Economic Conditions Trend And Outlook For 2020

Economic Growth Slowed in 2019 Q3

As the U.S.-China tariff war escalated in 2019 and investors became more concerned about the economy’s long-term prospects, GDP growth slowed to 2.1% in 2019 Q3. Private investment spending contracted for the second straight quarter by 1% as non-residential investment spending dropped by 2.3%, although residential investment spending rose 4.6%, buoyed by low mortgage rates. The pullback in business spending as somewhat offset by the expansion in private consumer spending that rose 3.2%, amid strong job growth. Net exports rose a modest 1% after contracting in the prior quarter, while imports increased 2% after a flat growth in the prior quarter. Government spending rose 4.8% due to the strong growth in federal spending of 8.3%.

Sustained Job Creation in 2019

Job creation remained strong in 2019, with 2.1 million net new payroll jobs created as of December 2019 compared to one year ago. Payroll jobs rose in all sectors except in utilities and mining/logging. The retail trade industry, which had been losing jobs in past months, created net new jobs (15,300). The construction industry created 143,000 net new jobs, although this is about half of the 342,000 annual jobs created in January 2019. The unemployment rate dipped to 3.5%, at par with 50 years ago. The number of 16+ year-old unemployed workers trended downwards to 5.75 million, near the level in 2000 (5.69 million).

Economic Conditions

Nonfarm payroll jobs increased in all states, except Wyoming, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. The states with the strongest job growth were Utah (3.0%), Texas (2.7%), Nevada (2.7%), Idaho (2.6%), Washington (2.5%), Florida (2.5%), Alabama (2.4%), Arizona (2.4%), Rhode Island (2.2%), and Colorado (2.1%).

Wage Growth Tapers as Inflation Picks Up

Even as the unemployment rate continues to fall, average weekly wage growth has tapered. In December 2019, average weekly rose 2.3% from one year ago, about the same pace as the inflation rate. Wages have been rising at slower pace since January 2019 while inflation has picked up, resulting in no real wage gains for workers. Meanwhile, CPI-Shelter, an indicator for the price of housing services (e.g., rent) rose 3.2%. Rent growth has generally outpaced inflation and wage growth since 2012, an indication that housing supply remains low relative to demand. Average weekly wages rose in all states, except in Wyoming, Ohio, Alaska, and Texas (this may just be a statistical fluke given Texas’ strong job growth.

Yield Curve Normalized in November 2019

The Federal Open Market Committee lowered the federal funds rate three times in 2019 by a total of 0.75%, to the current range of 1.5% to 1.75%. The yield curve normalized in November 2019 after it inverted in January 2019 when the 5-year T-note yield fell below the 1-yr T-bill rate.

Macroeconomic Outlook Conclusion

We expect GDP growth to pick up to 2.4% in 2020 given the de-escalation of trade tensions between the United States and China, starting with the signing of the Phase One Trade Deal in January 2020. We view this development as having a positive impact on investor confidence and rising business investment. Unemployment rate will further ease to 3.6%.

The Federal Open Market Committee to likely maintain the federal funds rate at the current range of 1.5% to 1.75%. Under an accommodating monetary policy, the 30-year fixed contract mortgage rate is expected to stay below 4%, which will support 5.5 million of existing home sales and 0.75 million of new home sales. Low interest rates will keep debt financing for new home construction low, encouraging the production of more homes. As builders continue to see strong demand for both owner-occupied homes and rentals, we expect builders to increase construction of new housing to 1.37 million, of which 415,000 (30%) will be multi-family units.

Still interested in understanding more when it comes to today’s economic conditions? If so, contact our firm at 843-999-1570 and someone will be able to explain more in depth of what you need to know when it comes to the macro-economics in this global landscape! With that said, “We have great challenges & great opportunities, and with our help we’ll meet them together!” – Jason Pries

How Does Fed Repo Operations End

In September 2019, the interest rate for the overnight money market — a short-term lending market where banks borrow cash from each other to meet reserve requirements at the end of a business day — surged to 10 percent.

Banks weren’t willing to lend out capital for the Federal Reserve’s target interest rate of 2 percent. The Fed responded to the cash crunch by financing these so-called repurchasing agreements (repos, for short) directly. It offered the 2 percent interest on these short-term loans (they’re usually paid back in days or weeks) to bring the interest rate down and pump cash into a strapped lending market. It has been offering these overnight loans on a daily basis ever since.

When the Federal Reserve began offering these daily agreements in late September 2019 it was the first time it has intervened in repo markets since the Great Recession. The United States’ central bank has funneled roughly $500 billion into the repo market since then in what was originally pitched as temporary operations that would end on October 10, 2019 — but the daily repo bids are still coming.

The Fed is even considering lending directly to smaller financial institutions and hedge funds through the repo market — an unprecedented move in the history of the century-old institution.

With the Fed gripping the reins of this obscure but essential sector of the U.S. financial realm for the first time since the 2007–2008 financial crisis, should the average American be anxious about the state of the U.S. financial market?

“Leverage Is Necessary”

“The key question is … should the average American be worried?”

To finance these repos, the Federal Reserve buys U.S. treasury bills, mortgage-back securities and other highly liquid securities from the banks for cash. These securities act as collateral for the underlying loan, and the banks buy them back with interest over the course of a few days to weeks — hence, “repurchasing agreement,” or “repo”.

The repo market is necessary for keeping these banks solvent and satisfying their regulated reserve requirements (the amount each bank must keep in accounts at Federal Reserve member branches relative to the size of their balance sheet).

“All the banks are under regulation to control the balance sheet exposure they have,” explained Gang Hu, managing partner at WinShore Capital hedge fund. These balance sheets consist of both cash and debt — any fiduciary obligation involving money. Banks borrow money against their assets (aka leveraging) to make investments and add to their balance sheets and even pay off other debt. So, when they don’t have enough cash in the bank, this can cause liquidity crunches and threaten the constitution of the lending market.

“The system cannot operate without leverage,” Hu said. “There’s simply not enough USD currency to support the number of assets that are floating around in the system. The financial system intrinsically comes with leverage.”

Hu added that this leverage is essential but can also be dangerous if managed incorrectly

“In a good economy, leverage is the greatest thing ever — you make more money,” he said. “But in the downturn, you induce financial crisis and financial instability. And right now, the financial instability is the biggest concern at this point with the Fed.”

Why Did the Fed Step In?

Ironically, the cash crunch that necessitated the Fed’s repo intervention arose from regulations that are meant to keep cash in reserves to prevent a run on banks or other liquidity crises.

Reuters, for instance, reported that bankers and analysts believe that J.P. Morgan, the largest bank in the U.S., may have had liquidity to finance these repos itself if it hadn’t withdrawn 57 percent of its cash ($158 billion from the Federal Reserve throughout 2019) and if new regulations didn’t mandate stricter reserve requirements.

Without enough cash in the bank to finance the repos and satisfy these reserve requirements, J.P. Morgan was more reluctant to lend out what it had left. During this time, Hu said, J.P. Morgan had the money, but it couldn’t legally lend it out

“There have been a number of supervisory and regulatory issues raised. We’re looking carefully at those,” Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said in a December 2019 press conference.

The U.S.’s second-largest bank, Bank of America, also drew in cash from their Fed account in 2019 but at a less drastic 30 percent.

As banks withdrew their cash, the Federal Reserve was shedding its balance sheet. Hu said that a cash-strapped status for J.P. Morgan and friends was certainly “one of the reasons” the Fed stepped into the repo markets, but another reason (which is also related to why the banks were drawing on their Fed accounts) may have been that, as the Fed sold off assets on its balance sheet, there’s less cash in the banks and the money market.

“When the base money continues to shrink with the balance sheet, even while the number of assets [like MBS, bonds, etc.] continues to grow, that means there’s more leverage in the system,” Hu said. “The solution that the Fed came out was to start buying [Treasury bonds], to provide repo to the market. All these actions were aimed to increase the base money in the system.”

This cash is necessary to keep leverage afloat, Hu continued.

“If you’re levered, you have to be levered every day,” he said. “If you have one bad day, you go bankrupt. That’s why in September [2019] people were paying 10 percent [interest for repurchasing agreements], because if you don’t have money, you go bankrupt.”

The Fed May Extend Its Repo Reach

And that’s why the Fed stepped in, not just to control short-term money market rates, but to flush the system with cash to balance out debt obligations. These report markets are vital not only for the lifeblood of big institutions, but for smaller ones, as well.

Reuters saying and I quote, “Without reliable sources of loans through the repo market, the financial system risks losing a valuable source of liquidity. Hedge funds, for example, use it to finance investments in U.S. Treasury securities and banks turn to it as option for raising suddenly-needed cash for clients.”

Hedge funds like Hu’s and other small institutions can only participate in the repo market if a bigger institution brokers the transaction, but now the Fed is considering lending directly to smaller institutions like hedge funds.

Hedge funds typically operate on high leverage with the goal of providing steady and significant returns for their investors. If the Fed lends to these offices and other smaller ones like it directly, it would be in a bid to ease leverage in this sector of finance, as well.

“The Fed is not only preserving the reserve [of member banks] but increasing it, but the key is: to what extent?” Hu asked.

“The Fed has been hesitant to go the last step,” Hu continued, referring to the fact that it hasn’t loosened reserve requirements to allow more leverage from the banks. “They decreased the leverage in the system, but they did not allow the banks to have looser regulation … I think the Fed is reluctant to increase leverage in the system because they understand that leverage goes both ways.”

Where’s the Limit?

And what if it goes the wrong way? That’s the rational question that any American might ask when confronted with the fact that banks have been greased with $500 billion in Federal liquidity to keep financial markets from stalling. So far, the repo operations have somewhat calmed a roiled repo market, but the Fed keeps on lending with a market intervention originally billed as temporary in September 2019.

The question now is, when is it enough?

“If you listen to the Fed, the Fed is aware of this,” Hu said, referring to the gravity of adding several hundred billion dollars into these markets. “If this $500 billion becomes $1 trillion or $2 trillion, then the average American should worry. But now, the Fed’s argument is that we’ve gone too far with shrinking the balance, that since September [2019] we’ve had too little in reserves and that this has hurt the system.”

Dennis Lockhart, former head of the Atlanta branch of the Federal Reserve, likened the Fed’s open market operations to a “trial and error” exercise in a CNBC interview. Lockhart also noted that he doesn’t equate these liquidity injections with quantitative easing — the Fed’s practice of purchasing long-term Treasury bonds to print new cash.

Quantitative easing, Hu assented, tries to control long-term interest rates with reliable, long-term liquidity; repo market intervention, conversely, controls interest rates for immediate short-term liquidity.

Still, the final effect is the same — the Fed purchases assets to flush banks with cash. And like the Fed’s quantitative easing during the Great Recession (which led to the inflated balance sheet of over $4 trillion we have today), the uncharted territory for these repos is that ultimate question: Where do they end?

Hu believes that they will begin winding down and the market will stabilize around April 15, 2020 — federal tax day. But he said that it will be a “challenge to unwind this thing” and that it will be a painstaking process.

“I trust that they will do it slowly, gradually, because you can’t ask the bank to pay you $100 billion in one day,” Hu said.

With no clear end in sight and billions in liquidity entering a little-known yet crucial market for the U.S. financial system, some Americans might be wondering if and when the dam is going to break. Or how much capital needs to enter the system to keep the leverage from flooding the levee.

“In September [2019], we’ve seen the limit of the system,” Hu said.

Conclusion

Halfway through the first month of the New Year, with the Fed still sponsoring repo agreements, we might now be asking, “Does the limit even exist?”

Still interested in understanding more when it comes to Fed Repo Facility? If so, contact our firm at 843-999-1570 and someone will be able to explain more in depth of what you need to know when it comes to stock market investing! With that said, “We have great challenges & great opportunities, and with our help we’ll meet them together!” – Jason Pries

FICO® Scores And Your Mortgage

Years ago, credit scoring had little to do with mortgage lending. When reviewing the credit worthiness of a borrower, an underwriter would make a subjective decision based on past payment history.

Then things changed.

Lenders studied the relationship between credit scores and mortgage delinquencies. There was a definite relationship. Almost half of those borrowers with FICO® scores below 550 became ninety days delinquent at least once during their mortgage. On the other hand, only two out of every 10,000 borrowers with FICO® scores above eight hundred became delinquent.

So lenders began to take a closer look at FICO® scores and this is what they found out. The chart below shows the likelihood of a ninety day delinquency for specific FICO® scores.

FICO® Score Odds of a Delinquent Account

  • 595         2 to 1
  • 600         4 to 1
  • 615         9 to 1
  • 630         18 to 1
  • 645         36 to 1
  • 660         72 to 1
  • 680         144 to 1
  • 780         576 to 1

If you were lending a couple hundred thousand dollars, who would you want to lend it to?

FICO® Scores, What Affects Them, How Lenders Look At Them

Imagine a busy lending office and a loan officer has just ordered a credit report. He hears the whir of the laser printer and he knows the pages of the credit report are going to start spitting out in just a second. There is a moment of tension in the air. He watches the pages stack up in the collection tray, but he waits to pick them up until all of the pages are finished printing. He waits because FICO® scores are located at the end of the report. Previously, he would have probably picked them up as they came off. A FICO® above 700 will evoke a smile, then a grin, perhaps a shout and a “victory” style arm pump in the air. A score below 600 will definitely result in a frown, a furrowed brow, and concern.

FICO® stands for Fair Isaac & Company, and credit scores are reported by each of the three major credit bureaus: TRW (Experian), Equifax, and Trans-Union. The score does not come up exactly the same on each bureau because each bureau places a slightly different emphasis on different items. Scores range from 365 to 840.

Some of the things that affect your FICO® scores:

  • Delinquencies
  • Too many accounts opened within the last twelve months
  • Short credit history
  • Balances on revolving credit are near the maximum limits
  • Public records, such as tax liens, judgments, or bankruptcies
  • No recent credit card balances
  • Too many recent credit inquiries
  • Too few revolving accounts
  • Too many revolving accounts

Sounds confusing, doesn’t it?

The credit score is actually calculated using a scorecard where you receive points for certain things. Creditors and lenders who view your credit report do not get to see the scorecard, so they do not know exactly how your score was calculated. They just see the final scores.

Basic guidelines on how to view the FICO® scores vary a little from lender to lender. Usually, a score above 680 will require a very basic review of the entire loan package. Scores between 640 and 680 require more thorough underwriting. Once a score gets below 640, an underwriter will look at a loan application with a more cautious approach. Many lenders will not even consider a loan with a FICO® score below 600, some as high as 620.

FICO® Scores and Interest Rates

Credit scores can affect more than whether your loan gets approved or not. They can also affect how much you pay for your loan, too. Some lenders establish a base price and will reduce the points on a loan if the credit score is above a certain level. For example, one major national lender reduces the cost of a loan by a quarter point if the FICO® score is greater than 725. If it is between 700 and 724, they will reduce the cost by one-eighth of a point. A point is equal to one percent of the loan amount.

There are other lenders who do it in reverse. They establish their base price, but instead of reducing the cost for good FICO® scores, they add on costs for lower FICO® scores. The results from either method would work out to be approximately the same interest rate. It is just that the second way looks better when you are quoting interest rates on a rate sheet or in an advertisement.

FICO® SCORES AND MORTGAGE UNDERWRITING DECISIONS

FICO® Scores as Guidelines

FICO® scores are only guidelines and factors other than FICO® scores also affect underwriting decisions. Some examples of compensating factors that will make an underwriter more lenient toward lower FICO® scores can be a larger down payment, low debt-to-income ratios, an excellent history of saving money, and others. There also may be a reasonable explanation for items on the credit history report that negatively impact your credit score.

They Don’t Always Make Sense

Even so, sometimes credit scores do not seem to make any sense at all. One borrower with a completely flawless credit history can have a FICO® score below 600. One borrower with a foreclosure on her credit report can have a FICO® above 780.

Portfolio & Sub-Prime Lenders

Finally, there are a few portfolio lenders who do not even look at credit scoring, at least on their portfolio loans. A portfolio lender is usually a savings & loan institution that originates some adjustable rate mortgages that they intend to keep in their own portfolio rather than selling them in the secondary mortgage market. These lenders may look at home loans differently. Some concentrate on the value of the home. Some may concentrate more on the savings history of the borrower. There are also sub-prime lenders, or “B & C paper” lenders, who will provide a home loan, but at a higher interest rate and cost.

Running Credit Reports

One thing to remember when you are shopping for a home loan is that you should not let numerous mortgage lenders run credit reports on you. Wait until you have a reasonable expectation that they are the lender you are going to use to obtain your home loan. Not only will you have to explain any credit inquiries in the last ninety days, but also numerous inquiries will lower your FICO® score by a small amount. This may not matter if your FICO® is 780, but it would matter if it is 642.

Don’t Buy A Car Just Before Looking for a Home!

A word of advice not directly related to FICO® scores. When people begin to think about the possibility of buying a home, they often think about buying other big-ticket items, such as cars. Quite often when someone asks a lender to pre-qualify them for a home loan there is a brand new car payment on the credit report. Often, they would have qualified in their anticipated price range except that the new car payment has raised their debt-to-income ratio, lowering their maximum purchase price. Sometimes they have bought the car so recently that the new loan doesn’t even show up on the credit report yet, but with six to eight credit inquiries from car dealers and automobile finance companies it is kind of obvious. Almost every time you sit down in a car dealership, it generates two inquiries into your credit.

Credit History is Important

Nowadays, credit scores are important if you want to get the best interest rate available. Protect your FICO® score. Do not open new revolving accounts needlessly. Do not fill out credit applications needlessly. Do not keep your credit cards nearly maxed out. Make sure you do use your credit occasionally. Always make sure every creditor has their payment in their office no later than 29 days past due.

And never ever be more than thirty days late on your mortgage. Ever.

Still interested in understanding more when it comes to your FICO® score? If so, contact our office at 843-945-0051 and someone will be able to explain more in depth of what a FICO® score is and how it works! With that said, “We have great challenges & great opportunities, and with our help we’ll meet them together!” – Jason Pries

China: Friend or Foe

For all the headlines surrounding geopolitical and trade tensions with China, it also remains one of the world’s most important markets and one that’s vitally important to many American companies. Chinese consumer confidence hit a ten year high in 2019. But as happy as stock investors might be to see the globe’s second largest economy happily buying luxury goods, trips and food, a recent McKinsey & Company survey (China Consumer Report 2020) shows that consumer tastes in China are evolving. Like U.S. millennial’s, the digital native generation in China is increasingly health conscious and a more discerning customer.

In this era of increasing globalization, “domestic stock” is often a bit of a misnomer. Large cap domestic companies sell and manufacture more of their products in China than they do here in the United States. Here are some factoids about China that might encourage you to pay closer attention to China:

  • If measured by purchasing power parity, China is the world’s largest economy.
  • The Chinese population is 1.384 billion, compared with 329 million in United States (as of 7/2018).
  • Sales on November 11 (Singles’ Day) in 2020 were $58 billion, double the projected sales number of $29 billion in the US for the entire Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday period.
  • The IMF projects the Chinese economy will grow by 22% from 2019 to 2021 to $17.762 trillion. China’s growth in GDP in 2015 was equal to the GDP of Switzerland.
  • KFC (YUM) is the most popular fast food chain in China, followed by McDonald’s. (Business Insider recommends we try KFC’s Dragon Twister.)
  • General Motors sold 26.5 million vehicles in China in 2018, versus 21.5 in North America.
  • In the mood for your daily Starbucks fix? There are 4,000 locations in China.

Our media overemphasizes China’s centralized government and suppression of individual freedom and understates popular support for the current system. Riots in Hong Kong against mainland control also give the impression that the current government is under siege. That is untrue. China’s citizens generally support their government’s policies and perceive the U.S. as unfairly demonizing China due to its rapid growth. That’s leading to boycotts against U.S. brands. Domestic Chinese brands have steadily improved in quality, leading to a shift in consumer preference towards their domestic products.

Some psychology studies indicate we overweight familiar information and discount things we have trouble understanding. It’s tempting to dismiss China due to its distance and different culture, but that would be a mistake. For many companies, China is the elephant in the room. If we’re to make informed investment decisions, we need to see that elephant as it is.

Advantages Of Different Lenders

WHAT KIND OF LENDER IS BEST?

If you ask a loan officer, “What kind of lender is best?” the answer will be whatever kind of company he works for and he will give you a list of reasons why. If you meet the same loan officer years later, and he works for a different kind of lender, he will give you a list of reasons why that type of lender is better.

REALTORS® will also have differing opinions, and those opinions have and will continue to change over time. In the past, it seemed like most would recommend portfolio lenders. Now, they usually recommend mortgage bankers and mortgage brokers. Most often they direct you to a specific loan officer who has demonstrated a track record of service and reliability.

This article discusses the advantages and disadvantage of different types of institutions, not the individual loan officers. However, it is often more important to choose the correct loan officer, not the institution. The loan officer has many responsibilities, one of which is to act as your representative and advocate to the lender he works for or the institutions he brokers loans to. You want someone who has proven dependable and ethical in the past.

Regarding the institutions, the truth of the matter is that each type of lender has strengths and weaknesses. This does not even take into account the variety of other factors that influence whether a lender is good or bad. Quality can vary, depending on the loan officer, the support staff, which branch or office you are obtaining your loan from, and a variety of other factors.

PORTFOLIO LENDERS

Savings & Loans are quite often portfolio lenders, as are some banks. Portfolio lenders generally promote their own portfolio loans, which are usually adjustable rate loans. They will often pay more compensation to their loan officers for originating a portfolio product than for originating a fixed rate loan. You may also find that they are not as competitive as mortgage bankers and brokers in the fixed rate loan market.

However, it is often easier to qualify for a portfolio loan, so borrowers who may not qualify for a fixed rate loan may be able to obtain a loan from a portfolio lender. A borrower may be able to qualify for a larger loan from a portfolio lender than he could obtain from a fixed rate lender.

Portfolio lenders also can serve as niche lenders because certain things are more important to them than meeting the more standardized underwriting guidelines of a mortgage banker. An example would be a savings & loan, which is more concerned with an individual’s savings history than being able to fully document income and other things.

If you apply for a loan with a portfolio lender and you are declined, you usually have to start the process over with a new company.

MORTGAGE BANKERS

If we are talking about the larger mortgage bankers, you can count on them having several strengths. For the biggest ones, you will recognize the brand name.

Usually, they are much better at promoting special first time buyer programs offered by states and local governments, that have lower interest rates and costs than the current market rate. These programs are often available to buyers who have not owned a home in the last three years and fall within certain income guidelines.

Mortgage bankers may incur problems because they are just too big to manage, or they may operate like well-oiled machines.

If you are buying a home and you need a VA or FHA loan and the development you are buying in has not yet been approved, they will be better at getting it approved than other lenders.

If your home loan is declined for some reason, many mortgage bankers allow their loan officers to broker the loan to another institution. However, because your loan officer is so used to promoting the company’s product, he may not be familiar with which institution may be the best one to submit your loan to. Another reason is because wholesale lenders do not expect to get many loans from direct mortgage bankers, so they do not expend much marketing effort on them.

BANKS and SAVINGS & LOANS

Their major strength is that you will recognize their name. In addition, they will usually be operating as a mortgage banker, a portfolio lender, or both, and have the same weaknesses and strengths.

MORTGAGE BROKERS

The major strength of mortgage brokers is that they can shop the wholesale lenders for the best rate much easier than a borrower can. They also learn the “hot points” of certain wholesale lenders and can handpick the lender for a borrower that may be unique in some way. He will be able to advise you whether your loan should be submitted to a portfolio lender or a mortgage banker. Another advantage is that, if a loan gets declined for some reason, they can simply repackage the loan and submit it to another wholesale lender.

One additional advantage is that mortgage brokers tend to attract a high number of the most qualified loan officers. This is not universal because mortgage brokers also serve as the training ground for those just entering the business. If you have a new loan officer and there is something unique about you or the property you are buying, there could be a problem on the horizon that an experienced loan officer would have anticipated.

A disadvantage is that mortgage brokers sometimes attract the greediest loan officers, too. They may charge you more on your loan, which would then nullify the ability of the mortgage broker being able to shop for the lowest rate.

WHOLESALE LENDERS

Borrowers cannot get access to the wholesale divisions of mortgage bankers and portfolio lenders without going through a broker.

WHEN REALTORS® OR BUILDERS RECOMMEND A LENDER

If your REALTOR® or builder makes a suggestion for a lender, be sure to talk to that lender. One reason REALTORS® and builders make suggestions is the fact that they have regular dealings with this lender and have come to expect a certain amount of reliability. Reliability is extremely important to all parties involved in a real estate transaction.

On the other hand, a recent trend in mortgage lending has been for real estate companies and builders to own their own mortgage companies or create “controlled business arrangements” (CBA’s) in order to increase their profitability. These mortgage brokers sometimes become used to having what is essentially a captured market and may not necessarily offer you the lowest rates or costs.

Some real estate companies also offer different types of incentives to their REALTORS® in exchange for recommending their company-owned mortgage and escrow companies or lenders with whom they have CBA’s. Dealing with one of these lenders is not necessarily a bad thing, though. The builder or Real Estate Company often feels they have more ability to expedite matters when they own the company or have a controlled business relationship. They cannot usually influence the underwriting decision, but they can sometimes cut through red tape to handle problems or speed up the process. Builders are especially forceful on having you use their lender. One reason is that there are certain intricacies in dealing with new homes. If you use a loan officer who usually deals with refinances or resale home loans, he may not even be aware of how different it is to close a mortgage on a new home and this can lead to problems or delays.

It is in your interest to know if there is any kind of ownership relationship or controlled business arrangement between the real estate or builder and the lender, so be sure to ask. Do not automatically disqualify such a lender, but be sure to be more vigilant on getting the best interest rate and the lowest costs.

CONCLUSION

Make sure to do a little shopping. By knowing the interest rates in your market and making sure your loan officer knows you are looking at rates from other institutions, you can use that as leverage to make sure you are obtaining the best combination of service and the lowest rates.

Still interested in understanding more when it comes to the advantages of different types of mortgage lenders? If so, contact Tina Pries at 843-999-1570 and she will be able to explain more in depth of what you want to expect from a mortgage lender in order to get you the best rates on your next real estate asset purchase! It’s never too late to work with “Your very own Real Estate Investor Agent!” – Tina Pries