Latest Industry Trends
Posted in Bay Area Notary on May 16, 2012 by Administrator
@CNNMoney May 17, 2012
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Buying a home just got even cheaper as interest rates on both 30-year and 15-year-fixed-rate mortgages set record lows for the third week in a row.
The 30-year fixed mortgage, the most popular mortgage product, dipped by 0.04 percentage points to 3.79%, according to a weekly survey by Freddie Mac. Last year, 30-year loans averaged 4.64%. The new low can save borrowers $50 a month for every $100,000 borrowed. Over a 30-year term, that comes to $21,874.
The 15-year fixed mortgage, which is popular among those looking to refinance, inched down 0.01 percentage points to 3.04%, according to Freddie Mac's survey. That's down from 3.82% a year ago. The new 15-year rate would lower borrowing costs to $693 a month for every $100,000 borrowed, a $38 savings compared to last year.
Ongoing economic turmoil in Europe is, in part, responsible for the continued slide in mortgage rates, according to Freddie Mac's chief economist, Frank Nothaft.
"The European debt crisis overshadowed improving economic indicators for the U.S. and allowed Treasury bond yields and fixed mortgage rates to ease for another week," he said.
As for economic conditions here in the U.S., Nothaft pointed to recent reports that showed improvements in industrial production, consumer sentiment and new home construction.
Affordable mortgages, combined with much lower home prices, should also help to bolster the housing market.
Rates are almost half what they were at the peak of the housing bubble in mid-2006. At the time, the median price of a U.S. home was about $250,000, according to the National Association of Home Builders, and the average interest rate was about 6.75% for a 30-year loan.
A person who bought a home in 2006 with 20% down would have made payments of $1,300 a month. Today, a person who buys a median priced of home of about $162,000, would pay less than half that amount, about $600 a month.
Posted in Bay Area Notary on March 29, 2012 by Administrator
By Matthew D. Valera, Owner Bay Area Notary
Notaries are confronted with improper identification documents all the time. Signers are often misinformed or just don't care when it comes to showing an ID to get their document notarized. Although the laws are different in every state, a notary always has to "properly" identify a signer before they can notarize a signer's document. It is the basic premise of what a notary does - certify the identity of the signer of a particular document. And though each state's laws differ, most states specifically indicate what is and what is not an acceptable form of identification.
In California, for example the Secretary of State publishes a very strict and specific list of allowed forms of identification. Included are the standard forms that most people are aware of such as drivers licenses, state ID cards or U.S. Passports, but there are also some that are less obvious. An inmate identification card issued by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, if the inmate is in custody or an employee identification card issued by an agency or office of the State of California, or an agency or office of a city, county, or city and county in California. These are less used and seen, but are still acceptable. But what about when a person shows a social security card issued by the Social Security Administration, or a credit card by a well entrusted financial institution with a current photograph. Although they both seem like a reasonable form of identification, neither is allowed to be used by a notary in the State.
People will show many different types of what they think are legitimate forms of ID, but knowing what is acceptable or not for a notarization can be the difference between a legal act or a fraudulent one, punishable by fines or revocation of a notary's commission. Signers can get very pushy if they don't get what they want. Hostility and rudeness often comes to the forefront of a stituation when dealing with someone trying to use an improper identification. Simply telling a signer that an ID is not acceptable is not good enough. Having a state handbook with the current laws available is sometimes the only way to convince an uninformed signer that the ID card they are trying to use is not valid for notarization. No matter the circumstance it is the notary's responsibility to hold their ground and not give in to a signers demands. A notary may be the last line of defense against fraud and must strictly ahere to the law to avoid activity that is illegal or potentially damaging to another person.
But holding one's ground may necessitate extreme tact and professionalism when dealing with a combative signer. If a signer becomes hostile when an ID is refused, be respectful and try and still be helpful. Note the acceptable forms of identification and offer to have them return at a later time. If no other form is available or the signer is under a time constraint, offer another option, like a credible identifying witness if your state allows. Offering to contact one of the national organizations for notaries public or governement agency their document is for can be helpful. Remember, as a public official, a notary is a servant to the state and must do everything reasonable in their power to assist.
- California Driver's License
- California Indentificaiton Card
- Out Of State Driver's License
- Out Of State Identification Card
- Canadian Driver's License
- Mexican Driver's License
- U.S. Passport
- Foreign Passport(Stamped by USCIS)
- U.S. Military ID Card
- Inmate ID Card
*All of the ID's listed above must contain a photograph, a physical description, a signature and a serial or identification #
Posted in Bay Area Notary on March 28, 2012 by Administrator
Mar 28, 2012
Once again a decline in refinancing wiped out modest gains in purchase mortgage activity during the week ended March 23. As a result the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey decreased 2.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous week. On an unadjusted basis the index was down 2.6 percent.
The Refinance Index decreased by 4.6 percent, the sixth consecutive week it has lost ground. It is now at its lowest level since December. The decline was due primarily to a 12.0 percent drop in applications for government-backed refinancing sector. The conventional refinancing sector by comparison fell only 3.4 percent. The refinancing share of all mortgage applications activity dropped to 71.9 percent from 73.4 percent. This was the lowest share of activity for refinancing since last July.
The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 3.3 percent from the week ended March 16 and the unadjusted Purchase Index was 1.0 percent higher than during the same week in 2011.
The four week moving average for the Market Index fell 3.40 percent and this average for the Refinance Index was down 4.94 percent. The moving average for the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index rose 2.14 percent.
Interest rates increased across the board as did the effective rate of all products putting most rates at their highest level since late 2011. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) with a conforming balance of $417,500 or less increased to 4.23 percent from 4.19 percent. Points decreased to 0.45 percent from 0.47 percent. The average rate for a 30-year jumbo FRM, those with balances over $417,500, increased to 4.54 percent with 0.46 point from 4.49 percent with 0.38 point.
FHA-backed 30-year FRM rates were up 3 basis points to 3.96 percent and points increased to 0.52 from 0.48. Fifteen-year FRM rates averaged 3.50 percent with 0.42 point compared to 3.47 percent with 0.40 point the previous week.
Interest rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) jumped to 3.0 percent with 0.42 percent from 2.90 percent with 0.44 point. ARM applications represented 5.4 percent of all mortgage applications during the week, down from 5.6 percent a week earlier.
Interest rate quotes are for a loan with an 80 percent loan-to-value ratio. Points include the origination fee.
During the month of February, the investor share of applications for home purchase was at 6.1 percent, a decrease from 6.4 percent in January. This change was led by a decrease in the New England region. In addition, the share of purchase mortgages for second homes decreased to 5.8 percent in February from 5.9 percent in January.
MBA's weekly survey covers over 75 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, and has been conducted weekly since 1990. Respondents include mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts. Base period and value for all indexes is March 16, 1990=100.
Posted in Bay Area Notary on March 06, 2011 by Administrator
By Matthew D. Valera, Owner, Bay Area Notary:
Although the economy has not improved to this point as it was once predicted, there is still opportunities for notary signing agents.. Notaries are still fighting to survive and the strong, motivated, and business savvy notaries are still plugging away. Some are even growing their revenues. My business, Bay Area Notary located in the San Francisco Bay operating under the name www.BayAreaNotary.com has been thriving due to important steps taken within the last six to nine months. I have increased my budget and energy toward advertising to capitalize on the fact that many notaries are getting out of the business.
In business the saying goes if your not growing your shrinking. Your business is a living breathing entity that has to change with the times and economic climate. Entrepreneurs will always say you should never just stay where you are. When times are slow the automatic natural reaction is to pull back or slow growth. I believe you should do the opposite. By increasing your advertising you can quickly gain market share on competitors who are afraid of the uncertainty the future brings. You have to make and seize your opportunities. And when the economy finally turns around you will have put yourself in a better situation to take advantage.
Right now interest rates are still historically low even though the rates have risen within the last couple of months. This has kept refinancing consistent however with the credit crunch still occurring, lenders are still very hesitant to lend money making it even harder for borrowers to qualify. The trick is to obtain jobs from many lenders, not just one or two. By spreading your work around you will keep consistently busy. Simply apply the adage of not putting all your eggs in one basket. Foreclosures are still spurring purchases. Whether it's first time buyers taking advantage of tax credits and rebates or investors looking to capitalize on depressed prices, houses are moving. You just have to position yourself to be involved in these transactions. Stay focused and keep soliciting local title and escrow companies.
You also have to be extra creative in this market, by putting your notary commission to work in other "out of the box" ways. Try getting into employee verifications or DMV car verifications. A growing need for people to get electronic credentials has created a need for notaries. Employees are being required to be verified by a third party representative such as a notary to obtain these credentials and the National Notary Association has started a program to take advantage of this increased need. Read more at the NNA's site at http://www.nationalnotary.org to find out more information. Also DMV registrations on sales of used cars are needing verification of their VIN numbers. This is another niche to capitalize on.
There are many new ways to use your notary license to increase your revenue. You need to keep at it and continue to think of new trends and ways people are using notaries. Even though it is tough, there is work out there.
Posted in Bay Area Notary on February 14, 2011 by Administrator
"Mortgage rates were at record lows in the fourth quarter of last year," McBride noted, "but not enough people could take advantage. "
Joe Adamson of Mortgage Magic in San Jose said rising rates "might weaken demand a bit," but he thinks rates will stay between 5 percent and 5.5 percent for at least the next six months.
The increase doesn't have borrowers leaping off the fence to buy a home before rates go higher, according to valley mortgage brokers.
And for those who are, there are still a lot of obstacles as lenders toughened standards after the collapse of the housing market.
After spending four years to find her dream home, Rebecca McConnell, a San Jose area school administrative assistant, and her partner, Gregory Thomson, locked in a 5 percent rate Thursday on the purchase of their first home, a four-bedroom ranch house in Almaden Valley. She said she would have bought the home even if rates had been higher.
"We wished it could have been a little better, but that's the best you can get. And we're going to live in it for the rest of our lives," McConnell said.
The couple made a 20 percent down payment and patiently worked through the lender's vetting process.
"It seems like there was a lot of verification," McConnell said. "They really want to make sure we were real people and we were who we said we were." At one point, the bank asked for her phone bill. "There were a lot of strange requests," she said.
More than three in four recent homebuyers surveyed by MortgageMatch.com reported that getting a mortgage was more difficult than they expected. Nine percent reported being asked for inappropriate information, rising to 11.7 percent of female borrowers, according to the survey, which was released this week.
Twenty percent said waiting to hear whether their mortgage was approved was more stressful than waiting to hear if they got a job, according to MortgageMatch, which is part of the Move online real estate network.
Mortgage giant Freddie Mac reported Thursday that interest rates on a 30-year fixed mortgage have jumped to 5.02 percent in the western region of the country after remaining in the 4 percent range for more than nine months.
A variety of factors combined to push mortgage rates up this week, said Frank Nothaft, chief economist at Freddie. Positive economic reports, a drop in the unemployment rate and a year of high business productivity each provided a nudge.
The increase in rates has affected another part of the market: Refinancing has already slowed. Many California homeowners are underwater on their mortgages and can't qualify for a refinance, said Dustin Hobbs of the California Mortgage Bankers Association. And after a couple of years of really good rates and terms, there aren't that many qualified borrowers who haven't already refinanced, he said.
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