Fill out this quick and easy Rate Quote Form and James will contact you with your unique mortgage rate options

Custom Rate Quote—no personal financial data is required to get your customized options.

Fast, easy, and accurate quotes

Get a Rate Quote


How to tell if your taxes are included in your mortgage

by james on October 24, 2014

It's that time of year again!  Late October in Oregon.  Time for all the non-Multnomah county residents to pat themselves on the back and temporarily feel superior, and bask in the glow of their money savings for a couple weeks.  Property taxes are now certified for the state of Oregon.   This means that the county in which you live will be sending you an actual bill for property taxes in the mail.  Now when this happens,  a not insignificant percentage of my clients who have just purchased in the last 12 months get a quick and I imagine THRILLING spike in their blood pressure upon receipt.  They ask themselves- "doesn't my mortgage payment include the taxes every month?..... I CAN'T REMEMBER EXACTLY!".  And they email me or call me for confirmation.  Since this is such a common occurrence, I thought I'd take it upon myself to publish a couple tricks for those with a mortgage in Oregon to determine for themselves if those taxes

read more

What is a Mortgage? (Probably more than what you think)

by james on September 29, 2014

Time to break things way down.  Let's deconstruct what exactly it is we're dealing with here in the mortgage industry.  I've been in the mortgage loan game since 2003 and it never ceases to thrill me when we close and fund another one!  Why you ask?  Because the great thing about making a mortgage not matter how much silly drudgery goes into the journey, the reason we do it is because it is improving someone's situation.  They are either acquiring a home for themselves or their family, they are acquiring an investment that will contribute to their net worth and retirement planning somehow, or they are making a refinance that improves their leverage somehow-  making the real estate MORE powerful, MORE valuable.  I'm always blown away by the sheer dollar amounts in a mortgage-  any mortgage.  ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS..... FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS.... more money than most of us ever see in one place, and me and the team get to shoot these dollar figures seemingly out of a cannon on the specified day.

Lately though, I've been thinking about mortgages a little differently.  I decided to change the way I looked at it.  I learned recently a LAW that states:  "when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change".  It occurred to me that maybe

read more

Buying with cash and then refinancing it back:  FNMA delayed financing

by james on June 25, 2014

Q:  How soon can you refinance a piece of real estate after you’ve bought it, if you acquired it with cash?

A:  The very next day!  (maybe)-  thanks to a quirky provision in the Fannie mae guidelines called “delayed financing”.

Delayed financing is actually priced as “cash-out” money, and is restricted to the loan to value ratios of a “cash out” refinance.  One can use delayed financing for a primary residence, a second home, or even an investment purchase (up to 4 units).

Because of this cash-out pricing aspect, this type of loan is more expensive than a straight purchase money mortgage.  (maybe up to .25% in rate higher).  But there may be serious advantages to being

read more

Is this the top of the Portland Real Estate Market?

by james on June 13, 2014

***SPOILER ALERT***  I'm not an economist, or statistician.  I'm a Portland area mortgage lender, and Portland area home owner, as well as a Portland area landlord.  So I feel I'm writing this as an interested bystander with a ring side view of the action.  My team and I participate in anywhere from 5-15 purchase transactions per month as of late, so I certainly have some high level anecdotal information to bring to bear here.

read more

Becoming a first time Landlord

by james on February 26, 2014

So you want to become a real estate investor..... How to begin?  First of all,  I applaud you!  Most don't get the gumption to act on their intuition about owning investment real estate in Portland, but here you are- You had the idea, and now you're doing a little bit o' internet research.  Most people actually give up before even getting this far, so lets keep pushing!

How does one get more exposure to the real estate market with limited resources?

Q: Buying a rental property usually requires at least 20% down right?

A: wrong!  you can actually purchase a single family residence as an investor with 15% down

Well- that's great, but it doesn't really help me because I've only got about 5% down.... Well, here's where I tell you how to buy another property with 5% down.  The trick is that you can buy a

read more

Maximum FHA loan amounts for Portland Oregon (and the rest of Oregon)

by james on December 10, 2013

Everything keeps on changing in the mortgage-verse (that's a thing right?- like mortgage + universe = mortgageverse?).  One major change that will effect our market is the recent/pending REDUCTION of the maximum allowed FHA mortgage loan amount.  These loan amounts are subject to change every year, but we've been lulled into the idea the $417k was the maximum amount for the longest time.  I think we got upped to this amount sometime in 2007??  I'm embarrassed to say that I can't remember when we've been below that dollar amount, and it's not even important right now.  What actually IS important to me and you is that the new max loan amount for the Portland metro area (Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, and Clark County WA) is now $362,250.00 for a single family one unit property.

I always think of these things in terms of how it will impact our market, and the thing to consider is that buyers used to be able to buy properties for $432,000.00 and still get FHA financing with that minimum 3.5% down payment.  (432k - 3.5% down = $417k)

The new upper limit for FHA buyers who want to benefit from that minimum down payment is now

read more

How does the Government shutdown affect mortgages?

by james on October 01, 2013

Quick memo here about how the 2013 "partial Government shutdown" will affect those trying to get a mortgage right now.  The short answer is - government shutdown = mortgage shutdown.  I have a few clients who have their loan files getting their final docs to the title company for signing and funding.  THOSE loans will fund as planned.  HOWEVER- my clients who are in the earlier stages of the mortgage approval process are not going to be so lucky.  The thing that is going to HALT EVERY LOAN in early process is the need for a tax document called the 4506-T.  Fannie mae, Freddie mac, Ginnie mae, FHA, VA, USDA, they all require this document.  Not to mention those last 3 loans require a different type of Government mortgage insurance.

4506-T (which are income tax transcripts)- will NOT be available during the shut down apparently.

Please see below how the government shutdown is affecting certain loan types and documentation availability:

All loans:·         Tax transcripts and VOE's will still be required on all loans.  4506T's can be ordered, but there is no one at the IRS to

read more

Mortgage Rates for Portland OR: Sept 18th 2013 FED DAY!

by james on September 18, 2013


Anyone reading this is likely aware about the FED's Taper talk, and why it matters to mortgage rates.   I was cautiously optimistic that we would get a break out of our recent bond trading range after the release of today's Meeting minutes.  However, I had locked most of my clients prior to today knowing that whatever move happened would be quite large, and it was simply too risky.

SO- Bernanke and his co-conspirators at the US Federal Reserve they meet once a month and manage the amount of cash that enters the economy.  I heard Steve Forbes use the analogy of cash as the fuel that is required for the engine of our economy to have a chance at moving forward- to further extend that metaphor:  too much fuel can flood the engine, and not enough fuel can cause an engine stall.

read more

Mortgage Rates for Portland OR: August 16th 2013

by james on August 16, 2013

After a nice calm 3 weeks where mortgage rates drifted slowly and gently down, we're re-entering a period of volatility in the bond market, and the effect is MORTGAGE RATES INCREASING.

Again the FED is ruling our world.

The issue at hand is "tapering" - so the FED has been buying 85 billion dollars of bonds and mortgage backed securities per month since last fall (aka QE infinity). The idea being that when the economy shows sustainable improvements, that the FED could reduce (taper) and eventually discontinue their bond buying plan.

read more

Skipping a payment when you refinance

by james on April 07, 2013

Mortgage borrowers of the world!  It’s time for some “real talk” about the true and actual benefits of refinancing a mortgage.

I often get clients who are excited about “skipping a payment” as a result of the refinance process.  And I in no way want to pour any water on to the flames of excitement about the financial improvements one achieves through a refi, BUT-  nobody actually skips a payment when they refinance.


Your daddy always told you there were no free rides in this life, and while I’m not going to say that he was “right”- I will say that daddy was right when it comes to the residential mortgage business.  Indeed no one rides for free.   Indeed no lender is “paying for your appraisal” or giving you a “no-fee” mortgage-  YOU the borrower pay for everything every

read more

Like what you’ve read so far?

Contact James to learn more about his philosophy and to get on the road to having the right plan for financial security that meets your needs.