Author Archives: Jeff Baxter Mortgage Team

About Jeff Baxter Mortgage Team

I've been a banker, marketer, and business owner for over 30 years. As a mortgage banker, I work in all the beach markets in southern Delaware and have been a consistent, “go to” lending partner for hundreds of real estate professionals. Over 1,900 followers on Twitter and fans of my Facebook Page: Jeff Baxter – Mortgage Banking rely on me for timely updates on mortgage news, financial markets, loan guidelines, and mortgage interest rates. Whether you follow me online, subscribe to my blog – A View From The Beach – or get my weekly email newsletters, you’ll find that I'm exactly what a Google search says I am – Delaware’s Leading Mortgage Banker

Update on Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp.’s 2016 Performance

Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp. experienced a year-over-year expansion in its home-lending volume, servicing portfolio and employee count.

The Sun Prairie, Wisconsin-based organization serviced 20,969 residential loans with an unpaid principal balance of $4.420 billion as of Dec. 31, 2016.

Those details, along with other operational data, were presented as part of the Mortgage Daily Fourth Quarter 2016 Mortgage1396259-new-fairway-at-a-glance_v3-1 Origination Survey.

The servicing portfolio contracted from 21,277 loans for $4.481 billion three months earlier. But it grew from a year earlier, when 15,401 loans were serviced for $3.290 billion.

Third-party servicing accounted for $4.409 billion of the year-end 2016 total, while owned loans made up the remaining $0.011 billion.

Fairway originated 20,914 loans for $4.835 billion during the most-recent three-month period. Business slowed from 22,854 loans closed for $5.285 billion in the third quarter. But activity accelerated from 13,230 loans funded for $2.818 billion in the fourth-quarter 2015.

Fourth-quarter 2016 lending was comprised of $4.462 billion in retail originations, $0.300 billion in wholesale lending and $0.073 billion in correspondent acquisitions.

Full-year 2016 volume came to 77,663 units for $17.609 billion. Annual activity jumped from 52,035 loans originated for $11.152 billion in 2015.

Staffing at Fairway concluded last year at 4,312 employees. Headcount expanded from 4,115 people as of Sept. 30, 2016, and 3,039 employees on the payroll at the end of 2015.

Optimism Versus Uncertainty

A View from the Beach

A View from the Beach

ECONOMIC COMMENTARY
February 21, 2017 –

 

During the past few months we have had a very solid rally in the stock market, which has been accompanied by higher interest rates. Certainly, the economic results that have been released have not changed that much during that period, and thus we can conclude that the changes in the markets are not because of a change in fundamentals. This conclusion is not surprising, because often the markets trade on feelings rather than results.

We do know that the change in psychology is due to a change in leadership. New leadership and new policies bring a lot of uncertainty to the table. Generally, the markets do not like uncertainty. On the other hand, it is not unusual for optimism to trump uncertainty (excuse the pun). If the markets are optimistic that the changes will help the economy, high stock prices and higher rates are justified. Of course, it does help that the economy is already heading in the right direction.

As slow as it has been, the recovery has seen a precipitous drop in the unemployment rate and a net gain of several million jobs. Revving up an economy which is already growing requires much less energy, as opposed to turning around an economy. And that is what is likely making the markets more optimistic. It is unusual to apply stimulus to a growing economy, as opposed to moving an economy out of recession. On the other hand, too much stimulus to a growing economy could stimulate inflation, and this is the risk which is supporting higher rates. Remember, the markets are not always right regarding what will happen, because there is no way of accurately predicting the future.

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The Different Levels of Homeowner’s Insurance: What You Need to Know

homeowners-insuranceMost standard homeowner’s insurance policies cover damage to your home from theft, fire, lightning, smoke, frozen pipes, ice or certain types of weather damage. It usually covers you up to a certain dollar amount if someone is injured on your property and decides to sue you.

But, did you know that there are many “levels” and “types” of homeowners insurance? Here are your options:

  • HO1: It’s the most basic with limited coverage. It’s also the cheapest, but if you have a mortgage, most mortgage companies won’t accept the limited coverage because it hardly covers anything.
  • HO2: Has a lot more coverage than HO1, but still limited reimbursement if you experience a loss.
  • HO3: This is the most popular with almost 80% of the homeowners’ policies sold today. This option covers “all perils and all risks” except those that are “excluded” in the addendum.
  • HO4: This is a “renter’s” policy and it protects the possessions of tenants living in the home against loss. It usually includes medical and liability coverage for the renter. So if you own a rental property, you may want to advise your tenants about this option.
  • HO6: This policy is for those who live in condos. It not only provides for personal property, liability and medical expenses, it covers the inside walls of your unit—which you own.
  • HO8: This is for older homes and is similar to HO1. The difference is that it will reimburse the actual cash value of the home.

If you’d like to compare coverage and premium amounts, please let me know and I can refer you to a couple of insurance agents that I know and trust.

Why Landscaping Adds Value to Your Home

landscapingI recently read an article by an appraiser — with the bottom line being “a good landscape can add value to your home, and if you are planning on selling it can reduce the number of days the home is on the market.”

It’s called “curb appeal” and it’s the way your home makes a “first impression.” While landscaping usually refers to trees, shrubs and flowers, it also includes yard decorations, fire pits, patios, decks, ponds, swimming pools and outdoor lighting.

An Appraiser usually takes the following into consideration when determining the overall value of the home:

  1. The landscaping at the front of the home is attractive enough to make people want to walk in the front door.
  2. The landscaping is easy to take care of. Requires little maintenance or a minimal amount of water.
  3. The landscaping is energy-efficient—meaning it provides shade to block the sun from windows that may take in a lot of sun.
  4. The trees are planted a safe distance from the home. They are healthy and well-maintained.
  5. The use of mulch makes the landscaping look attractive and keeps weeds in check
  6. Concrete sidewalks, patios or fire pits are in good repair
  7. Yard ornaments placed throughout the yard are appropriate and not overwhelming

If you’d like to spruce up your landscaping, consider hiring a professional.

They will let you know which plants to replace, which ones to trim or the best ones to add. It’s a small price to pay to increase the value of your home.

Must-Have Tools for Your Home Emergency Kit

Is it just me — or do you see an increase in weather-related emergencies? Or forest fires? Or floods?

Well, in addition to a first-aid kit, three days’ worth of bottled water, non-perishable food and a list of important phone numbers, consider putting together a home emergency kit.

20e16-s_monopoly-houseStart out with a waterproof plastic tub and store it in a place where you can gain easy access. Then add the following items:

  • Duct tape – Use for repairs and temporary fixes
  • Blankets – A fleece or Mylar-type blanket is warm, lightweight and takes up very little space
  • Multi-tool – Something like a Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman will work. I suggest that the tool also have a pair of pliers and a can opener (to open the non-perishable food cans)
  • Lantern and flashlight – Battery-operated models with extra batteries for power outages
  • Nylon rope – Lots of uses
  • Work gloves – Buy heavy-duty, leather or tough material to protect your hands for storm clean-up chores
  • Radio – A hand-crank radio to keep you up to date on the latest weather alerts
  • Baby wipes – They will remove dirt and bacteria from your hands if no water is available

The Barrage of Executive Orders

A View from the Beach

A View from the Beach

ECONOMIC COMMENTARY
February 14, 2017 –

 

As we indicated previously, we are not about to speculate as to what might happen as a result of the policies of the new Administration. There is still a tremendous road to be laid. However, we can say that the President has moved quickly to issue a barrage of Executive Orders during his first weeks in office. Some of these are merely presages of actions to come, such as the promise to dismantle the Dodd-Frank Act, and for those we will continue to wait for the eventual results. In addition, it may take quite some time for these actions to come to fruition and even longer for the results to be realized.

However, some of these orders are implementing policies and already are affecting the markets and economy. The one that stands out as an example is the travel restrictions or ban (whichever name you prefer) applied to several countries. Certainly, the lives of many individuals are affected by this action. But so are businesses and even schools. Foreign countries provide teachers for our schools and students from these countries attend these schools. And some industries, such as the medical and tech sectors, depend upon foreign workers. The next question is–could the new policy or a similar one affect economic growth negatively?

The fate of the ban rests in the courts as we write this commentary. If it is reinstated, there could be some negative consequences in the short-run. If the restrictions are expanded or extended, these negative consequences would continue or grow. On the other hand, if the restrictions are reinstated and then are eased as our country examines the targeted countries’ vetting procedures, the effect could be minimized. Thus, even though this was an example of an Executive Order which was implemented immediately and has caused a wide-ranging reaction from many, we still don’t know of the extent of the long-term influences it might have on our economy. Of course, if it does not overcome the court challenge, the analysis will be moot.

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Where the Economy Stands

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A View from the Beach

ECONOMIC COMMENTARY
February 7, 2017 – 

 

Certainly, this past week was one to get a good assessment of where the economy stands coming into the new year and a new Presidency. In the past week or so, we have had reports on overall economic growth for 2016; personal income and spending for December; the jobs report for January; and a meeting of the Federal Reserve Board’s Open Market Committee. That is a lot of information to assess. Let’s start with the economic growth. Our rate of economic growth for 2016 was 1.6%, which was the slowest since 2011. The fourth quarter came in at 1.9% and is subject to revision, but even a significant upward revision will not affect the overall 2016 growth results by that much.

The next release measured personal income and spending for December, which was another report which shows how we finished out the year. December personal spending numbers are especially important because they reflect spending through the holiday season. These numbers came in moderately robust, and met expectations. We then had the meeting of the Federal Reserve mid-last week. The markets were not expecting the Fed to increase rates since they did so in December. And this prediction was right on the mark. However, the markets were watching the Fed’s statement closely. This statement indicated that economic growth remains moderate and the economy was balanced as of right now–with no more risks on the upside vs. the downside.

Finally, on Friday we had the all-important jobs report, which is the first economic reading for January. The report was a real mixed bag with strong employment growth of 227,000 jobs added, but an up-tick in the unemployment rate to 4.8% and lower wage growth than forecasted. The increase in the unemployment rate is not necessarily bad news because it indicates that more long-term unemployed are re-entering the workforce. Indeed, the labor participation rate did increase as well, but remains near all-time lows.

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