Mortgage Definition

Jan

11

2014

Dean's Blog

Qualified Mortgage is Here. What does it mean for you?

QM is here! What does that stand for? QM stands for Qualified Mortgage. The new Dodd-Frank bill is now taking effect and just six years after the mortgage industry hit hard times the government is here to fix things. So basically what the new bill is stating is that a mortgage needs to meet particular guidelines such as a borrower’s ability to repay the loan and that they pay no negative amortization. Now…This all seems fine and good, but it begs the question, couldn’t have Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac (Government owned corporations) adjusted their guidelines to meet this?   Oh, wait, they did, back in 2009 less than a year after the fall out. As for a borrower’s ability to repay? The month the mortgage industry was collapsing, every major lender immediately abolished their State Income loan programs and everything became full documentation. Negative amortized loan? Gone back in 2008 again. The market corrected itself instantly when the banks started taking losses on these. So why the new QM and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to enforce this? Who knows; power control, money? FYI, the CFPB is not accountable to anyone, not Congress, not the President. But, now the government can claim that they spent billions upon billions of tax payer dollars to create a new rule that is six years too late and create an agency that can “protect” the population from bad mortgages.

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Photo Courtesy of rlinger

Nov

18

2013

Dean's Blog

Will they or won’t they?

In June the Federal Reserve indicated that they would need to taper off their bond buying program. The program was to keep interest rates low in hopes of spurring the economy. Making money cheap to banks in hopes that banks would turn around and lend money. Nice idea in theory, but if on the Fiscal side of things the government is making the cost of doing business so expensive there is really not a lot that cheap money will do. Anyway when they announced this interest rates bounced off of their historic lows. Now, with a new Fed chief coming in the question is will how long will they continue this policy? With the costs of the Affordable Care Act being a much bigger hit to the private sector than originally anticipated and weaker jobs numbers the consensus is that the Fed may have to maintain this policy for at least through 2015. A one sided solution because Washington refuses to relinquish any grip on the taxpayers money. Stay tuned.

Dean Vlamis and Dennis Rodkin interview

Sep

17

2013

Photo courtesy of Adam Bartlett: http://www.flickr.com/photos/atbartlett/

Sep

13

2013

Dean's Blog

Changes, everything changes.

Changes, everything changes. For the past gazillion years it seemed that interest rates just kept getting lower and lower. A 30yr fixed below 6.00%; never! Below 5.00%; amazing! Under 4.00%; unheard of!! 3.5%; that is almost free money. Now, a 30yr fixed is back up to a whopping 4.5% and you would think the sky is falling. Perspective matters in all things. This is still cheap money and this recent rise in rates should never be an obstacle for anyone looking to purchase. Now I am not advocating running out and purchase property so I benefit. No, but if you are looking and are serious, then the current interest rates should not be an obstacle in the decision making process. Remember, it all depends on perspective. In 2007 the unemployment numbers were over 6.00% for the first time in decades. Based on the media reaction to this news the sky was falling. Today unemployment is at a reported 7.3% and the percentage of workers not participating in the job market is the highest it has been since 1978. Not good news at all. Yet, according to the media we are in the third year of recovery. So what does this mean? Never ever listen to the mainstream media, they never seem to get things right. Rates are still historically low. Do your homework when buying a home. It is back to being a buyers’ market so take advantage of all this.

Image courtesy of Michael Elliot- FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Aug

30

2013

Dean's Blog

The American War Drums are Beating Again

Another war; seriously? Yes, the American war drums are beating again. There must be something about international pressure where our elected leaders lose their ideals and go along to get along. They are like high school students who want to be perceived as doing the right thing and what other people believe is the right thing whether they actually agree with it or not. No, we have not gone to war yet, but as of this writing most of the news outlets have indicated that the U.S. is preparing for a strike against Syria. With the last few months of rising rates another major military action may actually bring rates lower again. Uncertainty in the world or market causes a flight to quality. A flight to quality is government insured bonds or mortgage backed securities. Yes, I know, hard to believe that anything issued by the US government is perceived as “quality.” But if the US taxpayer is on the hook for everything from school loans for those who do not pay them back to bad mortgages this trend will continue. And as long as our elected leaders can claim a right to our livelihood and money for such matters this will continue. The Federal Reserve story of winding down its bond buying program is so yesterday’s news. All eyes are now on the Middle East…well really not the Middle East. The main story is Miley Cyrus’ performance at the MTV VMA awards (???) and everyone has been asking how this will affect interest rates…stay tuned

Mortgage-StuartMiles

Aug

08

2013

Dean's Blog

Competition

Competition. It is competition that in any market benefits the consumer. Don’t let any politician and some other type of expert who has never really earned a living tell you otherwise. The mortgage crises can be traced back to the late 70’s when the government got involved and implied or tried to force banks to lend to certain demographics often suing or punishing lenders for not complying enough. “Not lending enough to where we told you to lend…bam; see you in court!” Thus banks were forced to make loans to borrowers that they otherwise would not lend to based on the borrower’s ability to repay the loan. Then in the late 90’s there was pressure put on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to expand their portfolios to make loans to more Americans who otherwise couldn’t afford homes, with the goal of homeownership for everyone. Well how do you accomplish that? Simple, lower your requirements for getting a loan and take on more risk as the new pool of borrowers brought on greater enhances the chances of default. Then of course in the early 2000’s the Federal Reserve took it upon themselves to artificially keep rates low so that banks would increase lending. Do you see a pattern here and where it leads to? When the banks were forced to lend based on criteria other than a borrower’s ability to repay a loan the long term affect was the fallout in the industry. Now, being a mortgage broker it may see odd that I am haranguing the government for its meddling in the markets as I was clearly a beneficiary of all these policies; right? Well yes, but let’s get back to competition. If I am good at what I do, offer my clients the best possible deal for them that they can shop around and confirm than I would still be in business. My motive is clear, I want to make money and in order to do this and stay in business I have to offer the best product at the best cost for my clients. This way they keep coming back to me and refer me business. A simple concept. So why do we need the government to get involved to help home ownership? Either you can qualify or you cannot. If you do not qualify at this time we can work with you to show you what you … Continue reading

Percent

Jul

15

2013

Dean's Blog

Stop Worrying about Interest Rates

Remember, you are applying for a mortgage; a substantial amount of money and loan that you will eventually have to pay back. It is difficult and during the process we ask for a lot… a whole lot. But perhaps this past decade when the industry barely required a signature for a loan makes the transition that much harder. Therefore it is very important to be with someone who is handling your loan who does this for a living, not some call center at one of these large banks. So what am I saying? Yes, use me for your financing. My name is on your deal, my livelihood and my reputation. The process is hard enough as it is, you need to work with someone who knows the process and is on top of any changes. The real estate market has heated up. Stories about multiple bids, full offers and properties just flying off the shelf. Due a lot to limited inventory but this could lead to some good news for the economy as a whole. With limited inventory new construction projects should ramp up creating help in many aspects of the economy. Stop worrying about interest rates; we don’t need “stimulus spending” or The Fed to keep rates artificially low. If they stay out of the way and allow the proper allocation of resources then things can start getting better.

Dean Vlamis- How Low Can it Go?

Jul

05

2013

Dean's Blog

Why do we Need the Fed to “prop” us up When Things go Bad

The 4th of July is in the past and now we head into summer. The days of rates in the 3’s are past us, yet not too big a cause of concern. The economy needs a good solid foundation and having the Federal Reserve print money and flood the economy in hopes of keeping it afloat is the not the answer. Granted the markets reacted with a flood of selling and a little panic, but the markets only reflect the short term. Interest rates are still in the 4’s which is incredibly low historically and the real estate market is booming due to low inventory. Hopefully this will bring back some new home building also. So why do we need the Fed to “prop” us up when things go bad? This bubble started back in 2000 when there was the dot com bust. All these new internet companies were booming, their stock prices were shooting through the roof and most of them were either not making any money, or losing money. It was only natural that eventually the market would pull back from this exuberance. That is what the market does, it corrects itself, gets rid of the companies that are inefficient and the thus the allocation of resources, i.e. money goes to the most productive companies and opportunities. However, since we live in a culture where any down turn is politicized and dramatized the Federal Reserve back then started lowering rates in hopes of avoiding a necessary recession; all this money floating around with little risk. This is one of the main components that eventually lead to the housing and mortgage fall out. So, now that the Fed indicated that they will phase out the bond buying program the markets panicked but eventually this is what the economy needs. The allocation of money and resources is best left to the efficiencies of the market, rather than some elites in closed door sessions thinking for the general populace what is best for them.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Jun

26

2013

Dean's Blog

On Power and Bernanke

Power, it is an amazing thing and now we see how much power a man’s words have to shake the world. No, I am not getting religious here and talking about a prophet or the messiah. Nor am I talking about the all-powerful Wizard of Oz. I am of course talking about the all mighty Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke. In the past month his comments about The Fed’s bond buying program have sent all markets crashing. The stock market was consistently losing 200 points per day and interests rates shot up like a rocket. The 30 year fixed rate went from 3.625% to 4.625% in less than 30 days. How did this happen? From the Fed’s perspective in order to “prop” up the economy they have been buying mortgage backed securities and bonds and in essence printing money to spur the economy. Did it work? Not really unemployment and economic growth were anemic. There are so many layers of money supply and such enormous debt that the simple functions of the economy seem confusing. Ideally you would not want the Fed to print money or buy bonds. Ideally you would simply want the government to get out of the way, cut the red tape that adds billions of dollars to the cost of doing business and costs jobs, and let the American economy grow like it used to; through hard work and ingenuity. By the end of the summer when all is settled down there will be a better indication of where interest rates are going.

the-fed-report

Jun

14

2013

Dean's Blog

Is It Really That Hard to Get a Loan…?

There have been countless stories of the difficulties in getting a mortgage these days. And, well, yes they are true. It can depend on perspective though.  In the past ten years it was basically easy to get a loan and banks were simply giving money away with a signature. Clearly that is not the case anymore and the pendulum has swung the other way. The simple answer is that today if you want a loan, you have to show your ability to actually repay the loan. The hard stuff is the compliance imposed on lenders and originators to make sure these loans fit into the box of guidelines that have tightened so much over the years. …There is a $1200 deposit on your bank account; where did that come from, who did that come from and show us the whole paper trail where that came from. …We noticed your credit was pulled six months ago by Sears; we need a complete explanation as to why …Your insurance has Avenue abbreviated on the declaration page; have them change that immediately How did we get here? With the fallout in the past few years Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac took billions in losses due to bad loans. These two lending giants are the government sponsored entities that insure about 90% of all loans. In the past few years they tried to unload a lot of the loans in their portfolio back on to the banks, using any technicality or obscure guideline they could find to force these banks to buy back a lot of these loans, thus pushing the losses onto the banks. Thus,  moving forward the through the lending process, mortgage lenders, and end lenders are making sure that there is no stone unturned during the process., in the end putting borrowers through the ringer for documentation that may seem tedious. The positive upside of this is that there is a new generation of borrowers that are more qualified than almost ever before, thus creating a secure foundation for the housing industry. The downside of course is that a lot of common sense is gone. People who clearly have the means, such as substantial assets, strong credit histories or a good deal of wealth often times do not fit into the tight little box and deal with the frustration of not getting a loan. There is some good news on the … Continue reading

Image courtesy of Michael Elliot- FreeDigitalPhotos.net

May

28

2013

Dean's Blog

The State of America

I am scratching my head here based on the news that came out recently. Federal Chairman, Ben Bernanke, or should we say “He who can save us from ourselves” recently gave a speech and indicated that the Fed will continue its easing policy to stimulate the economy. Do you know what this “easing” means? They are printing money; that’s it. It has been so unsuccessful for the past five years with unemployment staying high and GDP growth almost flat lined that they are doing more of the same. The concept is that more money into the economy will spur investment. It makes sense, however, where is this money going to? You; me, no. The Fed lends money to bank per the overnight rate, which now is practically 0. Thus banks can borrower from the Fed for free in hopes that banks will lend this money to spur the economy. Well, what banks do, and have always done during times of recession and slow growth is get their free money from the Fed, and turn around and invest this money into secure government backed bonds. The spread may be low, but with free money, the interest they earn is risk free. This is why you hear that banks are usually cash rich during slow times. So why continue with the easing policy? Well, the alternative would be to get more money into the hands of the people, you, me, entrepreneurs so investment can spur the economy. How do they do that? They would cut taxes. And there you have your dilemma. Politicians believe that if they tax us more, take money out of our pockets so they can spend it that we would be better off. And of course with a higher tax rate the government has more control over the population to convince us that we need them, we need the Fed. Ridiculous. The history of this country’s success is based on risk takers and the American entrepreneurial spirit, not turning to some faceless bureaucracy to bail us out. Simply look at your paycheck since January. Are you now better off now or any other time when the government keeps more of your money? It is a simple concept, you know better than some bureaucrat how to improve your lives and invest your money.

DeanInterestRates_Greece

May

17

2013

Dean's Blog

Where are Interest Rates Headed?

For years I have given up determining where interest rates will go. I used to be a Commodities Trader and I actually traded short term interest rates for a living. So I always tell people that if I knew the answer to that I would still be trading and most likely be retired. So, let’s give it a shot and see if we can get an idea what lays ahead. To begin with, interest rates have been coming down substantially for the last three years, with a 30 year fixed getting as low as 3.25% for a brief time in 2012. Amazing as this is basically free money. What has caused this? Well a general rule of thumb is that whenever there is adverse news about the economy, or any economy now, there is what is called a flight to quality. Investors will take money out of the riskier equity markets (stock market) and place the money in a more secure government backed bonds, such as Treasuries or mortgage backed securities. So all the fuss this past year about Greece defaulting on their debt caused interest rates here in the States do go lower; when the employment numbers in the past four years kept getting worse interest rates went lower. Those are just some things that have contributed. It doesn’t hurt that the Federal Reserve has been buying up bonds at an amazing pace to keep them low also. This past week the Fed announced that they will look to discontinue this program and wind it down. The market reacted and interest rates went up by about a quarter point. This coupled with some actual good employment numbers recently has put pressure on rates to increase. What do I think? Well as we live in a full information age world all information is processed by the market immediately. Thus the bump in rates based on the news last week. However there are so many factors that will come into play that I believe at most you will see a slow rise in rates, but ultimately they will remain near these lows. Just my opinion…

post_benefits-loan

May

12

2013

Dean's Blog

Mortgage Banks V. Big Banks

Did you know that almost all mortgages, no matter where you get a loan, end up in the same place…the Chase’s, Wells Fargo, CitiMortgage…with 90% of them being insured by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Those two giants are the government sponsored entities that set the guidelines and back all these mortgages. Now there are other options out there, lenders that are outside the box. But for most of the loans, these large familiar banks end up with most of them. Now I have been doing this job coming up on thirteen years, and to this day I am amazed as to why anyone would go to one of these banks directly rather than come to a mortgage banker for a loan. Why? Well first of all; choices! I can take your loan shop it around and sell it to the bank with the best rate, or product. I am not limited to dealing with one bank. However the most important point is that This. Is. What. I Do. I am not some voice on the other end of the phone working for a behemoth simply taking orders. My reputation, livelihood and name are on each and every transaction I do. I have a vested interest in giving the best so I can keep that referral base coming. I do not have the huge benefit of a name recognition of one of these banks where people may automatically think that is the place to go to get a loan. Well, what to do? It is not as if I can start an ad campaign against using these banks for loans as I am eventually selling these loans to them. But service matters. In today’s market expertise and knowledge for such a big commitment are important also. The best aspect of all this is that I love to compete…love it. I don’t lose loans over rates or fees. I want my clients to come back to me and refer me and I strive to maintain my tree of referrals and grow new branches for my referral tree all the time.

Top producing mortgage broker, Dean Vlamis discusses low rates, mortgages and refinancing with CBS News in Chicago

Jan

07

2013

Video

Dean Vlamis on CBS News Chicago – Low Mortgage Rates & Refinancing

At the time of this feature on CBS News, 4.125% was seen as incredibly low for a 30yr fixed mortgage, & now, they are in the low 3’s. If you are considering a home purchase or refinance, these benefits are relevant today, give me a call to discuss!

It's All in the Delivery

Dec

24

2012

Newsletters

It’s All in the Delivery

The year was 1975; it was late in my 4th grade year at John Diemer Elementary in Overland Park, Kansas. I was taking a bit of a chance in Middle America. The son of immigrant parents who actually spoke with sharp Greek accents. I fit the mold, very dark, sharp features of a typical Greek boy. We stood out in this town and with my real name of Constantine children in my class would erupt with laughter whenever a substitute teacher would come in and read off the class list and mangle the pronunciation of my name. Download the December Newsletter!    

Dean Vlamis- How Low Can it Go?

Sep

16

2012

Video

How Low Can it Go?

Dean Vlamis talks about Mortgage Interest Rates and their steady decline.

Vlamis Vlog: Prepare for Perfection

Aug

15

2012

Video

Prepare for Perfection

Dean Vlamis discusses what to expect in the current Mortgage climate. Also, Interest Rates are low.

Dean Vlamis discusses the mortgage process

Jul

25

2012

Video

Mortgage Process- Nuts and Bolts

Dean Vlamis walks through the mortgage process step by step. Also, Interest Rates are low.

post_benefits-loan

Jan

12

2012

Video

Banks vs Correspondent Lender

Dean walks through the benefits of getting a loan through a bank vs. a correspondent lender.

change-is-on-the-way

Dec

09

2011

Video

Change is On the Way

Dean takes a look at the changes in the works for underwater borrowers and changes in Chicago city government.

the-greeks

Nov

21

2011

Video

The Greeks

I’ve got the inside scoop on the Greeks. Discussions on mortgage rates and the European debt crisis.

its-the-economy-stupid

Nov

11

2011

Newsletters

It’s The Economy, Stupid!

It appears that once again I will have to stick with the basic underlying theme.

where-have-our-priorities-gone

Aug

11

2011

Newsletters

Where Have Our Priorities Gone?

As this has been a hot summer, it brought back memories of my childhood.

Apr

01

2011

Newsletters

April Newsletter

Download the April Newsletter!

reading-an-economy-in-flux

Mar

15

2011

Video

Reading an Economy in Flux

Dean runs down what’s driving inflation concerns these days, and how to navigate the buying market while the economy is in flux.

Jan

01

2011

Newsletters

January Newsletter

Download the January Newsletter!

baby-on-board

Nov

05

2010

Video

Baby on Board

Yup, rates have dropped again. Other than that, more blah blah BABY blah… Who gets the 3 am feeding?

the-fed-report

Sep

28

2010

Video

The Fed Report

Are you still holding your breath from the Fed Open Market Committee meeting? Let’s let that out with another weekly installment of blah blah blah…

Sep

27

2010

Video

The Ratio of Beard to Interest Rates

As interest rates rise, Dean charts the underlying causes of inflation, and what signs to really watch as the market shifts.

Sep

13

2010

Video

How We Got Here

In this week’s episode, I quickly recap how the mortgage industry got where it is today.

Mar

14

2010

Video

Danderson / Vlamis, P7

A few weeks ago, while updating my online bulletin board, Action 39′s Dan Danderson stopped by.

225

Feb

22

2010

Pop Culture

US Olympic Hockey v. Dancing with The Stars

What has happened to American Culture?

Feb

07

2010

Video

Danderson / Vlamis, P6

While meeting with the consultant at PERL Mortgage, I was visited once again by Action News’ Dan Danderson.

Feb

01

2010

Newsletters

February Newsletter

Download the February Newsletter!

image-is-everything

Jan

19

2010

Pop Culture

Image is everything

The Golden Globe Awards took place last night, and I watched none of it.

Jan

14

2010

Pop Culture

New Year’s Resolution

Now that the new year is here it is time to set goals on moving forward.

Oct

30

2009

Audio

PERL Podcast (The Weather Report)

Jim Miller, head of The Miller Group at Jameson Real Estate Podcast

Oct

20

2009

Video

Danderson / Vlamis, P5

Ping Pong is always a good tool for client origination, as shown by Action 85′s Dan Danderson in this recent news piece.

Sep

08

2009

Video

Danderson / Vlamis, P4

Action 71′s Dan Danderson returned for another market interview and to meet my new assistant.  Enjoy!

Jul

08

2009

Video

Danderson / Vlamis, P3

Here’s another news piece!  Action 88′s Dan Danderson profiled me in this exciting update.

Jun

01

2009

Video

Danderson / Vlamis, P2

Action 24′s Dan Danderson returned to interview me in this follow-up news piece.

May

08

2009

Video

Danderson / Vlamis, P1

Action 92′s Dan Danderson interviewed me in this recent news piece.

Apr

01

2009

Newsletters

Market Outlook – Spring 2009

Location: John Diemer Elementary School playground, Overland Park, Kansas

Jan

07

2009

Audio

PERL Podcast (2009 Predictions)

PERL founder Ken Perlmutter and top producer Barry Schwartz

Jan

01

2009

Audio

PERL Podcast (2008 wrap-up)

Ken Perlmutter and top producer Barry Schwartz to discuss the 2008 mortgage market.

Nov

08

2008

Newsletters

The Do Over (Newsletter, Fall 2008)

As years go by, I am always amazed at how technology makes our lives easier.

Oct

31

2008

Audio

PERL Podcast (The Fed)

I was recently featured on the PERL Podcast to discuss The Fed and it’s role in our nation’s economy.  Enjoy.

Oct

25

2008

Audio

PERL Podcast (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac)

This week, I was featured on the PERL Podcast to discuss Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — who they are, what they do, and what the future has in store.  Enjoy.

Apr

30

2008

Newsletters

Rewarding Bad Behavior (Spring 2008)

Back in 2nd grade, our teacher Ms. Williamson would pass out “purple tokens” for good behavior.

Mar

01

2007

Newsletters

Market Outlook (Newsletter, Spring 2007)

We simply can’t seem to get away from all this hype in our current culture.

Dec

30

2006

Newsletters

Market Outlook (Newsletter, Winter 2006)

The year, 1979 just after Steve Dahl’s Disco Demolition at Comiskey Park, confirming that rock ‘n roll was here to stay.

Nov

01

2006

Newsletters

Market Outlook (Newsletter, Fall 2006)

The Chicago Cubs have officially become Sox fans!

Jul

01

2006

Newsletters

Market Outlook (Newsletter, Summer 2006)

Mr. Greenspan is a very persistent man. When will he ever learn?

Apr

01

2006

Newsletters

Market Outlook (Newsletter, Spring 2006)

Rates have once again come down.

Mar

08

2005

Jan

01

2005

Newsletters

Market Outlook (Newsletter, Spring 2005)

A very big thank you to all who made 2004 a prosperous and enjoyable year