Maximum VA Loan county limits updated for 2016

Maximum VA Loan county limits updated for 2016

The Department of Veterans Affairs Loan Guaranty Program recently published county “limits” to be used for VA Loans effective January 1, 2016.

Please note, these limits do not reflect a maximum amount that an eligible veteran is permitted to borrow, but rather, reflects the VA’s maximum guaranty amount for a particular county. The maximum VA guaranty amount for loans over $144,000 is 25% of the 2016 VA limit.

For example, an eligible veteran may borrow up to $625,500 to purchase a property in Washington, DC (2016 VA limit), with the VA guaranteeing 25% of the loan amount, or approximately $156,375.00. These amounts have remained unchanged in most of the DC Metro Region compared to the 2015 VA limits.

The limits listed below are for some counties in Maryland and Virginia, as well as for the District of Columbia. For a complete list of the county limits for 2016, please click the chart of conforming loan limits. If your county is not listed on the county limits chart on the VA website, the 2016 limit is $417,000.

State
County
2016 VA Limit
DC
District of Columbia
$625,500
MD
Anne Arundel
$517,500
MD
Frederick
$625,500
MD
Howard
$517,500
MD
Montgomery
$625,500
MD
Prince George's
$625,500
MD
Alexandria
$625,500
VA
Arlington
$625,500
VA
Fairfax
$625,500
VA
Falls Church
$625,500
VA
Fauquier
$625,500
VA
Loudoun
$625,500
VA
Manassas
$625,500
VA
Prince William
$625,500

Close It!™ House of the Week: First time on the market

This week we're making our way across town to the H Street Corridor in Northeast, D.C. to check out an interior row house with 2 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. The property is more than 100 years old, but appears to have been completely renovated and, according to the listing, has never before been on the market. List price is $619,900.

The kitchen features white marble counter-tops that contrast beautifully with stainless steel appliances. The refinished hardwood floors emit a sense of warmth throughout while preserving some of the home's original character. The location is a mere blocks from the restaurants, theaters and unique bars H Street has to offer.

Assuming a homebuyer puts down 20 percent on a conventional loan, her cash to close number will be approximately $123,980. Monthly payments will then be around $2,747.89 per month, plus a $244 monthly HOA fee. For a complete picture of the cash to close, including the seller's side of the transaction, try the Web version of Close It™ or download the free Close It™ iOS app.

Help wanted: Settlement Coordinator

Help wanted: Settlement Coordinator

The largest independently owned title company serving the Washington, D.C. metro area is in need of a Settlement Coordinator with a minimum of one year of professional experience handling real estate transactions in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

This opportunity offers benefits and salary commensurate with experience. Submit a resume and cover letter to apply.

About the employer
Federal Title & Escrow Company is a forward thinking real estate settlement service provider that's known for providing top-notch customer service and implementing technology in creative ways to streamline the closing process. Independently owned and operated since 1996.

'Grave concerns' about use of Marketing Service Agreements: CFPB

'Grave concerns' about use of Marketing Service Agreements: CFPB

Having determined Marketing Service Agreements involve "substantial legal and regulatory risk," the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a word of caution to the mortgage industry in a compliance bulletin published Thursday.

"We are deeply concerned about how marketing services agreements are undermining important consumer protections against kickbacks," CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a separate statement about the bulletin. "Companies do not seem to be recognizing the extent of the risks posed by implementing and monitoring these agreements within the bounds of the law."

Marketing Service Agreements, or MSAs as they are commonly known, are usually framed as payments for advertising or promotional services, according to the bulletin, but sometimes payments are actually disguised as compensation for referrals.

"It appears that many MSAs are designed to evade RESPA's prohibition on the payment and acceptance of kickbacks and referral fees," according to the bulletin.

MSAs often involve lenders, real estate agents and third-party settlement service providers such as title companies, and they undermine the primary purpose of RESPA, which is to eliminate "kickbacks or referral fees that tend to increase unnecessarily the costs of settlement services."

Offering a thing of value in exchange for a business referral, whether it's a written or an oral agreement, is a compliance risk that leaves participants vulnerable to civil and criminal penalties, according to the bulletin.

The bulletin goes on to state RESPA violations have resulted in penalties upward of $75 million since the CFPB began taking enforcement actions.

Here at Federal Title, we've been leery of MSAs for some time. They seem to have become increasingly popular over the last couple years as the CFPB has cracked down on their not-so-distant cousin the Affiliated Business Arrangement.

CFPB to institute ‘hold harmless’ period when TRID takes effect

CFPB to institute ‘hold harmless’ period when TRID takes effect

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is instituting a hold-harmless period during the initial implementation of the Know Before You Owe TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule, wrote CFPB director Richard Cordray in a letter to the industry obtained by Federal Title.

The letter does not specifically state how long the hold-harmless period will last. Cordray noted in the letter CFPB’s approach is similar to the one it took to enforce mortgage rules that went into effect in January 2014, adding that the hold-harmless approach was successful at that time in making the transition to new regulations a bit smoother.

“During initial examinations for compliance with the Rule, the agencies’ examiners will evaluate an institution’s compliance management system and overall efforts to come into compliance, recognizing the scope and scale of changes necessary for each supervised institution to achieve effective compliance,” Cordray said in the letter.

The letter went to the heads of several groups in the mortgage and real estate industry, including the American Land Title Association, the National Association of REALTORS and the American Bankers Association, and is a response to their efforts to delay implementation of TRID.

“We recognize that the mortgage industry has dedicated substantial resources to understand the requirements, adapt systems, and train affected personnel, and that additional technical and other questions are likely to be identified once the new forms are used in practice after the effective date,” Cordray said in the letter.

While TRID is slated to go into effect October 3, ALTA and others continue to support legislative action to extend the hold-harmless period to February 1, 2016 and provide relief from civil liability, said ALTA CEO Michelle Korsmo in an announcement sent to members last night in response to Cordray’s letter.

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