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New FHA rules make it tougher for people with heavy debt to get a mortgage

First-time and move-up home buyers with heavy debt loads, low credit scores and small down payments face a daunting new mortgage hurdle: The Federal Housing Administration is toughening its underwriting standards. Large numbers of applications could be turned down in the coming months as a result.

Industry estimates vary about the impact of the agency’s abrupt changes, but mortgage company executives told me last week that they are bracing for reductions in their FHA business by anywhere from 10 percent to 30 percent.

Here is what’s happening: For several years, the FHA has insured loans to buyers who previously would have been considered too risky or marginal at best. Those applicants often carried crushing monthly personal debts — for credit cards, auto loans, student loans and other obligations — totaling more than half of their monthly incomes. Many also had histories of credit problems that lowered their credit scores. Combined with skimpy down payments of 3.5 percent and minimal bank reserves, these borrowers have a high statistical probability of defaulting on their loans.

Buying a home in DC isn’t impossible, and other takeaways from GGWash’s panel

Millennials, the much-maligned but largest living generation , have had a rough go of it. From graduating into a depressed job market to a crippling student loan burden to astronomical housing prices in high-demand cities like DC, there are many factors that combine to make homeownership a difficult proposition for the (roughly) 22-to-38 demographic. It’s no wonder that the high cost of real estate is often cited as pushing Millennials out of the area altogether .

Of course, high prices and limited supply affect those of any age. But Millennials, many of whom are trying to figure out how to stay in an expensive metro area and raise a family , were the focus of a recent home-buying panel organized by Greater Greater Washington in conjunction with the DC Association of Realtors. The event was sponsored by Chanin Wisler of First Washington Mortgage. (You can attend events like this for free as a member of the GGWash Neighborhood .)

Dream the impossible dream

How long does a second mortgage have to go after borrower following foreclosure in Washington?

How much time does the second mortgage holder have to go after the borrower if the property was already foreclosed by the first mortgage holder in the state of Washington?

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