Reader Comment on Last Week’s Article About Racism & Zoning

    Your article was very interesting and timely as we must be reminded of our country’s systemic racist policies that contribute to the discord we experience today. I have a couple of other examples. 

    First, the FHA was the driver for much of the single family homes constructed in suburbia during the ’50s and ’60s.  Its underwriting policies in the early days, mandated that “the neighborhood be homogeneous (seg-regated), with that homogeneity preferably assured through racist restrictive covenants, for which the FHA helpfully supplied forms,” according to Michael Carliner, Development of Federal Homeownership Policy, as quoted on page 96 of Concrete Economics by Cohen and DeLong in 2016 . 

    In addition, I’ve read, but cannot remember the source, that the VA lending policies were similar. As a consequence, black GIs returning home, could only get loans for properties located in black communities (inner city residences) and thus were not able to build up the equity in their homes like the white GIs who were able to buy new homes on the large lots in suburbia.

     This “homogenous neighborhood” requirement in federal lending practices prevented the mixing of the races in modern America, contributing to the racial divide we experience to this day.                          —Michael Nosler

FHA Raises Loan Limits — Now $596,850 for Metro Area

Not only are mortgage interest rates at historic lows but FHA has increased the amount of government-backed money you can borrow to purchase a home.

Currently, the FHA loan limit in the Denver metro area (except for Boulder) is $575,000, but it increases to $596,850 in 2021. That is the loan limit for one-family homes. You can use an FHA loan to purchase duplexes, triplexes and four-plexes. The new limits for those are $764,050, $923,600 and $1,147,800 respectively.

Those are the loan limits, not the purchase price limits. FHA loans are known for their low down payment requirement, currently 3.5% of the purchase price. The main drawback of FHA loans, however, is that they require mortgage insurance, regardless of how much equity you have.

I’ll have more about this topic in my monthly mortgage column on page 2 of YourHub next week.

Do You Think a Big Down Payment Is Needed to Buy a Home? Think CHFA.

One of the most enduring misconceptions among home buyers is that a large down payment — typically 20% — is required in order to buy a home.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

FHA loans only require a 3.5% down payment, although they come with a mortgage insurance requirement which lasts for the life of the loan. Because of that, you’ll need to refinance with a conventional loan once you exceed 20% equity in your new home.

Conventional (non-FHA) loans don’t necessarily require a 20% down payment either. To compete with FHA loans, there are lenders who require as little as 3% down payment, often without mortgage insurance. If they do require mortgage insurance, it can be eliminated once your equity rises to 22%, although that requires a new appraisal, which can cost $400 or more.

Best of all, however, the Colorado Housing & Finance Authority (CHFA, pronounced “Chaffa) can get you into a home with as little as $1,000 out of pocket cost. CHFA loans have income limits, but they are reasonable, up to $120,100 in the metro area. Their website is super helpful and easy to navigate at www.chfainfo.com.

At that website you’ll learn the complete process involved in getting approved for a CHFA loan. One of the first steps is to take a free buyer education class that covers every aspect of the home buying process as well as ownership responsibilities after closing.

CHFA loans are only obtained through mortgage lenders, not from CHFA directly, and Golden Real Estate can connect you with a CHFA-approved lender. 

If you’re a veteran with an honorable discharge, you are eligible for 100% financing, but there’s a funding fee.  That fee, however, is waived if you have a service related disability. Even if it isn’t waived, the fee can be included in the mortgage so that you can literally close on a VA loan with zero money out of pocket. Earnest money submitted is refunded to you at closing! We can also connect you with a VA-approved lender.