American Pacific Mortgage

American Pacific Mortgage

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Salute to the USA and our Vets!

Happy 4th of July!  We hope you all had a safe celebration!

This month we have exciting updates and valuable information on VA loans, and a heartfelt tribute to our veterans.

VA Loans: Empowering Our Heroes

VA loans are designed to provide our veterans with the opportunity to own a home with favorable terms. Here are some key benefits:

  • No Down Payment: Qualified veterans can purchase a home with no down payment.
  • No Loan Limit: There is no loan limit so long as the Vet qualifies income wise
  • Competitive Interest Rates: VA loans often offer lower interest rates compared to conventional loans.
  • No Mortgage Insurance (MI): Unlike conventional or FHA loans, VA loans do not require MI.
  • Flexible Credit Requirements: VA loans typically have more lenient credit requirements, making homeownership accessible to more veterans. 

For more information on VA loans and eligibility criteria please call us.

Salute to Our Veterans

We want to take the time to recognize the sacrifices and service our Veterans have given.  We salute the Dana Point 5th Marine Regiment Support Group and their achievements and contributions.  The 5th Marine Regiment is assigned as the Lead Regiment for Crisis Response should US Ground forces be required. 

Dana Point 5th Marine Regiment Support Group

  • Mission is to provide support and outreach for the benefit of our Wounded, Families of our Fallen and active duty Marines, Sailors and Families.
  • Community events include:
    •  Combat Golf Tournament
    • Dana Point Concerts in the Park
    • Baby Shower for expecting Marine families
    • Laughs for Leathernecks, a comedy fundraiser

Do you know a veteran or an organization we should feature? Let us know!


Tuesday, June 11, 2024

JUNE GLOOM - Brokers and Bankers Explained


Those of us living in Coastal Southern California are currently experiencing unfortunate but traditional June Gloom.  Many days the sun barely appears and drizzle is apparent almost every morning.

However, the housing market is not nearly as gloomy.  Although interest rates remain stubbornly high, mostly in the 7+ range, this is certainly not deterring buyers from the market any longer.  Prices are up – as much as 18% over the last year, depending where you are….  The Median Home price in Orange County is $1.2M.  There is competition for homes.  If you want to sell, this is a great time to do so.

What is driving those prices sky high you ask, again?  Lack of Inventory!  Simple supply and demand equation.

Things may look a bit different in other parts of the country, as Real Estate values are definitely location driven and quite specific to neighborhoods.


American Pacific Mortgage is a Mortgage Banker.  That means that we process, underwrite and fund our own loans, in-house with our employees.  This process provides far more control to loan officers since we can manage the process more efficiently.  “Julie, can we please put a rush on this file so we can close timely?”

In this fashion we fund our loans using a “warehouse line” which is similar to a super large Line of Credit.  Once the loans have been funded, we then sell them to one of a number of different places:  Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the VA, and a host of other individual investors like banks and large mortgage companies.  We do not service our loans nor hold them in our “portfolio.”  All loans are sold once closed, to a third party.

Brokers typically send loan files off to a third party to process, underwrite and fund the loans.  The broker is paid a fee which is disclosed on the Initial and final Disclosures.  We sometimes send our loans out to other investors “brokering” the loan to them for better pricing.  It is always our goal to find the best loan program and interest rate for our clients.  However, there is a loss of control with brokered loans as the process is managed outside our own company.

Please reach out to us with questions or for advice!  We are here to help!

Karen, Katie and Stephanie

Tuesday, May 14, 2024


Market Update

More Inventory, and even more buyers!!!

The spring selling season is here!  The seller’s market continues with demand outpacing inventory.  And, prices continue to rise despite stubborn interest rates. We are seeing more competitive bidding again for many homes.  In order to stand out, buyers must be fully pre-approved and ready to act swiftly.

Rates are high compared to the pandemic period, but are still running close to historical averages.  Expert guidance is key to navigating the mortgage process, especially for first time homebuyers.  Be sure to work with a knowledgeable and experienced lender to streamline the process and ensure a successful close.

Here is the current conundrum regarding rates:  Prices are high, CPI is high, and inflation is higher than the Fed wants.  The Feds will apparently only reduce rates when CPI falls.  Which will only happen when home price appreciation cools.  Which will only happen when there is a sustained increase in housing inventory.  Which will only happen when rates fall.  And, back to the beginning.



When planning for a home loan, whether a purchase or a refinance, it is paramount to understand the factors that influence your FICO score.  And, remember there are different scoring models. Clients may tell me what their FICO score is, but when I pull a Tri-Merge from Experian, Transunion and Equifax, which is required for a mortgage loan, the scores are quite different. 

1.      Payment History – Late payments, especially on any mortgage are a critical negative factor.

2.      Credit Utilization – Keep balances to less than 30% of credit available; this is typically the most common issue affecting FICO scores we see

3.      Length of Credit history – the longer you have had credit, the better.  And, being added as an Authorized User to a relative’s long-standing account may help, check with us first!

4.      Credit mix – Installment loans (auto loans) or leases help your score when coupled with revolving credit. And, have at least two or three revolving credit accounts.

5.      Inquiries – typically these have the least effect on your score although consumers believe otherwise.

We frequently work with clients to assist them with credit repair.  Here are some of the most common questions we hear:

1.      Should I pay off my credit cards and/or car loan?  Not necessarily, unless they are affecting your debt-to-income ratio.  You don’t need to be debt-free to qualify for a home loan.  And sometimes it is best to have a small balance on some accounts.

2.      Should I close my credit cards that I don’t use anymore?  After all, I’ve paid them off.  NO!  This will have a negative effect on your FICO score.  The more unused credit you have, the better!!!! Never close an account.

3.      Can I apply for a car loan at a number of places to find the best rate?  NO!  Too many inquiries at one time will temporarily drop your score.

Always discuss any possible changes to your credit cards or loans with your loan officer first.

We are here to help and be your resource!

Karen, Katie and Stephanie

Monday, April 8, 2024


Important Dates:

April 10th your Real Estate Taxes are due!  You will be penalized if you don’t pay them in a timely manner.  Online is easiest!

April 15th your income taxes are due.  Be sure to file an extension if you are not filing your returns on the 15th.

Rate and Market Updates

Well, The Fed is not cooperating with us on interest rates.  Why?  New job creation continues at a strong level, the largest since last May.  Basically, the economy is still strong and although inflation has reduced dramatically from the highs, not enough. 

As of Friday the 5th the published Freddie Mac average rate on a 30 year fixed rate mortgage (under 766K) is 6.8%.  But remember, this rate is affected by FICO score, Loan-to-Value, loan purpose and other factors. 

San Diego is leading the charge on home price gains with an 11.2% increase over the last 12 months.  Los Angeles and Orange County are up 8.6%.

With inventory continuing at a low level, bidding wars are picking up again.  The Millennials are back, representing nearly 40% of buyers.  And, average down payments hit an all-time high last year! 

Myth busting around the NAR lawsuit regarding agent commissions.

·         This is good news for buyersNO!.  Buyers cannot finance the commission for their agent in their loan.  They either need to pay out of pocket for that service, or go without an agent.

·         Why bother paying an agent to show me homes when I can check them out on Zillow?  Well, unless you are a real estate expert and intimately acquainted with the RPA (Residential Purchase Agreement) and all the attendant requisite disclosures, you are frankly incapable of adequately representing yourself.  There are 1000 things that can go wrong without an agent representing your best interests.

·         Ever hear of a pocket listing?  You won’t find that without an agent working on your behalf.  That is a listing that never hits the MLS.

·         Dual Agency is fine (The listing agent also represent the buyer) NO!  No agent can honestly and fairly represent both sides of a transaction and provide the best result for both.  Impossible.

·         Home prices will be lower since the seller is not paying for the buyer’s agent.  DOUBTFUL  Think again. If you are selling your home, are you going to offer less than true market value to be kind to the buyer?  Or, do you want the most $$ out of your home?

·         The seller can’t pay for my agent as a buyer.  WRONG.  Yes they can, but it may not be called out in the MLS as a commission to buyer’s agent.  However, the listing agent may note a seller concession for “closing costs” which can include the fee to the buyer’s agent.  Remember, everything is negotiable!

This situation is fraught with danger signs.  I anticipate many more lawsuits if dual agency becomes the norm.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024


Someone somewhere turned the light on, finally! Buyers are coming off the sidelines and sales activity is picking up, as we have been predicting since last year. 


Although rates are still holding steady fairly close to 7%, we are seeing much more application activity in the last two months.  We still expect to see the Fed reduce the Fed funds rate by June, although we continue to see mixed economic indicators. Inventory remains on the low side, keeping home prices up in most markets.


With the recent increase in activity, we are getting more and more phone calls that go like this:  “Hi, how are you?  I need a pre-approval letter today so I can see a property that was just listed”  or even worse, “I need a pre-approval letter now, so I can make an offer.”

Preapproval letters do not grow on trees--- and are not automatically issued (at least not by ethical lenders) upon request.   We always perform our due diligence and review bank statements, W2s, paystubs, and tax returns as applicable, depending on income streams. We pull a “soft” credit report and run automated underwriting on most loans for “automated loan approval.”  This can take us a day or two, depending on workflow and the speed with which clients provide us the documentation needed.

Please contact us early on so you are prepared to pounce when you find the right property.  That way, you won't miss out because you did not get your preapproval the same day you asked. 

Further, we oftentimes work for a month or twelve with clients on credit repair, increasing savings, accessing gift funds or down payment assistance, car loan payoffs, etc.


Our self-employed borrowers face special challenges.  Their income streams are typically more complicated, and oftentimes they have more latitude on the amount of expenses they deduct from income.  This can make or break a purchase or refinance loan.

We always want to review your business and individual tax returns PRIOR TO FILING.  This way we can be certain you will qualify for the loan you desire.  We like to collaborate with your tax preparer and/or CPA to coordinate for a successful loan transaction.

Recently a client who was fully pre-approved went ahead and filed his 2023 returns--showing less income with more expenses, and we had to cut his loan amount after he was ready to make an offer.  Don’t be that client!

I recently visited my sister and her chickens.  We love the fresh eggs they provide!

 Welcome to spring and daylight savings!  YAY!!!  

As always, call us with questions!

Karen, Katie and Stephanie



Tuesday, February 13, 2024

SUPERBOWL and SWIFT Insurance Changes!

I had to get a comment in about the increase of younger women, “Swifties” watching the Superbowl.  Wow!  What a great game, a nail-biter up to the end!  And the half-time show was entertaining!  Of course I am an Usher fan.  We watched the game at Dana Point Yacht Club, here is the sunset view.

Rate and Market Updates

Rates have crept back up near their highs.  The next move down will depend primarily on the CPI figures coming out this week.   If inflation is decreasing, we should see a reduction in the Fed rate sooner than later.  If not, we may be waiting for June before we see any appreciable change.

Regardless, activity is definitely picking up, with many coming off the sidelines when rates started their drop at the end of last year. To quote a local Real Estate professional, “Stop holding your breath waiting for prices to fall.”  They won’t, barring a National or International Disaster.

Baby boomers are not selling their homes and, for the most part, are not moving.  So, get into the market if you aren’t already, any way you can, even if you have to buy an investment property and/or combine forces with a friend or relative.  Don’t wait for your dream home or you may be priced entirely out of the market here in California.

Insurance Woes

In case you have not heard, we have an insurance crisis.  Insurance costs are rising dramatically for homes, cars and more.  A number of carriers have stopped writing insurance on homes in California, or pulled out of our market altogether.  This means many homeowners have had their policies cancelled by their carriers, and find they now have to resort to the “Fair Plan” provided by the State, with an additional “wrap” policy.  These are all expensive! 

Why is this happening, may you ask?   Well, fires, floods, and earthquakes.  Climate change is bringing more frequent and more serious weather events.  The number of weather-related disasters have risen dramatically in the US over the past 20+ years.  Insurance companies are losing money, and they are for-profit enterprises. 

So far, the companies that have exited or stopped writing new policies include The Hartford; State Farm, Allstate, Farmers, Kemper, and USAA.

Auto rates are climbing as well, primarily due to high costs to repair autos. 

What does this all mean?  Well, it has a rather dramatic effect on home affordability if your insurance premium is double or more than initially expected. Lenders require insurance and it is not wise for anyone to go “bare” without insurance, even if you don’t have a loan on your property.

We have to remind our clients to get busy contacting agents to get insurance in order ASAP,  or it can and will slow down closings.

However, if you think it is bad here, take a look at Florida.  There, many homeowners are being forced to sell as they can’t afford the enormous increase of their insurance policiy.  Others are paying off their mortgage and going “bare” so they don’t have to pay giant premiums where policies have doubled or tripled due to hurricanes.

If you need help with insurance, reach out!  We can help!

We are looking forward to Spring!

Karen, Katie and Stephanie

Monday, January 8, 2024


Welcome To 2024!  There is a lot of information floating around out there that is either in conflict from one day to the next, wishful thinking, or just plain wrong information.  We are here to inform you of what is happening in the real estate market today, and provide real up to date information.

Recession?  Nope!  Employment is too strong, and unemployment is still relatively low.  This is going to provide what economists call a “soft landing” for the country, unless we have an unforeseen catastrophe.  If we do enter recession, it will be very mild.

Wave of Foreclosures?  No way!  Homeowners have far too much equity to go into foreclosure.  Should a homeowner lose their job, and be unable to pay their mortgage (although there are still lots of jobs out there) they can sell and retain their equity before they might go into a foreclosure situation.

It's Too Hard to Qualify?   Although rates are higher than most of 2023, they have begun to come down.  At the same time there are more programs to make it easier for self-employed borrowers to qualify without providing tax returns.  Minimum down payments have been reduced for some loan programs, and there are many DPA (Down Payment Assistance) programs out there.  It has been a full-document environment for so long, there is nothing more difficult about today’s lending environment.  Both FHA and conventional programs are pretty liberal when it comes to debt-to-income ratios.  And, gift funds are always allowed to help with down payment.

Real Estate Crash?  No Way! Since the major “Meltdown” of 2008 – 2010 many things in the lending industry have changed.  Foremost of these is that virtually all homeowners who bought after the Meltdown qualified for real on paper for their loan.  And, today they have an absolute TON of equity in their home.  The last and biggest crash in 2008 was precipitated by an enormous number of “liar loans” where there was no income documentation required.  Those loans were packaged and sold to pension funds all over the world as “AAA” paper mortgages.  When they began to fail, the domino effect took over.  It was devasting for many people both in and out of the RE industry.  It absolutely can’t happen again with the safeguards now in place.

Home Prices will Drop? Prices have to come down, right?  Not in most areas of California.  We are uniquely insulated from major price fluctuations due to location, location, location...especially the closer to the Coast you are.  Most in the industry believe that as soon as rates begin to normalize into the low 6’s and 5’s, all the prospective buyers sitting on the sidelines will come out in droves, creating a frenzy of buying and bidding wars.

You Should Wait for rates to come down!  This is one of our favorites. The Cost of Waiting is enormous as you miss out on property appreciation and equity buildup through amortization (principal paydown).  Homeowners build wealth through real estate ownership. If you wait for five years on an $850K purchase you lose $275K. YES.  $275,000.  The interest rate is not as important as the price of the home.  Regarding prices, see above.

We hope all this helps you to see through the barrage of non-information coming your way.  We look forward to a productive 2024 for all!

Happy New Year from The Card Team!   

Karen, Katie, Stephanie