Atlanta Mortgage News

  • $647,200 for regular one-unit loans (increased from $548,250 in 2021)
  • $970,800 for one-unit high-balance loans (increased from $822,375 in 2021)
  • $1,243,050 for two-unit high-balance loans (increased from $1,053,000 in 2021)

VA follows FHA leads so these numbers also are accurate for VA loans.

Posted by Elizabeth Washburn on December 1st, 2021 9:43 AM


Read time: 48 sec


My client thought the best program would be the USDA loan which requires no down payment, but the USDA program looks at household income, not borrower income, so they were quickly disqualified.  Instead, by working hand in hand with some awesome sellers, we were able to offer my client a FORGIVEABLE second mortgage at ZERO interest for three years with NO payment and no funds at closing. They paid for an appraisal and credit report only. Sound too good to be true?  It’s not!

Here are a few guidelines

  1. The program is either FHA or Conventional for the first mortgage.
  2. The down payment assistance is between 3-5% of the sales price.
  3. The minimum credit score is 600.
  4. The seller can contribute 3-6% of the sales price for closing costs/taxes/insurance.
  5. The second mortgage is a Soft/Forgivable Second.   If your income is higher than 115% of area median income, you can get a ten year loan at no interest.

If this sounds like something that *might* work for your purchase in Georgia, let’s brainstorm as to whether you're a fit.  Send me a text or call me at 678-467-2330. Elizabeth Washburn

Posted by Elizabeth Washburn on October 27th, 2021 10:45 AM

The greatest fully authenticated age to which any human has ever lived is 122 years 164 days by Jeanne Louise Calment (France) and she has a great real estate story to share. 

    She was born on 21 February 1875, around 14 years before the Eiffel Tower was constructed (she saw it being built), and some 15 years before the advent of movies. The year after her birth, Tolstoy published Anna Karenina and Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone. Jeanne Louise Calment lived a quiet life in France, but an unprecedentedly long one.

    Her marriage to a wealthy distant cousin, Fernand Nicolas Calment, in 1896 meant that Jeanne didn’t have to work for a living. That may have played a part in her extraordinary longevity: she was free to swim, play tennis, cycle (she was still cycling until the age of 100) and roller skate, all of which promoted excellent good health. Inevitably, in due course, those around her passed away – including her husband (poisoned by some spoiled cherries, aged 73), her daughter Yvonne (who died from pneumonia in 1934) and even her grandson, Frédéric (who died in a car accident in 1963). But not Jeanne.

    As she was without heirs, in 1965 a lawyer named André-François Raffray set up a “reverse mortgage” with Jeanne. According to this arrangement, he would pay her 2,500 francs every month until she died, whereupon he would inherit her apartment. It must have seemed like a good deal for Monseiur Raffray (then aged 47) – after all, Jeanne was 90 at the time. Incredibly, however, Jeanne outlived him. He died thirty years later  at age 77 but his family continued the payments. By the time of Jeanne's death, they had paid Jeanne more than double the value of her apartment. 

Posted by Elizabeth Washburn on February 9th, 2021 6:55 PM

We posted this cute picture of the "Cat out of the bag" to grab your attention for 37 seconds to claim free money!

If you owned a property on January 1, 2021, I am talking to you!  

You must apply for Property Exemption(s) before March 31, 2021.

If your home is owner-occupied, you automatically qualify for a Homestead exemption and assessment freeze. This is one of the few middle class tax exemptions left.  For example, the standard tax on a 2 bedroom home may be about $2400/yr. With the Homestead Exemption it is closer to $1400/yr. In addition, there are several other exemptions for senior citizens, disabled people, widows of police, fire and military killed in action, etc.   Go to your county website and make sure you file by March 31st. Links for several of the metro county webpages are on my webpage at

See the DeKalb list of all possible exemptions here: ( Other than the Homestead Exemption, you have to apply in person for these others. The process is not difficult but it must be completed before March 31.  Go get it Tiger!!

Photo model: GIzmo Washburn

Posted by Elizabeth Washburn on January 22nd, 2021 1:00 PM

DACA Status Recipients Eligible to Apply for FHA Insured Mortgages

Effective today, January 19, 2021, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is making FHA loans eligible to DACA individuals.  

These individuals are classified under the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” program (DACA) with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) and are legally permitted to work in the U.S.    Congratulations!  Ready to own?  Call me!

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Posted by Elizabeth Washburn on January 22nd, 2021 12:26 PM

Posted by Elizabeth Washburn on January 6th, 2021 6:50 AM

Rates are incredibly low right now. If you have plans to stay in your home for the next three years, call me.  

This is especially true if you have a VA loan.

That's my entire blog this week!

Posted in:RefinancingPosted in:atlanta refinancePosted in:georgia refinance
Posted by Elizabeth Washburn on December 31st, 2020 2:29 PM

Delinquency Rate Could Triple

September 9, 2020   


                        Delinquency Rate Could Triple                   


The good news is, with increased equity, homeowners potentially have the option to sell their homes.

CoreLogic is predicting the serious delinquency rate will quadruple by the end of 2021. That pushes up to 3 million homeowners into serious delinquency absent any additional government programs or support. There’s been much said about what the forbearance to foreclosure pipeline might look like once the CAREs ACT forbearance program comes to an end. Much of the sentiment has been optimistic with economists pointing to the record amount of equity that homeowners have these days. Meaning that if homeowners get to the end of the line and find they still can't pay their mortgages, they always have the option to sell their homes. Also lending to that optimism is the fact that the forbearance uptake is on the decline. CoreLogic’s forecast puts some black clouds on that outlook. "Barring additional intervention from the federal and state governments, we are likely to see meaningful spikes in delinquencies over the short to medium term," said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic, in a press release. 

Source: Rise and Shred

Posted by Elizabeth Washburn on September 11th, 2020 1:43 PM

Weighing the Options: Mortgage Refinance

Want to know more about refinancing? Call 678-467-2330

Ever heard the old rule of thumb that says you should only consider refinancing if the new interest rate will be at least one point below your present one? That may have been valid years ago, but with refinancing dropping in cost over the last few years, it's a good time to think about a new mortgage loan! A refinance can be worth its cost many times over, factoring in the advantages that may come, as well as a reduced interest rate.


You may be able to bring down your interest rate (sometimes substantially) and reduce your mortgage payment amount with a new mortgage. You may also have the option to "cash out" some of your equity, which you can use to take care of higher interest debts, make home improvements, or take a vacation. You might be able to refinance to a shorter-term mortgage, giving you the ability to build up your equity faster.

Expenses and Fees

All these benefits do cost something, though. When you refinance, you are paying for many of the same things you paid for during your current mortgage loan. Included in the list will typically be an appraisal, underwriting fees, lender's title insurance, settlement costs, and other fees.

Do the Math - or call and have me do it.

You might look into paying discount points to receive a lower interest rate. The money you'll save over the life of the mortgage might be substantial  and any paid points can be deducted on your taxes.  Please talk to a tax professional before acting.

Speaking of taxes, if your interest rate is reduced you will also be lowering the paid interest amount that you can deduct from your federal income taxes.. Call us at 678-467-2330 to help you do the math.

In the end, for most borrowers the total of up-front costs to refinance are quickly recouped in monthly savings. ll work with you to find out which mortgage program is perfect for you, looking at your cash on hand, the likelihood of selling your home in the next few years, and how refinancing will impact your taxes.

Posted by Elizabeth Washburn on August 11th, 2020 5:49 PM


Have you heard the news talk about skipping a mortgage payment? Or perhaps the news discussed forbearance options and delayed foreclosure or evictions? This is always the last resort because you signed a legal agreement to pay the mortgage payment if you want to keep the house. A home is not a right in this country.

    Some borrowers will be tempted to skip payments whether they need to or not. Before you cancel that auto-draft, go to your lender‘s website which it has lots of options, mights and maybe’s. The note you signed with the attorney at the closing table has NO mights or maybes. Don’t be deceived. Those skipped payments are NOT forgiven but mIght or maybe delayed or restructured, resulting in a large lump sum or higher interest rate with a restructured mortgage payment months later. 

    If you have the financial resources, you should continue to make payments, as skipping payments will likely cause significantly more financial strain at a later date. If you really have no money and absolutely can not make your payment, don't just stop paying. Call your lender and discuss the options thoroughly so you understand the full consequences of your next step. The hold times and recordings may be long, but knowing their next step will be worth the wait.

UPDATE 4/30/2020-   It seems the lenders and the government are working together to make reasonable adjustments to mortgage payment plans and provide solid information for those in need.  The particulars are going to be unique with each lender and borrower, so please get the mortgage adjustments they offer in writing including whether they will be reporting these delayed payments to the credit bureau.  If you have any problems where a lump sum payment  for all the skipped payments is immediately requested after the relief, reach out to the CFPB for further assistance.  The maximum relief  which I have heard is 12 months of deferred payments, but your negotiations and personal circumstances will determine what is available to you.  Be safe my friends!

Posted by Elizabeth Washburn on March 28th, 2020 10:22 AM

Good afternoon,


A few weeks ago, the industry saw a rate drop due to a volatile 10 Yr US Treasury. Today, the industry is giving out higher  rates while things are constantly changing and evolving in these unprecedented times. Here are perhaps the main risks influencing rates today, not specific to any lender but the mortgage industry as a whole:

  1. The market has been extremely volatile lately, and the recent pattern of the market tanking-rallying-tanking-rallying is resulting in expensive and dangerous margin calls often costing an entire point or more. This is a VERY risky time for lenders to take new locks under these market conditions, which is a big reason you are seeing rates industry-wide that seem to say, “We aren’t locking right now”. To survive this storm, mortgage lenders have to make very smart decisions, including not taking huge indeterminable risks that could be detrimental to the longevity of the company.

  2. Mortgage Backed Securities are viewed as riskier today in these anything-but-typical market conditions we are currently seeing because:

    1. There is a concern that a disproportionately large number of the mortgages closing now will be paid off via refinances within 12 months (AKA “EPO, Early PayOff”) if rates drop again when the market stabilizes, resulting in an enormous cost to the original lenders. 

    2. There will certainly be a huge influx of missed mortgage payments in the coming months due to factors such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac temporarily suspending foreclosures and evictions, new forbearance options allowing borrowers to delay some mortgage payments, and borrowers losing their jobs or experiencing a pay cut affecting their ability to pay their mortgage payments. Some estimate that 25% of borrowers may not make their mortgage payments in the coming months. 

NOTE: Under current policy, mortgage servicers are STILL responsible for paying the principal, interest, taxes, and insurance to the bondholders, even when the borrower does not make the mortgage payments to the servicer. This is expected to cost the mortgage servicers up to an estimated $40 BILLION dollars over the next 3-4 months across the industry without Federal help.

Posted by Elizabeth Washburn on March 25th, 2020 5:52 PM

Rates are hovering at 3.25%! 

 If you have a old mortgage and want cash out but still want your payment to go down, call me.  I bet we can do that!

If you have a new mortgage, and your rate is over 4%, call me to check the numbers.

If you have a VA loan with a rate over 3.75%, we need to get you a streamline VA and drop that payment as well as skip a payment! I bet we can do that too!

If you were thinking about that second home or an income producing property in your portfolio, now is the time.

This is a fantastic time to get your real estate portfolio in order! 

Add it to your list of things to do by calling me!!


New Threshold Mortgage, Inc.

Direct: 678-467-2330

2500 Caladium Drive NE

Atlanta, GA 30345

GA License #19238  NMLS LO License #169110  CO #168980 

A Georgia Residential Mortgage Licensee


Posted in:Refinancing and tagged: refinancemortgage
Posted by Elizabeth Washburn on February 4th, 2020 10:02 AM


Before you race to the bank and cash-out your retirement to purchase your castle, take a few minutes to assess the implications outlined below.


Ordinarily, you can't take money from your 401(K) plan until you retire, leave the company or become disabled, but many accounts permit certain “hardship withdrawals” when there is an immediate financial need. While hardship withdrawals are allowed by law, your employer is not required to provide them in your plan. Sometimes this "hardship withdrawal" includes the purchase of a principal residence. If unsure as to whether yours does, check with your employer’s human resources department.

The drawback of liquidating in this manner is that the funds are immediately taxable since they were saved tax free. Likely they would be taxed at your current tax rate, but it could be higher if the fund liquidation puts your income into a higher tax bracket. There is also a penalty, typically 10% of the funds withdrawn. The exact amount of the penalty is spelled out in your plan.


Another option is borrowing against your 401(K).  Often you can borrow as much as 50% of your account balance. You pay interest on the loan, and the interest is credited back to your account.  Sounds great, eh?  The money you receive is not taxable either (as long it is paid back), and there is no penalty.  Most plans offer anywhere from five to thirty years to pay the loan.  In a perfect world, it's a perfect plan!

However, this is not a perfect world.  There are some risks involved in borrowing from your 401(K) too. If you lose your job or leave your employer, you must pay back the loan in full within a short period of time, sometimes in as little as sixty days. If the money is not paid back in time, the loan is converted to a withdrawal and subject to the taxes and penalties you were trying to avoid.  The hardest part of that scenario is that unlike the liquidation, your bank did not hold back the taxes and penalty costs, so you will be subject to finding those funds by tax time and you might be unemployed while all this is happening. That’s no fun. When reviewing your qualifications, most lenders will NOT count the money you borrowed from your 401(K) as an additional debt, but they will reduce the asset by 30% and subtract the amount of the loan as well.


When you set this ball in motion, it is very difficult to stop so make sure you lender has seen the account where you plan to deposit the funds BEFORE you do it.  A good broker has an eye for anything funky on a bank statement.  Also, keep a copy of ALL the paperwork.  This includes applying for the liquidation, any correspondence from the bank, any check or wire record, and the printout from the bank showing the funds transferred into your bank account. Be in full communication during the liquidation process so nothing gets in the way of obtaining your new home.

Posted by Elizabeth Washburn on January 10th, 2020 12:23 PM


REFINANCE BLUES- adj- The feeling you have when you know you need to refinance, but you are dreading the cost and the process involved.

REFINANCE GREENS - adj - The color of your wallet and your friend's faces when they know you are done with your home refinance.

This year will be one to remember!  Rates hit in the 3's again, and lenders have come a long way in driving down closing costs too! It is very exciting!! 

We may be able to WAIVE the appraisal.  Ask me to check your GA property for eligibility. That's nearly $500 in savings!  "YES WE CAN!"

We have access to Simple Refinance Closings.  Ask me to use my closer if you are open to the option of where you close for $500-700 in savings.  "YES WE CAN!"

If you don't want to wait 5-7 days for someone to underwrite your file, so you need an extremely long lock and months to get this done, let me know.  "YES WE CAN!"

Does this Blog look obnoxious?  YES IT DOES!  But so is refinancing so lets just get it done!!

Call me/ Text me / Email me if your ready to do a quick crunch of the numbers and get the savings started!  678-467-2330 

(If you already know what you generally want, go ahead and text "showmethemoney" to 36260 :)  

The more you follow the automated application process, the more the savings are passed on to YOU! Apply from your phone!

(Georgia only)

and tagged: refinance
Posted by Elizabeth Washburn on August 23rd, 2019 2:42 AM

Title Insurance - Is It Worth the Extra Expense?

Likely, the biggest investment you will make is purchasing a home.  In the State of Georgia, determining the rights and interests to real property is the responsibility of the closing attorney who represents the lender. 

Let's start with the basics but HANG WITH ME!  This gets really interesting at the end, but I need to review the basics first.

What is title insurance?

Title is the paperwork for the ownership of property. Names on the title change as the property is sold.  The title company hired by the attorney searches the title (or ownership) history of the property. Through its research, the title company can almost always identify any title problems and clear up these problems before you close on the property; however, sometimes they miss something in the chain of title and that is where insurance comes in play. Sometimes the problems include:

· Defective title — "Defective title" covers any number of problems with the title to your home. It can even include a "contested title". Defects are rare, but they can be very difficult to get rid of, making the property inaccessible, unbuildable, or unsaleable. Any number of other complex problems define "Defective title." 

 ·  Contested title — This happens when someone who owned or even lived in the home before you claims to still have ownership. If this happens, the title insurance company will defend your title and the process will cost you nothing.

REQUIRED: Lender’s title insurance

The lender requires you get LENDER'S title insurance that protects the mortgage balance. 

OPTIONAL: Owner’s title insurance

The OWNER'S TITLE protects your interest in the property and it can vary in protection and cost. Here is the interesting part for the financially-minded:  Attorneys are legally obligated to quote STANDARD TITLE INSURANCE pricing unless they have permission within their forms to quote an ENHANCED TITLE INSURANCE. So I’m guessing you know what form most likely is include in their paperwork? :)

Here is the only significant between the policies:

STANDARD TITLE INSURANCE covers the equity between the purchase price and loan amount at the time of purchase. 

ENHANCED TITLE INSURANCE covers the house’s appreciation over a period of five(5) years up to 150% of face value.

The ENHANCED policy sounds really good until you read that sentence again.  Five(5) years, not 15 years or 30 years, or even 7 years (the average length of home ownership), is what they are covering extra with a significant jump in price. ASK and comparison check before you agree to your new policy. If the State requires STANDARD TITLE INSURANCE be quoted, that might be reason to pipe up with the questions and shop carefully.

**And here is my CMA -  I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice. If you want more information about title policies, search up title insurance companies or get quotes for both policies yourself. 

Posted by Elizabeth Washburn on March 14th, 2019 10:33 AM

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