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      Given the Federal Reserve’s current policy of holding the Fed funds rate at near 0% for the foreseeable future, you might assume mortgage rates will remain at the historically low levels we have seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we have seen this before and mortgage rates did move.


The last time the Fed instituted a Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) was following the Global Financial Crisis lasting a span of seven years from December 2008 to December 2015. In December 2008, the average note rate for 30-year mortgages was 5.14%; when ZIRP ended in December 2015, the par note rate was 3.31%. However, despite a Federal Open Markets Committee target on short-term rates of 0.00% - 0.25%, mortgage rates experienced several violent swings. Rates shot up more than 100 basis points over a short 3-month period, and during another span lasting only 9 weeks, pricing for the lowest-coupon mortgage-backed security (MBS) declined by 800 basis points from 101 to a 93 handle. Note that this activity occurred more than two years before the Fed began tapering off its purchasing of Treasuries and MBS.


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Currently, the Fed has indicated it will not raise the Fed funds rate until at least 2023. However, this does not mean mortgage rates will remain in the same range that we’ve seen over the last 10 months. It would not be unusual to see changes of even an entire whole percentage point up, or down, for however long this current policy remains in place.  Therefore maintaining a comprehensive hedge strategy is a must to both benefit and protect your pipeline during these swings. 


Posted by Regina Rickles, NMLS# 222362 on February 24th, 2021 10:55 AM

Why are mortgage rates going up? 

The short answer is that mortgage rates are going up because the economy is starting to have a more positive outlook on post-COVID recovery.

Coronavirus has been the major force keeping rates low over the past year. The closer we get to widespread vaccination — and the better our economic outlook as a result — the higher rates will go.

Although the U.S. is still at a critical stage with the virus, and far from tangible recovery, we’re finally starting to see a path forward.

This is largely due to Biden’s win, as well as the Georgia runoff election in which Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff won Senate seats. 

The impact of Biden and Senate Democrat wins

Current mortgage rate movements are due partly to the fluidity of the political and economic situation in the U.S., as the country prepares for a transition from the Trump administration to the Biden White House on January 20.

President-Elect Joe Biden has signaled that he wants to implement a $1.9 trillion stimulus plan to jumpstart the economy, and the Democratic wins in Georgia give him a Senate majority that will likely aid his efforts. 

Although Biden’s proposed stimulus plan has drawn criticism that relief checks of even $2,000 are unlikely to do much for the economy, the aim of the plan is to ease the country’s economic burden and spur spending and growth.

Economic growth would likely raise mortgage rates as different sectors rebound.

Mortgage professional Magazine also reported that stimulus spending could increase inflation, which would drive up mortgage rates as well. 

Keeping an eye on the 10-Year Treasury

Eli Sklar, senior loan consultant with loanDepot, pointed to the Ten-Year Treasury as an indicator of an improving economy and a signal that rates will rise in the coming year. 

“The Ten-Year Treasury’s price, which is a big indicator of mortgage rates, is inversely related to how the market is doing. As the market continues to do well, the Ten-Year Treasury’s value goes down because the Ten-Year Treasury is known as the safest investment,” Sklar said. 

A spike in investor interest in the Ten-Year Treasury as the economy cratered last year, combined with the Federal Reserve’s commitment to keep interest rates low, drove down mortgage rates.

But, Sklar said, as the economy recovers and people regain confidence in other types of investments, the Ten-Year Treasury will decline and mortgage rates will rise once again. 

How high will mortgage rates go in 2021?

Mortgage rates could continue to rise this year, particularly if the newly elected President Biden is able to enact a relief package that includes direct payments to taxpayers and other stimulus measures.

However, major housing agencies predict only a modest rise throuhout 2021, with 30-year mortgage rates staying in the high 2% or low 3% range on average.

Posted by Regina Rickles, NMLS# 222362 on January 25th, 2021 9:04 PM

Four Reasons Why Rates are on the Rise This Week

JUNE 8, 2020

Last Week in Review: Four Reasons Why Rates are on the Rise This Week

This past week, home loan rates ticked a bit higher from their best levels in U.S. history. More importantly, this increase in rates may be the start of a trend in higher rates.

Here’s four reasons why rates rose and why they may continue to do so:

  1. Economic optimism: More and more states are reopening, and people are getting back to work. Friday’s Jobs Report showed 2.5 million jobs were created, when 8 million jobs were expected to be lost. The unemployment rate rose to over 13%, but expectations were for a much worse 20% unemployment rate. Bonds and rates don’t like good news, and this was good news.
  2. Overwhelming policy response: The Fed and U.S. Treasury’s response to help the economy get through the coronavirus impact is by far the largest monetary stimulus in the history of the country. This is more positive news which has helped Stocks trade to their best levels since March 4. As Stocks move higher, many times rates do as well. We saw that this week.
  3. Coronavirus uncertainty abating: Hope and optimism are rising now that we are well beyond the worst of the coronavirus. If states continue to see unemployment and new cases go down, the optimism will be justified and better times will be ahead. Stocks and rates increase during better days.
  4. Global yields are increasing: In Germany, their 10-year Bund yield has moved from -.60% to -.27% as of this weekend. This is for the same three previous reasons. If yields in Germany continue to move higher from negative territory, U.S. rates, including home loan rates, will continue to tick higher as well.

The good news: Any uptick in rates in the near-term may be limited for two reasons. The Fed continues to purchase Bonds on a daily basis, thereby holding yields down, and economies are reopening slowly, so rates should increase slowly over time as well.

Bottom line: With rates at all-time lows, if you can secure a home loan to either refinance or purchase a home, now is a great time.

Posted by Regina Rickles, NMLS# 222362 on June 8th, 2020 5:25 PM

Mortgage Closings and the Coronavirus Update 

Only weeks ago, thousands of borrowers were rushing to take advantage of record-low mortgage rates. Refinance applications soared over 400% annually, and homebuyers were out early and in force.

Now some of those loans are stuck in limbo as the in-person closing process can no longer be held because of the coronavirus pandemic.

State, county and local governments have shut down or are limiting the number of people who may enter their offices, including property recording centers.

That puts the whole system at risk, as title insurers are less able to conduct the research that goes into issuing a policy. The ability to record documents is also getting tougher as county recording offices close.

Currently, nearly 2,100 counties provide some electronic access to their property records, but that means about a third of the jurisdictions still don’t have the ability to accept digital documents, according to Tomb.

“While they may allow for electronic recording, many jurisdictions do not provide access to records online. The biggest holdup to bringing county governments to the digital age has been time and money,” she added.

One large lender explained that it’s a bit of a moving target now and varies by state. Where title companies are still open, the closings are proceeding as is. In some areas, they are partnering with third parties to arrange video closings. 

In an effort to get the whole system moving, Sens. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., and Mark Warner, D-Va., introduced the Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarization Act of 2020. It permits immediate nationwide use of Remote Online Notarizations, a type of electronic notarization where the notary and signer are in different physical locations. 

“At  a time like this, when we have perhaps, for many people, really a once-in-a-lifetime refinancing opportunity, they could miss out on that because of social distancing — miss out on that because you can’t get a group of people in a room, that would be a great tragedy,” said Cramer. “Marketwide you have financial institutions participating, you have a major consumer piece, and the consumer drives the market in this country, plus you’re going to move a lot of product a lot better.”

Right now, 23 states allow remote electronic notarization, but there is pushback from some that are concerned about states’ rights. They consider this a federal mandate. California, which has one of the most active and valuable real estate markets in the country, is one of those states.

“We’ve had some resistance from senators from those states that feel like even with the interstate commerce clause this would force something on them they’re not ready to accept.”

Already other parts of the mortgage process have shifted to accommodate social distancing. The FHFA this week directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to change some underwriting guidelines, including allowing appraisal alternatives that would reduce the need for appraisers to enter the home for inspection. These are commonly called drive-by appraisals, where the appraisal uses data about the house available online.

The FHFA said: “In the event lenders cannot obtain verbal verification of the borrower’s employment before loan closing, the Enterprises will allow lenders to obtain verification via an e-mail from the employer, a recent year-to-date pay stub from the borrower, or a bank statement showing a recent payroll deposit.”

It did emphasize that lenders should continue to utilize sound underwriting judgment, “to ensure these alternatives are appropriate to the borrower’s circumstances.”  (courtesy of CNBC) 


Posted by Regina Rickles, NMLS# 222362 on March 25th, 2020 1:28 AM

NO Mortgage rates are Not 0-25%!  The Fed Reserve cut its benchmark interest rate to zero on Sunday, the second such emergency rate cut this year in response to the coronavirus.  The Fed funds rate is indirectly tied to mortgage rates, it’s a good possibility that mortgage rates may fall even more in the days and weeks to come as investors flee to safe-haven asset classes, like the 10-year Treasury note, which typically moves with mortgage rates.  However this is not necessarily so.  The mortgage industry as a whole right now choose to raise the rates last week to slow the industry who is lacking in manpower to handle the volume of refinances and new home loans.  

On Wednesday, the Mortgage Bankers Association announced its figures for mortgage applications during the week ending March 6. And it said applications for new loans jumped by 55.4% from one week earlier. Those for refinances increased 79%. Both were at their highest levels since April 2009. 

“So some lenders simply lack the skilled professionals to process all the applications they’re receiving. On Monday, senior originator Ted Rood told Mortgage News Daily, ” … some lenders are not accepting new loans or locks, and lock pricing engines are crashing repeatedly due to excessive volume.”  

“The coronavirus outbreak has harmed communities and disrupted economic activity in many countries, including the United States,” the Fed said in a statement as it cut interest rates to near-zero and launched a $700 billion quantitative easing program to shelter the economy from the effects of the virus.   

We will not fully know the impact of this until the markets open tomorrow and more reports are released this week.  

My suggestion is that you lock if you’re less than 30 days from closing. Yes, you’d have made losses if you’d taken that advice a couple of weeks ago.  But we’re looking at a personal judgment on a risk assessment here: Do the dangers outweigh the possible rewards? So far, this week is making our recommendation look prescient.

However, none of this means we expect you to lock on days when mortgage rates are actively falling. That advice is intended for more normal times.  This is NOT normal times!!  

Posted by Regina Rickles, NMLS# 222362 on March 15th, 2020 10:48 PM

February could be a wild ride for mortgage rates. Market-moving news will leave rates different than they were in January. The only question is, will they be more or less advantageous for mortgage shoppers?

Forecasts for 2020 say rates will average around 3.7%. However, that doesn’t tell you how high or low rates could go throughout the year.

Rates could be 4.5% for six months and 3.4% for the next six months and you still get an average of 3.9%. But when you lock matters a lot.

Rates are hovering near 3.8% now according to Freddie Mac data, so it’s an excellent time to lock in and eliminate the risk of higher rates later.

Reports of a new virus originating in Wuhan, China is strangely affecting mortgage rates.  This trend could gain momentum in February.

As January came to a close, markets were watching the spread of the virus, with new cases being discovered in the US and other countries.

Mortgage rate watchers are justified in wondering how a virus could affect rates. The relationship is not exactly obvious.

Mortgage rates fall during times of economic uncertainty and lower expectations of inflation. The Wuhan Coronavirus contributes to both.

Officials are limiting travel and transportation in Wuhan, which is a major trade and export hub in China. The decreased activity and mobility in one of China’s largest cities could spark a wider slowdown that could disrupt economic growth and slow inflation worldwide.

Of course, no one wants a global outbreak, but one unexpected outcome could be lower rates throughout February and perhaps beyond.

Don’t expect much movement in mortgage rates after the January 28-29 Federal Reserve meeting.

The group has broadcasted again and again that it likes the level of its benchmark rate, called the federal funds rate.

After slicing the rate three times in 2019 — in the face of one of the greatest expansions in US history — the Federal Reserve isn’t enthusiastic to provide more stimulus to an already-hot economy.

In fact, the Fed doesn’t expect to drop rates again at all in 2020.

Unemployment is near 50-year lows, the stock market is at all-time highs, and inflation is stagnant. It’s a real “Goldilocks scenario” — meaning nearly all aspects of the economy are just right.

All this means the January 2020 Fed meeting should be a real snoozer, with no rate adjustment and no major policy shifts.

Luckily, mortgage rates are already low and don’t need an artificial push downward by the Fed.

Posted by Regina Rickles, NMLS# 222362 on January 25th, 2020 7:16 PM

2020 Will Be a Big Year for First-time Homebuyers

First-time homebuyers are on the way

This year will be a big one for first-time homebuyers. According to new data, up to 9.2 million first-time buyers will hit the market between 2020 and 2022.

A new era for first-time homebuyers

According to a new analysis from Transunion Credit bureau , anywhere from 8.3 million to 9.2 million first-time homebuyers will enter the housing market between 2020 and 2022. That’s up from just 6.67 million between 2013 to 2015 and 7.64 million between 2016 to 2018.

According to Joe Mellman, senior vice president at TransUnion, the next couple of years should mark a turn-around for homebuyers.

“While we’ve recently seen a boom in refi activity, actual homeownership rates are down,” he said. “Challenges have included high home prices, sluggish wage growth, and limited housing inventory, but we may be starting to see daylight as slowing home price appreciation, low unemployment, increased wage growth, and low interest rates are helping affordability. As a result, we are optimistic that first-time homebuyers will contribute more to home ownership than at any time since the start of the Great Recession.”

Call Primemax today to discuss your options and programs designed especially for you!  We love First Time Home Buyers and We make It Easy!!    256-543-9211

Posted by Regina Rickles, NMLS# 222362 on January 13th, 2020 2:02 AM

To Lock or Not To Lock........       

Locking or floating over this weekend should be based on what you feel the outcome of the UK vote on the Brexit deal.   If UK is unable to pass the deal through their house, then i think rates will react positively Monday morning which makes floating a good call.  If UK passes the Brexit deal, rates will come under pressure which means locking to is the safe call.  Regardless rates are the best they have been since 2011.  

  • 2019 has been the best year for mortgage rates since 2011.  Big, long-lasting improvements such as this one are increasingly susceptible to bounces/corrections

  • Fed policy and the US/China trade war have been key players.  Major updates on either front could cause a volatile reaction in rates

  • The Fed and the bond market (which dictates rates) will be watching economic data closely, both at home and abroad, as well as trade war updates. The stronger the data and trade relations, the more rates could rise, while weaker data and trade wars will lead to new long-term lows.  
Posted by Regina Rickles, NMLS# 222362 on October 20th, 2019 12:42 AM

With just two days until college football season kicks off, the Tide is hunkering down to play Duke on August 31. The game will make the fourth meeting for the Tide and the Blue Devils.

Before Coach Saban took the spotlight in Tuscaloosa, a host of winning coaches set the stage for Saban’s decade long tenure. Whether under Wallace Wade, Gene Stallings, Bear Bryant or somewhere in between, Alabama had claimed 12 national titles before Nick Saban filled the role as Head Coach and added five more.

Even after last year’s perfect season ended in a National Championship loss to Clemson, headlines make it clear the Tide is still expected to be on top this season. With names like Tua Tagovailoa and Jerry Jeudy returning among a sea of promising new faces, football fans everywhere say they wouldn’t be surprised to see Alabama start the season ranked in the no. 1 spot.

Are you ready to host an incredible football party but don't have space? Give us a call and score a touchdown with Primemax Mortgage Group.

Posted by Regina Rickles, NMLS# 222362 on August 29th, 2019 7:38 PM

Are you currently renting?  Is your lease coming up for renewal?  Before you extend your lease for another year or two, why not consider exploring the possibility of buying instead of continuing to pay someone else’s mortgage?  First of all, we are not going to say everyone should buy a house.  Not everyone wants to.  But there are many advantages to homeownership.  On top of the normal benefits to homeownership, this is quite the time to buy!  A few reasons to become a homeowner now rather than later include the following.

8 Reasons to Buy Now Instead of Renting

  1. Home prices are expected to rise
  2. Interest rates are the lowest since 2016
  3. Flexible and affordable financing available
  4. Potential income tax deductions for interest, PMI, taxes, & fees
  5. Do what you want with your home (subject to HOA, legal rules)
  6. Long term fixed P&I payments = predictability & easier to budget
  7. Building long term equity versus none as a renter
  8. Protect against inflation

In many cases, renters are surprised to learn that the monthly mortgage payment to buy a house may be less than they pay for rent.  However, since home prices are increasing, this translates to potentially more equity for you, the buyer.  As a recent article mentions on, “After all, your home is your biggest investment and most significant asset.”, so why not buy now to take advantage of increased equity?  While there is no guarantee that real estate will appreciate, historically it has and has been the largest asset for many who choose to buy.  Furthermore, your landlord is keenly aware of this.

First-time buyers are affected most by a rise in the purchase price and values.  The reason is this raises the entry price level homes.   In any real estate market, a first-time buyer median price at $200,000 compared to $150,000 really knocks a lot of buyers out.  For the most part, prices are not going down.  Therefore, homebuyers have more advantages in purchasing now versus later.

Interesting to note, if housing is expected to rise, it is not only houses that are for sale …. You can expect the same from rentals as well. So it only makes sense to lock in a monthly payment that you can be comfortable with and have control over in the coming years.

It amazes us to hear so often that first-time buyers cannot buy a house because they don’t have a 20% down payment.  That is quite the misconception!  Options available for first-time buyers today include so many low to no down payment loan programs.  Plus, just because there is a low or no down payment financing program option, it doesn’t mean the interest rates are much higher.  Conversely, most interest rates for government loans such as VA, FHA, and USDA are lower than conventional rates with 20% down.  Even when a down payment is required by a program, it may even be a gift!  So the barrier to cross from a renter to a homeowner is about as low as it has been in years!


Posted by Regina Rickles, NMLS# 222362 on August 23rd, 2019 6:19 PM

Mortgage Rates Stay Calm Before Tomorrow's (Potential) Storm

Jul 30 2019, 4:48PM

Mortgage rates haven't moved much this week, or last week, or the week before that. In fact, for the average prospective borrower, there haven't been any major changes since first making it down to the multi-year lows in June. That said, there has been enough volatility to matter. Today wasn't a great example of that, but tomorrow or one of the two days that follows, may be.

In addition to some more significant economic reports coming out in the morning, tomorrow brings the Fed rate decision. To be fair, the Fed's decision has already been made, best anyone can tell. A 25 basis point (0.25%) rate cut is basically guaranteed. That might seem like a good thing for mortgage rates, but the benefits have already been reaped. Tomorrow's market movement depends more on the economic data and the specifics in the Fed's verbiage. There will be two opportunities for markets to digest that verbiage tomorrow, first with the announcement at 2pm and then with Fed Chair Powell's press conference at 2:30pm. We shall see !

Posted by Regina Rickles, NMLS# 222362 on August 2nd, 2019 7:40 PM


You’ve heard that getting a mortgage ranges from “insanely difficult” to “practically impossible for mere mortals,” right? However, if you have reasonable credit (600 or higher for a conventional loan) and can document your income and assets with the mortgage application, you’ll get your loan with few, if any, problems or delays.

Even though the belief that lenders have crazy-high standards today is completely false, the process of getting a mortgage today is more exacting than it once was. Underwriters, who review applications and approve loans, go over every little detail in the loan package, uncovering possible defects or problem areas.

This attention to detail doesn’t mean they’re looking for reasons to deny your loan; believe it or not, underwriters LOVE to approve loans. They are just making sure all the pieces of every loan puzzle fit together as they should.

If you understand what the underwriter is looking for, you’ll be better prepared—and your loan will sail easily through the approval process.


You’ll give your loan officer a month’s paystubs to document your income. You’ll also provide last year’s W2. If you get overtime, you’ll have to document that you’ve received it for at least 24 months. If that’s not possible, you won’t be able to use that income to qualify—no matter how much money it is.

Multiple jobs

In general, you have to show that you have been in the same line of work for at least two years. If you’ve been working at your present job for just six months, your loan officer will get information about your previous employer.

TIP: Provide all salary information for any previous jobs, along with full contact information for the previous employer(s). The underwriter WILL require a VOE from the previous employer.

Gaps in Employment

If you were laid off for a month or so, but went back to work at a different company, you’ll be fine, so long as you can explain any gap in a reasonable way.

TIP: Write a letter of explanation about any gaps in your job history. Do this before your loan officer submits your loan. It is far better to be proactive.


Gaps in Employment

If you were laid off for a month or so, but went back to work at a different company, you’ll be fine, so long as you can explain any gap in a reasonable way.TIP: Write a letter of explanation about any gaps in your job history. Do this before your loan officer submits your loan. It is far better to be proactive.

Liquid assets

No, we’re not talking about that special bottle of 30-year old scotch. If you are buying a home, you’ll have to pay cash to close your escrow. You will have to provide documentation for all money going into the transaction. If your cash is sitting in a savings account, you’ll provide two months’ full statements for that account.

This is where you can run into trouble if you’re not careful. Specifically, you’ll have to document any “large” deposits to the account. “Large” would mean deposits not identified as payroll, tax refund or transfers from other documented accounts and which exceed 10% of your gross monthly income.

TIP #1: Keep in mind that if you transfer money from another account, you’ll have to provide statements from that account as well. That account will be subject to the same kind of scrutiny.

TIP #2: While your mortgage application is in progress, avoid moving money around if possible.

TIP #3: If you receive a “large” sum of cash from some source, like selling a car, be prepared to document the receipt of those funds, assuming you deposit them into one of your accounts.

Gift funds

If you have a generous relative who loves you so much that they will give you a gift of cash to buy your home, you should know about the procedure for gift funds. First, your donor will sign a Gift Letter. This simple form says that they are making a gift of x-number of dollars for the purchase of your home, that it is a gift, and that it does not have to be repaid. The donor will also have to provide a full bank statement showing the source of the funds they are giving you.

TIP: Be sure your donor is aware of this procedure and is willing to hand over a full bank statement. They can’t black out or edit anything on that statement, or else the underwriter will reject it.

Previous addresses

Your loan application will list your previous addresses for at least the last 24 months. Your credit report will show the same information—with one important difference: the credit bureaus are often completely wrong about past addresses.

One common example: you may have lived at your present address since January, 2017, and the credit report lists that. But they may also list your previous address from five years ago, but ending June, 2015. This would obviously be wrong, but it brings us to another point of advice.       TIP: Check for address discrepancies on your credit report. Write a simple letter of explanation to clear up your actual residence addresses and dates.

Letters of Explanation (LOE)

These simple notes don’t have to be elaborate or wordy. Just briefly explain the issue in question. Address the LOE “To Whom It May Concern,” sign it, and date it. Being proactive will save you a great deal of time.

While it’s true that getting a mortgage is not as easy-peasy as it once was, paying attention to these details will make it seem like a breeze.

When you use these tips to cure your application headaches, you’ll have a much better experience, especially if you’re buying and selling a home at the same time.



Posted by Regina Rickles, NMLS# 222362 on February 10th, 2018 7:28 PM
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Top 5 Tips for Alabama Home Buyers in 2018

Despite what you might have heard about home prices “cooling” in 2018, the Alabama real estate market is still red-hot in terms of competition. But home buyers can still succeed in this market. Here’s how to get off on the right foot.

1. Balance your expectations against the realities of the market.

Home buyers tend to go into the market with an extensive wish list of features, location, etc. That’s fine, as long as you balance those expectations with the realities of the housing market. And the reality, as we enter 2018, is that the Alabama real estate market is very competitive.

In January, Zillow examined the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. to create a list of the “hottest” real estate markets.  The group’s analysts looked at a variety of factors including home value changes, population growth and employment.

And then there’s the inventory situation. A “balanced” real estate market has somewhere around five or six months of housing supply. But at the start of 2018, Alabama had less than a three-month supply of homes for sale. That’s a serious inventory crunch, and it underscores the importance of having realistic expectations when buying a home

2. Aim to make the first offer, and make it a strong one.

Buyers are lining up for homes – literally, in some cases. So it’s crucial to stay on top of the market. As a home buyer, you want to review the big real estate listing websites once or twice a day. And be ready to pounce when the right house comes along. Try to get your offer in as quickly as possible, and make sure it’s a strong offer backed up by comparable sales data. An experienced real estate agent can help with this.


3. Consider the surrounding area.

A lot of home buyers want to purchase a house in the newer subdivisions but simply can’t afford it. That’s understandable.  And while price growth has slowed a bit, house values are expected to continue moving north over the coming months.

4. Conduct a comprehensive search.

In a competitive real estate market like we have in Alabama, home buyers need to pull every possible thread when searching for a property. Viewing the real estate listing websites is a good place to start. But don’t stop there.

Find a good agent who can help you spot properties before they hit the market, through word-of-mouth. Use your social network (friends, families and coworkers) to get a jumpstart on properties that might be coming onto the market soon.

Drive through your desired neighborhoods and look for those for-sale signs. Some sellers put up a sign but don’t list their properties online. In short, be aggressive.

5. Have your financing arranged ahead of time.

This is a topic we’ve written about before, but it bears repeating. In 2018, Alabama home buyers would be wise to have their financing lined up ahead of time, before entering the market.

Remember, current market conditions favor sellers or buyers. So anyone selling a home in Alabama can be picky and selective as it relates to financing. Among other things, they will expect buyers to have their financing all set up. This is one of several reasons why it’s a good idea to get pre-approved by a mortgage company, early on in the process.

Get pre-approved: We can help you get a jumpstart on any home in Alabama by pre-approving you for a mortgage loan. Please contact our staff with any questions you have, or to get the process started.

Posted by Regina Rickles, NMLS# 222362 on January 25th, 2018 7:18 PM

Why the Wood Destroying Report "WDIR"? Determining Termite Damage

Termites may be small insects that often stay out of plain sight, however, the damage they leave behind can quickly become an issue—and one that’s very expensive to fix. In the U.S. alone, these wood-destroying insects are responsible for billions of dollars of property destruction every year.

As a prospective homebuyer, you’ll want to know if these destructive pests are causing damage to the property or have left some behind in the past. A must when buying, selling, or refinancing a home, the WDIR (Wood Destroying Insect Report) is an inexpensive way to avoid problems before you seal any deal.

What is a WDIR?

A Wood Destroying Insect Report (WDIR), or a termite certificate, is a legal document usually required by the lender that has been issued by a licensed inspector. It states whether or not a particular structure has an infestation or has had one in the past. More specifically, it determines the following:

  • Does the structure, or home, have a current infestation?
  • What type of insect is causing the infestation?
  • Has the structure had an infestation in the past?
  • Is there structural damage due to current or past infestations?
  • Has the home been treated in the past for infestations?

Termites are not the only wood-destroying insects that are common in the state of Pennsylvania, although they often are the most damaging. Some others include:

  • Powder post beetles
  • Carpenter ants
  • Carpenter bees
  • Wood-destroying organisms (WDO)

If you are using a real estate agent they likely will have a pest control professional that they recommend for a termite certificate, or WDIR. Make sure to ask them or research some good local companies on your own. A qualified professional will be able to spot any current wood destroying insect infestation or damage from a previous one. If they inspect the dwelling and find nothing concerning then that is one less thing you need to worry about as you look to close on your new home.


Posted by on May 11th, 2017 1:00 PM

Tax Returns & the IRS Validation of the Returns Can Cause Closing Delays or Even Unexpected Loan Denials!


Most think that mortgage loans are as simple as providing a tax return, and by showing an income, the mortgage income verification is done.  This couldn’t be further from what actually happens in the background which mortgage lenders are required by laws, lending agencies such as FHA, and/or by investors.  A sampling of the things lenders are looking for that have to do with tax returns are as follows: 

  1. Tax return transcripts from the IRS: This is to verify that the tax returns provided are the actual ones provided to the lender
  2. W2 transcripts: This verifies the W2’s provided are the actual ones
  3. Income tax debts owed: If money was owed on the most recent tax return, it could still be a potential outstanding lien or payment
  4. Additional business losses: There could be a business that has losses and could reduce the borrower’s total income
  5. Tax returns are actually filed: We have had a couple recently where borrowers provided tax returns for previous years that were never filed. This would never work because the tax returns could be change or never even get filed
  6. Extra properties that are owned: If the borrower is using a first time buyer product, there can’t be other properties listed or mortgage interest reported. Always disclose property you own
  7. Un-reimbursed employee expenses: If a borrower is commissioned income accounting for over 25% and there are un-reimbursed employee expenses written off, it could lower the qualifying income
  8. Business expenses paid by the business: Some products require that the tax returns show the debt being written off by the business to exclude the debt from debt ratios
  9. Determining nontaxable income: Some sources of income are nontaxable and to gross up the income, it must be shown as non-taxable income on the returns or some cases not shown on the returns if allowed
  10. And of course a good thing, trying to find any income that can be counted for the borrower

We get the argument a lot from borrowers that this should not matter but most do not realize the amount of fraud or mistakes that are on tax returns and that is why lenders have to obtain transcripts of tax returns to close a mortgage loan in many circumstances.

So to avoid delays or issues late in the process, it is best to provide all documentation requested at once and up-front.  Then it can be reviewed, accurate income and debt ratios calculated, and have more confidence later in the process.



Posted by on March 15th, 2017 1:48 PM
Student loan debt and repayments play a large role in buyers qualifying for mortgage loans. With escalating costs of college education, many graduates are carrying the heavy burden of debt. Luckily there are many programs providing student loan payment relief, but when it comes to mortgage qualification, the programs are not often recognized. VA home loans, available to qualifying military veterans or active service members, are the most flexible when it come to student loan debt. So Veterans can take advantage of these flexible student loan guidelines to purchase a new home.

The Veterans Benefits Administration, in the Department of Veteran Affairs, recently announced a rule clarification, in Regards to student loan debt. 

Additionally, new policy provides guidance for student loans in repayment. This includes loans which will be in repayment within 12 months.

Check out how VA loans help service members, Veterans or surviving spouses with student loan payments. 

Deferred student loan payments mean payments are not required for a period of time.

Guess what? VA loans recognize the zero required payment under certain circumstances.

VA guidelines state the following:  Student loan payments which are deferred greater than 12 months after the mortgage closing date may be disregarded! 
Posted in:Home Buying and tagged: home buying
Posted by on March 8th, 2017 4:28 PM

The NAHB Housing Opportunity Index shows that home prices have risen year-over-year since 2012.

Home prices are now up 40% since hitting bottom in 2011.

That's great for homeowners. Not so great for home buyers.

Chasing ever-rising prices is hard to do on a budget. As soon as a buyer has a down payment saved -- say 5% -- the price on which that percentage was based has risen.

(The solution, though, is to find loan programs with low-down payment guidelines. FHA loans require just 3.5% down, while there are now a multitude of programs offering 100% financing.)

Home prices may be tempered by rising rates in 2017.

The historic election

 threw markets into a state of upheaval. The stock market raced upward, and mortgage rates followed suit.

That will put pressure on affordability in the fourth quarter. Maybe shockingly so.

But, there is an upside. Rising rates might pull the brakes on seemingly unstoppable home prices. Home values have been catapulted upward by almost-free borrowing. Home buyers were getting 30-year fixed rates in the low 3s, and fifteen year rates solidly in the 2s.

That's lower than the rate of inflation is likely to be in coming years.

Cheap money makes monthly payments lower. Homes are affordable, even at very high prices.

In 2017, though, that trend could reverse. Rising payments could mean fewer bidding wars and over-market-price offers.

The everyday home buyer might have a better chance at securing a home at a reasonable price. Affordability may continue its winning streak, despite rising rates..

2017 should remain a stellar year to be a home shopper.

Posted in:General
Posted by Regina Rickles, NMLS# 222362 on January 6th, 2017 9:29 PM

 A loan officer at a bank or a credit union is typically just the smiling face of the institution—the officer’s job is to accept an application that the borrower has filled out, and then hand it off to the underwriting department.

An independent loan originator, on the other hand, like PMX Group, renders more service to the borrower, including things like advising the client about the best loans available for their purposes, gathering documentation throughout the process, ordering the appraisal and communicating directly with the underwriter to ensure that the loan gets approved.

A large bank or credit union relies on the underwriting department to handle all of the above tasks—and these departments aren’t working as representatives for the borrower. The takeaway for the consumer: Mortgage rates available at an independent loan originator, whether it’s a broker or a small banker, won’t be higher than those offered through a big bank. In fact, the rates are somewhat lower, partly because independent mortgage brokers typically have more loan sources available to them compared to the big banks, which usually just have a handful of loan products to offer prospective homeowners.

So if you need a mortgage with the best rate, the best program, tailored to suite your situation call PMX Group today.  

Posted by Regina Rickles, NMLS# 222362 on February 11th, 2016 9:05 AM
Did you buy a starter house in your twenties and now you have a family or are planning a family and need a bigger house? We can help you make that happen!

With June being right around the corner and being NATIONAL HOME OWNER MONTH now is the time for you to upgrade your starter home to your dream home! You will have more space, better schooling options for the kids, closer to work, and that pool you have been wanting.

Give us a call today to see if you qualify!

Posted by on May 20th, 2015 2:29 PM


When the monthly rates are averaged and compared to the average over the years no big seasonal pattern emerges. These calculations involve averaging all the January rates and comparing them for the overall average of the annual rates. The calculation is repeated for each of the months. The month with the lowest average mortgage rate, according to the FHA data, is April. May and August were the next lowest, only a hundredth of a percent higher than the April average.

Now, let’s talk about the benefits of an FHA mortgage loan. While federally insured mortgages are less risky to lenders, there are also many benefits that make FHA mortgages attractive to borrowers.

  1. While conventional loans do not usually fund housing repairs, FHA mortgages set up an escrow account designated for contractor repairs. The borrower is required to provide estimates for the repair work together with details describing the work needed and the nature of the repairs.
  2. Borrowers who may have had some past credit problems may more easily qualify for a FHA loan because the federally backed mortgage insurance makes them less risky to lenders.
  3. However, the personal credit history will determine the percentage required for down payment from individual borrowers. Nevertheless, the percentage required for a down payment is usually less than a conventional mortgage.
  4. FHA mortgages do not allow penalty clauses for prepayment.
  5. Closing costs can be financed with the mortgage and are usually lower than conventional mortgages.
Posted in:General
Posted by on March 25th, 2015 1:05 PM

Primemax Mortgage Group, NMLS#195523

311 West Grand Ave
Rainbow City, AL 35906