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Chris Salese

There’s been a catchy radio commercial floating around the air waves lately from a travel company that speaks to how it feels like it’s six months into the new year, yet it’s only been six weeks.

Therefore, this particular company is, of course, promoting a trip to some exclusive island paradise as a means to take a break from all of the noise and intensity of your typical day.

While this certainly sounds nice, now is definitely not the time you want to check out and miss any of the action that’s likely to take place over the next few months if you’re a working professional in the real estate or mortgage industry.

My prediction is that the spring real estate season is going to be highly active for both buyers and sellers.

For example, in Napa County, the number of residential homes listed for sale and the number of closed residential sales are usually at a lower volume mark during the December through February months.

Although, in comparison to that time frame over the last two years, it appears Napa County is at an unusual lower point than they have been in quite a long time with regard to listing inventory levels.

Since the real estate and mortgage industries are so tightly twisted together, your lenders have been working diligently behind the scenes to bring on new products, loosening up underwriting program guidelines and dusting off the cobwebs to existing lending rules in an attempt to kick-start the spring real estate season.

Whether your lender’s adjustments help or not, you will find out in about 90 days from now.

In the meantime, here are two popular strategies for buyers and sellers to leverage this spring.

If you’re thinking of buying a new home and retaining your current one as a rental property, even though you don’t have a history of being a landlord, that’s not a problem.

For most lenders, as long as they can confirm you have equity in your departing residence, then your lender will allow for the use of prospective rental income from that property to help toward your loan qualifications on your new home.

You might have to provide a lease agreement for your new tenant or you may need an appraisal to confirm the equity percentage as well, but this gives you some flexibility in terms of how to better manage your purchasing power for your new home.

Another option, assuming you’re trying to purchase a new home that’s contingent on your current one being sold, is to be able to exclude the mortgage payment on your departing residence from your loan qualifications on your new home in order to avoid taking a major hit to your purchasing power.

To pull this off, the closing date for your departing residence would need to be within 30 days of your closing date of your new home, all contingencies would need to be removed by the buyer of your departing residence and you would need to have proof of adequate reserves.

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Chris Salese can be reached at or (707) 363-4439. He is a licensed California mortgage banker (NMLS 254469 /1850 CA BRE 01377933/01215943) and equal housing lender.