In the Market: New flexibility on down payments

Nneka Madus
Posted by Nneka Madus
Mortgage Market Analyst

This weekly feature is a real estate news and information roundup from a millennial’s point of view. When a young professional moves from Indianapolis (median home price $125K) to San Francisco (median price $1 million), you can expect an adventure. Nneka Madus, an analyst in Bank of the West’s Mortgage Division, did just that and has plenty to share in her quest to own a home in San Francisco.

Contractor wearing hardhat and bright yellow jacket working on the stone siding of a house.More positive news for home buyers! As U.S. News & World Report reported (along with many others), mortgage insurance premiums on FHA loans will be lowered from 1.35% to 0.85%. The White House estimates that new borrowers will save an average of $900 annually. Also, if you’re currently in the middle of the loan process, lenders can suspend your loan until the lower premiums go into effect. Score!

For some new home buyers, there are so many new things to learn about owning and maintaining a home — like when to change the air filter — another home thing. Sometimes these are things that you can learn on the fly, but for many home improvement projects, you may hire a contractor. But, how do you know if the work is being done right? How do you even know how to pick a contractor? Elizabeth O’Brien from MarketWatch gives 10 really good tips to look out for when hiring a contractor. Check out this article that may help to increase your odds of finding the right contractor to do the project to your satisfaction, the first time.

More great news for home buyers! The government has OK’d a plan to offer mortgages with a down payment of as little as 3% of the purchase price. This is another plan to make mortgages more available to people with strong credit history, but who may not have the cash for the standard 20% down payment. Along with this new loan program, Patricia Cohen from the New York Times outlines two other low-down-payment government loan programs launched by the Federal Housing Association. Before locking into any contract, new home buyers may want to check out the latest low-down-payment programs to see if they qualify.

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