PERSON OF THE WEEK: Fred Chamberlin And The USDA Rural Guaranteed Home Loan Program


you participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural[/b] Guaranteed Home Loan Program? Should you consider getting involved in the program? This week, MortgageOrb visits with Fred Chamberlin, senior mortgage consultant with Alpine Mortgage Planning in Eugene, Ore., and the producer of three different mortgage-related blogs –, and – to discuss the pluses and minuses of this program. [b]Q:[/b] In view of the ongoing problems relating to the mortgage banking crisis and the housing market, what is the state of the USDA Rural Guaranteed Home Loan Program? Has there been an uptick in activity within that program? [b]Chamberlin:[/b] Interestingly, the USDA program is, at last announcement, out of money. However, the wholesale lenders are still making the loans and holding them until new money is allocated, which seems to be assured. The program is one of the only true 100% financing options available, and in an mostly rural area (like the majority of Oregon), it gives those people with limited or no down payment the options to purchase homes that they otherwise could not. The other nice attribute of the program is that there is the ability to do some repairs as part of the purchase for homes that are foreclosed or that being sold on an ‘as is’ basis, where normal financing is not available due to the condition. There has been a slight uptick, but not as great as I would have expected, given the program. I think one of the reasons is that not enough people understand the program. [b]Q:[/b] Most mortgage bankers are more familiar with another government program, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). What are the similarities between FHA and the USDA program? [b]Chamberlin:[/b] In a lot of ways, USDA and FHA are similar; however, the USDA has no mortgage insurance and no down payment. Take a look at this recent post that I wrote for a Realtor in LaPine, a very rural area of Oregon, that compares the two: [link=][/link]. [b]Q: [/b]For mortgage bankers who are not currently involved in the USDA Rural Guaranteed Home Loan Program, what arguments could you provide to pique their interest in the program? [b]Chamberlin:[/b] I would just as soon suggest they not even explore the program, because that leaves more new customers for me! Seriously, if you want to provide the best programs and service for your clients, you need all of the programs that can help them. For rural properties, this program is fantastic. [b]Q:[/b] You have an extensive online presence, with three different blogs. Has this helped bring in more business for your USDA Rural Guaranteed Home Loan Program-related activities? [b]Chamberlin:[/b] Yes, it has. I have just recently started the blog that is specific to the USDA and VA 100% programs. I also belong to some other Web sites – [link=][u][/u][/link] and [link=][u][/u][/link] – which are a combination of blogs by real estate and lending professionals that work for the mutual promotion of ideas. Without those two groups, I don't think I would be where I am today, considering that I have been blogging for only about a year. [b]Q:[/b] What is the local housing market like in your area, and how does it compare to other parts of the northwestern U.S.? [b]Chamberlin:[/b] The market is slow, but from what I am seeing, it is picking up. The interesting thing about real estate is that it is all local. No matter what is happening in Seattle or Portland or Boise, Eugene/Springfield will always be Eugene/Springfield. The Northwest will continue to be the area that people want to live in, and the economy will improve. Like investing, I am in this for the long run, and real estate always come

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