Creekside Mortgage is happy to announce that we are partnering with the Special Operations Warrior Foundation to help provide college educations to the children of fallen Special Operations forces. For every closed VA loan originated after July 1, 2009, Creekside Mortgage will donate $100 to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation in the name of the borrowing veteran.  The foundation also provides assistance to special operations personnel who have been serverely wounded.

The Special Operations Warrior Foundation was started in 1980 as a scholarship fund named in honor of the legendary Army Green Beret Bull Simons. This fund provided college educations for surviving children of the men killed or incapacitated at Desert One.

Children awarded scholarship funds are survivors of Special Operations Forces of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. Currently, the foundation is providing scholarships for 760 children of over 600 Special Operations Forces who have passed away in service to the country.

At Creekside, we are veterans who want to support our fellow service members and their families in every way that we can--not just by providing expertise in using VA home loan benefits, but by supporting organizations who have common cause to support families of service members. When you choose Creekside for your lending needs, you are partnering with us to help children of deceased service members and to make a difference in the lives of others. Please visit for more information on this organization.

Kerry Greenwald  Sr. VA Loan Specialist

The VA loan allows a Veteran to utilize his/her VA loan multiple times with various combinations depending on military history, service connected disability, down payment, and prior VA loan history. I must preface my topic: "Why put 5% down on a VA home loan?"  with a basic answer to another question: What is a VA funding fee? The VA funding fee is added as a dollar amount calculated by a percentage to the purchase price of the home you are buying. The VA funding fee guarantees to the lender that if a Veteran fails to repay the loan the lender is protected from $36,000 up to$144,000, and an additional amount equal to 25% of the allowed county loan limit for a single family home may be available. This is not to be confused with the veterans entitlement amount to purchase with $0 down, which is $417,000 in most counties, and higher in a few.

When a veteran with active duty service  (which includes nearly everyone, including reserves, due to active duty service in multiple theatres of war) the VA funding fee is set at 2.15% for first time use of the VA benefit and subsequent use (another new home purchase or refinance) is set by the VA at 3.3%. The Veterans who are in reserves with no overseas service in Iraq or Afghanistan for example (on active duty) will have slightly higher fees, and for the purpose of this discussion I will focus on active duty and active duty reserves.

If you put down 5% on a VA home loan, your funding fee drops to 1.5%, no matter how many times you have used your benefit. This is a huge savings! If you look at an average home of $250,000, the funding fee for a second use on your home would be 3.3%, or $8,250. However, if you put down 5% the loan amount is now $237,000 and the funding fee would drop to $3562.50--a savings of $4,687! With a first time home purchase (funding fee of 2.15%), you still save a significant amount of about $1,813 on our hypothetical $250,000 home. The lower loan amount translates into lower monthly payments.

There is no other loan on the planet that even comes close to your VA home loan benefit...all other loans require some type of mortgage insurance paid monthly when you are in less than a 20% equity position. Additionally, on a VA home loan the seller can pay up to 4% of the purchase price of the home toward your closing costs, pre-paid fees, and VA non-allowables (fees the veteran by law cannot pay). Using the hypothetical $250,000 home again, the seller could pay up to $6,500 in closing costs, pre-paids, and VA non-allowables. This frees up a person's savings to go toward a down payment rather than paying closing costs.

If you put 10% down, your VA funding fee will drop to 1.25% , which is a limited return for the additional funds required compared to the benefit gained by the 5%. Feel free to contact us for more information on your VA home loan benefits.

Michael Frakes, U.S. Navy Retired, Sr. VA Loan Specialist

*The guaranty means the lender is protected against loss if you fail to repay the loan. The guaranty replaces the protection the lender normally receives by requiring a down payment allowing you to obtain favorable financing terms.

*For loans in excess of $144,000 on purchases or new constructions, additional entitlement up to an amount equal to 25% of the VA county loan limit for a single family home may be available.

Michael Frakes U.S. Navvy Retired  Sr. VA Loan Specialist

Robin Conrad is not in Iraq yet, but is currently serving at Fort Poke, LA in preparation for going over to Iraq later on this month. In a phone conversation  with him the other day, he talked about doing a five mile run before most of our alarm clocks even went off. He said it has been pretty interesting so far and he has enjoyed everything he has been able to do. Louisiana has been interesting and we look forward to hearing from him again to continue our updates.

The Federal homebuyer's tax credit is coming to an end Nov. 30. Will it be continued, or not? That is the big question. Most economists predict that the government will give a four to six month extension, but it is hard to predict whether the dollar amount will go up or not, due to the added debt load to the federal deficit. The incentive has worked, though, creating a larger amount of people who were first-time homebuyers this year.

From my point of view, it would benefit the industry if the government extended the tax credit, but it makes me ask the question, does it benefit all of us in the end? Is it creating another false bottom on the real estate market? If I had to make a personal call, I think the government will probably continue it. This will help out Clark County real estate by continuing to dry up the overwhelming supply of houses and slow down the growth of newly built homes.

We should have a better idea of whether it will be extended as we get closer to the date. Most things I have read have predicted we will get that notice about a week before the tax credit ends. If there are updates, I will post them here!

Portland's overall housing market has been one of the strongest in the nation as far as  home prices holding steady.  The majority of places int he country have dropped dramatically from 2000 numbers.

Our value here is still up 48% in the Portland Metro area, compared to other places. For example, Phoenix is up 6% from 2000 numbers and Las Vegas 4%  from 2000 numbers. We have not felt the effect that most of the country has in dropping real estate prices.

We have noticed drops in the market, but not comparable to the rest of the country. The overall decrease in value in Portland should hold steady. We were the second to last major city in the United States to fall or lose prices; the last being Charlotte, North Carolina. Most economists predict that we are coming out of the worst now.  Best case scenario, we are levelling off or going up a small percentage. Worst case scenario, we might see 5-7% decrease in the market, which doesn't sound like a great thing, but compared to the last 18 months, it is positive news.

Portland should hold steady  and be a great place to buy a house now and in the future.