Loans for Borrowers with 500 Credit Scores?

If the Great Recession has damaged your credit score like so many of us, getting a home mortgage has been nearly impossible.  But—Wells Fargo recently changed their policies to allow people with credit scores as low as 500 to get loans or home mortgages.

Although—to minimize risk—they’re requiring a higher down payment for those of us who are credit-challenged.

Will the other three big lenders (US Bank, Chase and Bank of America) follow suit?  While it’s too early to tell—my guess is yes.

 

Loosening credit: 1 down and 3 to go

 

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Redevelopment in Eugene’s Downtown

Work has now started that will fill one of Eugene’s notorious downtown holes.  Lane Community College has begun construction on a new downtown facility—costing $53 million before completion late next year.

Hopefully this will be but a start towards a more vibrant downtown.  We’re not likely to get back to what we once were—in times gone by when downtown was a hub of all activities, from shopping and entertainment to business. 

Still, LCC’s project is a good start.

Looking into big holes, the Craigs enjoy one of their hobbies.

The Importance of Buying Local

Buying local is not a new concept for Eugene and Springfield residents.  But—it’s not always so easy.  On a recent ABC news story, they experimented by eliminating all non-U.S. produced items from a typical house.  Hardly anything was left.

However, they were able to replace the items with domestically produced products.  What’s the lesson?  It is said that if each of us spent a mere $3.33 per year on American-made products 10,000 jobs would be created.

Of course, when you need services such as a realtor, choosing local is an easier option.

How many local jobs are supplied by Coca-Cola?

Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)

According to a recent WSJ article, most mortgage modifications don’t work.  Less than 2% of the projected allotment of $75 billion for the HAMP program has actually been spent to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.

Nationwide, 6.7 million homes were lost to foreclosure or short sale in the decade ending in 2010.  Half again as many are projected to meet the same fate in the next 3 years.  If projections are accurate, that should keep it a buyer’s market through 2013.

The number of distressed properties in Eugene and Springfield isn’t exactly known—but they are common and I do a lot of them.  Rejection from the HAMP program was about 3 of every 4 participants in the western states, including Oregon.  If mortgage modification doesn’t work, a short sale may be a good option for you.

Most mortgage modificatins don't work.

Earthquakes

The destruction from the recent earthquake in Japan and in Christchurch, New Zealand is a reminder of how vulnerable we all can be.  All construction and engineering is a balance between risk management and economics.  It’s possible to build a structure that will essentially never fall down.  However, that would be very expensive—and affording the building is the real key.
So how safe are structures in Eugene and Springfield?  At least one company thought they weren’t safe enough—Symantec is spending millions of dollars to upgrade its Springfield facilities.

The possibility of an earthquake in Lane County is there—we live in the Cascadia Subduction Zone, which is known to be seismically active.  So what can you do?  Local building codes have continued to become more stringent and therefore more earthquake resistant so new structures will fare better if an earthquake does happen.  Plus, earthquake insurance is available.

What do most of us do?  Ignore the risk.

 

Will building codes keep earthquake aftermath in Lane County from looking like this?

Housing Prices Close To Bottom

Experts are saying the prices for houses are close to the bottom—meaning price increases are just around the corner.  And, houses are becoming increasingly affordable.  Nationally, house prices are less than two-years’ salary.  In Lane County, though they’re still higher than that.

However home ownership is part of the American Dream and the net worth of home owners is some 40-times greater than renters.

Is home ownership in your dreams?

Remodeling and Home Improvement

Remodeling and renovating is another area of the market in Eugene and Springfield that fell on hard times during the Great Recession.  We have bottomed-out though—and business is improving.

While home improvements don’t return dollar for dollar on resale, they still make sense if you plan to stay in the house for a period of time.

Rebuilding the housing market brick by brick.