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As Mortgage Rates Continue to Increase, Home Prices in Las Vegas Start to Drop

LAS VAGAS, NV – With mortgage rates going over 6 percent for the first time in 14 years – with the last instance of this occurring during the Great Recession of 2008 – prices of many homes on sale in the Las Vegas real estate market have begun to lower in response, experts say.

The situation is causing some degree of confusion among prospective Vegas-area homebuyers, as many are unsure of what to do; should they wait to make a purchase until mortgage interest rates go down, or would they end up doing themselves more harm than good if that gamble fails to pay off?

However, experts are saying that those who are interested in buying a house should act now and lock in an interest rate, since the fact that home prices are dropping should serve to offset the amount that your monthly payment would be going up. For example, if a homebuyer were to wait and interest rates go up another half-percent, they would find themselves with a much higher monthly payment than if they had purchased a home that cost as much as $10,000 to $20,000 more.

Those in the know are also noting that higher mortgage interest rates may actually cause a reduction in the amount of homes available on the market, as there are not only fewer buyers, but also fewer sellers, with more people taking a “wait and see” approach to listing their homes until circumstances improve.

But real estate experts are saying they anticipate the issue to have less of an impact in Southern Nevada than it will have elsewhere in the nation, given the region’s strong job growth over the course of the last year, as well as the resurgence of the hospitality industry following the COVID-19 pandemic. The area’s low taxes and relatively affordable housing when compared to many other parts of the country are also still serving to drive interest in moving to Las Vegas.

Those factors, along with belief by some that mortgage rates may come down sooner rather than later, will ensure that Las Vegas will remain a competitive and attractive housing market for years to come.

Shelter Realty is a Real Estate and Property Management Company specializing in the areas of HendersonLas Vegas and North Las Vegas, NV. Feel free to give us a call at 702.376.7379 so we can answer any questions you may have.


Home Mortgage Interest Rates Reach 6 Percent, Highest Level Since 2008 Housing Crash

LAS VEGAS, NV – As the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates in an attempt to curb the 40-year high inflation that has been holding Americans in its crushing financial grip, home mortgage interest rates have been correspondingly raising along with them, hitting 6 percent last Thursday for the first time since the housing market crash of 2008.

The loss of the cheap money that was fueling the nation’s home-buying frenzy during the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an overall slowdown of the market, both in Las Vegas and nationwide, as prospective buyers have been putting the brakes on their house hunting and sellers – who lately have been lowering their asking prices after seeing them skyrocket for the past year – have seen offers dwindle.

Last Thursday, the average rate on a 30-year home loan reached 6.02 percent – the highest level since November 2008, which was 14 years ago – up from 5.89 percent last week and 2.86 percent at this point in time one year ago.

For the past year, home prices and demand in Southern Nevada have surged, breaking records on a monthly basis; however, as inflation has gradually increased along with mortgage rates, the market in Las Vegas has shown some distinct signs of slowing down. Nonetheless, numbers still remain at higher levels than last year, and higher than average for the U.S. overall.

At the end of August 2022, there were almost 8,000 pre-owned houses on the market without offers, representing a 146 percent increase over August 2021; the median sales price of these homes was $450,000 in August, down 3.2 percent, or $15,000, from July, but still 11 percent higher than they were year-over-year. Nonetheless, August was the third month in a row that home prices in Southern Nevada have decreased, following a hot streak where they failed to drop for nearly two years.

Shelter Realty is a Real Estate and Property Management Company specializing in the areas of HendersonLas Vegas and North Las Vegas, NV. Feel free to give us a call at 702.376.7379 so we can answer any questions you may have.

Home Prices in Las Vegas Set Yet Another Record

Despite Continued Pandemic Woes, August Home Prices in Las Vegas Set Yet Another Record

LAS VEGAS, NV – Despite the ongoing difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Las Vegas home prices set yet another record this August, reaching new heights for local real estate regardless of the hardships other industries have experienced during the same time period.

Reports indicate that the median sales price of single-family homes in the Southern Nevada region was $335,000 by the end of last month, which represents an increase of 1.5 percent from the previous high-water mark set in July, and a year-over-year jump of 9.8 percent from August 2019.

Despite the new high for home prices in Las Vegas, sales activity overall has taken a small dip; this past August; 2,910 homes were purchased by buyers, which is a decrease of 12.5 percent from the prior month and a 8.1 percent drop from August of last year, reports say.

However, the inventory of available homes in Las Vegas has remained tight in August, with 4,639 residences listed without offers, representing a drop of 3.5 percent from the previous month and a whopping 40.3 percent decrease from August 2019.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused a great deal of economic stress in Southern Nevada, with the tourism-dependent economy taking a substantial hit as stay-at-home orders helps to contribute to a record-breaking unemployment surge.

However, the need for affordable housing options managed to sustain itself, and that – coupled with evolution within the real estate industry and record-low rates on housing loans – enabled home sales to recuperate more quickly than anticipated, in addition to allowing homes in the region  to retain their value as opposed to depreciating.

As Nevada continues to slowly reopen its economy and unemployment continues to drop, it remains to be seen if the pandemic will have any far-reaching consequences upon the Las Vegas housing market, especially with the possibility if a COVID resurgence as the upcoming fall and winter months make its presence felt.

Shelter Realty is a Real Estate and Property Management Company specializing in the areas of HendersonLas Vegas and North Las Vegas, NV. Feel free to give us a call at 702.376.7379 so we can answer any questions you may have.


Report: COVID-19 Has Many Las Vegas Residents Behind on Mortgage Payments

LAS VEGAS, NV – The economic damage inflicted upon the economy by means of the COVID-19 pandemic has left many experiencing financial difficulties, even in the wake of attempts by many states to re-open their economies to prevent the spread of the disease. Unemployment has been rampant, and as a result, bills are becoming harder to pay for many Americans.

Reports indicate that more and more people are, in particular, falling behind on ‘mortgage payments;’ 6.1 percent of April 2020 mortgage payments nationally were 30 days late, up from 3.6 percent the month before. Las Vegas is not immune, and is in fact one of the more worse off regions of the country in this regard.

Part of the reason for Las Vegas’ mortgage issues is its current high level of unemployment; in April 2020 it was a whopping 34 percent, up from just 3.9 percent in February. The cause of skyrocketing unemployment was due to Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak issuing a mandate that all non-essential state businesses close in light of the pandemic. Recently, attempts have been made to re-open businesses, but a resurgence of COVID-19 cases have made this problematic, slowing the state’s economic recovery and preventing job re-growth.

A foreclosure moratorium, issued by Governor Sisolak in March, is due to finally end in September, adding more pressure to families that are experiencing money problems. However, there are hopes that millions of dollars in federal coronavirus relief funds can help keep unemployed Nevadans in their homes while reducing the financial burden on lenders who have not been receiving mortgage payments throughout the pandemic.

Despite the current financial strain on homeowners, the amount of delinquent payments have yet to reach the low levels they did during the mid-2000’s recession. In addition, the housing market has not suffered the same level of damage, and is bouncing back faster than analysts have predicted.

Shelter Realty is a Real Estate and Property Management Company specializing in the areas of HendersonLas Vegas and North Las Vegas, NV. Feel free to give us a call at 702.376.7379 so we can answer any questions you may have.

Las Vegas Real Estate Market Continues Slow But Steady Climb

LAS VEGAS, NV – Local real estate continued its slow but steady climb upwards during the month of February, with prospective homeowners buying more properties – at higher prices – in a busy marketplace where fierce competition is resulting in steadily dwindling options.

The advances made in the real estate market of Las Vegas are especially apparent when you look at how far it has progressed within the context of a year ago; in Southern Nevada, single-family dwellings have gone up nearly nine percent since February 2016, with the average home currently going for approximately $240,000. 2,249 single-family homes were sold in the Southern Nevada area in February, an increase of 6.5 percent from one year ago.

Likewise, the demand for home loans and mortgages have seen an uptick in activity recently as well; last year in the Las Vegas area, 36,130 home-purchase loans were taken out, which is an 8.5 percent increase over 2015. In fact, the home lending market in the Southern Nevada area has seen continued growth for the past three years and running.

Of course, with the increasing demand also comes increasing prices; that rings true for just about any commerce field, of course. In February of 2012, the average price of a single-family home in the Las Vegas area was about $121,000; fast-forward to 2017, and that same home will set back a buyer $240,000 – a whopping 100% increase. Home prices have consistently increased year-by-year in the area, with the same home in 2015 costing $205,000, $220,350 in 2016, and so on. After enduring a series of peaks and valleys, the real estate marketplace has stabilized and has begun to rise once again.

Furthermore, and comparatively speaking, home prices in Las Vegas are among those that are rising more than elsewhere throughout much of the United States. Whereas the national median single-family home price in February 2017 was $195,300 – a 7.2 percent bump from the same time one year ago – the same home in Las Vegas was fetching $216,400; this represents an increase of 9.8 percent, 2.6 percent higher than the national average.

The reason why more buyers are taking the plunge and committing to buying homes in recent years is simple; a steady population increase in the region, coupled with a slowly-but-surely growing economy and a job market that has boasted regular improvement, has given consumers – many who have been putting off starting families until they were in a position to be able to afford a home – the confidence to finally plunk down the dough on a dwelling of their very own. In addition, the price of the average home in the state of Nevada is still lower overall than many other neighboring states, including cities in California.

However, while the steadily-growing demand for real estate in the region is clearly there, the options to satisfy that demand are starting to shrink; by the end of February, 10,725 single-family homes were on the market, up slightly from the month before but representing a 17.5 decrease from the year-to-year average. Clearly, the rise in demand has caused the available housing resources to decrease in size, and this should go hand-in-hand with continued price increases going forward into the near future.

As you can see, after a long period of dormancy nationwide, the real estate market is slowly transforming back into a seller’s market rather than a buyer’s market, and there’s nowhere this is more readily apparent than in Las Vegas. If you are considering purchasing a home in the Southern Nevada region, it’s best to start weighing your options sooner than later – and if you need help, that’s exactly what we’re here for; contact us today.

Considering Southern Nevada as a potential for investment? Las Vegas real estate is one of the most common targets for real estate investors as of late. Please feel free to give us a call at 702.376.7379 so we can answer any questions you may have.

Las Vegas Mortgage Credit Info: Experian and Transunion May Begin to Include Rental History as a Part of Credit Scores

Experian and Transunion May Begin to Include Rental History as a Part of Credit Scores

One of the challenges many first time home buyers often face when trying to purchase a home is a lack of established credit lines. Multiple credit lines such as credit cards, lines of credit, department cards, furniture store credit help build a person’s credit score when not overused and paid on time. Sometimes, people don’t have many trade lines of credit when first starting out or recovering from a financial crisis like a bankruptcy. In a bankruptcy the debt might be gone but also gone are the lines of credit the person had.

In an article published in the Columbus Dispatch “Credit Scores Might Soon Reflect Rental Payments,” Credit bureaus Experian and Transunion have begun incorporating some rental histories into credit scores.

A renter would have to pay through an authorized rent processing company contracted to work with the credit bureau. I recently spoke to a local Las Vegas mortgage broker, Leslie McGarry with CMG Financial. She said another alternative is to work with a good mortgage broker that can document your rental history and either have your rental history verified through another data collection agency and then added to your credit file as “supplemental info” or they can have the data added and request a rapid re-score with the credit bureau and obtain an updated credit score. This can be done in as quickly as one week.

Buyers should not assume they do not have the credit necessary when considering a home purchase. The best thing to do is find a real estate agent and consult an experienced loan officer. Not only are people’s credit sometimes better than they thought, but often the credit can be built and improved into the level of a qualified buyer.

Getting a Mortgage Loan in Las Vegas – Some Tips To Follow

Getting a Mortgage Loan in Las Vegas – Some Tips You Should Follow

According to recent reports, the fixed rate mortgage loan rates throughout the nation had hit a 40 year low, making this the perfect moment to refinance home loans for all those struggling homeowners who aren’t able to make their monthly payments on time. If you’re a resident of Las Vegas, you should be aware that the 30 year fixed rate mortgage varies from 3.85% to 4.54% in the beginning of 2012 and therefore any prospective homebuyer in Las Vegas can easily think of taking out a home mortgage loan at the present moment. If you take out a home loan that is beyond your affordability, it is most obvious that you have to go for mortgage modification or a refinance loan in the near future. Are there any tips that you may follow before taking out the right home loan in Las Vegas? Read on to know about them.

Shop around: Taking out a mortgage loan without shopping around among different lenders is a wrong decision that may lead to a chaos in the future. You should get multiple quotes from multiple companies so that you may easily be able to compare and contrast the rates and choose the best loan with the best possible terms and conditions. The interest rate and the closing cost are the two most important factors that need to be taken into consideration before choosing the loan.

Repair your credit score before applying: Whether you’re taking out a home loan in Las Vegas or anywhere, remember that the lender will certainly check your credit score before deciding the loan amount and the interest rate on the loan. Pull out a copy of your credit report so that you may know the various reasons that are dropping down your score and thereby work on it.

Check the amount you can pay down: Most mortgage lenders in Las Vegas ask for at least 20% down payment on the loan by the borrower and if you’re not able to pay down this amount, it is most obvious that the lender will make you pay Private Mortgage Insurance that will unnecessarily increase the monthly mortgage installments. Therefore, you should save enough money so as to be able to pay down the required amount on time.

Determine your debt burden: The total amount of debts that you have to pay in a single month in accordance to the income that you earn is another factor that is taken into consideration by the lender before determining the interest rate of the home loan. You should not only reduce the debt amount but also get help from a professional so as to be able to repay your high interest debts and be able to get back on track.

Organize your documents: Most often it happens that a borrower delays the entire process of taking out a loan due to his ignorance about the kind of documents that are needed by the lender in order to lend the loan. You should assemble your monthly statements, the income tax returns and the other bank statements that are necessary for the lender.

Thus, when you’re in Las Vegas and trying to take out a home mortgage loan, you should follow the tips mentioned above. Manage your finances so that you can take out the best home loan in Las Vegas and avoid opting for mortgage modification in the long run.

I am Alfred Smith from New Jersey and I am associated with several good finance community sites as guest authors and forum members. I do write articles on different genres of finance.

No Money for Your Las Vegas Down Payment? No Problem, FHA Is Here

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, or you’re selling your current home but don’t have a lot of equity built up, saving 10 or 20% (or even 5%) of the value of your next home can seem like a tall order.  Fortunately, you may have another option.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to the rescue

FHA-backed mortgages still feature a 96.5% loan-to-value option, meaning that you can borrow as much as 96.5% of the value of the home you’re buying.  And, your 3.5% down payment can come from a family member or your employer (“gifted” down payments are typically not allowed by conventional lenders).

They’re called “FHA-backed mortgages” because the FHA doesn’t actually lend the money; instead, the loan is underwritten by an FHA-approved lender and insured by the FHA (so that if the borrower defaults, the FHA pays the lender).  It’s all done through what’s called the 203(b) Mortgage Insurance program.  Some key notes about it:

  • You’ll pay a mortgage insurance premium, part of which is required up front and part of which you’ll pay annually.  You can  finance the upfront mortgage insurance premium into the mortgage.
  • You have to meet standard FHA credit qualifications, though they’re often more relaxed than conventional mortgage qualifications.  Qualifications include not having a bankruptcy or foreclosure on your record within the last three years.
  • The amount of the loan is limited and new changes to loan limits take effect October 1, 2011 (learn how the changes may affect your Las Vegas home purchase).

The upshot

The state of Nevada also has several options that may help you purchase your Las Vegas home.  The bottom line is that you might not need to squirrel away 5, 10, 15, or 20% of your next home’s value in cash.  With an FHA-backed mortgage, you can buy a home with 3.5% down – and with the help from a professional agent, you can be in your new Las Vegas home sooner than you think.

To learn about your Las Vegas down payment options, please give Shelter Realty a call at (702) 376-7379 or to view our many affordable Las Vegas homes for sale, visit

Loan Modifications: What Are Your Las Vegas Homeowner Options?

Do you really love your Las Vegas home, yet are finding it harder and harder to make your mortgage payments? A home loan modification may help you keep your home by lowering your mortgage payment.

Getting your mortgage payment lowered could mean the difference between staying in your home and having to move. If you can’t make your mortgage payments and don’t get a loan modification, you’ll either have to short sale your home or the lender will foreclose.  If that happens, you’ll probably have to rent for at least a few years (both a short sale and a foreclosure will negatively impact your credit score).

So if your money is getting tight and fear that you may not be able to pay your mortgage (or if you’ve already missed mortgage payments), then you should at least consider a loan modification. Loan modifications are changes made to the terms of your mortgage such that your monthly payments are lower.

Here are three home loan modification options:

Option #1: MHAP (Making Home Affordable Program).  This is a federal program designed to help American homeowners keep their homes, by making changes to qualifying mortgages (the MHAP programs come with restrictions and you must qualify in order to participate). Under MHAP, there are five programs that you may qualify for:

  1. HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program) can lower your payments so that they are no more than 31% percent of your pre-tax income.
  2. HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program) can lower your interest rate (although refinancing fees do apply).
  3. 2MP (Second Lien Modification Program) can lower the principal balance on your second mortgage (if you modify your first mortgage through HAMP).
  4. HAFA (Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program) allows you to get out of your mortgage without fear of a deficiency judgment (which is when the lender comes after you for the difference between your mortgage balance and what the market value of your home). Participating lenders only have to consider you for HAFA but are not compelled to approve your short sale under this program. A successful short sale can still be negotiated outside of HAFA.
  5. HHF (Housing Finance Agency Innovation Fund for the Hardest Hit Housing Markets) can help you avoid foreclosure (especially if you’re under or unemployed).

Option #2: Interest rate reduction.  Even a relatively small change in your interest rate can lower your monthly payments dramatically, often by several hundred dollars a month (depending on your loan balance and interest rate of course). That can really add up over a year, and certainly over the life of your Las Vegas home mortgage.

Option #3: Loan balance reduction.  Unfortunately, loan balance reductions (also called loan forgiveness) – when the lender actually reduces the amount you owe on your mortgage – are rare.  If you can negotiate a loan balance reduction, though, it can have the same effect on your monthly mortgage payments as an interest rate reduction (reduce them) and also help you get back to positive equity.

If you’re having trouble affording your monthly mortgage payments, and a loan modification doesn’t work, another option is a Las Vegas short sale.  At Shelter Realty you can get cost-free advice regarding possible foreclosure alternatives. If you decide to do a short sale, we have the expert help you’ll need. Call us right now at (702)376-7379 or visit

Score High for Your New Las Vegas Home

What’s in a number? Your chances of getting your new Las Vegas dream home – that’s what! Your credit score can be the one thing that keeps you from owning your next home, so let’s look at how your score is determined and how you can keep (or get) your score up.

The whole point of a credit score is to offer lenders a quick and easy way to estimate the risk associated with lending you money.  If lending you money is riskier (because you’re more likely than someone else to default), the lender will charge you a higher interest rate to compensate for that higher risk (or will simply not lend to you at all).  The most commonly used credit scoring method is the FICO score.

Here are the five factors (and their relative importance) that determine your credit score:

#1: Payment history (35%). The payment history factor is fairly simple to understand: it takes into account how you’ve paid your bills.  After all, your history of debt repayment is an excellent indication of whether or not you’ll pay your future debts on time.  Payment history includes delinquencies, foreclosures, bankruptcies, as well as how many accounts were paid late, the amount(s) that were paid late, and how recent those delinquencies are.

#2: Amounts owed (30%). Almost as important as how you’ve paid your bills is the amount of debt you hold.  That’s because the more debt you hold, the riskier you’ll become – the more debt you have, the more likely it is that you’ll default on one or more of those debts.

#3: Length of credit history (15%). The longer you’ve had accounts open, the more debt repayment history there is for potential lenders to look at.  And the more on-time debt repayment history you have, the more confident your lender can be with your ability to repay your debts on time.  If you’ve just begun to establish your credit history, on the other hand, your lender has less “past behavior” to judge you on.

#4: New credit (10%). Research has shown that people who take out a lot of new credit at one time pose greater credit risks than those who have not taken out new credit lately.  The “new credit” factor incorporates, for example, the number of recently opened accounts you have in proportion to older accounts and the number of times you’ve recently applied for new credit.

#5: Types of credit used (10%). This factor considers the types of debt you have – installment debt (like a mortgage) and revolving debt (like credit cards).

Why does it matter? Your credit score will affect not only whether you’re able to qualify for a Las Vegas home mortgage, but also the rate you can get.  The following table is an example of how much less a person with a higher credit score might pay each month:


On a 30-year fixed rate, $150,000 mortgage, a Las Vegas homeowner with the highest credit score would pay $150 less every month – and $54,133 less over 30 years – on their Las Vegas home than a homeowner with a fair (620-639) credit score.

At Shelter Realty, we understand numbers (like your FICO score, the price of your new home or your new zip code) and how important they are.  So call our agents today at (702) 376-7379 or visit us at and let us show you our numbers.

Clark County, NV FHA Loan Limits Decrease By $128,950 On Oct.1

Clark County, NV FHA Loan Limits Decrease By $128,950 On Oct.1, 2011

Important Announcement – If you are considering securing FHA 3.5% down financing for a home in Clark County (Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas, Boulder City), you have until October 1, 2011 fund on your loan before the loan limits drop from $400,000 to $271,050.

What this basically means is that the alternative to FHA Mortgage Loans is finding a Conventional Mortgage, which may require a much larger down payment (up to 20%), as well as higher credit scores and income requirements.

Quick Background:

When Congress passed the Economic Stimulus Act in 2008, FHA loan limits were temporarily raised to help borrowers in higher cost areas obtain financing through FHA to help offset the reduction in private financing due to the credit crunch. These Loan Limit increases were substantial in many areas of the country and were set to expire in the future. ( I wonder if Congress knew we’d have a housing bubble )

Congress passed additional legislation to extend these loan limits for the past couple of years. However, barring any Congressional action, the FHA Loan Limits are set to revert to the 2008 formula as of October 1, 2011.

Clark County FHA Loan Limits / Proposed Changes:

Number of Units in property: 1 Unit 2 Units 3 Units 4 Units
Current FHA Loan Limits: 400,000 512,050 618,950 769,250
Proposed FHA Loan Limits (Oct.1, 2011): 271,050 347,000 419,425 521,250
Reduction Amount: (128,950) (165,050) (199,525) (248,000)

* Sources: Search FHA Loan Limits | May 26, 2011 – FHA Loan Limit Brief

How Will This Impact Buyers?

A few of the major benefits of an FHA Mortgage Programs:

  • Liberal Credit Requirements (580-640 Fico Scores May Work)
  • Lower Rates (Not hit with rate increases due to lower FICO scores – LLPA)
  • 3.5% Downpayment

While there is mortgage money available… for now, Section 941 of the Dodd-Frank Act pertaining to risk retention and the Act’s definition of qualified residential mortgages (QRMs) could make it very challenging for many First-Time Home Buyers to get a loan. (Video: “Skin In The Game)

However, the difference in downpayment and higher rates may actually force the sellers who have their properties listed in the low $300,000 range to drop their prices just to compete for the FHA borrowers.

Not sure, but this theory makes sense to me, especially if we’re talking about Las Vegas Short Sales and REO’s where the banks will need to price their listings according to accurate market comps.

Buy now, or wait for the FHA loan limits to decrease, along with property values?

Tough question to answer if you’re only concerned with value, equity and other “investment” related topics that probably shouldn’t be mixed with the decision to purchase a primary residence.

And if you’re a cash investor, then this FHA loan limit decision probably won’t impact the homes in your price range of Las Vegas real estate investment deals under $145,000.

Keep in mind that 51% of residential properties purchased in Clark County last month were paid for in cash, and not secured by a mortgage loan.

Either way, the following map and list of homes for sale in Las Vegas and Henderson may give you an idea of what you could miss out on once the FHA Loan Limits in Clark County decrease.

The two main questions to ask yourself area whether you would rather pay 3.5% or 20% down, and if you’re willing to risk getting a higher rate by waiting until after October 1 to see what the market does.

* This list updates every day from the “ACTIVE” listings in the MLS. Once a property goes into contract or “Pending” status, it is automatically removed from this list.

[idx-listings linkid=”150146″ count=”25″ showlargerphotos=”true”]

Are VA Loans Better Than Conventional Mortgages?

Are VA Loans Better Than Conventional Mortgages?

A VA loan is often a better option than a convention mortgage for veteran and active duty military home buyers who are interested in purchasing a Las Vegas home.

With Nellis Air Force Base located near North Las Vegas, we have several VA eligible first-time homebuyers contacting Shelter Realty about taking advantage of the historically low housing prices in the valley.

Unfortunately, the national media has many buyers convinced that the only way they can qualify for a home loan is if they have perfect credit and a huge downpayment.

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be tearing apart the common myths and misunderstandings about mortgage financing in order to help shed some light on the truth about getting approved for Las Vegas mortgage.

Even though each qualifying scenario is unique and requires a full loan approval from a mortgage professional who has experience with VA financing, the following list highlights the main benefits VA loans have over conventional mortgage programs:

1.  100% Financing –

A typical convention mortgage requires an initial down payment that can range from 5% – 20% of the appraised value on a purchase.

I say “appraised value” vs “purchase price” because there are instances when a property does not appraise for the full value of a homeowner’s asking price.  At that point, the borrower would have to pay the difference between the asking price and appraised value, as well as the standard 5% – 20% down payment.

Either way, VA loans generally do not require that initial large down payment based on the standard Loan-to-Value lending guidelines that come with a conventional mortgage program.

2.  Lower Interest Rates –

Another major benefit is that VA loans have comparatively better interest rates.  In some cases, a VA loan mortgage rate can be as much as .50% lower than on a similar conventional program.

Over the course of several years, a $35 – $75 a month payment will definitely add up to a significant savings.

The process of shopping mortgage rates is the same with any program, so it’s a good idea to have a basic understanding of how the markets work if you’re concerned with comparing quotes between a few lenders.

3.  No Mortgage Insurance –

Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is generally required on conventional loans when the loan amount being borrowed is greater than 80% of the value of the property.

The Department of Veterans Affairs does have a funding fee requirement for VA loans. This funding fee can be anywhere between 0.5% to 3.3% of the loan total. However, veterans who were classified as disabled during at least 10% of their time in active duty do not have to pay the fee.

Mortgage insurance is basically in place to protect the lender in the case of payment default or foreclosure.

4.  Qualifying Guidelines –

It is also typically easier to qualify for a VA mortgage loan than a conventional mortgage, especially if you have a recent bankruptcy or foreclosure within the past four years.

There isn’t a hit to the interest rate for lower credit scores, and VA underwriters tend to give special circumstances more consideration if there is a good letter of explanation.

In addition to the benefits mentioned above, VA loans have two payment term options – Fixed or Adjustable Rate.

The difference between the two options is as follows:

  • Fixed rate loans have one payment tied to the same interest rate for the entire term, which is typically 15 or 30 years.
  • Adjustable rate loans start off with a set interest rate for a predetermined period of time, and then the rate may change based on the specific terms set forth on the note. Know you options, and make sure you understand which program you are choosing.

Refinancing with a VA loan also has many benefits over refinancing with a conventional loan.

Some of refinance benefits include:

  • A higher refinance limit (up to 90% and some 100%) than the majority of conventional loans.
  • Easier credit requirements, which often make refinancing with a VA loan simpler and less stressful.
  • Help from the Department of Veterans Affairs for borrowers currently in default because of financial hardship.
  • No requirement of private mortgage insurance.
  • The ability to include the VA funding fee with the total amount of the refinance.

Between the tremendous savings and streamlined qualifying guidelines, any veteran who is in the  process of purchasing or refinancing a home should strongly consider using their  VA benefits.

Shelter Realty works with several qualified and experienced mortgage professionals that specialize in helping Las Vegas Veterans qualify for a VA loan.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about VA approved properties or speaking with one of our trusted lenders.