Thursday, November 20, 2008

Where's the Money - in Steamboat Springs???

Where’s the Money?

The Mortgage Brokers in Steamboat Springs have access to plenty! On Thursday, November 20TH, REALTORS® gathered at the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors conference room to listen to a panel of local Mortgage Brokers talk about Credit Tips and several types of loans available to our Buyers. Thanks APC for hosting this much needed positive spin on the mortgage industry. The good news is there is money out there. Buyers don’t let the negativity of the media or the current economic conditions keep you from inquiring about a loan to purchase a home. All are welcome including poor – average credit (FICO scores), first time home buyers, and those with little down payment.

Ed Allbright from Columbine Mortgage gave many credit tips. Here are just four:
1. Don’t close old credit cards. 15% of credit scores are determined by the age of the credit file. People who have had credit for a longer period of time are thought to be less of a risk of defaulting. Use your old card once every three months or so then pay it off at the billing cycle to keep your credit scores high.

2. When you decide you would like to buy a home begin by checking your own credit score at Look for mistakes and correct them. Any item that says: “unknown, unsatisfied, not paid, or not released” should be changed to “paid, satisfied or released”. You can contact this company once per year at no charge and not receive an “inquiry deduction” on your FICO score. Your goal is to have at least three lines of credit established for two years in good standing to really improve your credit or FICO scores.

3. To help prevent Identity fraud, place a freeze on your credit reports. You can do this by contacting the three credit bureaus in writing by certified mail. Just state in the letter you want to place a freeze on your file. The bureau will not be allowed to release your credit report or any information in it without your special password. The three bureaus are:, and

4. Eliminate junk mail by going to:

If you may be unable to make several mortgage payments, look into a "Loan Modification" program which is differenct then refianancing. There are numerous sites on line to help with this. One mentioned was Home Help which I found at

Carmen Ashbaugh from Vectra Bank says the current FHA Loans are the new 80/20 and are not like your dad’s FHA. 30% of the loans she does are now FHA and are ideal for 1st home buyers. The following criteria applies: Owner occupied; mortgages up to $675,000; as little as 3.5% down or can accept the down payment in the form of a gift or seller carry; full documentation of salary and assets; Co-signer allowed; OK with poor FICO scores especially if your scores have been improving over the last 12 months; no prepayment penalty; no income limits; manufactured homes OK, but no condos or condotels. She stated for developers to consider applying for an FHA approval to be the first condo development in Steamboat to qualify their buyers for FHA approved loans.

John McCollum from First National Bank of the Rockies talked about the criteria of the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) Loans. He says the CHFA loan is available for a maximum purchase price of $350,000 and condos are allowed. It is designed for the 1st time home buyer or people who have not owned in the last three years; home buyer class is required that can be taken on-line; low FICO scores are accepted; as little as $1,000 down; three years of documentation are necessary; Mortgage Insurance required on loans above 80% of home value; higher interest rates then other loans; recapture tax if sold within 10 years and if income goes up significantly.

Kathryn Pedersen of Yampa Valley Bank described the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Loans that are only available to rural areas like Routt County. Must be a primary residence and can be a condo; 30 year fixed; 100% financing available; no monthly mortgage insurance premium; no reserves required; considers low FICO scores; and no maximum loan amount.

Loans are not guaranteed based on the information provided in this summary. Every day new information becomes available to the mortgage lenders that can change the loan requirements just like new properties come on the market and current active listings turn into pendings or solds on a daily basis. 85 % of home buyers begin their real estate research on-line, yet eventually secure the service of a qualified REALTOR®. As important as it is to have Buyer’s
Representation from a REALTOR®, you should also seek the advice early on of a reputable local lender. To access lender information go to - Click on Steamboat Links - choose Lenders.

For all your real estate needs in Steamboat Springs, Colorado call me…

Michelle Diehl, GRI
Broker Associate
Prudential Steamboat Realty