Questions & Answers
Can I get a mortgage with zero ($0) down?
Yes! Please read the Low or No Down Payment section of the site. There you’ll find several options for buying with nothing down, including VA, USDA and Sidwell’s FHA coupled with a non-repayable grant.
What is a No Income Verification loan?

The No Income Verification mortgage or NIV is generally used by people with good credit histories who do not wish to document their incomes. Under the NIV guidelines income is stated and employment is not verified. The NIV is ideal for the self-employed borrower with complicated tax returns and financial statements.

A Stated Income mortgage is somewhat similar to a No Income Verification mortgage except that on Stated Income employment is verified. This program is used by our commissioned or self employed borrowers where employment can be verified, but income is not easily ascertained. The program typically requires a great credit history and equity in the property (either by ownership or down payment). These products can be found in the Specialty Loan Programs section of our website.

Can I buy if I have no credit scores?
Yes! There are not a lot of loan programs for individuals without credit scores, but we have a couple, and they work well if the borrower has a strong down payment and the transaction makes sense.
What is a short sale on a home?
A short sale occurs when a lender agrees to lower a loan balance at the request of the homeowner. The homeowner sells the property for less than the amount owed, and turns over the proceeds of the sale to the lender in full satisfaction of the debt. The lower payoff has to be negotiated and formally approved by the lender in advance of the sale. The formal negotiation of a short sale approval is conducted through the bank’s loss mitigation department.
Can I get a VA loan after a short sale or foreclosure?
Yes! The general rule is that a buyer seeking VA financing must wait a minimum of two (2) years after they’ve had a short sale or foreclosure. There is an exception that permits a shorter waiting period under some circumstances. If you want additional information about this highly nuanced exception, please submit an inquiry via the Ask A Question button at the top of the page.
What is title insurance?
Title insurance provides protection against claims that you do not have clear title to your home. The title company insures that no other individual or entity has a right, lien or claim to the home you’re buying. Prior to a policy being issued, the title insurance company completes extensive research into relevant public records, maps and documents to trace ownership of the property and confirms that no one other than you will have an interest in the property. If someone contests your title in a legal action, the title insurance company will defend the title at no expense to you, or if there is a title defect that cannot be eliminated, the title insurance company will protect you from financial loss – up to the amount of the policy.
What is an appraisal?
An appraisal is a written estimate of a property’s market value. The appraisal is performed by a by a real estate appraiser, a licensed and insured objective third party whose job is to give their expert professional opinion regarding the market value of the home.
How does an appraisal differ from an inspection?
The primary difference is that the inspector’s job is to determine the condition of the property and the appraiser’s task is to assess the property’s value. There is some overlap in the sense that the property’s condition has an impact on its value.
What is escrow?
Escrow is simply a neutral third party whose task is to make sure everyone receives what they’re contractually entitled to. In an effort to make the concept easier to grasp, let’s consider a transaction that’s less technical than real estate (and one that most of us have experienced at least once). Assume you’re selling a car for $5,000 and you’ve secured a buyer who’ll pay that price. Further assume that you’ve hired an escrow company to handle the transaction and escrow is charging $75. Here’s how the transaction would proceed: 1) You would sign over the title of the car to the buyer and deliver the executed title, along with your share of the escrow fee to the escrow officer (and if applicable, the Bill of Sale; 2) The buyer would deliver the $5,000 purchase price to the escrow company, along with their share of the escrow fee, appropriate taxes, transfer fees, and Proof of Insurance; 3) The escrow officer would forward the taxes, transfer fees and transfer forms to the CA DMV – thereby assuring that the vehicle is no longer in your name and you’re no longer liable for any misadventures; 4) Escrow would forward you the $5,000 as payment for your car; and 5) Escrow would pay themselves the $75 as agreed. Notice that everyone gets what they bargained for (including the state of California), everyone is protected (including the citizens of California), and the transaction is closed in accordance with California Law. This is why mortgage lenders require that we use an escrow company.