USDA Zoning Map Update (2014)

As you may or may not be aware, 2014 is the year the area(s) USDA eligible properties exist is slated to be reduced, quite a bit. The USDA website provided an update on the progress of this change this week, it looks like the new zoning map will go into effect on October, 1st of this year. That means that if you have any clients that are planning on financing their home purchase with a USDA Mortgage, they should do it sooner, rather than later. I’ll post an image of the update from the USDA Site below.

USDA - UpdateJV


(Click Image for USDA Website & Image Source)

Sooner rather than later is the key in this case, from what I understand the zoning (which is now quite liberal as far as what is labeled as “rural”) is going to get much more strict. If you’re not familiar with the USDA Mortgage, it is one of the few “no down payment required” loan programs out there, and the (monthly) Mortgage Insurance is much cheaper than FHA, for example. If you’re a homebuyer and want to use the USDA program to buy your home, let’s talk soon! If you’re a realtor/agent and you have clients that want to, or that you think should be using the USDA program, let’s talk soon!

February 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment

Facebook Promotion & Prize Giveaway!


Click on the image above to navigate to my Facebook page, click “Like” and you will be automatically entered for the drawing(s).

At 200 “Likes” will be eligible for a $50 Amazon Gift Card!
At 350 “Likes” we will do a drawing for a $100 Visa/MasterCard Gift Card!
At 500 “Likes” we will do a drawing for a Amazon Kindle Fire HDX!

My page is 5 “Likes” away from 200, so you have to hurry if you want to be eligible for all 3 drawings!

Thanks, and good luck everyone!

February 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment

Northwest Mortgage Company Hits Home Run at Safeco Field

Pinnacle Capital Mortgage Corporation Proudly Accepts Washington’s Best Award 

Seattle, WA- Puget Sound Business Journal announced last night during an awards banquet at Safeco Field that Pinnacle Capital Mortgage Corporation (Pinnacle) is ranked as a best workplace in the state of Washington. Pinnacle (the parent company to Absolute Mortgage) and its’ employees are very proud to be a part of this honor; Washington’s Best Workplaces 2013.

This is the first year Pinnacle has been ranked as a Washington’s Best Workplace. Over 37,000 employees from 334 different companies were surveyed on company-wide communication, training and education, responsibility and decision making, performance standards, rewards and recognition, benefits, leadership of executives, work environment, hiring and retention, corporate culture and company importance to employees. The official ranks will be available at

“It’s a great honor to be recognized as one of Washington’s Best Workplaces for the Puget Sound area,” Regional Sales Manager, Craig Davis said, “We strive for a positive and genuine culture that supports our employees and customers every day.” He continues on to say, “This is the foundation we stand on; everything else follows. Thank you to all that contribute to Pinnacle’s success as a Best Workplace!”

Puget Sound Business Journal contracted Quantum Workplaces, an Omaha based company, to administer, track and analyze the survey composed of comprehensive and open-ended inquiries. Each company had to fulfill several particpation requirements to be considered as a finalist. Only finalists were invited to participate in the employee surveys. Upon the survey deadline, the responses were tabulated and a raw score was given. The rank is a result of the raw score. This contest was free to enter and open to the public. Ranking information remained private until the event.

Pinnacle Capital Mortgage Corporation is headquartered in Roseville, California with branches located throughout California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado. For more information please visit

Pinnacle Capital Mortgage Corporation
3010 Lava Ridge Court, Suite 220
Roseville, CA 95661Contact. Danielle LaMarre
PR & Social Media Manager
Phone: 971.250.4854

For more information on the topic or to schedule an interview with Craig Davis please contact me at or 971.250.4854.

Pinnacle Capital Mortgage Corporation was founded in January 2008 with the knowledge and efforts of highly experienced lending professionals, with excellent reputations in the mortgage banking field. With this vast pool of experience, we have grown quickly to become a true contender in this industry. This growth was achievable as a result of the quality of people that helped form and create what we call Pinnacle Capital Mortgage Corporation.

Teamwork. Empowerment. Positivity. Excellence. These four core values describe Pinnacle Capital Mortgage Corporation. Headquartered in Roseville, California with locations throughout the West coast and growing; we all share one vision and practice our core values. We strive to provide only the best possible service to our clients and partners and hold great value in being the mortgage lender our consumers turn to.

August 9, 2013 by · Leave a Comment

Comparing Fixed Rate and Adjustable Rate Mortgage Options

Applying for a mortgage is an essential step to take when purchasing a new home—but with so many options available, choosing the right mortgage terms to fit your needs can be a difficult task. Before you start the application process, educate yourself on fixed rate and adjustable rate mortgage loan options:

Fixed Rate Mortgage

A fixed rate mortgage allows for the repayment of debt utilizing equal monthly payments over a specified period of time. Most fixed rate mortgages are broken down into 15 or 30 year terms in which the interest rate never changes. Fixed rate mortgages offer home buyers a number of benefits: For example, because the interest rate is fixed, homeowners are not affected if the overall market interest rates increase. In addition, a borrower can choose to make larger monthly payments and direct the additional portion of the payment toward the principal, ultimately decreasing the principal balance at a faster rate.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage

An adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) is one in which the interest rate is periodically adjusted based on the changes of a specific index, including the one-year Treasury Bill. This means that a homeowner’s monthly payments may increase or decrease with little notice. Lenders tend to charge lower initial interest rates for adjustable rate mortgages, which may make them less expensive over time if the rates do not change. This feature also makes an ARM ideal for potential buyers who only plan on living in a house for a few years.

The easy way to determine which mortgage loan is right for you is to consult with your Bellevue-area mortgage company. For more information on mortgage loans, refinancing, or consolidating debt, call Ryan Bukoskey at (425) 770-0725 or email at

Seattle housing market one of the most competitive in the US!

Low inventory and interest rates are why Realtors call Seattle one of the most competitive housing markets in the country.

“Seattle is just crazy bonkers. Most of our listings are going in 30 days,” said Al Uyeno, a local Realtor.

According to Uyeno, a declining unemployment rate of 5 percent and an uptick in hiring has increased the number of buyers in an already tight market.

“We’ve got Amazon, we’ve got Boeing, we’ve got Microsoft all hiring and all these people are coming here from out of state so they have to have some place to live,” said Uyeno.

According to the Northwest Listing Service, The median price of homes in Snohomish County is up 14 percent, and up 10 percent in both King and Pierce Counties.

“Good houses are disappearing instantly, you look at it one day online and say honey maybe we should look at this Sunday. By then, it’s already pending,” said Charles Harper, a home buyer – See full article HERE.

Northwest Mortgage Company Recognized as #1 in Washington

Absolute Mortgage is proud to be a part of Pinnacle Capital Mortgage Corp’s Top Ranking

June 21, 2013 – Bellevue, WA- Seattle Business Magazine announced last night during an awards dinner at the Westin Seattle that Pinnacle Capital Mortgage Corp. (PCM) is a top 10 company to work for in the state of Washington. Absolute Mortgage, a Division of Pinnacle Capital Mortgage Corp., is proud to be a part of this honor; Washington’s 100 Best Workplaces 2013 and the top Mortgage Company in the state.

This is the first year PCM has been ranked as a Washington 100 Best Workplace. Over 19,000 employees from 100’s of different companies were surveyed on companywide communication, training and education, responsibility and decision making, performance standards, rewards and recognition, benefits, leadership of executives, work environment, hiring and retention, corporate culture, company importance to employees. The official ranks will be available at

“Receiving the award of Washington’s Top 100 Best Places to work is an honor for our company,” Eric Bolstad, the Division President of Absolute Mortgage, said, “ the truth is, companies don’t win awards, people make that possible. The credit goes to our team.” He continues on to say, “Great teamwork has everything to do with being honest and open about who we are- including our faults, weaknesses, mistakes and limitations. We have created a cultured that allows us to embrace who we are as individuals. We rely on the strengths of our peers when needed to learn and assist, so that we can be collectively better as a unified team.”

Seattle Business Magazine contracted Webwork Fieldwork Research, a Chicago based company, to administer, track and analyze the 76-question survey composed of comprehensive and open-ended inquiries. Upon the survey deadline, the responses were tabulated and a raw score was given. The rank is a result of the raw score. Judges were only used in the event of a tie and to determine how many companies to put in each of the four categories; small, medium, large and nonprofit. This contest was free to enter and open to the public. Ranking information remained private until the event.

Absolute Mortgage would like you to know that they are continually seeking talented people who share their core values. You can learn more about Absolute Mortgage by visiting or visit their career site at  To discuss immediate employment opportunities please contact Steve Dailey or call 206.769.1979
seattles top 100










Contact: Maggie Mae
2800 Northup Way, Suite 220
Bellevue, WA 98004


For more information or to schedule an interview with Eric Bolstad please contact Maggie Mae at 425.822.7788.

Absolute Mortgage was founded in 1996 and prides itself on embodying their core values of Teamwork, Empowerment, Positivity and Excellence in all aspects of the work environment, both internally and externally. Absolute Mortgage shares the belief that mutually-invested employee-company relationships create a work environment that everyone enjoys. Absolute Mortgage would like you to know that they are continually seeking talented people who share their core values to come join their team. You can learn more about Absolute Mortgage by visiting or visit their career site at

June 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment

Seven Things Your Agent Should Know About Your Mortgage Approval

While many experienced real estate agents have a general understanding of the mortgage approval process, there are a few important details that frequently get overlooked which may cause a purchase to be delayed or denied.

New regulation, updated disclosures, appraisal guidelines, mortgage rate pricing premiums, credit score, secondary approval layering, rescission deadlines, property type, HOA insurance requirements, title and property flip rules are just a few of the daily changes that can have a serious impact on a borrower’s home loan financing.

With today’s volatile lending environment, it’s obviously important for home buyers to get a full loan approval which clearly defines all contingencies that pertain to each unique home buyer’s scenario prior to spending any time looking at new homes with an agent.

Either way, we’ve listed a few of the top things your agent should keep in mind while showing you new properties:

Caution – Agents Beware:

Property Type –

High-Rise, Condo, Town House, Single Family Residence, Dome Home or Shoe House… all have specific lending guidelines that can influence down payment, credit score and mortgage insurance requirements.

Residence Type

Need to sell one home before moving into another? Is a property considered a second home if it’s in the same city?  What if I’m buying a home for my children to live in, it is still considered an investment property?

These are just a few of several possible residence related questions that should be addressed by your agent and loan officer at the initial loan application.

Rates / Locks

Mortgage Rates are typically locked for a 30 day period, and one of the only ways to get a new rate is to switch mortgage lenders.  Rates also have certain adjustments for property / residence type, credit score and down payment which could have a big impact on monthly payments and therefore approvals.

A 1% increase in rate could literally mean the difference between an approval or denial.

Headline News / Employment

Underwriters watch the news as well.  Borrowers who work in a volatile industry during hard economic times may have to jump through a few extra hoops to prove that their employment and income is secure.

Job changes, periods of unemployment or property location in relation to the subject property are other things to consider that may cause a speed bump in the approval process.

Title / Property Flip –

A Flip is considered a property that has been purchased by an investor and quickly sold to a new buyer within a 30-90 day period.  Generally, an investor will do a little rehab work, fresh paint, landscaping…. and try to re-sell the property for a significant profit margin.

While it seems like a perfectly fair transaction, many lenders have strict guidelines in place that prevent borrowers from obtaining financing on properties that have a previous owner with less than 90 days of documented ownership.

These rules change frequently, and are specific to particular property types, so make sure your agent is aware of all the boundaries associated with your approval letter.

Homeowner’s Association Insurance

Some lenders require Condos and Town House communities to have sufficient insurance and reserves coverage pertaining to specific ratios on units that are owner occupied vs rented.

It may also take a few weeks and cost up to $300 to receive an HOA Certification, so make sure your Due-Diligence period is set accordingly in the purchase contract.

Appraisal Ordering Procedures

Appraisal ordering guidelines are changing quite frequently as regulators implement many new consumer protection laws created to prevent future foreclosure epidemics.

Unfortunately, some of the new appraisal regulations have proven to slow the home buying process down, as well as confuse lenders about the true estimate of neighborhood values.

VA, FHA and Conventional loan programs all have separate appraisal ordering policies, so make sure your agent is aware of which loan you’re approved for so that they document any anticipated delays in the purchase contract.

For example, if an appraisal takes three weeks and the average time for an approval is two weeks, then it probably isn’t smart to write a purchase contract with a four week close of escrow.


Related Articles – Home Buying Process:

Do I Need To Sell My Home Before I Can Qualify For A New Mortgage On Another Property?

Although every situation is unique, it is not uncommon for homebuyers to qualify for a mortgage on a new home while still living in their primary residence.

Perhaps you are outgrowing your current house, or have been forced to relocate due to a job transfer?  Regardless of the motivation for keeping one property while purchasing another, let’s address this question with the mortgage approval in mind:

So, Do I Have To Sell?

Yes. No. Maybe. It depends.

Welcome to the wonderful world of mortgage lending. Only in this industry can one simple question elicit four answers…and all of them may be right.

If you are in a financial position where you qualify to afford both your current residence and the proposed payment on your new house, then the simple answer is No!

Qualifying based on your Debt-to-Income Ratio is one thing, but remember to budget for the additional expenses of maintaining multiple properties. Everything from mortgage payments, increased property taxes and hazard insurance to unexpected repairs should be factored into your final decision.

What If I Rent My Current Property?

This scenario presents the “maybe” and the “it depends” answers to the question.

If you’re not quite qualified to carry both mortgages, you may have to rent the other property in order to offset the mortgage payment.

In that scenario, the lender will typically only count 75% of the monthly rent you are proposing to receive.

So if you are going to receive $1000 a month in rent and your current payment is $1500, the lender is going to factor in an additional $750 of monthly liabilities in your overall Debt-to-Income Ratios.

Another detail that can present a huge hurdle is the reserve requirement and equity ratio most lenders have. In some cases, if you are going to rent out your current home, you will need to have at least 25% equity in order to offset your payment with the proposed rent you will receive.

Without that hefty amount of equity, you will have to qualify to afford BOTH mortgage payments. You will also need some significant cash in the bank.

Generally, lenders will require six months reserve on the old property, as well as six month reserves on the new property.

For example, if you have a $1500 payment on your old house and are buying a home with a $2000 monthly payment, you will need over $21,000 in the bank.

Keep in mind, this reserve requirement is incremental to your down payment on the new property.

What If I Can’t Qualify Based On Both Mortgage Payments?

This answer is pretty straightforward, and doesn’t require a financial calculator to figure out.

If you are in this situation, then you will have to sell your current home before buying a new one.

If you aren’t sure of the value of the home or how your local market is performing, give us a ring and we’ll happily refer you to a great real estate agent that is in tune with property values in your neighborhood.


As you can tell, purchasing one home while living in another can be a very complicated transaction.  Please contact us at anytime so we can review your specific situation and suggest the proper action plan.


Related Articles – Mortgage Approval Process:

What Do Appraisers Look For When Determining A Property’s Value?

Most people are surprised to learn what appraisers actually look at when determining the value of a real estate property.

A common misconception homeowners generally have is that the value of their home is determined after the appraiser has completed their physical property inspection.

However, the appraiser actually already has a good idea of the property’s value by the time they have scheduled an appointment to stop by the property.

The good news is that you don’t have to worry so much about pushing back an appointment a few days just to “clean things up” in order to help influence the value of your property.

While a clean house will certainly make it easier for the appraiser to notice improvements, the only time you should be concerned about “clutter” is if it is damaging to the dwelling.

The Key Components Addressed In An Appraisal

The Site:

Location, view, topography, lot size, utilities, zoning, external factors, highest and best use, landscaping features…


Quality of construction, finish work, fixed appliances and any defining features


Age, deterioration, renovations, upgrades, added features

Health & Safety:

Structural integrity, code compliance


Above grade and below grade improvements


Is the property conforming to the neighborhood?

Functional Utility:

Is the property functional as built – style and use?


Garages, Carports, Shops, etc..


Curb appeal, lot size, & conforming to the neighborhood are obvious to the appraiser when they drive down into the neighborhood pull up in front of your home.

When entering your home, they are going to look at the overall design, condition, finish work, upgrades, any defining features, functional utility, square footage, number of rooms and health and safety items.

Be sure to have all carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in working condition.

Since the appraisal provides half the weight in any credit decision involving the security of real estate, the appraisal should be done by a qualified, licensed appraiser whom is familiar with your neighborhood, and the type of home you are buying, selling or refinancing.

If you’re interested in what specifically appraisers are looking for, here is a copy of the blank 1040 URAR form that is used by every appraiser in the country.

Related Update on HVCC:

Appraisers hired for a mortgage transaction on a conforming loan are chosen from a pool of qualified appraisers at random. Neither you nor your lender has the flexibility of deciding which appraiser will inspect your home.

This recent change was brought on with the Home Valuation Code of Conduct HVCC, and is effective with conventional loans originated on or after May 1, 2009.


Related Appraisal Articles:

Where Does My Earnest Money Go?

Hey, I gave my real estate agent a $5000 Earnest Money Deposit check… Where does that money go?

A basic and very obvious question that most First-Time home Buyers ask once their purchase contract gets accepted.

According to Wikipedia:

Earnest Money – an earnest payment (sometimes called earnest money or simply earnest, or alternatively a good-faith deposit) is a deposit towards the purchase of real estate or publicly tendered government contract made by a buyer or registered contractor to demonstrate that he/she is serious (earnest) about wanting to complete the purchase.

When a buyer makes an offer to buy residential real estate, he/she generally signs a contract and pays a sum acceptable to the seller by way of earnest money. The amount varies enormously, depending upon local custom and the state of the local market at the time of contract negotiations.

An Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) is simply held by a third-party escrow company according to the terms of the executed purchase contract.

For example, there may be a contingency period for appraisal, loan approval, property inspection or approval of HOA documents.

In most cases, the Earnest Money held by the escrow company is credited towards the home buyer’s down payment and/or closing costs.

*It’s important to keep in mind that the EMD may actually be cashed at the time escrow is opened, so make sure your funds are from the proper sources.

The Process:

  1. Earnest Money is submitted to an escrow company with the accepted purchase contract
  2. At the close of escrow, the EMD is credited towards the down payment and / or closing costs
  3. If there are no closing costs or down payment, the EMD is refunded back to the buyer

Who Doesn’t Get Your Earnest Money:

  • Selling Real Estate Agent – A conflict of interest
  • Sellers – Too risky
  • Buying Agent – They shouldn’t have your money in their account


Related Articles – Closing Process / Costs