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mortgages and who does them

 
Alma1968
(@Alma1968)
Active Member

Hi everybody,
I am looking into mortgages and who does them on the island of St Croix,
I have been looking for a small retirement house, I do not want a condo or town house, just a nice little house with a view.
It seems like the local banks only wish to do a mortgages if it can be started with a huge deposit, like 20% or 25% and very high rates..
Also, there are several mortgage brokers here, but they all seem represent the same mortgage bank; Flagstar Bank in Michigan.
I have also been told that the rates are higher here than the banks stateside, or even what Fannie or Freddie are quoting is that the VI Government has to approve the rates to be higher and that they get a very small portion of each payment.
Has anybody every questioned that and who would l go to for answers??
All the banks that advertise on cable TV in the say that they are not allowed to do any mortgages here without having a physical office or agent located on the island and are also approved by the government to do mortgage lending.
In my quest for mortgage information I did meet a housing professional who had a Flagstar Mortgage for many years, at a very high rate, and after trying to lower their mortgage with the federal governments Home Affordable Program then Flagstar transfer their mortgage to a company call Green Tree Servicing. I searched the internet but cannot find anything good about Green Tree for island mortgages, only all sorts of law suite and customer complaints about them and their bad tactics.
I am house and home shopping and would like to know just how much and what I can afford with a good mortgage, I love it here and wish to stay.
Finally, could any body tell me of their opinion of who is a good mortgage representative, if they have had any problems with the one and only Flagstar Bank and of course anything at all about buying here on the island.
I am just in the early stages of getting everything set and then I can go for one of the nice houses I have seen.
thanks all.

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Topic starter Posted : January 7, 2014 2:45 pm
JulieKay
(@JulieKay)
Trusted Member

I know several people who have used The Good Pirates out of Florida and have had a good experience with them:

http://www.thegoodpirates.com/WWW.THEGOODPIRATES.COM/USVIRGINISLANDS

I don't think you can find a "low money down" deal in the VI though. But these guys would know if you contact them.

I do not recommend Capital Mortgage Services.

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Posted : January 7, 2014 3:24 pm
rmb2830
(@rmb2830)
Advanced Member

Well, what you've outlined is pretty much the way of mortgages in the VI..and seeing the unusual and non-typical rate of forclosures over the past few years, the banks have taken a big hit. 20% has usually been the baseline deposit, though I believe that VA mortgages have different parameters. Rates and requirements vary by bank, but the bank must generally be licensed in the VI, though I do see occasional mortgages granted by stateside banks, most probably to folks who have a special relationship with a bank in the states.
You will also need hurricane homeowner insurance if you have a mortgage, and that can be very costly as well.
right now, it's probably cheaper to be a tenant.

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Posted : January 7, 2014 3:26 pm
Ericw
(@Ericw)
Advanced Member

We have worked with Banco Popular out of their STT office and so far couldn't be happier. Very friendly and attentive mortgage agents and competitive rates. 20% down is the standard for a mortgage. Good luck!

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Posted : January 7, 2014 3:45 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Check with First Bank, Flagstar Bank, First Liberty Mortgage Company, Schaffer Mortgage Company and Scotia Bank.
If you have an account with Merrill Lynch, they also will do mortgages here.

I found dealing with Banco Pop for mortgages for clients to be a long drawn out process so glad someone found their process to thier liking. You may be able to get 10% down so good to check.

Green Tree Servicing may just handle the mortgage servicing (payments from mortgagee) but not issue mortgages.
I never heard of them.

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Posted : January 7, 2014 4:37 pm
ChrisMI
(@ChrisMI)
Advanced Member

Hi there. While I don't have any specific person to recommend, I can set some things straight about mortgages in the VI compared to the states. First off, conventional mortgages (through FNMA and FHLMC) as well as FHA and VA loans (through GNMA) can be done in the VI just the same as in the states. The problem, is that very few stateside banks and mortgage companies want to originate loans in the VI, because the rules are different in every state (and territory) and they wouldn't do enough loans, and/or have a presence in the VI, to justify the licensing requirements and having people specialized in dealing with escrow rules and property tax remittances in the VI. Those brokers all use Flagstar because they are one of the very few stateside banks that will originate loans in the VI.

The VI does not take any sort of "cut" from your payment. Rates for regular conventional loans, and FHA and VA loans, may be slightly higher than in the states, just because it is a bit more complex and there is not as much competition. By slightly higher I mean .250%. Now, some of the VI banks do mortgage lending only for their own portfolio, so it's not based on what the "market" rate is for mortgages that can be securitized through FNMA, FHLMC, or GNMA, but based on the rate of interest that their respective ALCO committees have determined to be appropriate for a residential mortgage loan.

By "approved by the government", it just means to be licensed, just like in any US state. the VI government does not "raise the rates" to take any sort of cut. There might be a mortgage tax (I can't remember), but if so there are a few other states that do that too. That person's experience with Flagstar is likely from back in the day when things were much different (and got all jacked up). Flagstar is a good company, and typically in the top 10 for nationwide mortgage originations each year, so they know mortgages.

Hope this helps.

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Posted : January 7, 2014 5:56 pm
watruw8ing4
(@watruw8ing4)
Trusted Member

We got our Flagstar mortgage almost 7 years ago and haven't had a problem with them. We got a better rate than we thought we could (as a second home) and the application and approval process gave us no heartburn. Won't hesitate to refinance through them once the second mortgage becomes the primary one.

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Posted : January 7, 2014 8:57 pm
richardrblc
(@richardrblc)
Advanced Member

i used usaa i am ex army great rates also use them for home owners and auto as well as banking everything handled online

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Posted : January 8, 2014 12:57 am
divinggirl
(@divinggirl)
Trusted Member

i used usaa i am ex army great rates also use them for home owners and auto as well as banking everything handled online

Do you have an actual Homeowners policy with USAA here? I was told they only write renters insurance, not homeowners in the USVI.

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Posted : January 8, 2014 1:12 am
quirion
(@quirion)
Advanced Member

We have USAA here in the states but when we called them about home insurance in the VI they said they didn't do that.
So same question!

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Posted : January 8, 2014 2:45 am
DanielB_STX
(@DanielB_STX)
Advanced Member

We have USAA here in the states but when we called them about home insurance in the VI they said they didn't do that.
So same question!

USAA told me the same....................

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Posted : January 8, 2014 12:18 pm
vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
Expert

We used ScotiaBank. It was along drawn out process because banks don't like the self employed or business owners but we finally got it done. 20% down payment is the minimum just about anywhere in the US now and the VI is no exception. VA mortgages are a different story. If you're a vet, you'll likely qualify for better rates and a lower down payment.

Apparently, the VI government applies a 1% tax when you renew your home owners insurance which seems like a rip-off to me.

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Posted : January 8, 2014 12:19 pm
Alma1968
(@Alma1968)
Active Member

does anybody know of Green Tree Servicing...they have a web site that says they do mortgages...more help please!

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Topic starter Posted : January 8, 2014 3:38 pm
ChrisMI
(@ChrisMI)
Advanced Member

For a condo, the max LTV with FNMA and FHLMC is 90% (10% down). If you can do an FHA loan, the minimum down-payment is only 3.5%. These down payment numbers are only if you are buying this as your primary residence, not as a second home. There may be some lenders that have elected to impose tougher restrictions, but those are the HUD and agency requirements.

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Posted : January 8, 2014 3:40 pm
ChrisMI
(@ChrisMI)
Advanced Member

Hi Alma -- sorry I didn't see your post until after the last one I wrote. I know GreenTree. Like several other lenders and servicers, they did a lot of subprime and Alt-A loans back in the day (2002-2007), effectively imploded, and have been re-created out of the ashes into a "new", regular mortgage banker and loan servicer. As their old stuff has melted away they are rebuilding with confirming, FHA, and VA loans the good old fashioned way. They will probably be a top 20 or top 30 mortgage lender in 2014. IMPAC and Homeward/Ocwen (who has a big call center in St. Croix if I recall correctly) are in the same boat. Imploded from tons of foreclosures, re-capitalized, and re-invented.

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Posted : January 9, 2014 1:17 am
lily1025
(@lily1025)
Advanced Member

I know several people who have used The Good Pirates out of Florida and have had a good experience with them:

http://www.thegoodpirates.com/WWW.THEGOODPIRATES.COM/USVIRGINISLANDS

I don't think you can find a "low money down" deal in the VI though. But these guys would know if you contact them.

I do not recommend Capital Mortgage Services.

i am curious as to why you would not recommend capital mortgage? we had an excellent experience with them far better than first bank or scotia.

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Posted : January 9, 2014 3:24 pm
JulieKay
(@JulieKay)
Trusted Member

I know several people who have used The Good Pirates out of Florida and have had a good experience with them:

http://www.thegoodpirates.com/WWW.THEGOODPIRATES.COM/USVIRGINISLANDS

I don't think you can find a "low money down" deal in the VI though. But these guys would know if you contact them.

I do not recommend Capital Mortgage Services.

i am curious as to why you would not recommend capital mortgage? we had an excellent experience with them far better than first bank or scotia.

We had a terrible experience last summer with them - extremely unresponsive, asked for the same documents over and over, would just disappear for weeks at a time with no response to emails, we spent months just spinning our wheels waiting for information, and when we decided we were not moving forward with the re-fi and sent an email to tell them, we never heard from them again, not even an acknowledgement. I had to hunt down and pay vendors myself, like the surveyor.

Edited to add: We may have had a "window in time" experience where there were a lot of personal issues going on at the office. They could be better again now, but this was just our experience. It was rough - but for us at least everything worked out as it should and we wound up moving anyway.

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Posted : January 9, 2014 4:10 pm
ChrisMI
(@ChrisMI)
Advanced Member

Wow, that sucks JulieKay. Often times the customer experience is much more closely correlated to how good the loan officer is, versus the company itself. The company determines what programs are available, sets rates and fees, etc., but for the most part whether or not things get done right (or not at all) is all about the quality of the loan officer, most of which are almost all commission-based, To my mind, referrals of good loan officers are much more valuable than referrals of overall companies that someone had a good experience at. Great company + cruddy loan officer = bad experience. Great loan officer + mediocre company = good experience.

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Posted : January 9, 2014 5:02 pm
JulieKay
(@JulieKay)
Trusted Member

Wow, that sucks JulieKay. Often times the customer experience is much more closely correlated to how good the loan officer is, versus the company itself. The company determines what programs are available, sets rates and fees, etc., but for the most part whether or not things get done right (or not at all) is all about the quality of the loan officer, most of which are almost all commission-based, To my mind, referrals of good loan officers are much more valuable than referrals of overall companies that someone had a good experience at. Great company + cruddy loan officer = bad experience. Great loan officer + mediocre company = good experience.

Yep. I'm not trying to drag our loan officer down personally. He's a great guy, but we had a really bad experience. Maybe he's turned things around. I hope so.

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Posted : January 9, 2014 5:19 pm
richardrblc
(@richardrblc)
Advanced Member

had renters converted to home owners when i bought house

i used usaa i am ex army great rates also use them for home owners and auto as well as banking everything handled online

Do you have an actual Homeowners policy with USAA here? I was told they only write renters insurance, not homeowners in the USVI.

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Posted : January 9, 2014 6:31 pm
Ericw
(@Ericw)
Advanced Member

had renters converted to home owners when i bought house

i used usaa i am ex army great rates also use them for home owners and auto as well as banking everything handled online

Do you have an actual Homeowners policy with USAA here? I was told they only write renters insurance, not homeowners in the USVI.

USAA does not offer homeowners insurance here. I have asked them several times and have asked to have my comments escalated to management. If you are USAA eligible call them and request home owners insurance here If enough people call asking for it they may consider it.

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Posted : January 9, 2014 8:02 pm
divinggirl
(@divinggirl)
Trusted Member

had renters converted to home owners when i bought house

i used usaa i am ex army great rates also use them for home owners and auto as well as banking everything handled online

Do you have an actual Homeowners policy with USAA here? I was told they only write renters insurance, not homeowners in the USVI./quote]

I am assuming you did this in the states and not in the USVI.

I have been in contact with the Lt. Gov Office - Division of Banking & Insurance. I was told that USAA has elected to not provide HO insurance in the VI as they do not want to pay the "necessary fees". When I asked what those fees were I was told "I don't know".
A manager at USAA indicated that the fees were approx. 2 million a year to the Ins. Guarantee fund. I don't know if that is accurate but that is what I was told.

Does anyone know what "fees" are required for an insurance company in order to write HO policies in the VI? Now I'm curious!

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Posted : January 9, 2014 10:01 pm
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