Financial Freedom Agrees to $89 Million Settlement

Financial Freedom Settles Alleged Liability for Servicing of Federally Insured Reverse Mortgage Loans for $89 Million

By Jeff Sorg, OnlineEd Blog

(May 17, 2017)

briefcase with money(US Dept. of Justice, May 16, 2017) – Financial Freedom has agreed to a settlement with the United States of more than $89 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act and the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA) in connection with its participation in a federally insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM) or ‘reverse mortgage’ program, the Justice Department announced today. Financial Freedom is headquartered in Austin, Texas.

“The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that those who participate in federal mortgage insurance programs comply with requirements essential to the success of its programs,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Among these requirements are the deadlines imposed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) on those who service government insured mortgages. Those deadlines are designed to protect the government’s collateral and stop the unnecessary loss of government funds and resources.”

Through ‘reverse mortgage’ loans, older people are able to access the equity in their homes by borrowing money against the equity they have built in their home. To encourage reverse mortgage loans, the FHA protects lenders from loss by providing mortgage insurance. Under FHA’s program, a loan becomes due and payable when the home is sold or vacant for more than 12 months or upon the death of the homeowner, whichever comes first. The lender is repaid the amount of the loan, including the costs of servicing the loan and any interest that accrues on lender expenses after a loan becomes due and payable. FHA will reimburse a lender that is unable to recoup the full amount of the loan. In order to claim recoupment, the servicer is required to meet a number of regulatory requirements and deadlines.

The United States alleged that Financial Freedom sought to obtain insurance payments for interest from FHA despite failing to properly disclose on the insurance claim forms it filed with the agency that the mortgagee was not eligible for such interest payments because it had failed to meet various deadlines relating to appraisal of the property, submission of claims to HUD, and pursuit of foreclosure proceedings. As a result, from March 31, 2011 to August 31, 2016, the mortgagees on the relevant reverse mortgage loans serviced by Financial Freedom allegedly obtained additional interest that they were not entitled to receive.

The United States’ investigation arose from a declaration filed pursuant to FIRREA by Sandra Jolley, a consultant for the estates of borrowers who took out HECM loans. Under FIRREA, whistleblowers may file declarations concerning alleged violations of the statute and may obtain a share of the recovery. Ms. Jolley will receive $1.6 million from the settlement.

“This settlement represents our office’s continued commitment to protecting the financial solvency of vital financial programs designed to benefit America’s seniors,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Stephen Muldrow of the Middle District of Florida. “HECM servicers must be held accountable for failing to adhere to FHA requirements that are designed to ensure the continued viability of the HECM program. We are pleased that Financial Freedom agreed to accept financial responsibility for these failures.”

“Today’s settlement agreement resolves allegations that this lender failed to comply with FHA servicing requirements and sought to receive financial gains that it was not legally entitled to,” said HUD Inspector General David A. Montoya. “These actions today demonstrate our continued commitment to address and halt business practices that pose a serious risk to the FHA program and the public’s trust in HHUD-administered programs.”

The settlement was the result of the coordinated efforts of the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General and Office of General Counsel. The case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle Cohen, along with Trial Attorneys Sean O’Donnell and Christopher Reimer of the Department of Justice Civil Frauds Section.

The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.

[Source: US Department of Justice press release]

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For more information about OnlineEd and their education for real estate brokers, principal brokers, property managers, and mortgage brokers, visit www.OnlineEd.com.

All information contained in this posting is deemed correct as of the date of publication, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained from third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

OnlineEd® is a registered Trademark

How to Renew Your Oregon Real Estate License

Requirements to renew an Oregon real estate license

By Jeff Sorg, OnlineEd Blog
(May 9, 2017)

2015 logo green leaf

(Portland, OR) – To renew an Oregon real estate license, the licensee must pay a renewal fee and meet the following continuing education requirements:

  • 30 hours of continuing education during the two years preceding license renewal;
  • At least 3 of the 30 hours must be in a course on recent changes in real estate rule and law called the Law and Rule Required Course (LARRC), offered for FREE at OnlineEd;
  • First-time renewing licensees must take a Real Estate Board-approved 27-hour course on Broker Advanced Practices and a 3-hour course on recent changes in real estate rule and law (LARRC);
  • Continuing education courses and their course objectives must be based on Real Estate Board approved topics;
  • Only courses completed through an Oregon Real Estate Board Certified Continuing Education Provider will qualify for continuing education;
  • The Certified Continuing Education Provider must ensure that persons who teach their continuing education courses meet certain instructor qualification requirements; and
  • As part of the license renewal process, licensees will self-certify that they have met the continuing education requirement for the applicable renewal cycle.
  • While courses might be delivered by approved providers, it is the licensee’s responsibility to see that the courses meet all timing requirements and that provider can prove your time in the course to the Agency. This means that online courses must have timers and live lecture courses must have a method in place to verify time spent in attendance. A provider’s certificate of completion issued when the provider cannot prove time spent in the course will not be counted if discovered during an agency audit.

Eligible Topics

At least 3 of the 30 hours must be from a course on recent changes in real estate rule. The course on the recent rule and law changes is known as Law and Rule Required Course, commonly known by its acronym LARRC (“lark”). The remaining 27 hours of continuing education can come from any of these topics:

  • Principal broker or property manager record keeping
  • Principal real estate broker supervision responsibilities
  • Principal broker or property manager client trust accounts
  • Agency relationships and responsibilities for brokers, principal brokers, or property managers
  • Misrepresentation in real estate transactions
  • Property management
  • Advertising regulations
  • Real estate disclosure requirements
  • Real estate consumer protection
  • Anti-trust issues in real estate transactions
  • Commercial real estate
  • Real estate contracts
  • Real estate taxation
  • Real estate property evaluation, appraisal, or valuation
  • Fair Housing laws or policy
  • Managing a real estate brokerage
  • Business ethics
  • Risk management
  • Dispute resolution
  • Real estate finance
  • Real estate title
  • Real estate escrows
  • Real estate development
  • Condominiums
  • Subdivisions
  • Unit owner or homeowner associations
  • Timeshares
  • Water rights
  • Environmental protection issues in real estate
  • Land use planning, zoning, or other public limitations on use
  • Real estate economics
  • Real estate law or regulation
  • Negotiation

Specifically excluded from eligible continuing education are courses about these topics:

  • Real estate broker or property manager pre-licensing courses
  • Examination preparation classes
  • Sales meetings
  • Motivational classes or seminars
  • Time management classes or seminars
  • Sales and marketing classes or seminars
  • Psychology classes or seminars
  • Trade association orientation courses
  • Courses in standardized computer software programs not specifically related to one of the eligible topics
  • Courses with content that is specific to another state or jurisdiction

Certified Continuing Education Providers

For continuing education to qualify for license renewal, the education must be delivered by a Certified Continuing Education Provider and be time-monitored. The Certified Continuing Education Provider must

  • ensure that a course offered is within the scope of one or more of the eligible course topics;
  • identify to the licensee which course topic the course covers;
  • ensure that the course meets the minimum length requirement of one credit hour (50 minutes);
  • assign each course a four-digit number that is unique to that course;
  • ensure that courses offered will meet the stated learning objective requirements;
  • ensure that the instructor who teaches a continuing education course meets the applicable instructor qualification requirements;
  • give each licensee who completes a course a course completion certificate; and
  • keep records of each course provided for three years.

Online Renewal

To renew, licensees must use the REA’s online renewal system known as e-License. Licenses cannot and will not be renewed through the mail. During the online renewal process, licensees will self-certify that they have completed the required continuing education requirements. As part of this certification process, licensees must keep all certificates of completion received from continuing education providers and submit their completion information eLicense. The information necessary to complete this form will be found on each qualifying continuing education course completion certificate. All certificates must be kept by the licensee for three years after the renewal date for which the certificate was used for continuing education credit. Course completion certificates are obtained from the course providers.

The REA’s eLicensing website is: https://orea.elicense.irondata.com

The REA required information to be included on all qualifying continuing education course certificates includes:

  • the licensee’s name and license number;
  • the REA certified course provider’s name and REA provider number;
  • the course name and identification number. This course identification number is a four-digit provider number assigned by REA, followed by the 4-digit course number assigned by the provider and registered with the REA;
  • the date, location, and length of time assigned to the course;
  • the eligible course topics covered, or whether the course is the three-hour Law and Rule Required Course, the Broker Advanced Practices Course, or the Brokerage Administration and Sales Supervision course; and
  • the name of the instructor.

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For more information about OnlineEd and their education for real estate brokers, principal brokers, property managers, and mortgage brokers visit www.OnlineEd.com.

All information contained in this posting is deemed correct as of the date of publication, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained from third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

OnlineEd® is a registered Trademark

Changes to Contractor License Bond Claims Process in Oregon

As of January 1, the process of filing a claim against a residential contractor license bond now also includes a mediation process

By Vic Lance, Lance Surety Bond Associates

(April 8, 2017)

res_contractor_bond_claimsAs of January 1, 2017, new rules regarding the contractor license bond claim process in Oregon have been put in place. These rules only apply to bond claims brought against residential contractors.

Under the new rules, the Oregon Construction Contractors Board (CCB) will first attempt to mediate the situation that has given rise to a complaint before letting claimants file a formal claim against the bond. Read on for a full overview of the new rules regarding filing a contractor license bond claim in Oregon.

The Oregon residential contractor license bond

According to Section 701.145 of the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS), residential contractors are required to obtain a contractor license bond when applying for their license. Current state law requires residential contractors to obtain bonds in the following amounts, depending on the type of license they obtain:

  • $20,000 bond for residential general contractors and residential developers;
  • $15,000 bond for residential specialty contractors; and
  • $10,000 bond for residential limited contractor, residential locksmith services contractor, home services contractor, home inspector services contractor, home performance score contractor.

The purpose of contractor license bonds is to offer protection to the Construction Contractors Board as well as to the clients of a contractor. The protection is provided in cases when a contractor violates Oregon contractor regulations and laws and causes damages or losses. This may include defaulting on a contract, not complying with the conditions of a contract or simply doing a bad job.

In the case of a violation, a contractor license bond claim can be made. Once the claim is investigated by the CCB and the surety company and is deemed within the scope of the bond, compensation is paid to claimants.

But as of January 1 the process of filing a contractor license bond claim against residential contractors in Oregon has been amended.

Changes to the Oregon residential contractor license bond claims process

In order to protect contractors from surety bond claims that may not be within the scope of the law as well as to assist the process of resolving complaints, House Bill 4121 introduced changes to the ORS.

Previously, a complaint had to be filed against a contractor, and the CCB would then investigate the complaint and either give rise to a claim against the contractor’s bond or recommend various actions to the contractor in order to resolve the situation.

According to Section 8.4 of Bill 4121, as of January 1, the process of filing a claim against a residential contractor license bond now also includes a mediation process. Once the Board receives a complaint against a contractor, it will investigate whether it has jurisdiction over the complaint.

The Board will then try to conduct meetings either on-site or per telephone to mediate the dispute between the complainant and the contractor. As previously, the Board may still suggest actions to the contractor that may compensate the complainant, without giving rise to a claim against the bond. According to the Bill, if a contractor takes the Board’s suggestions into consideration that is sure to influence any subsequent disciplinary proceedings that the Board may bring against the contractor.

Section 8.5 of the Bill specifies that only if the contractor and the complainant do not reach an agreement about resolving the complaint, does the complainant have a right to receive payment under a bond. The complainant must then:

  • Get a final judgment against the contractor by a court; or
  • Get an arbitration award against the contractor, reduced to a final judgment by a court.

When this occurs, the surety is notified by the Board of the final judgment as well as of the amount it must pay according to the Board.

It’s important to note that these changes to the contractor license bond claim process do not concern complaints filed under ORS 701.140 (4). Such complaints are related to the payments of wages for labor or employee benefits. These types of complaints do not go through a process of mediation but are instead immediately addressed through a court that issues a judgment.

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Vic Lance is the founder and president of Lance Surety Bond Associates. He is a surety bond expert who helps mortgage brokers get licensed and bonded. Vic graduated from Villanova University with a degree in Business Administration and holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

For more information about OnlineEd and their education for real estate brokers, principal brokers, property managers, and mortgage brokers, visit www.OnlineEd.com.

All information contained in this posting is deemed correct as of the date of publication, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained from third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

OnlineEd® is a registered Trademark

Summer is the Best Time to Buy

Most inventory and price cuts occur in August and September

By Jeff Sorg, OnlineEd Blog

(April 5, 2017)

canstockphoto2590514 sun flowers 4(SEATTLE, May 4, 2017) PRNewswire — Patience pays off for home buyers. The best time to buy a home is late summer when there are the most options and frequent price cuts.

As summer approaches, overall inventory of homes for sale is down 5.3 percent from a year ago, signaling another competitive home shopping season for buyers this year. Even in markets that have seen a recent uptick in the number of homes for sale, inventory is still well below the levels of five years ago.

A new Zillow® analysis shows that there are more homes for sale at the end of summer than at any other time of year, giving buyers the greatest selection. In most major metros, August had more for-sale listings than any other month. In Los Angeles, for example, there were about 8,000 more homes for sale in August than in April. In Seattle, the difference was about 5,000 listings.

At the same time, price cuts are more common as home sellers start to worry about not selling their homes. Across the country, 15 percent of listings in August have had price reductions. In most large markets, buyers are most likely to find a home with a reduced price tag in either August or September.

The home shopping process can be stressful for buyers. On average, buyers spend more than four months shopping for a home, and put in at least two offers before buying, according to the 2016 Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends. Buyers who have been unsuccessful so far may find better luck in the later months of the summer.

“In such a competitive housing market, it’s easy for buyers to get frustrated when they are putting in multiple offers without success,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. “Buyers who start their home search in the spring may still be looking months later – but for those who can wait it out, the end of summer will bring more favorable conditions. Homes that may have been overpriced earlier in the year are more likely to have a price reduction, and those listings passed over in earlier months may look better with a fresh perspective.”

Spring traditionally kicks off the home shopping season – most new listings hit the market during these months. April in particular had more new listings than any other month in 2016.  However, shopping in spring can be competitive, and these homes are more likely to sell for a premium. Homes listed in late spring sell faster and for a $1,500 premium on average, according to Zillow’s Best Time to List analysis.

Share of Active Listings with a Price Cut – 2016

Metropolitan Area March April May June July August September October
United States 12.6% 12.8% 12.8% 14.3% 14.4% 15.1% 14.3% 13.0%
New York/Northern New Jersey 11.5% 12.2% 12.3% 13.2% 12.3% 11.9% 12.5% 11.2%
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 10.8% 10.3% 10.7% 12.6% 13.2% 14.3% 13.5% 11.9%
Chicago, IL 13.2% 15.9% 16.2% 18.6% 18.6% 19.7% 19.9% 18.2%
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX 10.6% 11.2% 11.6% 13.7% 15.2% 16.4% 15.4% 14.5%
Philadelphia, PA 17.5% 18.5% 18.1% 20.1% 19.3% 19.0% 21.0% 19.7%
Houston, TX 17.1% 16.5% 14.7% 17.2% 19.1% 18.2% 18.2% 17.2%
Washington, DC 13.4% 15.4% 16.3% 17.8% 17.7% 17.1% 17.2% 16.8%
Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL 14.1% 13.1% 12.1% 12.4% 11.8% 12.1% 11.8% 10.8%
Atlanta, GA 11.6% 12.1% 12.0% 13.3% 14.1% 14.6% 14.0% 13.6%
Boston, MA 10.8% 11.4% 12.5% 14.3% 13.4% 14.2% 14.6% 16.4%
San Francisco, CA 6.8% 7.6% 9.0% 10.3% 11.2% 12.3% 10.9% 10.1%
Detroit, MI 14.9% 13.9% 14.8% 17.5% 18.9% 20.8% 18.9% 17.6%
Riverside, CA 13.8% 12.5% 11.8% 13.0% 13.5% 14.6% 13.6% 12.8%
Phoenix, AZ 21.6% 19.3% 18.7% 18.7% 18.5% 19.4% 19.3% 19.8%
Seattle, WA 6.3% 7.0% 7.7% 9.3% 10.8% 12.1% 11.7% 9.2%
Minneapolis-St Paul, MN 12.8% 13.0% 13.7% 16.4% 17.2% 18.9% 18.6% 17.3%
San Diego, CA 12.9% 12.6% 12.6% 13.7% 14.9% 15.5% 12.7% 8.3%
St. Louis, MO 14.5% 15.3% 15.3% 17.1% 16.9% 17.9% 17.3% 15.7%
Tampa, FL 16.3% 15.6% 14.0% 14.4% 14.1% 14.6% 15.2% 14.6%
Baltimore, MD 16.1% 17.2% 17.7% 19.1% 19.6% 19.2% 19.9% 19.8%
Denver, CO 8.3% 9.3% 10.4% 13.5% 14.2% 15.3% 12.9% 9.1%
Pittsburgh, PA 14.4% 15.1% 15.7% 16.5% 17.4% 17.8% 17.9% 16.3%
Portland, OR 7.2% 8.2% 9.6% 11.4% 13.2% 15.3% 15.2% 13.0%
Charlotte, NC 11.3% 11.5% 11.5% 12.3% 12.9% 13.5% 11.8% 9.6%
Sacramento, CA 8.7% 9.9% 11.0% 12.3% 14.0% 14.6% 13.0% 8.6%
San Antonio, TX 14.3% 15.2% 15.9% 16.8% 19.4% 20.0% 17.9% 16.9%
Orlando, FL 15.9% 15.7% 13.3% 14.2% 14.8% 14.6% 15.1% 14.1%
Cincinnati, OH 13.5% 14.8% 13.7% 16.1% 16.0% 16.7% 15.8% 13.7%
Cleveland, OH 14.1% 13.6% 13.9% 15.9% 15.9% 17.5% 17.0% 16.2%
Kansas City, MO 11.7% 11.9% 12.0% 14.2% 15.0% 15.9% 15.3% 14.8%
Las Vegas, NV 13.0% 12.7% 12.1% 12.5% 13.6% 16.0% 15.3% 14.2%
Columbus, OH 11.5% 11.3% 11.5% 12.9% 14.4% 15.3% 14.8% 12.9%
Indianapolis, IN 13.0% 12.3% 13.1% 14.9% 16.0% 17.7% 16.9% 16.3%
San Jose, CA 7.7% 8.5% 9.9% 12.0% 11.9% 13.9% 13.1% 12.1%
Austin, TX 12.4% 13.1% 13.7% 15.3% 17.3% 17.0% 16.8% 14.1%

For the full data, visit Zillow Research: http://www.zillow.com/research/strategy-best-time-to-buy-15066/

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For more information about OnlineEd and their education for real estate brokers, principal brokers, property managers, and mortgage brokers, visit www.OnlineEd.com.

All information contained in this posting is deemed correct as of the date of publication, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained from third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

OnlineEd® is a registered Trademark

Zillow Group Launches RealEstate.com, Gives Millennial Buyers a New Way to Search

Buyers can search for homes by the monthly payment and down payment they can afford

By Jeff Sorg, OnlineEd Blog

(April 5, 2017)

canstockphoto44785937 guy buyer 1SEATTLE – May 2, 2017 – Zillow Group, which houses a portfolio of the largest and most vibrant real estate and home-related brands on mobile and web, today launches RealEstate.com, a new consumer real estate brand tailored to first-time home buyers, many of whom are millennials.

On RealEstate.com, buyers can search for homes in a completely new way – by the monthly payment and down payment they can afford.

Home buyers say finding a home within their budget is their top concern, even more so than finding a home in a safe neighborhood, according to the 2016 Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report. Yet, first-time buyers are nearly twice as likely to exceed their budget as repeat buyers.

To help buyers understand the additional costs associated with homeownership, RealEstate.com calculates an “All-In Monthly Price” for every home and breaks out estimated expenses that might roll up into a monthly payment, including principal and interest, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, HOA fees and utilities, and closing costs.

In addition, home shoppers will be able to search for and see information about homes in English, Spanish or Chinese.

Nearly half of all home buyers (42 percent) are first-time buyers, and the majority of first-time buyers (56 percent) are millennials. In addition to playing an increasingly larger role in the housing market, the millennial generation is more diverse than older generations.

“RealEstate.com is designed to equip the next generation of home buyers to find a home that suits their needs and budget,” said Jeremy Wacksman, CMO at Zillow Group. “We know from our research that affordability is a huge driver for home buyers, and that first-time buyers are more likely to go over budget. By tailoring the home search experience on RealEstate.com around a home’s monthly cost, we hope to make the home buying experience less daunting and even more transparent for first-time buyers.”

Millennial home-shoppers are hungry for resources to help them in their home search. They rely heavily on technology early in the buying and selling process, according to the Zillow Group report. Agents continue to play an important role with this engaged group of buyers, with 70 percent using an agent in their home search and they are more likely to find their real estate agent online (29 percent) and to evaluate agents using online reviews (61 percent).

For real estate professionals, RealEstate.com offers another way to connect with first-time home buyers and millennials. Buyers will be able to connect with real estate agents directly from the listing details page on the site. Listings come directly from multiple listing services, real estate brokerages and franchisors, agents will receive the same listing treatment they currently have on Zillow® and Trulia®.

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For more information about OnlineEd and their education for real estate brokers, principal brokers, property managers, and mortgage brokers visit www.OnlineEd.com.

All information contained in this posting is deemed correct as of the date of publication, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained from third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

OnlineEd® is a registered Trademark

Days to Close Shortest in Nearly a Year

Overall time to close a loan drops to 44 days in February, with Decreased days to close across all loan types

By Jeff Sorg, OnlineEd Blog

(April 21, 2017)

canstockphoto45409979 millennials1 PLEASANTON, Calif. –  In February, time to close all loans for Millennial borrowers decreased to 44 days, the shortest average time to close since March 2016, according to the latest Millennial Tracker released by Ellie Mae® , a leading provider of innovative on-demand software solutions and services for the residential mortgage industry. The average time to close a purchase loan for Millennials decreased from 46 days in January to 42 days in February, while time to close a refinance loan also decreased to 52 days in February, down from 58 days the month prior. Similarly, the average time to close FHA loans decreased from 47 days in January to 43 days in February. Average time to close VA loans decreased dramatically from 57 days to 41 days.

As U.S. housing trends toward a buyer’s market, purchases accounted for 86 percent of all closed loans for the month of February, a slight uptick from 84 percent in January, while refinances fell two percentage points to 14 percent of all loans to Millennial borrowers. Share of conventional loans stayed steady from the month prior, representing 61 percent of loans, while FHA loans increased to 36 percent in February, up from 35 percent the month prior.

FICO scores across all loan types continued to fall in February to an average of 723, down from 724 in January and their peak of 726 from August through October 2016. For purchases, the average FICO score was 747 for a conventional loan, 690 for an FHA loan and 745 for a VA loan.

“Purchase loans are increasing, indicating that Millennials are continuing to enter the first-time homebuyer market,” said Joe Tyrrell, executive vice president of corporate strategy for Ellie Mae. “In addition, we saw time to close decrease from 49 days in January to 44 days in February, which indicates that our lenders are seeing more efficiency as they embrace mortgage automation.”

In February, the hottest housing market for Millennials was in the state of Texas. The top markets by percentage of Millennial loans closed in the state included Odessa, Midland and Beaumont-Port Arthur.

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For more information about OnlineEd and their education for real estate brokers, principal brokers, property managers, and mortgage brokers, visit www.OnlineEd.com.

All information contained in this posting is deemed correct as of the date of publication, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained from third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

OnlineEd® is a registered Trademark

How to get Oregon CCB Contractors License Pre-License Education

It only takes 16 clock-hours of  CCB approved education to be eligible for your Oregon contractor license

By Jeff Sorg, OnlineEd Blog

canstockphoto20495835 contractor(April 19, 2017) – The required training for an Oregon contractor license is not too complicated! License applicants must be at least 18 years old and complete a minimum of 16 hours of training on law and business practices from OnlineEd, and then pass the Oregon licensing exam proctored by a company called PSI. You must apply for your CCB license within 24 months of passing the test.

The NASCLA guide must be studied for at least 16 hours in conjunction with the online learning lessons. The license applicant will track their own time and notify OnlineEd once they spend the minimum time in the course of study. Once the applicant notifies OnlineEd, OnlineEd will notify the exam proctor that the applicant is approved to sit for the licensing exam.  Presently, the cost of the CCB Approved OnlineEd course of study is just $77.00, plus $2.50 shipping and handling. OnlineEd consistently has a first-time pass rate in the 90s and sells a majority of Oregon CCB licensing courses, so their prices as seldom beat.
The state licensing exam is based on the NASCLA Contractors Guide for Oregon, which is included in the $77 OnlineEd enrollment fee.   The state exam is an open-book exam, so you will want to take your NASCLA guide to the testing center. The exam cost at the time of this article is $60. You will be given three hours to finish the 80 question multiple choice exam that you must pass by answering at least 56 questions correctly for a minimum passing score of 70%.
Veterans might be able to get a reimbursement for the costs of any tests taken for this license. Contact the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/licensing_certification.asp or 1-888-442-4551; or Oregon Dept. of Veterans Affairs at 1-800-828-8801 for more information.
For more information about the OnlineEd course, please visit their catalog.

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For more information about OnlineEd and their education for real estate brokers, principal brokers, property managers, and mortgage brokers, visit www.OnlineEd.com.

All information contained in this posting is deemed correct as of the date of publication, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained from third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

OnlineEd® is a registered Trademark

Builder Confidence Holds Firm in April

All three components posted losses in April

By Jeff Sorg, OnlineEd Blog

canstockphoto14235666 confidence 2(April 18, 2017) NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF HOME BUILDERS – Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes remained solid in April, falling three points to a level of 68 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) after an unusually high March reading.

“Even with this month’s modest drop, builder confidence is on very firm ground, and builders are reporting strong interest among potential home buyers,” said NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald, a home builder and developer from Kerrville, Texas.

“The fact that the HMI measure of current sales conditions has been over 70 for five consecutive months shows that there is continued demand for new construction,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “However, builders are facing several challenges, such as hefty regulatory costs and ongoing increases in building material prices.”

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

All three HMI components posted losses in April but remain at healthy levels. The components gauging current sales conditions fell three points to 74 while the index charting sales expectations in the next six months dropped three points to 75. Meanwhile, the component measuring buyer traffic edged one point down to 52.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the West and Midwest both rose one point to 77 and 68, respectively. The South held steady at 68, and the Northeast fell two points to 46.

[Source: NAHB]

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For more information about OnlineEd and their education for real estate brokers, principal brokers, property managers, and mortgage brokers, visit www.OnlineEd.com.

All information contained in this posting is deemed correct as of the date of publication, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained from third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

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California Dept. of Business Oversight Announces $1.4 Million Settlement with Michigan Mortgage Firm

United Shore Financial Services to Pay Restitution, Penalties

money cash dollars canstockphoto0247472(April 14, 2017) – SACRAMENTO – The Department of Business Oversight (DBO) has announced Michigan-based United Shore Financial Services, LLC will pay more than $1.4 million in refunds and penalties to resolve allegations the mortgage lender and servicer overcharged thousands of California borrowers for interest.

“I’m pleased we have reached this agreement with United Shore,” said DBO Commissioner Jan Lynn Owen. “It compensates borrowers for the financial harm they suffered, and requires the firm to continue following improved policies and procedures designed to prevent this from happening again.”

The settlement includes $293,127 of refunds already provided by United Shore to about 3,400 borrowers. United Shore will pay restitution to additional borrowers based on the results of self-audits required by the settlement that will cover loans made from June 2015 through February 2018.

The settlement also requires United Shore to pay penalties to the DBO – $1.1 million for the interest overcharges already identified, plus another $125 for each additional violation identified by the self-audits.

United Shore in 2015 originated 13,063 mortgages in California with a combined principal of $4.4 billion, according to data in the firm’s annual reports filed with the DBO.

The settlement resolves an enforcement action that grew out of two regulatory examinations conducted by the DBO. Under California law, lenders cannot start charging interest on mortgage loans prior to the business day that immediately precedes the day the loan proceeds are disbursed. United Shore violated that statutory restriction on so-called per diem interest.

The DBO licenses and regulates more than 360,000 individuals and entities that provide financial services in California. DBO’s regulatory jurisdiction extends over state-chartered banks and credit unions, money transmitters, securities broker-dealers, investment advisers, non-bank installment lenders, payday lenders, mortgage lenders and servicers, escrow companies, franchisors and more.

[Source: CA DBO]

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For more information about OnlineEd and their education for real estate brokers, principal brokers, property managers, and mortgage brokers, visit www.OnlineEd.com.

All information contained in this posting is deemed correct as of the date of publication, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained from third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

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Categories: Mortgage, Real Estate Tags: ,

Nationstar Mortgage to Pay $1.75 for Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) Violations

$1.75 Million Civil Penalty is the CFPB’s Largest  for HMDA Violations

By Jeff Sorg, OnlineEd Blog

canstockphoto19773822 compliance 1(March 16, 2017) – WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has ordered Nationstar Mortgage LLC to pay a $1.75 million civil penalty for violating the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) by consistently failing to report accurate data about mortgage transactions for 2012 through 2014. This action is the largest HMDA civil penalty imposed by the Bureau to date, which stems from Nationstar’s market size, the substantial magnitude of its errors, and its history of previous violations. Nationstar had been on notice since 2011 of HMDA compliance problems.

In addition to paying the civil penalty, Nationstar must take the necessary steps this time to improve its compliance management and prevent future violations.

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For more information about OnlineEd and their education for real estate brokers, principal brokers, property managers, and mortgage brokers, visit www.OnlineEd.com.

All information contained in this posting is deemed correct as of the date of publication, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained from third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

OnlineEd® is a registered Trademark