Thank You to the Guests of our Newport Beach Open House Celebration!

On the evening of Wednesday November 14th 2012, Prominent Escrow celebrated the opening of its newest Orange County branch location near Fashion Island.  There was a fantastic showing of well-respected realtors and lenders of the Newport Beach area, and this was an event to be remembered.  The social scene was booming as the music vibrated through the air from steel drum performance and free personal head shots were taken for the guests by an expert photographer.

Upon arrival guests were greeted and engaged by Prominent Escrow’s General Manager, Lisa Martinez as well as Account Executive, Alissa Hittner and Escrow Officer, Anna Westler.  Also throughout the night, realtors were reacquainted with longtime favorite, Senior Escrow Officer, Carol Jacobs.  Carol joined the Prominent Escrow family in early October and has been gaining momentum as real estate professionals seek out her expertise and closing services.

During the evening, flyers were available showcasing Prominent’s newest complimentary service, which is a series of upcoming educational trainings taught by Educational Specialist Bernadette Abdelsayed.  Some of Bernadette’s class topics include:

1) What is Escrow? / Escrow 101

2) Six Keys to a Short Sale

3) Short Sales: A How-To Guide

4) Hot Apps in Real Estate

5) Social Media Marketing

Please visit http://www.facebook.com/pages/PROMINENT-ESCROW-SERVICES-INC/467800025366 for updates on Bernadette’s classes.   Our goal is to educate agents on how to develop higher quality real estate leads, improve movement of real estate for sale, and outperform competition in the marketing arena. Bernadette can be reached personally at bernadette@prominentescrow.com.

 

All head shots from the Office Open House will be posted on our Facebook very soon! Please check back to take a look.

 

 

 

Paying Less for a Mortgage

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204755404578103002877215048.html?mod=WSJ_RealEstate_RIGHTTopCarousel

Original Post Date: November  9, 2012

By: Ruth Simon

Mortgage rates have flattened out, but some borrowers are lowering their rates further by opting for a loan with a shorter term or taking out a “hybrid” adjustable-rate mortgage.

Wells Fargo, WFC -0.77%the nation’s largest mortgage lender, says one-quarter of its borrowers are choosing 15-year loans. Freddie Mac, FMCC +4.10%the government-controlled mortgage company, says about 30% of borrowers this year have opted for shorter-term home loans when they refinance, with most picking a 15-year mortgage.

“You can save as much as three-quarters of a percentage point by going with a 15-year term as opposed to a 30-year term,” says Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft. Shorter-term loans are particularly attractive to people “who have been homeowners for a number of years…or who want the security of knowing they will own their home free and clear when they retire,” he adds.

David Wimer, who lives in Bolton, Conn., recently refinanced the mortgage and home-equity loan on his 3,000 square-foot Colonial into a new 15-year mortgage with a 2.875% rate. “I’m 49 and I want to try and get it paid off around the time I am retiring,” says Mr. Wimer, a real-estate attorney. Many of his clients are switching to a 15-year mortgage as they refinance for the second or third time, he says.

Rates on conforming 15-year fixed-rate mortgages currently average 2.99%, according to mortgage research firm HSH.com, well below the 3.47% average rate on 30-year fixed-rate ones. Rates currently average 2.87% on hybrid ARMs that carry a fixed rate for the first seven years and then adjust annually, though borrowers could face significantly higher costs once the fixed period ends.

Choosing a shorter-term loan can mean a significant drop in interest charges over the life of the loan. A borrower would pay a total of $82,646 in interest on a $350,000, 2.92% 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, according to HSH.com. On a $350,000, 30-year mortgage with a 3.57% rate, the borrower would pay $220,730 in interest.

Because it gives you less time to repay your loan, a 15-year mortgage isn’t for the cash-poor. The monthly payment on the $350,000 loan with a 15-year term would be about $2,404, according to HSH.com—much more than the $1,585 payment on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.

Your mortgage-interest tax deduction also will be smaller with a 15-year loan instead of a 30-year loan, in part because “each payment is more principal and less interest,” says Donald Williamson, executive director of the Kogod Tax Center at American University.

The sticker shock is likely to be smaller if you are refinancing a mortgage that you have been paying down for some time. “If you’ve had the loan for five to eight years, the payment is typically the same or goes up $100 or so,” says Michael Menatian, president of Sanborn Mortgage in West Hartford, Conn.

Before opting for a 15-year mortgage, borrowers should consider whether they have other pressing financial needs, such as building an emergency fund, saving for retirement or financing a child’s college education. A 15-year loan also might be a risky choice if you are worried about job security or the stability of your income.

“Once you sign up for a 15-year payment, you are committed to that,” says Brian Wickert, president of Accunet Mortgage in Butler, Wis. Borrowers who want to repay their loan early can take out a 30-year mortgage and then make extra payments when they are able to, he says, though they won’t get the lower interest rate.

Some lenders now offer customized loan terms of, say, 18 or 23 years. Rates on loans with terms of more than 15 years tend to be close to the rates on 30-year mortgages.

Another way to lower your mortgage rate below 3% is to take out an adjustable-rate mortgage that carries a fixed rate for the first three, five or seven years and then adjusts annually.

The big risk of a hybrid is that you don’t move when you planned to and are stuck with rising loan payments. On ARMs that carries a five-year fixed-rate period, the rate can often rise by as much as five percentage points on the first adjustment. The total increase is typically limited to five or six percentage points over the life of the loan.

Still, hybrid ARMs can make sense for some borrowers.

Paul Patt, who lives in Brookfield, Wis., recently swapped a 3.875% 30-year fixed mortgage on his $750,000 home for an ARM that carries a 2.625% rate for the first seven years.

“My youngest child will go off to college in four years,” says Mr. Patt, a management consultant. “It makes sense for me now to go with an adjustable-rate mortgage to keep interest rates lower knowing that I will almost certainly be selling the home within the next several years.”

Hybrid ARMs also have found favor with borrowers taking out so-called jumbo loans—those too large for government backing. With a larger loan, a quarter-percentage-point rate difference “can be very significant in terms of your monthly payment,” says Jim Linnane, a senior vice president at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. Banks typically hold jumbo loans in their portfolios, with many offering more attractive pricing for jumbo hybrid ARMs because these loans carry less interest rate risk for the lender than 30-year fixed-rate mortgages.

Before opting for a hybrid ARM, calculate how much your payments could rise if your mortgage rate increases by two or even four percentage points when the fixed period on the loan ends, says Keith Gumbinger, a mortgage analyst at HSH.com. “Before you sign on the dotted line,” he says, “it is important to know what you are getting yourself into.”

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NEW SERVICE for our clients

Prominent Escrow is excited to announce our newest service to our clients! In additional to many of our “think outside the box”  escrow services, Prominent Escrow is proud to introduce our new Educational Specialist, Bernadette Abdelsayed.

With her tremendous expertise and experience, Bernadette comes with an unlimited amount of knowledge that she is sharing with our agents. From Escrow 101 to Social Media, her classes are sure to add to your skill set.  Keep checking in for future class schedules and events. Visit our facebook page for updates! http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/PROMINENT-ESCROW-SERVICES-INC/467800025366

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Prominent Escrow welcomes you to our Newport Beach office

We are extending our Prominent family all over southern California to better serve our clients!

With 5 branches and counting, we are introducing the open house of our Newport Beach branch this Wednesday, November 14th at 4pm. Our office is located in Fashion Island at 140 Newport Center Drive, Suite 210, in Newport Beach. For other branch locations, please visit us at www.ProminentEscrow.com

The event will include drinks, appetizers, live music and prizes. We’re looking forward to seeing all our current and potential clients at the event! Cheers!!!

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NAR Economist: Home Prices to Rise 15% in 3 Years

http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2012/11/09/nar-economist-home-prices-to-rise-15-in-3-years/

By: Kris Hudson and Dawn Wotapka

ORLANDO—National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun foresees U.S. home prices rising by 15% over the next three years, a boost for the beleaguered housing market.

Mr. Yun is widely known for his optimistic forecasts, given his employer, the nation’s largest housing cheerleader. Still, any talk of rising home prices is welcome news. Home values have plunged a third or more from the peak, leaving millions of Americans underwater, or owing more than their mortgage, and unable to move. If their values increase, they might feel comfortable enough to buy a bigger home or retire to a smaller one, helping everyone from real-estate agents, who would earn a commission, to retailers selling everything from furniture to paint.

However, Mr. Yun expressed concern about home affordability, citing both supply and demand. Supply remains relatively scarce because builders are not producing as many homes as in past years. Mr. Yun predicts that construction will ramp up to 1.3 million units by 2014, but that still would be below the historic average of 1.5 million. One factor hampering construction: Small home builders still are having difficulty getting financing from local lenders.

“Builders need to add more,” Mr. Yun said at the group’s annual conference. “We need to moderate the price growth.”

If only it were that easy. Builders are dealing with increased labor and material costs, which threaten the nascent recovery. They also don’t want to build too many homes, just in case the economy weakens again. And, for builders, raising prices is a great thing—particularly if that trickles down to shareholders.

On the demand side, U.S. job growth has picked up, but it is, at best, keeping up with population growth. Many of the country’s new jobs are low-paying positions in retail, home health care and other such fields. Thus, U.S. household earnings aren’t growing robustly, and the country’s total employment level is not posting great gains. “Every single month, we would have to create 250,000 jobs for the next eight years to get back to normal” employment levels, Mr. Yun said.

An affordability gap could emerge if prices rise due to restricted supply and buyers lose momentum due to sluggish wage growth.

Mark Vitner, an economist with Wells Fargo,  predicted that mortgage rates will remain at historic lows through 2014, keeping home buying affordable. Mr. Vitner forecast that the rate on a traditional, 30-year mortgage, now at roughly 3.4%, will “bottom out” at 3.3% in next year’s first quarter amid concerns about federal budget-balancing efforts. “We will probably be at an all-time-low in interest rates late this year or early next year.”

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Mortgage rates remain near record lows

http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-mortgage-rates-20121101,0,434665.story

Original Post Date: November 1, 2012

By: E. Scott Reckard

Mortgage interest rates moved slightly lower this week, according to housing finance giant Freddie Mac, with lenders offering 30-year fixed-rate home loans to solid borrowers at an average of 3.39%, compared with 3.41% last week.

The 15-year fixed mortgage, often used by refinancers seeking to pay off their housing debt faster, dropped from 2.72% last week to 2.7%. The rates are hovering near the all-time lows of 3.36% for the 30-year and 2.66% for the 15-year, set last month.

Borrowers would have paid an average of 0.7% of the loan balance in upfront fees to the lender to obtain the rates, Freddie Mac said in its weekly report on mortgage pricing,

Start rates on variable mortgages also edged down, the report showed.

Freddie Mac asks lenders Monday through Wednesday about the terms they are offering creditworthy borrowers with at least a 20% down payment or 20% equity if they are refinancing their loans. Costs for third-party services such as appraisals and title insurance are not included.

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