Archive for May, 2011

5 tips for First Time Home Buyers!

First, Congratulations on wanting to buy your first new home! NOW, is definately the time! This is not only an exciting time but a stressful one as well. Here are some tips to help you through the process:

1. Ask questions. Ask questions of everyone you can find. I mean EVERYONE! Chances are, they asked or experienced the same question at some point in their own lives. No question is a stupid question.

2. The first question to ask is: “Can you give me a referral to a good mortgage loan officer?” Your GOOD loan officer is going to be as valuable to you as your physician. Once you choose one, apply for your new home mortgage:

* How much do you WANT to spend?

* How much do you QUALIFY for? (these could be two radically different numbers)

* How much money will you need for your down payment?

* What, if any, issues will you need to deal with in order to qualify?

* What is the current interest rate and how much tolerance do you have for interest rate movement?

3. Once you have your qualified magic purchase price number, you need a GOOD realtor. Again, ask your sphere for a realtor referral. Interview them like they are applying for a job with you. They are! The will be “working” for you until you find your new home. You need to like them! They need to be clear about your needs/wants, available to take you out looking on your schedule and be someone you want to spend time with.

4. Start shopping! Hit the streets. What do you find? Does your price point accomodate your needs? Stay in contact with your loan officer. Do you need to tweak your pre-qualification in order to make the homes you are seeing work with your budget? What are mortgage interest rates doing?

5. Make an reasonable/realistic offer! It is a buyer’s market! You are in the driver’s seat here but be realistic. Listen to your realtor. Use their advice and make a reasonable offer!

Watch for future blogs to elaborate on each of these items. Again, buying a home can be in the top 5 most stressful things you will do in your lifetime. If you fill your sphere with knowledgeable and helpful professionals you can take a tremendous amount of stress out of the equation.

Having a dream is good, owning one is better!

Leslie Pelletiere, Owner/Broker

Proudly mortgage lending in Arizona since 1999!

First Class Financial Services


NMLS#162476 / MB#0902810


“I can’t buy a new house, I understand it is much more difficult to qualify”

That statement is just simply not true!

I can’t tell you the last loan application that I took that a borrower did NOT qualify.  I’m sure there was one but it is definately not the norm. 

I dare you to ask 5 people today, “Could you qualify for a mortgage if you applied today?” If they say “No.” Ask “Why?” I guarantee they will say “I understand it is much more difficult to qualify” but they will not have specifics as to what they consider “more difficult”.  It appears that most are repeating what they hear in the media “Its more difficult to qualify”.  It’s just not true.

Here is what people think… AND the reality in BOLD.

* I need 20% down payment, that could be 10’s of thousands of dollars! ……….. FHA requires only 3.5% and that can be gifted from a blood relative.

* I don’t want an FHA loan but cannot get a conventional loan without 20% down payment……. Mortgage insurance companies are back in the game and allowing borrower and lender paid mortgage insurance up to 95% loan to value.

* My credit score is too low… FHA allows for a minimum of 580 credit score. Conventional loans allow for a minimum of 640 credit score.  The average American citizen has a 660 score. 

* I can’t qualify to afford the payment… Most borrowers are shocked that their monthly mortgage payment is LESS than they are paying in rent. 

* I don’t have enough credit… borrowers need only 4 open active tradelines on their credit report and enough history to meet the minimum credit score requirement.

* I’m on fixed income and cannot qualify for the monthly payment ….. FHA allows for up to a 50% debt to income ratio (this means if you make $2000 a month you can have $1000 go towards total debt)

* I do not have any down payment money… the USDA Rural Housing product allows for a 100% financing on eligible properties on borrowers who meet the income eligibility as well. 

I could go on and on.  You get the point.  Spread the word to your borrowers.  Most people don’t realize how easy it is to qualify and are waiting when they could be shopping! 

Please join my “Squash the Qualifying Rumor” campaign…….Pass it on!

Having a dream is good, owning one is better!

Leslie Pelletiere, Owner

First Class Financial Services, proudly mortgage lending since 1999!




NMLS #162494

AZDFI Loan Officer # LO-0911453

Thank you to all of you tenacious realtors!

Here are some highlights from the recent member survey from NAR:

(read the full article here  —>)

These were among the ones that surprised me:

  • The typical NAR member has 12 years of experience; nine out of 10 say they are certain they will remain in the business.


  • NAR members in the business for two years or less earned a median of $8,900, while those in the business for 16 years or more earned $47,100. Sixteen percent earned a six-figure income, reflecting the entrepreneurial aspect of REALTOR® businesses.


  • Fourteen percent of REALTORS® work fewer than 20 hours per week, 30 percent work 20 to 39 hours per week, 41 percent work 40 to 59 hours and 15 percent work 60 hours per week or more.


  •  Half of the respondents use social or professional networking sites and 10 percent have a blog.

So basically the key to a successful realtor is committment, training and putting in the hours… WOW! Who knew?

I am also surprised that only half use social media and only 10% have a blog… something to think about… could that be a niche that you are fully missing out on?


Having a dream is good, owning one is better!

 Leslie Pelletiere, Owner

First Class Financial Services, proudly mortgage lending since 1999!




NMLS #162494

AZDFI Loan Officer # LO-0911453

To Condo or not to Condo?

Ugh. Condo’s.  I don’t want to be a big downer on condo’s but… here it comes.  Specifically to Arizona, condo’s are increasingly more and more difficult to lend on.  There are several reasons for this but primarily the lenders make a distinction between whether the condominium project is warrantable or non-warrantable.  Simply put, lendable or not?  

Conventionally the project needs to meet a miriad of restrictions:  (this is the short list.. there are more)

* 70% of the units need to be owned and occupied as primary residences.

* The HOA cannot be in any litigation with the homeowners.

* One owner cannot own more than 10% of the units.

* The HOA cannot have more than 15% delinquency.

* The HOA has to be turned over to the owners.

* In a new construction project, 90% of the units have to be delivered.

* The HOA has to carry a minimum of a $1million dollar liability home owners insurance policy and carry an employee dishonesty rider (Many other insurance requirements but this tends to be a big one)

For FHA, the project needs to have received its NEW FHA approval (all FHA approved condo projects needed to get reapproved in 2010)

Given the above restrictions, you can see why I would be a big downer on condos.  With the amount of default we have seen in the state of Arizona, most projects have a higher than 30% investor occupancy.  Many investors have gone in and bought several units and made the projects ineligible OR the current owner is in default/ delinquent on HOA dues. 

I understand the draw to the condo projects as there are many that are priced too low to pass up.  Ask the right questions initially in order to determine if it is eligible for lending.  On a conventional loan, the HOA MUST complete a “Condo Questionaire”.  Most HOA’s do not hand complete them any longer.  They are typically done through HOA Questionaire Services for a fee.

My last question? How difficult will it be to re-sell given the difficulty today?

Having a dream is good, owning one is better!

Leslie Pelletiere, Owner

First Class Financial Services, proudly mortgage lending since 1999!




NMLS #162494

AZDFI Loan Officer # LO-0911453