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Author Archive: Chris Birk

Chris Birk is an award-winning former journalist and Director of Education for Veterans United Home Loans. His analysis and articles have appeared at The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, ABC News, CBS News, Fox Business, Military.com and more.

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Do You Know VA’s Qualified Mortgage Rules for Streamline Refinances

Do You Know VA’s Qualified Mortgage Rules for Streamline Refinances

The VA loan program’s no-frills refinance option got a slight makeover last year in the wake of major mortgage industry changes. But most veteran homeowners won’t notice much difference in their pursuit of a VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL), better known as a VA Streamline. Nearly all VA loans are considered “safe harbor” […]

Posted in: News
5 Financial Missteps That Can Torpedo A Loan Application
By April 14, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

5 Financial Missteps That Can Torpedo A Loan Application

Being preapproved for a mortgage and actually getting one can be two very different things. From the time you start the loan application process all the way to closing day, every financial move you make could affect whether that loan is approved or denied. Guarantees are hard to come by in the mortgage industry. Let’s […]

Posted in: News
Renters Turning Back To Owning & Mortgages
By January 7, 2013 0 Comments Read More →

Renters Turning Back To Owning & Mortgages

Buying a home is now cheaper than renting in most of the country’s housing markets. A litany of recent studies and surveys have almost belabored the point given home values and historically low interest rates. Now there’s new data suggesting renters have clearly noticed the trend — and they’re planning to pounce sooner rather than […]

Posted in: News
Congress Passes Big VA Loan Benefits Package
By August 2, 2012 0 Comments Read More →

Congress Passes Big VA Loan Benefits Package

A wide-ranging veterans benefits bill  now awaiting the President’s signature will allow bigger loans for vets in high-cost real estate markets, continue the availability of VA-backed ARMs and improve access to VA mortgages for military families. Dubbed the “Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act,” the omnibus measure offers a little something […]

Posted in: News
Are Conventional Mortgages Drying Up in Minority Communities?

Are Conventional Mortgages Drying Up in Minority Communities?

Is mortgage redlining still plaguing communities of color? A new report from seven housing and policy agencies suggests evidence of a two-tiered mortgage market in which borrowers and communities of color are increasingly cut off from prime conventional financing. Origination data from seven cities in 2010 show that borrowers in diverse communities receive government-backed loans […]

Posted in: News
VA Loan Volume Surges, Remains Safest Mortgage Option
By February 8, 2012 0 Comments Read More →

VA Loan Volume Surges, Remains Safest Mortgage Option

The VA Loan Guaranty program had a big year in FY11, driven by a surge in refinance loans and a tighter lending climate that’s drawing renewed attention to this flexible, government-backed mortgage. The VA guaranteed nearly 360,000 loans last year, a 14-percent increase from FY10. Since FY07, the number of VA loan guaranties has surged […]

Posted in: Mortgages
VA Funding Fees Set Through September 2016
By November 28, 2011 0 Comments Read More →

VA Funding Fees Set Through September 2016

Military homebuyers finally got some clarity this week regarding the VA Funding Fee, a mandatory governmental charge applied to all VA loans that has been in a legislative limbo. The fee helps fund the VA Loan Guaranty program and ensures this long-cherished lending mechanism remains outside any Congressional appropriations process. Confusion took root this fall when […]

Posted in: News
Why VA Loans Are More Important Than Ever
By November 14, 2011 0 Comments Read More →

Why VA Loans Are More Important Than Ever

The last few years have proved a mixed bag for home buyers and homeowners alike. Borrowers who qualify have reaped the benefits of government-sponsored tax credit programs and record-low interest rates. At the same time, the subprime mortgage meltdown and ensuing financial crisis created a restrictive credit environment and made it significantly tougher for some […]

Posted in: News
Spread the Word: Millions of Veterans Unaware of their VA Home Loan Benefits
By November 11, 2011 0 Comments Read More →

Spread the Word: Millions of Veterans Unaware of their VA Home Loan Benefits

The VA loan program has helped more than 18 million service members achieve the dream of homeownership since 1944. Today, these flexible loans remain the safest and most powerful lending option on the market for military borrowers and their families.  Qualified veterans can purchase a home without having to spend money on a down payment, […]

Posted in: News
Firms Accused of Fleecing VA Mortgage Borrowers
By October 6, 2011 0 Comments Read More →

Firms Accused of Fleecing VA Mortgage Borrowers

Thirteen lenders — including Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America — allegedly collected illegal fees worth millions of dollars from VA borrowers. In hundreds of thousands of VA refinancing transactions, the lenders allegedly charged an additional $300 to $1,000 per loan, according to claims made in a lawsuit by two whistleblowers. In […]

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