By Kathleen Pender of San Francisco Chronicle
As Bay Area home prices soar, coming up with a 20 percent down payment can feel like walking up the down escalator.
Wannabe buyers who don’t have parents to help out have several options. They can borrow more than 80 percent of the purchase price with a first mortgage and pay private mortgage insurance. They can borrow some of the down payment with a home equity loan or line of credit.
Or they can go with a lesser-known option: giving up part of their future appreciation in exchange for down payment help from a government or private-sector program.
San Francisco’s Down Payment Assistance Program for market-rate homes is an example of government aid. First-time buyers can get up to $375,000 toward a home or condo in the city, but funds are limited and there are income restrictions. The application deadline this year is Aug. 21.
Unison, formerly known as First Rex, offers a private-sector alternative. There are no income restrictions and buyers don’t have to be first-timers, but they must live in the home, qualify for a loan and be in one of the 12 states (including California) where Unison operates.
In a typical Unison HomeBuyer deal, the buyer puts down 10 percent of the purchase price, gets 10 percent down from Unison and borrows 80 percent with a first mortgage, thereby avoiding private mortgage insurance. In exchange, Unison shares in 35 percent of any future appreciation or depreciation.
The homeowner pays nothing to Unison until they sell the home, except for a setup fee equal to 2.5 percent of the down payment received. When they sell, they owe Unison the original investment plus 35 percent of any appreciation or minus 35 percent of any decrease in value.
The homeowner also has the option of buying out Unison any time after three years under the same terms. The home’s value would be determined by an independent appraiser.
Because Unison’s investment is not a loan, homeowners don’t get a tax deduction for the shared appreciation payment, like they could for mortgage interest.
The deal can make sense for buyers who think home prices are nearing a peak and don’t have a 20 percent down payment or have it but don’t want to sink it all into a home, said Scott Whitlock, sales manager with First California Mortgage in Napa. Whitlock has closed four deals with Unison.
Eighth Calif. Office for Full-Service Lender Expands Capabilities for NorCal Region
STOCKTON, CA—AUGUST 04, 2017—First California Mortgage Company (First Cal), a leading home lender founded in 1977 and active throughout the U.S., announced a new office in Stockton, Calif., serving home buyers and home owners with competitive loans, said Joe McKone, Executive Vice President, National Production. Led by First Cal Sales Manager Rod Roloff, a mortgage industry veteran, the new office at 2324 Grand Canal Blvd. expands First Cal’s presence in the Bay Area as its eighth retail location.
"We're thrilled to be growing in California, easily accessible for meeting customers and for supporting our network whether in person, online at www.firstcal.net or by calling us at 855-592-LOAN," said McKone.
First Cal has Northern California offices in Brentwood, Davis, Folsom, Napa, Vacaville, Woodland, and its corporate hometown, Petaluma. McKone said First Cal's growth will continue, and is recruiting loan officers, loan processors, loan officer assistants and underwriters for further expansion throughout the state and country.
"First Cal's strong financial stability, a focus on excellent service and the operational support necessary to execute at the highest level are resonating with home buyers," McKone said. "We offer the highly competitive rates you expect from a national lender and still have the personal service of a hometown bank. That's perfect synergy for home buyers, our employees and our industry partners."
"We got our start in the Bay Area, and have steadily grown our local teams of late -- and will continue expanding," said Chris Hart, president of First Cal. "We aim to be the lender of choice in every market."
About First Cal
Founded in 1977, First California Mortgage Company (First Cal) is a full-service home mortgage lender whose family-run roots instill a personalized approach to its commitment of offering the best loans and customer service in the industry. First Cal, NMLS #24055, is an approved seller-servicer with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and an approved I&II issuer with Ginnie Mae. Based in Petaluma, Calif. and active in more than 20 states, First Cal is ranked as a Top 100 lender by Mortgage Executive Magazine. For more information on First Cal and its loan products, call 855-592-LOAN or visit us at www.FirstCal.net.
UNIQUE SALESFORCE SUITE INTEGRATION POWERS EFFICIENCY GAINS, IMPROVED CONSUMER EXPERIENCE
San Francisco and Petaluma, Calif. (July 26, 2017) – National housing lender First California Mortgage (First Cal) announced today that it has cut its average loan timeframe to just 15 days, 66% lower than the national average of 43 days. The faster process was built on the technology platform from mortgage fintech leader Roostify, including an industry-first integration of the Salesforce contact management system.
“For many people, getting a mortgage has remained a drawn-out process, sometimes lasting nearly two months – despite all the buzz around so-called ’15 minute mortgages,’” said Joe McKone, Executive Vice President, First Cal. “We think we have the best technology infrastructure in the business which, combined with our customer-oriented culture that holds the home buyer’s hand all the way, allows us to get consumers in their new homes faster than ever.”
First Cal’s Roostify-enabled solution allows consumers to apply for a mortgage, submit their documentation, follow along with the loan progress and communicate with their loan officer, all from the web. Likewise, loan officers can request and review documents, run digital verification and view the loan’s status from anywhere with an Internet connection, cutting down on time-consuming manual processes for both loan officer and consumer.
First Cal drew on its strong culture of customer service to offer consumers the mortgage process approach that was right for them: Customers can pursue an online application, work with a loan officers by phone or at one of brick-and-mortar offices, or any combination thereof.
To power the process, First Cal also built a sophisticated integration with Salesforce, the first of its kind using the Roostify API. The integration enabled First Cal to fit Roostify into their existing workflow, further increasing efficiency.
“We seamlessly move client information from Roostify to Salesforce, providing the sales team and our client with anywhere, anytime loan updates,” said First Cal Chief Information Officer Howard Sackson.
For first-time buyer Trang Dang of Denver, who recently closed with a First Cal Gold Certified Loan that allowed her to compete with all-cash buyers, the speed and ease of the process were a pleasant surprise. “I could have closed in 10 business days, but we kept it at one month so I had time to leave my apartment and set up movers to my new home,” explained Dang. “I had heard that getting a loan could be a nightmare, but it was so easy.”
First Cal’s new Gold Certified pre-approved loan, fueled by the improved technology infrastructure, is changing the dynamics of homebuying in overheated markets by giving borrowers a pre-approved loan that is as good as cash from a seller perspective. In markets dominated by all-cash buyers, a Gold Certified loan with no borrower conditions provides a level playing field.
Added Dang’s loan officer, Brandon Briese of First Cal: “This is how home buying should be, and it’s why I like my work more than ever. Ask 100 real estate brokers what a call from the lender means and 99 will say it’s about a delay, but my call to the seller’s broker was that we were closing EARLY. He was blown away.”
Roostify CEO Rajesh Bhat was pleased to learn of Dang’s experience. “Our guiding principle at Roostify is to make the homebuying process better for consumers – faster, less stressful and more transparent. We’re thrilled to be working with First Cal to offer a superior homebuying experience.”
About First Cal
Founded in 1977, First California Mortgage Company (First Cal) is a full-service home mortgage lender whose family-run roots instill a personalized approach to its commitment of offering the best loans and customer service in the industry. First Cal, NMLS #24055, is an approved seller-servicer with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and an approved I&II issuer with Ginnie Mae. Based in Petaluma, Calif. and active in more than 20 states, First Cal is ranked as a Top 100 lender by Mortgage Executive Magazine. Its innovative Diamond Lane™ service for qualified borrowers enables closing within 21 to 25 days, sometimes faster. For more information on First Cal and its loan products, call 855-592-LOAN or visit us at http://www.firstcal.net/.
Founded by consumers looking for a better way to buy a home, Roostify leads the industry in delivering accelerated and transparent online mortgage experiences. From enterprise banks to independent brokerages, dozens of lenders across the United States trust Roostify to speed up closings, reduce unnecessary work and give their customers a smooth, anxiety-free mortgage experience. Since 2014, Roostify has helped close thousands of home loans nationwide.
Roostify is privately funded and headquartered in San Francisco. For more information, please visit roostify.com.
With home purchases on the rise and competition for mortgage business heating up, lenders have to move quickly to close loans. To do so, they are increasingly taking advantage of technologies previously unavailable to or neglected by the industry.
Here are five strategies that could help lenders close loans as quickly as 10 to 15 days. The insights come from First California Mortgage Chief Information Officer Howard Sackson and Executive Vice President Joe McKone.
Greenwood Village,CO - July 09, 2017 — First Cal Greenwood Village has been selected for the
2017 Greenwood Village Small Business Excellence Award in the Mortgage Brokers classification
by the Greenwood Village Small Business Excellence Award Program.
Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each
category. The 2017 Greenwood Village Small Business Excellence Award Program focuses on
quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by
the Greenwood Village Small Business Excellence Award Program and data provided by third
About the Greenwood Village Small Business Excellence Awards Program
The Greenwood Village Small Business Excellence Awards recognizes outstanding small
businesses that serve the Greenwood Village area. Each year, our selection committee identifies
businesses that we believe have achieved outstanding marketing success in their local community
and business classification.
Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and
implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value. These are small
businesses that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers
and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Greenwood Village area a
vibrant and vital place to live.
The Greenwood Village Small Business Excellence Awards was established to reward the best of
small businesses in Greenwood Village. Our organization works exclusively with local business
owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing
groups. Our mission is to award the small business community’s contributions to the U.S.
Greenwood Village Small Business Excellence Award Program
Greenwood Village Small Business Excellence Award Program
Congrats to the group of regional hires brought on at First California Mortgage Company (First Cal), along with a new lending office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida serving the Sunshine State, Georgia and the Carolinas. First Cal's new office and regional managers include Bruce Lazarus, (branch manager, Florida), John Warnock (SE Regional Production Manager), Steve Samuelson, Regional Production Manager for the Pacific Northwest and Northern CA), Budd Malchus (Area Sales Manager, North LA), Joe Kolesar (Regional Production Manager, South Central Region), and Chris Martin (Regional Production Manager, So Cal).
Although the interest-rate boost signals a strong and growing economy, Perez said, “it may put a chill on auto sales and mortgages. But the effect will be negligible over time.”
Mortgage rates did not immediately change last week, said Jeff Cameron, First California Mortgage Co. senior loan adviser and branch manager in San Antonio.
“There’s no signs pointing to major changes right away, and for clients who think they’ll need a loan in coming months, it’s smart to apply now to see how you qualify and explore options to customize to your situation. If there is movement down the road, a half-point or a point change in rates can make you regret not locking in earlier,” Cameron said in an email.
Read the full article on the San Antonio Express News website.
With the price of homes and rent becoming more expensive, it can be harder than ever to save for a down payment. However, in the case of the Soto family, they were able to meet their 20% down payment with the help of San Francisco based company, Unison. With the family only being able to afford a 10% down payment after the sale of their old home, Unison matched their 10% down payment, making it possible for them to buy a home in Chula Vista.
In exchange for the investment in their down payment, buyers will pay Unison a percentage of the home's future appreciation in value . However, should housing prices fall in the future, the company would share in the loss.
With the help of Unison, the Soto family is currently saving approximately $300 a month on their mortgage payment, as well as an additional $400 now that they don't have to pay mortgage insurance.
Unison’s groundbreaking investment program is being piloted by Freddie Mac, making this “the first time a 'shared-equity' program with no interest payments has been approved by a federal mortgage agency”. The program is covered by Unison Home Ownership Investors (formerly FirstREX), and allows for homebuyers to get up to half of a 20% down payment in exchange for home equity. This gives customers increased buying power as well as the opportunity to achieve the dream of homeownership.
First California Mortgage Company (“First Cal”) is one of seven lenders who are originating mortgages with Unison’s down payment assistance program, currently being offered in California, Washington state, and the Washington D.C. area. First Cal’s Chief Operating Officer, Joe McKone, recounted of one first-time buyer who obtained a mortgage through First Cal. Though the borrower earned a high income, he was still faced with the difficulty of saving for a down payment due to his student loans. With Unison’s innovative program, the buyer was able to buy a Maryland home that was at least $75,000 more than he could have afforded otherwise. “The buyer, a well-educated, young professional, now saves more than $1,000 a month on his monthly mortgage bill compared to what he used to pay in rent,” said McKone.
So far, 20 loans have closed with Unison down payment assistance, but it is expected that thousands will be originated over the next year. McKone is hopeful that over the next year 10% of First Cal originations will be Unison-boosted.
For more information about Unison and First Cal's participation in the program, read the full article on the Inman Newsflash website.
The FirstREX Homebuyer program offered through First Cal is designed to provide affordable financing options to consumers. The opportunity to offer the product has expanded to the east coast, as Redwood Mortgage Services, one of First Cal’s approved mortgage brokers, will now be offering the FirstREX Homebuyer program in Maryland.
“In Maryland, even families with strong incomes can have a hard time coming up with a down payment for a home in a top school district,” said C. Stuart Kiehne, president of Redwood Mortgage Services. “That's particularly true near Washington, but extends to parts of the Baltimore region as well.”
FirstREX contributes half of a down payment (up to 10 percent) on a home. This allows for more customers to qualify for the home they want as well as provide more flexibility when it comes to their down payment. By offering brokers like Redwood Mortgage Services access to this unique product, First Cal is able to reach and help more borrowers achieve the dream of homeownership.
For more information about Redwood Mortgage Services' launch of the FirstREX Homebuyer Program, read the full article on the Baltimore Sun’s website.
About First Cal
Founded in 1977, First California Mortgage Company (First Cal) is a full-service home mortgage lender whose family-run roots instill a personalized approach to its commitment of offering the best loans and customer service in the industry. First Cal, NMLS #24055, is an approved seller-servicer with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and an approved I&II issuer with Ginnie Mae. Based in Petaluma, Calif. and active in more than 20 states, First Cal is ranked as a Top 100 lender by Mortgage Executive Magazine. Its innovative Diamond Lane™ service for qualified borrowers enables closing within 21 to 25 days, sometimes faster. For more information on First Cal and its loan products, call 855-592-LOAN or visit us at www.FirstCal.net.
FirstREX is a San Francisco-based consumer solutions company dedicated to providing homeowners with smart new financing alternatives and more control over their financial lives without the use of debt. Founded in 2004, FirstREX makes long-term investments in individual residential properties through innovative programs like REX HomeBuyer, which provides a portion of the down payment needed to purchase a home.