Must Love Dogs!

Here’s a fun, light-hearted blog for you today! As many of my clients, readers, and friends know, I’m a dog person. I love all dogs, and especially my Weimaraner, Bodie. He is my loyal companion (even if he thinks he’s the world’s biggest lapdog!). Bodie has traveled far and wide from Reno, Inverness, Monterrey to Tahoe … just an awesome companion!

Me and Bodie!

Better Homes and Gardens shared this list of Top 50 dog names in 2020, and I thought it would be fun to share! I didn’t see Bodie on there, but the freelance writer on my team has two dogs: a boy named Milo and a girl named Penny – both made the lists! Would love to see your dog, so share a picture with their name!

Top 25 Female Dog Names

  1. Bella
  2. Luna
  3. Lucy
  4. Daisy
  5. Lola
  6. Sadie
  7. Molly
  8. Bailey
  9. Stella
  10. Maggie
  11. Chloe
  12. Penny
  13. Nala
  14. Zoey
  15. Lily
  16. Coco
  17. Sophie
  18. Rosie
  19. Ellie
  20. Ruby
  21. Piper
  22. Mia
  23. Roxy
  24. Gracie
  25. Millie

Top 25 Male Dog Names

  1. Max
  2. Charlie
  3. Cooper
  4. Buddy
  5. Milo
  6. Bear
  7. Rocky
  8. Duke
  9. Tucker
  10. Jack
  11. Oliver
  12. Teddy
  13. Leo
  14. Bentley
  15. Zeus
  16. Jax
  17. Toby
  18. Winston
  19. Ollie
  20. Louie
  21. Finn
  22. Murphy
  23. Moose
  24. Loki
  25. Gus
My freelance writer’s dogs, Penny (L) and Milo (R).

Even though Bodie didn’t make it, Finn did! I always said if I got another Weimaraner I’d name it Finnegan and “Finn” for short, whether it was a boy or girl. Did your dog’s name make it?

Clarifying the Rate Quote

My friends at JVM Lending put together a list of misleading rate quote tricks that I think you should be aware of. Here, I offer my clarification based on their blog. You can see more from them on their website. Read on…

From JVM: We recently had a borrower come to us with a ridiculously low rate quote for a “no cost” loan from one of America’s largest mortgage banks. The borrower insisted it was legitimate and asked us to match it, so we asked to see the other lender’s Loan Estimate, or “LE.” And, sure enough, there were $9,000 of points buried in the loan.

The loan officer was offering a loan with “no out of pocket” costs, meaning that he had merely increased the borrower’s loan amount by enough to absorb ALL of the points and nonrecurring closing costs. The confused borrower, however, thought she was getting a “no cost” loan.

Yesterday, we had another borrower come to us with a ridiculously low rate quote for a 75% LTV cash out investment property loan; the loan officer had simply misquoted because he missed all of the “hits,” or rate-increases that are associated with such a loan. In any case, the above instances prompted me to write another blog about the tricks and/or mistakes lenders make when quoting rates. Here are a few rate quote tricks and mistakes:

“No Cost” vs. “No Out of Pocket”

This is a classic ploy and it is what happened in the above instance. A true “no cost” loan means that the lender covers or pays all of the nonrecurring closing costs or one-time fees (title, escrow, appraisal, under writing, etc.) on behalf of the borrower. With a “no out of pocket closing cost” loan, the lender still charges the borrower ALL of the standard closing costs (and points in many cases); the lender, however, increased the loan amount by enough to cover all of those costs so the borrower does not have to pay them “out of pocket” at close.

“No Cost” vs. “No Points/No Fees”

Many lenders quote “no points and no fees” loans, when it really only means no lender fees (“big banks” are notorious for this). Borrowers still have to pay for their appraisal fee, escrow fees, title insurance fees, notary fees, etc. These fees can easily add up to several thousand dollars, making “no fees” quotes very misleading.

Quoting Non-Existent Rates

Some lenders quote rates associated with very short-term lock periods (under 7 days for example) that WILL only be available once a loan is fully approved. So, if rates increase between the date the loan is submitted and the date the loan is approved, the borrower is out of luck. Similarly, many lenders also underquote rates during a borrower’s pre-approval stage, knowing they will not be held accountable to that rate because the borrower is usually weeks or even months away from going into contract – when the actual rate lock will be necessary and the loan officer can then say: “oooh – sorry dude, rates have gone way up…”

Quoting Without A Full Scenario (credit score, LTV, property type)

This is a painfully common trick, too. There are as many as 12 factors that affect every borrower’s individual interest rate, as set out in this blog. Some loan officers purposely misquote before knowing all of these factors in an effort to reel in borrowers, knowing that the actual interest will likely be higher once all of the factors are known. The loan officers simply hope they can convince the borrowers that the mistake was innocent and that the borrowers will not want to endure the time or cost (especially if they pay for an appraisal) that going to another lender might entail.

Manipulating Annual  Percentage Rates (APRs) and Closing Costs

In this blog called 5 Misleading Closing Cost Tricks Big Banks Play, I illuminate a lot of closing cost tricks lenders play.. These tricks include understating prepaid interest (which makes APRs artificially low), property taxes, and hazard insurance. Lenders also sometimes understate 3rd party fees and eliminate “owner’s title insurance” altogether.

What should borrowers do to avoid these tricks?

They should only use lenders with stellar online reputations and reviews; make sure they are getting quoted rates that can actually be locked, and go over their Loan Estimates with a fine-toothed comb.

 From Kristin: Give me a call, and I’ll refer you to a reputable lender…like JVM! It is also hard to compare lenders because of everything noted above. If you have a bad lender the whole transaction can go south, so what I look for in lenders are ones that provide a fully underwritten approval or a DU (desktop underwritten) and ones that I don’t have hiccups with, they consistently perform and finally ones that I know are honest about the rates they are quoting.

When You Wish Upon A Star!

Photo by Thomas Minczeski, aka Photoman

December 21st was Winter Solstice, December 25th is Christmas and Hanukkah was December 10-18th. It is a season for celebration, reflection and gratitude no matter your faith or beliefs. And of all years, this season brings the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, also called the Christmas Star.

It is a time to reflect as we have changed this year, we work differently, we celebrate differently, and thus hopefully taken time to reflect on what is truly important. There is a silver lining and nuggets of kindness in this past year, so just maybe this Christmas Star will allow you to be grateful, embrace some of the good that has come of all this change, and celebrate the season your unique individual way!

Wishing you a beautiful Holiday! ~kristin

A little bit about Prop 19

This year, voters in California passed Prop 19, which potentially can changes the financials in a positive way of your next home sale or purchase. The proposition will go into effect in mid-February of 2021, so below is a summary of details. Some things the legislature will still have to interpret some of the language.

Inherited Properties

All reassessment exemptions for inherited properties only apply if the property is used as a primary residence by the child (or sometimes grandchild) or used as a family farm. In cases in which the current market value of an inherited property exceeds the parent’s taxable value by more than $1M, the child’s taxable value will be assessed at the current market value and reduced by $1M. The State Board of Equalization will adjust the $1M amount of inflation beginning February 16, 2023, and every two years thereafter. 

Transfers

As of April 1, 2021, previous restrictions based on location will be removed, allowing eligible (meaning people over age 55, victims of wildfires or other natural disasters (and the severely disabled) homeowners to do a few things. First, they can utilize the transfer multiple times; they can transfer the taxable value of a property up to three times in their lifetime. Natural disaster/wildfire victims will be allowed to transfer once. The language around what constitutes a natural disaster still needs to be defined.

This group can also purchase a property of higher value, meaning the tax bill will go up but by a lower amount than for other buyers. And, finally, they can also move anywhere in California by transferring the taxable value of a primary residence anywhere in the state within two years of the sale of the original primary residence.

If you’re interested in the details of Prop 19, here’s a great resource from the California Association of Realtors that might answer all of your questions!