Connie Phippen Loan Officer

Connie Phippen Loan Officer

NMLS # 300780 NOVA® NMLS #3087 720.279.5900 BK # 0902429 LMB # 100008426 Equal Housing Opportunity Regulated by the CO Division of Real Estate | NOVA® Home Loans NMLS# 3087 | BK 0902429 http://www.novahomeloans.com/loan-info/

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[03/02/12]   Short Sales Rise, More Banks View it as a Better Option
Banks are more willing to agree to a sale at a lower cost than a home owner's mortgage balance in order to avoid having the property fall into foreclosure, which can be more costly for a lender. In the fourth quarter of 2011, there were more than 88,000 short sales, a rise of 15% compared to a year prior. In all, short sales made up 10% of all home sales sold in the fourth quarter, according to recent data released by RealtyTrac.
Read article - Realtor Magazine

[02/29/12]   Owners slash price tags on condos above Denver Ritz-Carlton
With just one of the 25 condominiums on top of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel sold, the residences' new owners have dropped prices up to 60% on as many as seven units. Denver developers Tim Craft and Heath DeLay, who paid $13 million for the 24 condos in June, are following the lead of the Private Residences at The Four Seasons, which last month slashed prices on 30 units an average of 45% in an effort to generate renewed interest in the property.
Read article - Denver Post

[02/24/12]   Rate on 30-year mortgage rises to 3.95%
The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage jumped after standing pat for three straight weeks at record lows. But the rate stayed below 4% for the 12th straight week. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the rate on the 30-year loan rose to 3.95%. That's up from last week's rate of 3.87%, the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s. The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage rose to 3.19% from 3.16%. It hit a record low of 3.14% three weeks ago.
Read article - Realtor Magazine

[02/21/12]   Real Estate Outlook: Sales Rise
The latest quarterly report from the National Association of Realtors shows that many metro areas are now seeing more balanced conditions. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the figures of this report reflect greater home sales activity at lower price points. "Sales have risen strongly in lower price ranges from one year ago, while sales at the upper end remain sluggish," he said. He continued that "more importantly, we're seeing a consistent trend of declining inventory, which means supply and demand conditions are becoming more balanced in more areas, which will help stabilize home prices."
Read article - Realty Times

[02/07/12]   ARM LOANS? Low mortgage rates have many homeowners rushing to refinance, and the vast majority of those borrowers opt for fixed-rate home loans. Yet for some homeowners, an adjustable-rate mortgage can be a financially savvy choice when they refinance.

Nowadays, adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs, appeal to two groups of borrowers. The first group consists of homeowners who need jumbo loans, above the conforming loan limit of $417,000 in most markets and $625,500 in high-cost housing markets. Many of these borrowers want to keep their payments as low as possible when they refinance, so they're attracted to lower-rate ARMs. The second group comprises homeowners who have firm plans to sell their homes in a few years because of scheduled job transfers or retirement.

"The people who are most interested in ARMs tend to have a jumbo loan, but we also see people who know they will sell their home within a few years," says Bill Kusman, president of mortgages for First Bank, in St. Louis.

If your goal is to keep your monthly payments as low as possible and you have a specific time frame for selling your property, an ARM might be the best refinance option. But if the goal is to pay down the loan quickly or to avoid the risk of rising monthly payments in the future, then a fixed-rate loan might be a better refinance option.

The initial rate on an adjustable-rate mortgage tends to be lower than on a fixed-rate mortgage. In the third quarter of 2011, the rate on the 5/1 ARM averaged 3.21 percent in Bankrate's weekly survey; the average rate on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.49 percent. On a $100,000 loan at those rates, the principal and interest on the ARM would be $73 less each month.

Despite the higher initial payments, about 93 percent of refinance applications in September were for fixed-rate mortgages, and 7 percent were for ARMs, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Michael Jablonski, executive vice president and mortgage retail production manager for BB&T Bank in Wilson, N.C., says ARM applications are relatively rare because borrowers generally want to lock in a fixed rate when mortgage rates are historically low.

"Uncertainty about their income, expenses, taxes and the economy have led people to gravitate to fixed-rate mortgages just so that they have one thing that they have certainty about," Jablonski says.

Jablonski says even homeowners who are fairly certain about their plans to sell their home for a job transfer or retirement often choose a fixed-rate mortgage because they recognize they may not be able to sell their home right away.

Establish your refinance goals
Gail Kullman, a senior loan officer with PrimeLending in Alexandria, Va., says that homeowners need to make sure they fit their mortgage refinance into their overall financial plans.

"If your intent is to pay off the house quickly, you may be better off with a short-term loan such as a 10-year or 15-year fixed-rate loan rather than an ARM," Kullman says. "If you are planning to sell the property within a few years or want to retire, then the short-term loan will allow you to build equity faster."

The downside of a shorter-term loan is the monthly payments on the refinance are higher. For example, a $300,000 5/1 ARM at 3.25 percent would have a monthly principal and interest payment of $1,306 for the initial, five-year fixed-rate period. A $300,000, 15-year fixed-rate loan at 3.625 percent would have a monthly principal and interest payment of $2,163.

Qualifying for an ARM refinance
Kullman says most lenders require 20 percent equity for a refinance, although some allow 10 percent equity for borrowers with excellent credit and income.

"The problem is, if you have less than 20 percent equity, you will need to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI), which will add to your monthly payment," Kullman says. "PMI companies don't particularly like ARMs, either, so they are likely to charge higher PMI premiums if you choose an ARM."

Kullman says ARM borrowers will be qualified for their loan based on an interest rate that is 2 percent higher than the initial rate.

"In other words, if you are applying for an ARM that starts at 3.5 percent, you need to have the debt-to-income ratio to qualify for your loan amount at 5.5 percent," Kullman says.

ARM advice
If you decide the low monthly payments associated with an ARM are worth the risk when you refinance, Kullman recommends choosing an ARM with a longer term than you think you need.

"If you plan to move in three years, I'd suggest a five-year ARM to be on the safe side," says Kullman.

Jablonski says that in the rare event of borrowers having absolute certainty about their ability to sell their home or pay off their mortgage before the loan resets to a potentially higher rate, an ARM refinance could make sense.

"However, borrowers need to account for the possibility they would have to pay the maximum payment," says Jablonski. "But, most important of all, no one should ever use an ARM to be able to afford a larger mortgage. That's a slippery slope, because if you have trouble qualifying for your loan, any little hiccup in your income can cause problems."

[02/07/12]   When Is It a Good Idea to Refinance Into an ARM?
For some homeowners, an adjustable-rate mortgage can be a financially savvy choice when they refinance.

[02/02/12]   How long will it take before the American nightmare of home foreclosures is over? Ask Mike Dillon, who’s been fighting to keep his New Hampshire home for most of the past decade.

Though he missed two payments in 2002, Dillon then caught up and was current on his loan by later that year, he said. That’s when his mortgage problems began.

After the company servicing his mortgage failed to properly credit monthly payments to his account, it placed the loan in default. As he worked to straighten out the bookkeeping, with canceled checks in hand, the servicer began adding additional fees for property inspections, insurance and other charges.

In 2005, a New Hampshire judge agreed that the servicer’s “sleight of accounting resulted in improper assessments” against Dillon and, citing a “predatory scheme of penalties,” barred the foreclosure and ordered that the loan be reinstated without penalties as of August 2005.

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..Five years later, Dillon is still in court trying to resolve the dispute. While he is no longer under threat of foreclosure, he is still fighting to get clear title to his home.

“I’ve got nine years of my life tied up in this case, and it’s done a lot of financial and emotional damage to me,” said Dillon. “This isn’t about money in the long run. This is about the principle of the issue -- somebody tried to steal my house.”

Three years after the housing bubble collapsed under the weight of lax mortgage underwriting, some 5.5 million families have lost their homes or are in the process of losing their homes to foreclosure. Estimates vary, but analysts say there are at least that many more foreclosures likely before the wave subsides.

And the number could go far higher: Without a change in government policy, some 11 million borrowers are at risk of losing their homes, according to a research report earlier this month by Amherst Securities, which advises investors in mortgage-backed securities. That’s roughly one-fifth of the 55 million mortgages outstanding on the 80 million homes in the U.S.

Almost everyone involved agrees the the foreclosure mess will likely take years more to resolve, potentially postponing any meaningful economic recovery.

Related: Flaws plague foreclosure relief program

Advertise | AdChoices“There is no magic bullet,” said Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, who is leading an investigation by all 50 states into recent disclosures that banks and loan servicers cut legal corners in an effort to speed the foreclosure process.

The investigation was triggered by recent disclosures that some major lenders used "robo-signers" –- employees who claimed they had verified mortgage documents without actually reviewing them -– to try to speed the foreclosure process. The disclosures brought a temporary freeze on foreclosures, but most lenders now say they have reviewed their procedures and are back on track.

The wave of foreclosures over the past few years has overwhelmed a system that was designed to collect payments from borrowers with performing loans -– not remove people from their homes.

“Even if we didn’t have the problem of robo-signers, with the sheer number of foreclosures we're now seeing, the system was never designed to handle that kind of volume," said Michael Waiwood, CEO of EnTitle Insurance, a Cleveland-based title insurance company, who has been in the industry for three decades. “This is far worse than everything I’ve ever experienced. It’s a very serious situation.”

Hundreds of borrowers have told of spending months – or years – trying to work out more affordable payments with their lenders to stay in their homes. Even with the help of housing counselors, attorneys and legal aid workers, many have been unable to untangle the thicket of red tape required to modify a loan.

“There a lot of people who can be helped who are not being helped,” said John Taylor, president of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a housing advocacy group. “They’re being strung out and getting a lot of lip service. ... Some of the lenders are trying, but a lot aren’t.”

Lenders say part of the problem is that borrowers facing foreclosure are struggling against multiple causes of default. In some cases, they agreed to loan terms they couldn’t afford or didn’t understand. Others were victims of fraud and predatory lending, including onerous interest rate “resets” and prepayment penalties that have since been banned. Many homeowners who might have otherwise steered clear of default have lost their jobs and been unable to find new employment in the harsh economic climate.

Consumer and bankruptcy lawyers are also uncovering cases, like Mike Dillon’s, where the courts have agreed that the underlying problems were not simply the result of innocent mistakes made in haste or by untrained employees.

“It’s been an extremely widespread problem,” said O. Max Garner, a North Carolina attorney who runs a “boot camp” for bankruptcy lawyers defending homeowners against foreclosure. “I’ve had cases against every major servicer and minor servicer in the country regarding misapplication of payments, fees and charges that have been added to debtor accounts that weren’t noticed out, or approved or consented to by anybody – especially the bankruptcy court.”

Federal, state and local governments have launched multiple programs to help head off foreclosures, but most have fallen far short of their goals. The largest, by far, has been the federal Home Affordable Modification Program that was created as part of the $700 billion banking industry bailout. When the HAMP program was launched in March, 2009, some $50 billion set aside from the bailout fund to help homeowners.

Since then just $600 million - or 1 percent - has been spent, according to a report released Monday by the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. That report sharply criticized both the HAMP program and the Treasury Department's implementation of it:

Advertise | AdChoices"(Treasury) now finds itself defending a program that is failing to meet TARP’s goal of 'perserving homeownership,'" the report said. "As a result, a program that began with much promise must be counted among those that risk generating public anger and mistrust."

Related: Foreclosure solutions won't be easy (2007)

The housing finance food chain, which during the boom created more than $1 trillion worth of bonds backed by mortgages, is also under strain as investors challenge the paper trail that leads back to losses on defaulted loans. One critical link in that chain is a system set up to speed the process of securitizing mortgages known as the MERS, or Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems. Lawyers in several states have challenged the legal validity of mortgage transfers made by that system, which bypassed the traditional system of records in local government land offices. MERS manages some 65 million mortgages.

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..For some investors, the uncertainty surrounding the legal quagmire is reminiscent of the turmoil in 2007, when officials including Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson assured the markets that the problems associated with predatory lending and lax underwriting were “contained.”

Now, foreclosures are sweeping up a broad swath of homeowners. many of whom have simply fallen victim to the tough economy. About 30 percent of homeowners with mortgages have less than 5 percent equity, including many who are underwater, or owe more than their house is worth. If home prices continue falling, that puts roughly $650 billion worth of outstanding mortgages at risk, according to Brian Maillian, founder and CEO of Whitestone Capital.

“This could be a large hit for the entire industry,” he told CNBC. “When you look at the scope of the problem, it's a very, very large problem. No one anticipated a perfect storm happening and the problems we had in 2007. I would argue that the same dynamic is occurring here. We really don't know how deep the hole is.”

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