Tag Archive: Homes in Louisville

Oct 14

Mortgage Secrets ASAP

Changes to the Mortgage Hub

A very large percentage of home purchase transactions in our area fall apart during the escrow period and never close.  Often the problem is during the mortgage application process.  I am trying to help buyers and sellers prevent this from happening to their transaction.

There are four main reasons for this problem:

  1. Buyers not being fully preapproved for financing before making an offer.
  2. Issues with the appraisal.
  3. Condition of the property.
  4. Unrealistic expectations of the parties.

If we study all four of these problems it is easy to see they could be avoided with a little advanced planning, research or effort.  That is the reason I post the behind the curtain information on this site, to help anyone that is trying to buy or sell a home.  I want you to be able to get access to the information you need as quickly as possible. I think you will enjoy the new speed of the page downloads.        

Mortgage Hub Traffic

The number of people visiting this website has increased a great deal over the past six months requiring some major changes to the site.  I moved the site to a newer, faster server, made many changes to the lay out and streamlined the down load process.  The result has increased the download speed to 5 times faster.  It went from a low “C” page speed rating from GTmetrix to an “A” rating and I am still tweaking the little things. 

The work going on in the background is to make your experience at the Mortgage Hub as beneficial as possible.  There are many secrets about arranging a mortgage on this site.  The ongoing Helpful Hints series is a treasure trove of valuable points that will help make the process go smoothly.   Combine these with the Do’s & Don’ts page and the loan application process will be a snap.

My secure online application site is here if you need help with a mortgage loan in Kentucky.  

Oct 04

Mortgage Helpful Hint #3

No New Debt!

This mistake can cost $50,000 or get the loan declined!!! Read Carefully!

Be very careful during the mortgage processing period.  Do not take on any new debt without first chatting with your loan officer.  And DO NOT CLOSE ANY ACCOUNTS, doing this can drop your credit score below the threshold or make the interest rate on the mortgage increase!!!

The mortgage underwriter is REQUIRED to do a soft pull of your credit report on midnight the night before you close on the loan.  Any new debts may cause the deal to crash and burn!!!

 We often see people buying new furniture for their new home, do this AFTER you close the mortgage on the house, not before.  Even if it is something advertised as no payment for 6 months, etc.  It is still a debt!!  

The same is true for a new car, boat or airplane.  Yes, I have seen that one too.   Do not buy anything that requires debt without chatting about it with the loan officer BEFORE doing it! 

I have seen many home buyers make this mistake.  Any new debt during the processing period might change the status from approved to decline, no one wants to see that happen.

Just slightly increasing the balance on a credit card can have a negative impact on your credit score and or debt ratio.  That could easily cost $50,000 in EXTRA interest because if your credit scores go down the interest rate will go up!  Don’t let a $50 impulse purchase cost a year’s pay.

The mortgage lender is taking a snap shot of the entire process, if you change something the picture changes.

Maxing out a credit card is a common mistake people make while applying for a mortgage.



If you have a credit card with a $400 limit and you let the balance go above $300 your scores will come crashing down.  75% is the magic number, if you get any closer than that to the limit, you are getting close to lower credit scores.  The best move is to keep the balances at or below where they were when the loan officer pulled your credit report. 

If you pay off a debt – keep copies of the transaction.  Don’t forget the lender must show where the money came from to pay it off.  See Helpful Hint #2 about moving money around.

Oct 03

Mortgage Helpful Hint #2

Mortgage Application and Cash Deposits

I would take cash in a brown paper bag, but the Feds won’t allow that in a real estate transaction involving a mortgage.  I want this to be as easy for you as possible so this Helpful Hint tries to unravel the mystery behind sourcing funds needed to close the deal.

We must verify were EVERY PENNY comes from used to close a transaction.

Money used for Down Payment, Closing Costs and setting up the Escrow Account MUST be sourced.  It cannot fall from the sky!

Do not deposit anything in your bank accounts without support documentation!!!


Cash is very difficult to source!  So are transfers from one account to another if we do not have copies of both accounts.  Every online transfer must show the money being taken from one account and going into the other.  Try NOT to have a bunch of transfers back and forth, the less activity the easier it is to sort out and understand.  If you can’t explain it to me then I can’t explain it to the underwriter…

Best practice is discuss it before doing it, call me BEFORE making a deposit that doesn’t come from regular payroll deposits.  Most banking transactions are very easy to document on the front end, not so much after they completed, especially if they documented incorrectly.

Keep copies of everything.  Checks, bank statements, pay stubs, deposit slips, anything that involves money, keep a copy!  Get a file folder or large envelope and keep everything like this in one place.  The underwriter is going to ask for a copy of SOMETHING.

My goal in sharing these Helpful Hints is to make your experience as pleasant as possible.

Oct 02

Mortgage Helpful Hint #1

Mortgage Pre-Approval Stage

A Pre-Approval Letter is worthless if it isn’t backed up with the proper support documents!

Making a mistake during this stage can be time consuming and very costly because home inspections, termite inspections and appraisals are expensive. 

Take the time to gather all of the support documents needed to properly decision the pre-approval.  Underwriters are not allowed to clear loans to close without support documentation in the file. This issue delays the process more than all other issues combined and makes it very stressful for the borrower. I address this on the front end which eliminates most of the stress!

 Everything Takes Time

Every line on every document must be reviewed by 3 people before the loan can close so it takes time to get a document processed.  The faster you submit the support documents the faster it will move along.  The closing timeline will push back at least one day if something is missing.  If multiple items are missing it pushes back the time line until after the last item is submitted and reviewed by all 3 people.  ONE missing document is almost as bad as no documents at all. 

Here is a list of what is needed to properly decision most loans:

 1. W2’s & Federal Tax Returns for the most recent 2 years for everyone on the loan, 3 years if using a KHC Mortgage.

2. Pay Stubs covering 1 month.

3. Most recent two months of (bank) statements for any account you intend to list on the application. We need all of the pages, not just the summary page. If the statement says Page 1 of 5 on the first page we need all 5 pages, even if the last one is blank. Hint: do not leave off any accounts, the automated system counts funds even if not used as down payment, so include retirement, 401k, IRA’s etc.

4. A copy of the sales contract if you already have one, if you are selling a home we will also need a copy of the contract on the one you are selling.

 Self Employed – For borrowers that are self employed or own more than 25% of the company they work for we will need all of the items above plus:

 1.Year-to-date earnings

2. Two years corporate tax returns

3. Year-to-Date Corporate Profit & Loss

 Divorce – If anyone that is going to be on the loan is paying or receiving child support or

alimony we will need a copy of the divorce decree and property settlement agreement.

 Bankruptcy – If anyone that is going to be on the loan has filed bankruptcy within the

previous 7 years we will need:

 • Discharge of bankruptcy

• Schedule of creditors (secured or unsecured)

• Detailed explanation from the borrower (I help with this)


Fax the Support Documents to: (502) 753-4727 (No cover sheet needed).

Or scan and email them to: JSimms @ cmcloans.com

My goal in sharing these Helpful Hints is to make your experience as pleasant as possible. Doing it the right way from the beginning is only way to make this happen.  One missing page on one document stops the process, take time to gather all of the pages on the front end.

Sep 09

Mortgage Update – Sept 9 2012

Sorry, haven’t posted in a long time, been crushed at work.  Long days, even weekends in the office trying to get ahead of the game.  The local real estate market has improved a little but not as much as we would like to see.  However, last month we posted an all-time company funding record for a single month!

Most of my closed transactions last month were purchase transactions instead of refi’s.  I believe part of the spike in closings can be explained by two things, less competition and the fact that we hired some very good staff that was laid off by other lenders.

It has been a learning period, the mortgage industry continues to change and the timeline to close a loan has increased for many lenders, even us.  Our timeline has stretched about an extra week, better than most lenders that are taking 45 to 90 days to close one.

Something odd, I have been approached a couple of times a week for the last quarter by recruiters, something that hasn’t been the case for a couple of years.  Sounds like other lenders do not have the necessary staffing requirements to move the pipeline.  Too bad for them, we increased the number of people over the last two years while other lenders laid off.   We picked up some real talent that were let go because of downsizing or going out of business entirely.

Mortgage Turn Times Slowing Down


What is causing the slowdown?

I have already mentioned the lack of staff that is plaguing other lenders.

In addition, the mandatory SAR’s initiative is clogging the system. Volume is up, so are closing conditions.  SAR stands for Suspicious Activity Report.  Until last week these reports were voluntary, now they are mandatory.  They are causing the underwriters to be super careful.   When an underwriter reviews the loan application they post-closing conditions, items that must be addressed prior to the closing.

I am receiving almost DOUBLE the number of closing conditions that must be cleared before closing!  Think about this for a moment, I am focused like never before on doing the absolute best application possible and receiving twice the number of conditions.  What?

Items that would not have been a big issue in the past are derailing loan applications.  DE underwriters will not sign off on anything that is questionable, PERIOD!

They are not willing to risk losing their DE Certification over a missing page on a bank statement or something equally silly.

Helpful Hints

The primary purpose of this web site is to offer helpful information to anyone that is buying or selling a home including the Realtors that represent them.  I have started collecting a list of helpful hints that I email to my clients when they apply for a loan.  I will begin to post a copy here and create pages in the Buyer’s section that elaborate and address as many issues as possible.


Jul 15

Power of Attorney AKA POA

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a written document authorizing one individual, referred to as the Attorney in Fact to act on behalf of another regarding legal matters like signing a contract, deed or other instruments.  The signature of the Attorney in Fact is binding on the part of the individual that conveyed the POA.  There are different forms of POA’s, they can be general and all inclusive or specific for a single transaction.  They must be notarized to be binding.

In theory, when an Attorney in Fact signs on behalf of another it is the same as if the individual signed for them self.  Obviously a POA is a very unique document and requires attention to detail not only in content but in form as well because the agreement signed using one is binding on the party that is not signing on their own behalf.   If a mistake is made it could be a binding error.

When to Use a POA

You should not use a POA unless absolutely necessary.  If a contract or document is important enough to require a signature it should be signed by the individual that is bound by the terms of the agreement.  There are times when this is not possible, that is when one should be used.  For example, an individual that is in the military and is stationed overseas would not be able to attend a real estate closing back home, a POA would be required if the closing is to proceed.

Other examples of when a POA is appropriate would be for an individual that is senile or incapacitated by illness or injury to the point they are not able to conduct their affairs.  In events like these it may be necessary to obtain a court order appointing a relative Attorney in Fact or some other legal capacity.  Another example, in the event of relocation where one spouse moves in advance while the other remains behind to complete the sale of their home.  There are many circumstances when using a POA is appropriate.

When Not to Use a POA

A power of Attorney should only be used if you can absolutely not be present for signing the agreement.  I am not an expert in legal matters, only those regarding the real estate mortgage process.  In the past year I have had more buyers and sellers inquire about using a POA than in the previous 20 years combined.  This is very strange.

In every case this year the request to not attend a closing was not because of distance but simply because they individual did not want to attend the closing.  It doesn’t matter what you would rather do, nothing is more important financially than a real estate closing.   Think about it, if you earn $20 an hour compared to buying or selling a $150,000 house, which is more important?  Take a long lunch hour or use a sick day and attend in person.

One lady that was selling a home told me she just didn’t want to be in the same room as the buyers.  Okay, I can understand that, but there are other ways to accomplish non-contact.  Recently I had a buyer in one room the sellers in another room and the Realtors wanted a little privacy for a chat so we put them in yet another room.  That was a first for me.  I have put many divorcing couples in separate rooms but never used three rooms until then.

Using a POA for Real Estate is NOT Automatic

Lenders do not want the buyer or seller to use a POA.  Especially when it comes to the buyer signing the note and mortgage, most lenders want an original signature of the person that is borrowing the money.  Do not assume that you can use a POA as a buyer or seller.  This is something that should be reviewed and approved long before arriving at the closing.

The actual POA document should be reviewed in advance by the closing attorney or Title Company that is going to officiate the closing.  In addition to this step it should also be pre-approved by the lender long before setting a closing date.  Power of Attorneys are custom documents, no two are exactly alike.  There are different types, some are general in nature while others are specifically designed for a single transaction.  A POA for a real estate transaction should be very specific, spelling out who, what, when, where and how.

Obviously, if an attorney is acting on behalf of a title company they will be very picky about the content of a POA.

Who Can Act as Your Attorney in Fact?

The best individual to act as your Attorney in Fact would be your spouse.  Next would be a very close blood relative, a parent or sibling.  Anyone you appoint that agrees to accept the responsibility is allowed as long as they do not have a financial interest in the transaction.  For example, a seller should not act on behalf of the buyer regardless of the relationship.

What about your Realtor?  This is another bad choice because they are receiving a commission from the sale.  It happens, but it is not a good choice and may not be allowed by the lender or closing attorney.

How about a friend or co-worker?  These are not as good as a close relative but are better than the Realtor.  Keep in mind if something goes wrong you are stuck with the consequences.  Is that really something you want to put on the shoulders of a close friend?

Helpful Hints for Using a POA

If you must use a POA have it prepared by the attorney that will close the deal.  This would eliminate the document being rejected by the closing attorney over form or format.   If this is not possible have it prepared and signed well in advance and provide the closing attorney a copy as early as possible, do not wait until the day of closing!

If it is not possible to attend the closing the documents may be sent overnight to the absent party, they can sign in front of a notary and returned to the closing attorney.

I hope this information is helpful.  If you have questions just give me a call, my direct line is (502) 753-4127.  If you found this information interesting please share it with others.

Jul 09

Searches Leading to The Hub

From POA to Me

Behind the scenes this web site tracks where my traffic originates and creates a list that shows what search terms brought them here.  Thousands of terms and phrases are on the list but a few dominate the top.  A few of the leaders are amusing, some are flattering (specifically looking for me) and a couple are disturbing.

Number one on the list and a winner by a long shot is Power of Attorney or POA.  It shows up more than twice as often as any other search, strange because I advise people not to use a POA if it is avoidable. 

The other words and phrases that head the list remain fairly constant over time with the top three staying the same month after month.  Searches for me personally slip back and forth between the fourth and fifth slots, rotating with the one that I find disturbing, Mortgage Fraud.  People actually search for “How to commit mortgage fraud.”  Good grief!

Here is the top five for the previous 12 months:

1.  Power of Attorney or POA

2.  Creditxpert

3.  Down Payment Assistance Kentucky

4.  Jim Simms

5.  Mortgage Fraud or How to commit mortgage fraud

Some of the phrases about fraud were alarming; many were questions beginning with “how to” while others were obviously worried about crimes they already committed.  

Jul 02

Condo vs Un-Condo, cont.

Why are condos hard to finance?

In the last post we discussed three of the primary reasons it is hard to finance a condominium. In addition to those issues I have always been told the percentage of mortgages that default is higher for condos than it is for a standard single family residence.  However, I was unable to find supporting evidence while researching the subject for this post.  I found a massive amount of information broken down by the type of loan, length of the terms, etc.  But there is nothing that distinguishes a condo from any other form of ownership when it comes to mortgage default ratios.   

It stands to reason if condos are harder to finance they are going to be more difficult to sell.  If they are harder to sell the default ratio will increase.  But try to prove it! 

There is such a big void on the subject it seems peculiar.  Oh well, maybe that is just the conspiracy buff in me coming out.  Surely no one is trying to hide something from us.

Update on Un-Condo

Many more calls about my Un-Condo idea.  It seems the concept is appealing to both buyers and sellers.  There are several unfinished developments in the area that would benefit greatly from this procedure.  It will not work for every property but the Kentucky Condo Law makes it relatively easy for some properties.

Here is what we know so far:

  1. The property must be horizontal, no units stacked on top of each other.
  2. It requires an 80% vote of the owners in favor of un-condo.   
  3. The utilities must be separately metered.
  4. Each unit must contain separate mechanical systems, heat, air, water, etc.
  5. Probably requires individual ingress and egress (your own front door).
  6. Requires a survey with individual lots for each unit.
  7. Must provide for maintenance of all common areas, roads, club house, etc.
  8. Will require approval of the new subdivision plan by planning and zoning.
  9. Deeds from the HOA to the individual owners.
  10. Revised HOA and By Laws if there are common elements or maintenance.

I will add to this list as we uncover other requirements.

Why Un-Condo?

It eliminates the approval process required to mortgage an individual unit, this fact alone is reason enough to consider the proposition if the property lends itself to the procedure.

Eliminating the mortgage approval process makes a unit easier to finance.  Properties that are easier to finance are typically worth more than those that are not easy to finance. 

Conventional financing for condos have higher interest rates than other homes.  Higher interest rates impact the number of buyers that qualify for the required loan amount. 

The size of the pool of buyers that qualify for a particular loan amount increases as the interest rate decreases.  This also has a positive influence on the value of a property. 

Easier to finance + lower interest rate + more qualified buyers = Higher Value

What are the disadvantages?

Good question.  In a condo you own from the paint on one wall to the paint on the opposite wall.  After the Un-Condo process you own the land under your unit, the air rights above your unit and the outside of the unit.  This means if your unit needs a new roof that is your problem, not the home owner’s association.  Guess what, if the HOA doesn’t have the required cash reserves to put on a new roof it is still your problem. Under funded HOA’s are common in our area.  

Pooling funds for outside maintenance gets a better price on repair contracts, right?  Maybe, unless you live in the same development as a friend of mine, funds are missing from her HOA and now she can’t sell or refinance her unit.

What about yard work, not required in a condo, neither is it if you Un-Condo, keep a limited version of the HOA to take care of that if desired. 

This idea isn’t for every property or property owner.  But it is an AWESOME idea for most of the properties that lend themselves to the concept.   

If you have questions or comments or would like for me to review your property please call me direct, (502) 753-4127.



Jun 28

Condo Approvals Not Required

Why is it Hard to Finance a Condo?

Financing a condo has always been tricky. In the last few years it has become almost impossible. Conventional and FHA guidelines have both changed the approval process to get a condo community approved. The irony based on my personal experience is that all of my loan applications in the last year from people buying or trying to refinance a condo is that they all had top-tier credit profiles. If I separated all of my applicants based on the type of property without question those attempting to finance a condo were by far better credit candidates, not even a close call.

So if this is true with other loan officers why is it so difficult to get a condo community approved for a traditional mortgage? The answer lays in the mortgage guideline changes I mentioned above. 

First let’s look at FHA. For as long as I can remember once a condo was FHA approved it was good to go, the approval never expired. That changed drastically last year, now all FHA condo approvals must be renewed every two years. That means someone local associated with the property must fill out paperwork, gather documents, figure out some ratios and then send all of this junk to FHA and do it every 24 months. By the time you finish one cycle it is almost time to start getting ready for the next review.

Second, the conventional review process can go two directions; one covers the entire development and makes the approval status available to any lender and the other is lender specific. The full-blown approval process is very expensive therefore seldom used in our area. The second method is  CPM which I believe stands for Condo Project Manager and it is basically free or I should say lender funded in most cases. CPM is preferred by the consumer or the Home Owner’s Association because it is free. But it is a constant source of trouble because every unit and every mortgage application requires running CPM. What a pain.

The third problem is most board members serving on their Home Owner’s Association are doing so voluntarily. They are just normal people like you and me but are trying to manage their community. Few, if any, have experience managing a multi-family project. Well-meaning attempts to balance a large budget can cause the best run HOA’s to pass by-laws that will cause their property to wash out of the mortgage approval process. One wrong answer during the CPM process will cause a property to be declined.

A Solid Solution for Some Condos

I had calls last week by board members from two different communities asking for help sorting out the mystery of financing a condo. For a year I have predicted that new developments will shift away from being condos to fee simple title similar to row houses in Boston or Chicago. The new communities could still have HOA’s for taking care of common elements like a club house, pools, sidewalks, etc. The difference is in how title is held, my idea is for the owners to actually own the land under their unit instead of just owning the interior of their unit. Of course this requires no upper units, only one unit to a footprint.

So while brainstorming with one board member I asked if their community had any upper units, nope, all ground level. But no one could get approved for traditional financing, FHA or conventional. So I tossed out the idea of not being a condo, Un-Condo is what we decided to call it.

This solution is something they had not thought of but I thought it was a resolution to their problem. If their community is not a condominium development is does not need a condo approval to get financing for a unit. No condo, no condo approval needed.

I was a zoning commissioner in a previous life so looking at development ideas and preliminary plans is nothing new. But it is always a good idea to bounce a new idea off someone you trust. I tossed it out to a couple of other loan officer and they gave it thumbs up. Next I ran it past another mortgage banker and got another thumbs up.

Next stop was legal, ran it past a couple of attorneys that are experts in mortgage matters. Not only did they agree but one said a recent law in Kentucky addresses this very subject,

I read the Kentucky Statute and not only does it tell how to do it, but it says the move does not require a unanimous vote.  Only 80% of the home owners need to vote for the proposition to make it happen.

This post is continued here.

Jun 23

Overpriced Listings

Twice this week I ran across buyers that were attempting to purchase properties that were obviously overpriced. Declining property values have been a growing problem for everyone in the industry for the last few years.  Issues with appraisals run neck-and-neck with problems regarding the condition of the properties. 

The reduction in property values created an almost cottage industry called short sales.  Short sales have been around for as long as there have been mortgages but they have never been as main stream as they are today.  Lenders and the real estate industry were not prepared for the magnitude of the problem.  They have been playing catch up from the very beginning.  

A short sale is what happens when the value of the property is less than the balance of the mortgage and the seller asks the lender to accept less than is owed so the property can be sold.   Explaining this to a seller is not an easy task for a Realtor.  The idea that real estate is the best investment because “They don’t make any more of it” is hard wired in to all of us. 

Not all overpriced listings are an attempt to avoid a short sale, in fact most are simply an indication of greed.  The seller just wants more than the property is worth.

The rules for lending are very specific regarding the value of the real estate being pledged for a mortgage.  The lender must use the lower of the sale price or appraised value when computing the loan-to-value for the mortgage.  This doesn’t mean the buyer cannot pay more for the property than it will appraise for, it simply means they cannot use the inflated price for calculating the size of the mortgage.

How Mortgage Amounts Are Calculated

Let’s assume a property priced at $110,000 but will appraise for only $100,000.  On a standard conventional fixed rate mortgage the minimum down payment is 5%.  Okay, that is the flip side of saying the maximum loan amount is 95%.  But the definition is 95% of the sale price or the appraised value whichever is less.  If the property only appraised for $100,000 then the maximum mortgage is $95,000.  The buyer could still purchase the property for $110,000 but the amount needed for down payment would be the difference between that figure and the maximum loan amount which works out to be $15,000.  

If the property had appraised for $110,000 then the required down payment in our example would have been $5,500, a far cry from $15,000.  This is the primary reason most properties that are priced above the market value will not be sold at the inflated price. 

Some Realtors Will Take a Listing at Any Price

Listings are inventory and the more inventory a Realtor has the more inquiries they will receive from buyers.  Some Realtors will list a home at any price while others will not.  It is a numbers game for those who choose to ignore the comparable sales.  If a buyer calls about a Realtor’s overpriced listing the agent may be able to sell them another home that is not overpriced.  Although there is nothing illegal about taking an overpriced listing it doesn’t help the owner of the property or the marketplace only the Realtor taking the listing.  

The seller is hoping for a miracle, somehow their property will sell for a significant amount above what similar properties are selling for.  Even if they are lucky enough to find a buyer that loves the property a problem will occur when the buyer applies for a mortgage.  Okay, the seller hopes a cash buyer will step up that doesn’t need a mortgage.  Possible, but cash buyers think they are special because they are paying all cash and therefore deserve a bargain, not compatible with the seller’s plan.   

What Can a Buyer Do?

This article began because a couple of buyers asked what to do because they found a property they liked but the price was significantly above the market value.  There is actually a fair solution when you receive a counter offer from the seller that is higher than what you believe is the actual value.  Accept the seller’s counter offer provided the seller or the listing Realtor pays the buyer’s lender for the appraisal upfront.  

Oh man!  Can I kick a hornet’s nest or what?  Ask the seller’s Realtor to pay for the buyer’s appraisal?  You must admit that is out of the box thinking.  Leave it up to the selling side, let them decide who is going to pay it, or maybe they split the cost, it doesn’t matter to the buyer.  This little maneuver will at least initiate a serious dialogue between the seller and the listing Realtor about the true value of the property.

I had to toss the listing Realtor into the mix because the problem never would have surfaced in the first place if they had not listed the property for more than it was worth.    

The clause would also indicate that in the event the property does not appraise for the agreed upon price the seller will have the option to lower the price to the appraised value or release the buyer from the contract.  This solution protects both sides; the buyer is not forking out money for the appraisal on an overpriced property yet both parties have the possibility of discovering how much the property will appraise for.  Win, win.   

Please share this article with others if you like out of the box thinking.


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