Developers and Conditional Incentive Money to Use Their Lender

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Good Evening!
My name is DELETED and my wife and I recently signed papers to purchase a property from DELETED in DELETED, CA. After our options, their lot premium, and the elevation charge, the house is listed at 425,000. We have 90,000 in incentive money to spend which we would like to lower the overall cost of the home to 335,000. We only receive the incentive money if we get the loan through (their in-house lender). We were interested in a 30yr fixed rate mortgage that is 100% financing and will pay the closing costs out of pocket. I feel like I am being stiffed by their loan guy. Back in late May or early June, he told me that we could get 30 yr 100% financing with HOA, Mello Roos, PMI, PITI out the door for $2889 on some 6.75 percent loan (which still seemed high to me) but just last week he told us that we are now looking at 7.8% with out the door payment of $3250 because 100% loans are harder to finance now. I guess my question is how do I not get stiffed by their loan agent and what proper steps do I take to ensure the best loan and rate for us? I think that 7.8% is ridiculously high for this market! Here is some background info on us:

Credit scores of 750-780 for both of us
21,000 in bank accounts
2 car loans with 3 yrs remaining on each (238 and 210 per month)
Current renters with 80k gross yearly combined salary
1st time homebuyers

Any help regarding this matter would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for your time and consideration. If there is any other information you need us to provide I would be more than happy to provide it.

First off, check with your local authority to see if you qualify for a Mortgage Credit Certificate. It looks likely. Whether or not the developer's lender participates is a question, but it's a question that needs answering.

Now this is definitely a situation where you needed a buyer's agent to deal with a developer. Unfortunately, at this point it's too late to get one involved, and kind of pointless, as you've already signed the contract. The work a buyer's agent does is pretty much moot. You've already signed that developer's contract. I'll bet a nickel they'll be able to keep your deposit if you back out, and likely sue for more. They are now in a win-win situation.

Here locally, I could tell you if it was a good idea to pay that developer's extra charges or just take their basic unit. Elevation premium? What's the view now, and is it likely to stay that way? Lot premium? How many extra square feet are you getting - or is it just a junk fee? You're not local to me, so I do not know.

What I can assess is numbers. Just picking a rate sheet at random (it will have changed by the time you see this), right now I've got an 80% first with zero points and no pre-payment penalty at 6.75%. On $268,000, that's $1738. The 30 due in 15 second would be at 7.75%, with a negligible cost, for a payment of $480. Assuming that your official purchase price is $425,000, add about another $443 for California property taxes and just a guess of $100 for homeowner's insurance, and that's a payment of $2761 plus Mello-Roos and HOA, which I have no way of knowing. Never choose loans by payment, but it cuts your cost of interest more than it cuts your payment.

However, at $425,000, you've got a first of $340,000 and a second of $85,000, giving us payments of $2205 and $609, respectively, and that's what we'd be looking at if you came to me for the loan right now. Add that $543 taxes and insurance, and your payments would be $3357. Not having that $90,000 in your balance makes a huge difference, and not just to the payment, but also to the cost of interest.

Here's another point on which developers hose unsuspecting buyers. Is that property, as it sits, going to be worth $425,000? Is it going to worth $335,000? If I were in your shoes, I'd hire an appraiser right now. here's one easy place to find an appraiser in California. That approximately $400 they'll cost is looking like a really cheap insurance policy, right about now. And you do want an independent opinion. The chances of that developer's appraiser rocking their boat are nil.

Here's one thing to seriously consider: Take their financing offer, even if it includes a pre-payment penalty, which I'm betting it will. Of course, if they offer you the option of buying it off with a higher rate, that's something you're going to want to do in this scenario. Then, providing the property is really going to be worth enough, refinance immediately. That pre-payment penalty isn't going to be $90,000, even with the costs of the new loan included. But you want an independent appraiser's opinion before you jump into this, to find out if it's likely you'll be able to refinance. What you're essentially doing is taking the $90,000 incentive money and then paying a toll of about $13,000 for the pre-payment penalty plus whatever the costs of the new loan are (the ones I outlined would be roughly $3000 if you accepted a 3 year penalty of $500 on the second, or $500 higher if you didn't). Net to you: roughly $73,000 - if the value of the property will cover the refinance, and you'll get better terms if the value is actually $425,000, because the Loan to Value Ratio won't be 100%. It'll be about 83%, which translates to an 80/5. Provided, of course, that the purchase contract says $425,000. If your official purchase price is $335,000, your monthly property taxes will be about $349, but then we're dealing with whether or not the lender will believe your appraisal. A paper lenders quite likely won't. Most of the time, your official sales price will be the full amount, but every once in a while developers like to throw a curve in. On one hand, a lower sales price reduces your property taxes, while on the other it means that you'll have difficulty refinancing for a while.

If you had a good buyer's agent, you'd likely already know the answers to all of these questions, and you likely wouldn't have fallen into a couple of traps, but that's water under the bridge. We have to deal with the situation as it exists, and figure out the best way to deal with the facts looking forward. If an appraiser tells you the value is there, I'd take their loan on a short term basis for the incentive money. If the appraiser tells you the value is not there, it's probably time to see a good lawyer about getting out of that contract. If you lose your deposit, that's usually not as bad as spending more than the property is worth and getting stuck with a rotten loan you can't refinance out of.

Caveat Emptor


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This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on August 5, 2007 10:01 AM.

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