Michele's Blog

In 2015, millennials surpassed baby boomers as the largest generation population wise. In fact, more than one-third of America’s workforce are millennials. The expanding population makes millennials, widely accepted at those born between 1980 and 2000, a generation that is entering the real estate market and is here to stay. The characteristics of millennials and their outlook on home ownership, purchasing habits and the world in general are much different than baby boomers.


Let’s start with transportation. Public transit is something millennials are comfortable with and use frequently. A study by the National Association of Realtors and Portland State University found that millennials are more likely to have used public transit in the last 30 days than any other age group. You may assume that this is simply a result of median income, but millennials also prefer to live in attached housing and like to have shopping and restaurants within walking distance, coupled with short commutes to work. While public transit and connected communities are part of the preferences for millennials buyers, they will put good school districts above all else. According to a survey by realtor.com, millennials are “less likely than other generations to compromise on school districts when in house-hunting mode.”


Millennials are already entering the home ownership realm, but research points to 2020 as the year that they have subtly targeted. An Urban Land Institute survey found that 70 percent of millennials who aren’t currently home owners have a personal goal to purchase by 2020. So what will they want when they decide to purchase? A big house. According to the National Association of Home Builders, millennial first-time home buyers prefer 2,375 square feet (four bedrooms) while baby boomers desired 1,879 square feet.


And how will they shop for it? Not at an open house. The 2015 National Association of Realtors Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study, found that Generation X relied on open houses while millennials relied on real estate agents, mobile device applications and search engines on the Internet.


The purchasing habits of millennials will change as they begin to earn more and become parents. While they are an independent generation they accept assistance with large purchases like homes, relying on real estate agents and brokers heavily.


If you are a millennial ready to buy this year, make sure to contact us. Our mortgage team members will help you with any questions you may have related to a loan. We understand you're making a commitment in purchasing a home, refinancing a mortgage, or tapping into your home equity. So we make a promise to you: We will help you qualify, apply and be approved for the ideal mortgage loan for you.


Give us a call at 408.626.1879. 


Posted by Michele Morse Reen on February 11th, 2016 4:03 PM

During the down economy and hard-hit housing market of 2007, the private mortgage insurance (PMI) deductible was passed by Congress. Basically, when a home buyer doesn't have a lot of money to spend on a down payment (less than 20 percent), lenders often make that home buyer purchase PMI.


The good news for most home buyers who do purchase PMI is the premiums are tax deductible. This tax deduction was recently extended to Dec. 31, 2016, so this is a good year to take advantage of it.


According Yahoo, this is how the deduction breaks down:


  • Homeowners can deduct all of their PMI premiums if their adjusted gross income is $100,000 or less.


  • Homeowners with an adjusted gross income between $100,001 and $109,000 have a reduction in the amount they can deduct.


  • For homeowners that make more than $109,000 a PMI deduction is not an option.


To qualify for the tax deduction, a home buyer must meet some specific criteria. According to Houselogic.com, the home buyer must have a loan from 2007 or later and have the mortgage in question for a primary residence or non-rental property.


If you are ready to buy this year, make sure to contact us. Our mortgage team members will help you with any questions you may have about PMI deductibles and anything else related to your loan. We understand you're making a commitment in purchasing a home, refinancing a mortgage, or tapping into your home equity. So we make a promise to you: We will help you qualify, apply and be approved for the ideal mortgage loan for you.


Give us a call at 408.626.1879.  


Posted by Michele Morse Reen on January 20th, 2016 1:12 PM
It's been quite a while since we actively communicated with you via our blog service. We look forward to kicking off 2016 with some great stories for you to read and share!

For now...

May all the good things in life abound, not only at Thanksgiving but all year round.

Best wishes and Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted in:General
Posted by Michele Morse Reen on November 23rd, 2015 2:34 PM

"Making Home Affordable" Program

As part of the the stimulus package, Making Home Affordable is still available. This particular program is designed to help homeowners with FNMA or FDMC mortgages and 80-105% loan/value ratios.

To find out if your mortgage is Fannie Mae:

loan lookup fanniemae

or Freddie Mac:

loan lookup freddiemac

Posted in:General
Posted by Michele Morse Reen on August 14th, 2012 5:03 PM

The President is either receiving an early Christmas present for 2012, or maybe it is a late present from 2011, either way he has to be truly loving what is happening in the economy. As I have written before, the presidential campaigning is super dirty this year and is only going to get worse. What the President must be excited about is that there is no disputing the facts that the economy is improving. Whether you believe he is the reason for it or not, the President gets to ride the wave of good fortune. The question is will the wave last long enough for him to win re-election? (Only time will tell)

This week, almost every piece of economic data is showing signs of recovery. From housing, to manufacturing, to inflation, it has all been good news this week.

Mortgage rates continue to remain ridiculously low and last week both mortgage applications for purchases and refinances jumped a healthy 10.3% and 26.4% respectively. Many believe that the low rates and combined with the end of the holiday season, are the catalysts to moving buyers back into the market. Real estate and mortgage professionals around the country are reporting significant increases in borrower and buyer activity.

Activity in new home sales is picking up dramatically based on the Home Builders Housing Market Index. The month of December is showing the best reading in four and a half years and it is also the 4th straight month of improvement since the low of September.

Housing Starts dipped in December, which is not uncommon during the holiday season, however the overall pace remains somewhat healthy. In addition, what is quite encouraging is that permits for new construction continue to be heading in the upward direction.

Inflation on the wholesale and retail levels continues to remain virtually non-existent. We had some jumps last year which began raising concerns about rising inflation, however at this time the upward trend has stopped. Energy prices remain well under control and in fact have come down recently. The abnormally warm winter, especially in the Northeast, seems to be playing a part in the lower energy prices.

Industrial Production and Manufacturing are both increasing in a healthy fashion. Considering when you see this data improving, even during the end of the year and holidays, that is always a strong sign and one that is welcomed by many.

The employment picture, which is the biggest driver toward the economic recovery, reported the lowest week of First Time Jobless Claims since…well I can’t even remember. Claims last week dropped 50,000 all the way down to 352,000.

Finally, you know that little thing in Europe that has been playing havoc with the markets, (the Debt Crisis), even the daily panic about that seems to have subsided. By no means is the crisis over, however the markets do not seem to be making radical moves based upon every word uttered about it. In fact the stock market has been somewhat stable this week and it appears that many investors are sitting back with a wait and see attitude.

Next week’s economic reports are:

Wednesday January 25th – MBA Mortgage Report, Pending Home Sales & FOMC Announcement

Thursday January 26th - First Time Jobless Claims, New Home Sales & Durable Goods Orders

Friday January 27th – GDP and Consumer Sentiment

As your mortgage professional, I am happy to assist you with any information you may need regarding mortgage or real estate information. I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way I possibly can. Please feel free to reach me at 408-626-1879.

Posted in:General
Posted by Michael Reen on January 20th, 2012 11:25 AM

October 21, 2011, 12:16 AM EDT

By Phil Mattingly

Oct. 20 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Senate adopted a measure that would raise the maximum size of a home loan backed by mortgage companies Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration to $729,750.

Senator Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, offered the increase as an amendment to a spending bill today. The measure was approved less than a month after the limit on so-called conforming loans was automatically reduced to $625,500.

“If we want to get the economy moving, the housing market has to be part of it,” Menendez said tonight on the Senate floor.

The Senate adopted the amendment 60-31. The amendment required 60 votes for approval and was offered during the chamber’s consideration of a package of spending measures. If the Senate passes the underlying bill, the House would then have to vote for it to become law.

The higher limits, should they be signed into law, would apply until Dec. 31, 2013. Lawmakers would pay for the cost of the higher limits by imposing an annual fee on the loans of 15 basis points of the unpaid principal balance of the mortgage.

The limits, which vary by locale, apply to loans backed by the FHA and government-controlled mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which together buy or guarantee about 90 percent of all residential home loans.

Posted in:General
Posted by Michele Morse Reen on October 21st, 2011 11:05 AM
I have just gone through the emotionally challenging experience of getting a reverse mortgage in order to stay in the home I have lived in for 45 years.  Michele Morse Reen has escorted me through the detailed and exacting procedure, holding my hand and carefully explaining the options and their consequences.   She asked perceptive questions to evaluate whether I was doing the right thing for me and called or e-mailed often to let me know how the application was proceeding.  I was especially touched by her coming to my house for the final signing.  In my experience with the world of real estate specialists, she is matchless.
Posted in:General
Posted by Michele Morse Reen on September 16th, 2011 9:46 AM
Moody’s has been warning that it may have to set America’s credit rating slightly lower than it now is if we can’t create a deal soon to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. I’m curious.

Rejiggering the credit rating is tantamount to messing with economic policy, and I assume we don’t want Moody’s or S&P to have much authority over our nation’s economic policy. But the very likely fact is that, should Moody’s lower our credit rating—even very slightly—our interest rates will suffer as a result. (European countries have given us lessons in how lowered ratings mean a country’s debt is less attractive to investors and therefore interest rates must climb a bit higher to attract more of those investors.)

American debt, as you know, is traditionally thought of as the safest investment play in the world—outside of, perhaps, gold. So a downgrade of our credit rating wouldn’t just affect our nation, it would cast a dizzying light on sovereign interest rates all over the world. If the safest bet is called into question, after all, where do we turn for the level of safety it used to provide?

I don’t know exactly how seriously to take all of this. It’s untried terrain. I don’t ever remember a threat to the reputation of U.S. Treasury securities in my conscious lifetime. So I suspect that I, and many like me, just watch this story unfold with a certain bemusement, not ready to get worked up by it. The fact remains, however, that there are forces out there that are very ready to push America’s interest rates higher.

This would hurt our economic recovery in outsized ways. (It would also likely push the price of gold still higher.) In short, we cannot afford to find out what would happen.

And yet, many in Congress are acting as if letting the deadline pass for raising our debt level is just the thing we need. There’s a sort of “that’ll-show-them” attitude evident in many politicians. Indeed, it may; it may show us all.

One of the most trenchant observations I’ve read recently was that our economy could slip back into recession—a double-dip—for precisely the same reasons that it went there the first time. Because we are keeping those reasons alive rather than solving the problems that still beset our economy, our financial system, and our real estate financing system.

In real estate and beyond, it feels as if most of the reform is aimed at keeping alive the investment games—the MBSs, CDOs, and credit default swaps—that plunged us into fiscal whirlpools. There is nothing inherently wrong with MBSs, of course. We just need policies that make them safe and sturdy; we need laws and regulations that allow us to prosecute those who hurt borrowers and the entire economy by turning the MBS market into a thoroughly dangerous casino.

This past weekend, as if to play Contrarian with the week’s economic indicators, the Wall Street Journal ran a lengthy article titled “Why It’s Time to Buy,” in which veteran economic reporter Ruth Simon (with Jessica Silver-Greenberg) detail the reasons it is becoming a superb time to buy a personal residence.

We’ve seen the reasons before—many of them for years. It’s rather like watching a heavy tree branch that’s bound to fall at last. What strikes me, though, is how out of place the article seems to be in a week full of weak economic data. But that, one suspects, is the point. The market will turn. Not tomorrow, probably, but reasonably soon. At which point today’s bargain prices and rates will have vanished. This is difficult for your clients to see, but you owe it to them to point it out.
Posted in:General
Posted by Michele Morse Reen on June 6th, 2011 11:30 AM

Propositions 60 & 90 provide property tax relief by preventing property reassessment when a person, age 55 or older, sells his/her existing residence and purchases or constructs a replacement residence of equal or lesser value than the original property.

How Do These Propositions Work?

When a person, age 55 or older, purchases or constructs a new residence, it is not reassessed if he/she qualifies. The Assessor transfers the factored base value of the original property located in the same County. Later, Proposition 90 enabled this to be modified by local ordinance. The homeowner is still eligible if moving to a County that has adopted a Proposition 90 ordinance. The meaning of equal or lesser value depends on when you purchase the replacement property. In general, equal or lesser value means:


100% or less of the market value of the original property if a replacement property were purchased or newly constructed before the sale of the original property, or


105% or less of the market value of the original property if a replacement property were purchased or newly constructed within the first year after the

sale of the original property, or


110% or less of the market value of the original property if a replacement property were purchased or newly constructed within the second year after the sale of the original property.


Counties that currently accept proposition 90:


Santa Clara

San Diego

Los Angeles


San Mateo


El Dorado

Posted in:General
Posted by Michele Morse Reen on May 11th, 2011 11:58 AM
It has been a long while, as we have been highly involved in some industry changes that began January 2011.  But as part of American Pacific Mortgage, the Team has been ideally positioned to move forward and serve clients, while avoiding the many pitfalls that may be catching others in the mortgage business unaware.  Now mid-May, we have things smoothed out and operating normally, and we are looking very forward to helping more of your friends, family, and colleagues with their home financing needs.  Pre-approvals are HOT in 2011.  Refinances, not so much due to rates, but more for financial "tuning" are working out well for our clients as well.  I will follow this post with some content on propositions 60 and 90...
Posted in:General
Posted by Michele Morse Reen on May 11th, 2011 11:45 AM