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Just as a suit isn’t “one size fits all”, the mortgage loan process is not going to be exactly the same for everyone who applies. Some people have had events or circumstances in life that have tarnished their credit. It is not uncommon for a mortgage lender to request a letter of explanation to describe these events or circumstances when they are less cut and dry. Letters of explanation move with the file from processing to underwriting and then to investor and help paint a picture of your exact situation so there is no wondering what the circumstance might be. It is all documented. When your mortgage lender does ask you for a letter of explanation or additional documentation, it is always in an effort to assist you in polishing up the credit situation and making it as clear as possible for those working on the file to understand.
What to Expect:
· If you receive a request to write a letter of explanation, make sure that you understand, completely, what you are being asked to explain.
· Be as specific as possible while providing a straightforward explanation. Include timelines with dates. Explain what happened; why it happened; and how your situation has changed or how you have re-established your credit history.
· Provide all supporting documentation. You may be asked to provide evidence that supports your circumstance, such as tax returns, letters from employers, copies of death certificates or divorce paperwork, to name a few.
· Don’t forget to sign and date your letter! As foolish as this may sound, many letters are rejected because they are not signed.
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Whether you are a first-time homeowner or have owned your own home for many years, winter in the Northeast brings a new "To-Do" list out!
1. Clean out medicine cabinets. The new year is a great time to go through your bathroom medicine cabinets and get rid of any unwanted or expired medications. Take them to a local medication disposal program, police department drop-box or local medication take-back event. Disposal locations can be found here!
2. Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Checking and maintaining smoke detectors takes only a few minutes. Changing the batteries twice a year and testing both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every month can help protect both your home and your family. Additionally, vacuuming and dusting will keep the alarm clear of dirt and insects.
3. Protect your pipes from freezing. For trips away from home during winter months, leave your thermostat turned up enough to keep the house from freezing. The American Red Cross recommends setting the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees and leaving bathroom and kitchen cabinet doors open to warm exposed pipes. For longer trips away when the weather is expected to dip below freezing, have a friend or neighbor check on your home regularly, and show the person where the water shutoff valve is, just in case.
4. Inspect your home after winter storms. Make a habit of taking a walk around your property after big winter storms to check for damage from fallen tree limbs, ice and snow.
5. Create an emergency kit for your car. Because winters can be unpredictable here in the Northeast, it is wise to create an emergency kit for your car. It could save your life or the lives or your passengers if you are stranded during harsh conditions. Keep an extra cell phone charger in your car as well for emergencies. Here is a helpful, printable Winter Survival Car Kit checklist!
6. Create an emergency kit for your home. One of the primary concerns is the winter weather's ability to knock out heat, power and communications services to your home....sometimes for days at a time. Heavy snowfall and extreme cold can immobilize an entire region. More information on creating an emergency kit for your home can be found here.
7. Check on your elderly neighbors. Colder temperatures keep many senior adults housebound. This time of year is a wonderful time to connect with your neighbors - especially your elderly neighbors and friends! Bring over a warm meal; give a call to see if they need anything at the store if you are making a trip out yourself; check to see if walkways and driveways are clear of ice and snow for someone; go visit and provide some companionship.
8. Feed the birds. Non-migrating birds have it tough during winter months. Keep your bird feeders filled with seed and set out water regularly to provide a water source when most of the water they would normally have access to is frozen. Winter bird watching can be a great pastime.
9. Plan your Spring garden and dream of Spring. Request a bunch of see catalogs, grab a notepad and a pencil and pour yourself a mug of tea - it is time to sketch out ideas for your Spring garden. Pinterest has some great ideas for you to check out and keep you dreaming of Spring.
10. Enjoy the winter beauty of Maine! There is a lot to do during the winter months. You could get cozy at home and embrace the simple pleasures of reading a good book, making a big pot of soup or indulging in an afternoon nap. But you could also get outside and enjoy the beauty of Maine. There are more than 10,000 miles of snowmobile trails scattered throughout the state, as well as skiing, outdoor winter festivals, snowshoeing, ice fishing and more!
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President Obama will announce in Phoenix today that the FHA will reduce mortgage insurance premiums for borrowers who make down payments of as little as 3.5% from 1.35% to 0.85%, the White House has confirmed after reports in the Wall Street Journal and other media outlets. The FHA recently released a report showing its insurance fund had a value of $4.8 billion at the end of September and its capital reserve ratio at 0.41%. Since the report, HUD Secretary Julian Castro and FHA Commissioner Biniam Gebre have been urged to lower the insurance premiums that the FHA charges.
Dave Stevens, CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, told CNBC, “It couldn’t come at a better time … I think it will have a definitive impact particularly in the first-time homebuyer market.”
In addition, the White House has released a “Making Homeownership More Accessible and Sustainable” fact sheet.
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By Max Ufberg
Last New Year’s Eve, I said I was going to start running more. Twice a week, to be exact. Now, 12 months and 12 jogs later—four or five of which came within the first few weeks of 2014—it’s safe to add this last New Year’s pledge to my tally of failed celebratory resolutions.
That inability to follow through on New Year’s resolutions is pretty typical of Americans, according to one 2014 poll by the University of Scranton psychology department. Based on their results, it seems that while a good majority of people—71 percent, to be exact—hold to these annual promises for the first two weeks, six months later, less than 50 percent of those surveyed actually upheld the resolutions.
Why do we break these promises? And what strategies might help us to be more successful? For answers, we can look back to one decades-old report, published again by the University of Scranton, in 1989. (No word yet on how Scranton tackled the market on New Year’s resolutions.) Under professor John Norcross, researchers tracked the self-change efforts of 213 ambitious New Year’s resolution-makers—ranging from 16 to 75 in age—over a two-year period. To do so, Norcross simply polled the individuals on their resolutions, and tracked progress intermittently through self-reported evaluations.
Similar to the updated 2014 survey, Norcross found that over three-quarters of the testers kept their pledges … for the first week. Those rates steadily went down; two years later, only 19 percent kept the resolution. Also of note: Gender and age bore no significance on the success rates. Mostly, those who failed to follow through on their resolution fell into self-blame and wishful thinking (i.e. wanting the resolution to just “go away”).
What can we learn from those who were successful in their New Year’s resolutions? Alongside the obvious self-reported resolution strategies like willpower and stimulus control, the “fading” tactic—gradual reduction of a vice, as opposed to the “cold turkey” method—and counter-conditioning proved to be the most effective ways of keeping one’s New Year’s plans, say, to lose weight.
And it’s not like these successful testers went all Superman on their plans either; 53 percent of the successful group experienced at least one slip, with each member committing 14 total slips on average over that two-year span. That’s really encouraging for someone like me, because it means that, even if I falter with my running routine, I can take solace in the fact that my peers who do keep on running might slip up as well. How’s that for camaraderie?
Modern Westerners aren’t the first to make New Year’s resolutions—the Babylonians, Romans, and Medieval knights all made vows when the ball dropped too. While we don’t know our forebears’ success rates, if they were anything like us, we can assume there was a good amount of the “I’ll start tomorrow” philosophy. And if that’s the case, at least we’re not alone in our failures.