USDA Loans: Don’t wait until the cows come home.

From the Realtor news wire come this heads up on the dwindling availability of USDA loans for rural homebuyers in the fiscal year 2016:

http://www.realtor.org/articles/update-on-usda-loan-funding

The article does point out at least one other option, and for folks who aren’t going to be needing a loan during this fiscal cycle there’s no need for a stampede of panic.  However, if you’re planning a transaction soon that may involve USDA funding not yet secured, don’t count those chickens before they’re hatched.

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Bigger Waters

The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 gained further ground recently when it passed the Senate by a sizable margin. However, if you’ve been holding your breath on this one, you need to hold it a little longer – the bill still has to pass the House.

If you’re not sure if you should hold your breath, or even why, you probably ought to spend a little time on this website: http://rfris.nc.gov/fris/ ; especially if you live in the Hampton Roads area. FEMA has been in the process of updating flood zone maps nationwide, and some of the boundaries have changed. Even if you’re in an area that has never had an issue with flooding, your property may (now) lie within a defined flood zone.

This remapping project is one of the provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. Intended originally to keep the swamped National Flood Insurance Program from sinking, Biggert-Waters burst forth with other not-so-intended consequences. Among them are premium surges that could make it difficult, and in some cases impossible, for affected homeowners to stay afloat. Enter the HFIAA, which may or may not wind up pulling the plug on Biggert-Waters altogether, depending on how many of its provisions get passed – and for how long.

Both Biggert-Waters and the consequent HFIAA have implications for homeowners nationwide. For those of us living in the Hampton Roads area (also known as Tidewater), the full scope of these potential impacts are still a matter of conjecture. That they will have an impact, one way or another, is certain.

July 2014 UPDATE: The waves from Biggert-Waters were high, and it would seem the fingers that aren’t plugging the leaks in the dam are busily pointing in various directions. Once again, there may not be time to do something right, but time can be found to do it over.

Lovin’ that home equity line? Maybe not so much!

Got a heads up about what at least one news article has dubbed “The Ten Year Trap”, and it’s an article worth reading.  Check it out here: http://hamptonroads.com/2014/01/10year-trap-primer-home-equity-lines-credit

We weren’t the only ones in the discussion group whose eyes widened over some of the key points.  Phrases like “monthly payments could more than double” and “balloon payment” can get your attention, even if they don’t relate to your own situation directly.  It might not hurt to have a pad of paper and pen handy to take a few notes – especially if you happen to have a home equity line of credit, or know someone who does.  Forewarned is forearmed!