CalHFA - Below market rates to First-Time home buyers.

CalHFA recently announced a new 30-year mortgage, insured by the Federal Housing Administration. According to CalHFA, this is the CalHFA’s flagship mortgage loan product to get them back in business,
and being offered to first-time homebuyers. In addition, CalHFA has made some improvements to the California Home buyer’s Down payment Assistance Program (CHDAP) that makes it even more attractive. Menifee's housing market has been hit very hard and this new program will help create some new home sales in the area.

The CalHFA FHA mortgage is, at first look, simple enough: a 30-year loan with a fixed rate. It stands out for
two reasons, though. One, it carries a below market interest rate, the result of ongoing bond negotiations  between CalHFA and the US Treasury. Two, when combined with CalHFA’s CHDAP or AHPP (Affordable Housing Partnership Plan) programs, the rate may drop even lower, currently giving a 0.125% break for CHDAP and 0.25% break for AHPP.

They have also made some changes to the underwriting and  documentation requirements for CHDAP, so its standards conform to the standards of the first mortgage.  CHDAP now only requires a 1% buyer contribution instead of the previous 3%.

In addition, the School Facility Fee Down Payment Assistance Program has returned. This program gives a conditional grant to purchasers of newly constructed homes in California, to be used for down payment, closing costs, upgrades, or any other aspect of the purchase. The grant averages about $5,000, and if the qualified buyer stays in the property for three years, it does not need to be repaid.

CalHFA continues to be dedicated to safe, responsible lending. A FHA loan requires a 620 credit score, and every borrower must undergo home buyer counseling.

This FHA loan product, along with their down payment programs, represents a new beginning for CalHFA as they move forward after the extremely challenging events of the past few years. With powerful products like these, CalHFA is poised to open doors for new home buyers, and fund possibilities for the future once again.

Many lenders in Menifee and the Temecula Valley are able to offer this loan. Make sure the broker offering the loan charges reasonable "points". Usually 1 to 2 points is more than enough.

Skylar Lewis
Temecula Real Estate
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Drop in home prices, but what about our insurance?

homeowners insuranceHome prices in Southern California have dropped dramatically over the last couple years, but our homeowner's insurance hasn't. The average cost of homeowner's insurance has actually gone up. Why is this?

The price of homeowner's insurance is based on the cost to build or repair your home. Even though the construction industry has been hit hard, that doesn't mean the cost of rebuilding a home is decreasing or has decreased. Home prices are decreasing but homeowner's insurance costs are rising...

So how can you reduce your bill?

  • Raise your deductible ( can dramatically decrease insurance costs, but will cost more when you have an emergency )
  • Lower the amount of your insurance ( not usually recommended )
  • Shop around. Online rates are sometimes cheaper than through local insurance agents.
  • Always be weary of insurance companies offering extremely low prices. Low prices could mean bad customer service or no service at all.
  • Be sure to check consumer websites and the department of insurance when searching for homeowner's insurance. Check out Home Ownership Accelerator for more information on reducing your balance.

Skylar Lewis - Your Local Real Estate Expert
Menifee Homes
Menifee Real Estate

Happy New Year Menifee Home Owners!

As I start my first week of the New Year - I wanted to wish all of you a improved and wondeful 2011. As always, Menifee real estate remains a large part of my business. In each case, the people and community remain one of the best!

Over the last few years I have watched Menifee continue its growth in Commercial and City-Hood. We have also seen prices in real estate rise a bit in 2010. I know it doesn't often seem like it but homes that were selling at $175,000 are now closer to $210,000. It is hard to see that when they used to by worth $300,000. But we are getting there!

I will also point out that people are paying more for rent lately and it isn't easy finding rentals right now. I think we will see further appreciation over the next year of around 5% or so. I am not an economics professor BUT I do see people looking more than last year. And that means only good things. As prices have risen in Temecula and Murrieta real estate, it pushes more home buyers into Menifee.

So, enough economics and rain for that matter! Here is to wishing you all a wonderful 2011. If you should need any help regarding understand short sales, wanting to know your options, etc. Please do not hesitate to let me know!


Stefan West, Owner of West Realty for Menifee Real Estate and Menifee Short Sales