASE a home? The general terms are the same as when you already own a home and take out a Reverse Mortgage, aka “Home Equity Conversion Mortgage” or “H.E.C.M.”.

Some general program details:

-You must be 62+ years old
-You never have to make monthly payments on the amount you borrow
-Credit history and income do not matter. The amount of money available to you is based on your home’s appraised value and/or the FHA loan limit (currently $625,500 nationwide) and your age
-Money may be disbursed to the homeowner in a lump sum, through monthly payments or accessed through a home equity line of credit.
-This is a non-recourse loan, meaning the homeowner(s) or heirs can never owe more than the home is worth
-You must reside in the home more than 50% of the year, which will be checked annually
-You must pay your property taxes and homeowner’s insurance, and maintain upkeep on the home.
-When the day comes you no longer live in the home, you or your heirs have time to make arrangements to refinance or sell the home and payoff the Reverse Mortgage

So, if you have sold a home and are purchasing another, you might want to consider using a Reverse Purchase Mortgage, which might work something like this:

Buyer is 65 years old, purchasing a home for $300,000 and is considering paying cash for it. You cover your down payment and closing costs, financing the rest with the Reverse Purchase Mortgage – A HUD FHA insured home loan that has no monthly payments – leaving almost $175,000, with which you may supplement retirement benefits, earn interest, save for a Rainy Day.

Sound like the solution you and your family have been looking for? Call or e-mail for more details.

See you at the closing table!

Karen Cooper – OR/CA Mortgage Consultant –

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Southern Oregon First Time Home Buyers! Need Down Payment Assistance?

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Southern Oregon First Time Home Buyers! Need Down Payment Assistance?

Are you a First Time Home Buyer in Southern Oregon who thinks you have to rent because you haven’t been able to save for a down payment? Think again! Down Payment assistance funds are once again available to eligible first time home buyers meeting the income criteria. As always, funding is limited, so don’t wait! Call or e-mail me for further details.

See you at the closing table!

Karen Cooper – OR/CA Mortgage Consultant –

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Thinking of Buying A Foreclosure Home In Southern Oregon?

Here in Southern Oregon, in the traditional peak buying season we’re seeing quite a bit of activity in the lower price ranges of the real estate market. Even Ashland, where prices are at the higher end of the scale for the Rogue Valley, sales are picking up. In Medford, White City, Central Point, Eagle Point the under $200,000 price ranges are seeing a flurry of activity, especially heavy in the lower price ranges where both first time home buyers looking to take advantage of the $8000 tax credit before it sunsets December 1, 2009 AND investors who are seeing price ranges that will cash flow and meet their investment goals are competing against each other. The inventory of available homes is shrinking consistently now, with the Mar-May 2009 number of homes on the market 27% less than the same period in 2008. Foreclosure sales are still representing a large percentage of these sales, and this market segment is likely to pick up a bit more when the State once again releases the funding for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, probably sometime toward mid to end of July.

So, how does the “average buyer” buy a foreclosure home? Typically, you won’t find the average buyer on the courthouse steps trying to pick up a bargain through the Trustee’s Sale. This is where you will find the sophisticated, experienced investors who know the risks associated with purchasing foreclosed homes in this manner. The average buyer is working with their savvy, experienced Realtor, who has explained the many risks associated with these “as is” purchases where the bank who owns the property has no idea of how the property was treated by previous occupants. Their Realtor is advising their buyers how to limit risk and protect themselves through home inspections and other more specific types of inspections specific to a property, such as septic system and well/ water flow/quality inspections and certifications. And, their Realtor is watching for these properties to come on the market – knowing even before they are on the Multiple Listing Service that they are coming down the pipe, letting their buyers position themselves to pounce as they come on the market.

Sound intimidating? With the right professionals on your team, it doesn’t need to be. Southern Oregon Buyers are finding amazing deals this way. They are choosing their own Realtor to look out for their best interests vs. the bank’s representatives who are looking out for the banks. Here are some financing tools that may help you if you choose to buy a foreclosure/bank-owned home:

Home Path – Fannie Mae’s specific program for buyers purchasing a home that Fannie Mae owns. A “standard program”, or a “renovation program” for homes in need of some work. Fannie Mae works with local Realtors and Lenders on the sale of their homes so you may work with your chosen professionals. Here are the general highlights:
  • Low down payment and flexible mortgage terms (fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, or interest-only)You may qualify even if your credit is less than perfect
  • Available to both owner occupiers and investors
  • Down payment (at least 3 percent) can be funded by your own savings; a gift; a grant; or a loan from a nonprofit organization, state or local government, or employer
  • No mortgage insurance
  • No appraisal fees
  • HomePath Renovation Mortgage Financing to fund both your purchase and light renovation
HUD Homes – These homes went back to HUD after an FHA loan was foreclosed upon. This foreclosure process is a slow one, so we haven’t seen many of these on the market in our area, but we do see a handful of them in our area. With only $100 down payment required, plus other buyer incentives, buyers may find they are paying as much as they are paying for rent, but own their own home.

Neighborhood Stabilization Program – This federal program that was devised as part of the stimulus packages approved in late 2008 has had a slow start getting to market so buyers may use it. Eligible Buyers purchasing foreclosed homes in the eligible areas that have seen a high concentration of foreclosures may get up to $50,000 to be used for matching down payment, closing costs, prepaid expenses, eligible repairs and mortgage reduction. A recent change in June has led to further investigations by the State of Oregon who administers the program. This process will hopefully be complete and the program re-released for eligible buyers purchasing foreclosure homes

USDA Guaranteed Rural Housing – This program is not specific to foreclosure properties as are those programs listed above, but it does have a unique feature that allows for a “holdback” of up to $10,000 for repairs to be made after close of escrow that may be financed. Buyers meeting the income/property eligibility requirements of this program end up with a great government loan with no down payment and no mortgage insurance required.

Some of these programs have income limits, some have population/area limits, so feel free to check with me to see what is available to you based on your individual circumstances.

See you at the closing table!

Karen Cooper – OR/CA Mortgage Consultant –

Monday, June 8, 2009

Who Is Krista Bolf, Principal Broker at Coldwell Banker Prowest in Ashland?

Although Krista Bolf, principal broker at Coldwell Banker ProWest in Ashland Oregon has an impressive list of credentials that go with her, it is the person behind the resume that impresses me the most.

Having had the pleasure of working on several transactions with Krista since we first met while working together on a Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity and Ashland Community Land Trust project in 2006 and taught the HUD approved “ABC’s of Homebuying” at Rogue Community College, I’ve since seen Krista’s clients benefit from her sharp negotiating skills, solid knowledge base about the Rogue Valley properties and issues, and her extraordinary listening abilities. I do not hesitate to refer home buyers who are in need of good representation on their home purchase, be it their first home, move up home or an investment purchase, knowing they are in good hands. Together Krista and her business partner Rick Harris can – and have – handled these transactions smoothly and professionally every time.

Personally, Krista has consulted with me and my husband on multiple transactions, from our house to a rental home to general market information on commercial property decisions we have contemplated. Even when the information provided led to us holding off on listing our property due to market conditions, Krista has earned our respect and confidence with her professionalism, straightforwardness and follow through. And her dry wit can be very much appreciated in the circumstances we sometimes find ourselves working in with today’s real estate/mortgage industry.

Alright, alright…enjoy the list of Krista’s accomplishments. But, you’ll need to meet her in person to wholly appreciate the Krista Bolf I have come to know.

Licensed Realtor in Oregon since 1994

Licensed in California 1990 to 1994

REALTOR Membership Service

- Oregon Association of Realtors, 2009 President Elect

- Executive Committee 2006-2007

- Business Issues KOG Chair 2006

- Business Issues KOG 2004-2007

Rogue Valley Association of Realtors
- Realtor of the Year 2009
- Realtor Image Award 2006

- Oregon Association of Realtors Director 2007

- Affiliates Committee 2002-2003 Ashland Board of Realtors

- Secretary 1995 – 1997 REALTOR Designations Advanced Training

- ABR - Accredited Buyer Representative Specialized Buyer Agency training

- CRS - Certified Residential Specialist Less than 5% of Realtors nationwide achieve this specialized training


- Trainer 1999 - 2006

- HUD approved “ABC’s of Homebuying” Instructor

Other Affiliations

- Ashland Community Land Trust President 2002,2003, 2005,2006

- Women's Council of Realtors

International Real Estate

- International Corporation de Inversiones

- Real estate sales and construction in Mexico

- AMPI-Association of Real Estate Professionals

- TRC–Transnational Referral Certified Agent

- Subscriber Member of

See you out there!
Karen Cooper – OR/CA Mortgage Consultant –

Monday, June 1, 2009

Ready...Set...WAIT! No, DON'T Wait!

Have you ever played "On your mark...Get Set....Wait!" with your kids? Or, "Red Light, Green Light"? I know my husband and I have done this, and are learning as time goes by that this isn't a bad lesson for our kids to get in the world we live in today. I'm thinking I wish someone had played "ready set wait!" with me a bit more when I was a kid, so I might be a bit more tolerant of the world I live in today - especially when it comes to the real estate/mortgage industry!

Monetizing the $8,000 tax credit
HUD Secretary Donovan opened mouth and insert foot at the National Association of Realtors convention in Washington, D.C., announcing a wee bit early that the guidelines had been changed so that eligible FHA home buyers could have their participating lenders "monetize" tax credit funds they are eligible for so that these buyers may use these funds to meet the minimum 3.5% down payment requirements on FHA home loans. I'm glad Secretary Donovan did this, because although this announcement and its associated Mortgage Letter were retracted until the fine nuances were ironed out, Friday May 29th a new letter was issued. So, eligible first time home buyers, call your lenders and see if they are participating with this program to make the funds available to you.

Neighborhood Stabilization Program
Well, finally, the waiting is coming to an end for some of these programs to be up and running for today's eligible Oregon home buyers to take advantage of. The Neighborhood Stabilization Program is just awaiting its final stamp of approval which should be coming through any day now. One segment of this program will be made available to home buyers who are looking to purchase bank-owned or privately financed properties that have been taken back through foreclosure proceeds. Matching down payment funds, closing costs and reasonable/eligible repair costs may be funded through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds - up to $50,000 per home!

Yes, you heard that right...GO! The Neighborhood Stabilization Program for Oregon is about ready to accept reservations. If you are a buyer who has gotten all your ducks in a row and are prepared to jump on this opportunity, DO IT NOW! Not many lenders and realtors have familiarized themselves with these program requirements, so you may be a bit frustrated when calling around about it. If you are looking to buy in Southern Oregon, call me and I can help you with your financing, and recommend you to Realtors who are knowledgeable about the program guidelines. Why the sense of urgency you may ask? Very limited funding allocation is available, and it's first come, first served, so the early birds will be catching this particular worm. I've been on the phone with all my eligible buyers and Realtor referral partners spreading the word, and would love to play a part in the successful outcome of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which is to help eligible home buyers while getting foreclosed homes off the market.
Oregon is trying to get the $8000 "monetized" for non-FHA or non-participating lender programs by June 30, 2009, so get ready now!

See you at the closing table!
Karen Cooper - OR/CA Mortgage Consultant -

Monday, May 11, 2009

Know a Southern Oregon First Time Home Buyer who could use up to $50,000 for their home purchase?

Oregon is onboard the Neighborhood Stabilization train, and has submitted proposals to HUD on how they plan to allocate funds from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program that was approved under the 2008 Housing and Economic Recovery Act. The number of foreclosed homes in Jackson County has led to allocation of funds from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program to Jackson County home buyers willing to purchase and rehabilitate these bank owned homes. The last update I received from Oregon Housing and Community Services was they are awaiting the final stamp of approval from their legal department before releasing the final guidelines, but here are some you may expect:

  • Maximum NSP investment per home buyer will be $50,000 or the difference between the total cost (acquisition and modest rehabilitation) and amount of mortgage eligible buyers can obtain (which ever is less). This means down payment assistance, folks!

  • Funds will be in the form of a "soft second" loan, bearing no interest with payments deferred until the homeowner refinances or transfers title.

  • A share of the appreciation will be due at transfer of title, and may potentially be waived if OHCS grants an exception.

  • Income limits for Medford Area $18,200-83,800 depending on family size (2008).

  • Work to be done by a licensed contractor, and cannot be done by the homeowner. Work will be paid for upon close of escrow.

Sound like something that might be a solution to your becoming a homeowner? Call for more details, or go online and apply to be preapproved for your home loan today at

See you at the closing table!

Karen Cooper - OR/CA Mortgage Consultant -

American Pacific Mortgage, 301 B Crater Lake Avenue, Medford OR 97504 OR License ML-2338; 3000 Lava Ridge Court #200, Roseville, CA 95661 CA DRE Broker License 01180222

Monday, March 16, 2009

Oregon Not Set Up to Fund $8000 Tax Credit Through Closing

It is with regret that I report the findings of my quest to find a way for qualified Oregon home buyers to utilize the $8,000 tax credit recently approved, and apply it to their down payment on home purchases.

The State of Oregon does not have the necessary revolving fund needed in order to be able to advance the $8,000 Federal Tax Credit to buyers through this state's housing programs, such as the Purchase Assistance Loan and/or Oregon Bond Loan. Oregon Bond Loan is already struggling to sell the mortgage revenue bonds that fund the RateAdvantage and CashAdvantage programs, and the RateAdvantage program is about to do the way of the CashAdvantage, Down Payment Assistance and Purchase Assistance Loan programs which all ran out of funds in 2008, and still remain unavailable to qualified Oregon home buyers. The State of Oregon's focus is to fund the Oregon Bond Loan and other existing programs, so starting a new program like establishing a Revolving Fund to help pass through these $8,000 tax credits to qualified Oregon first time home buyers is out of the question.

But, all is not lost, Oregon home buyers! Even though funding has not been released for the USDA Guaranteed Rural Housing program by some lenders, if you buy a qualified property under this fantastic No Money Down program that is a government backed 30 year fixed rate loan, there are still lenders that WILL close on this program right now, letting you get the jump on what just might be a very busy Spring/Summer buying season here in the Rogue Valley in Southern Oregon.

If you have discovered like many first time home buyers that prices have come to levels that make the monthly costs of owning a home almost equivalent to renting one, and want to take the plunge while interest rates are low and before the $8,000 tax creditis no longer available to you (sunsets after December 1, 2009), call me. I'd love to sit down and run through the numbers of the various programs that might be available to you, and tell you about the many wonderful tools available to help you enjoy the many benefits of homeownership. Schedule your free consultation today!

See you at the closing table!

Karen Cooper - OR/CA Mortgage Consultant -