Jack Tenold NMLS 10261

Where Does My Earnest Money Go?

Hey, I gave my real estate agent a $5000 earnest money deposit check… Where does that money go?

A basic and very obvious question that most First-Time home Buyers ask once their purchase contract gets accepted.

According to Wikipedia:

Earnest Money – an earnest payment (sometimes called earnest money or simply earnest, or alternatively a good-faith deposit) is a deposit towards the purchase of real estate or publicly tendered government contract made by a buyer or registered contractor to demonstrate that he/she is serious (earnest) about wanting to complete the purchase.

When a buyer makes an offer to buy residential real estate, he/she generally signs a contract and pays a sum acceptable to the seller by way of earnest money. The amount varies enormously, depending upon local custom and the state of the local market at the time of contract negotiations.

An Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) is simply held by a third-party escrow company according to the terms of the executed purchase contract.

For example, there may be a contingency period for appraisal, loan approval, property inspection or approval of HOA documents.

In most cases, the Earnest Money held by the escrow company is credited towards the home buyer’s down payment and/or closing costs.

*It’s important to keep in mind that the EMD may actually be cashed at the time escrow is opened, so make sure your funds are from the proper sources.

The Process:

  1. Earnest Money is submitted to an escrow company with the accepted purchase contract

  2. At the close of escrow, the EMD is credited towards the down payment and / or closing costs

  3. If there are no closing costs or down payment, the EMD is refunded back to the buyer

Who Doesn’t Get Your Earnest Money:

  • Selling Real Estate Agent – A conflict of interest

  • Sellers – Too risky

  • Buying Agent – They shouldn’t have your money in their account

Home purchase borrowers…..you are my first priority.  I will provide you with all the information you need from application to closing.  You won’t be left in the dark along the way.  You deserve and will receive accurate information.  Feel free to call me, Jack Tenold, at 800-617-3105.


Related Articles – Closing Process / Costs

April 28, 2015 by · Leave a Comment

Veterans have you met IRRRL?

veteransaffairs-seal    Who is IRRRL you say?

    What is IRRRL?


     IRRRL is the VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan

     It is a home loan refinance program which provides another benefit to the 600,000+     veterans who may be searching for ways to save money.   IRRRL allows you to refinance a property on which you used your VA eligibility benefit. If you have used your VA benefit and now you want to find out if there is another VA benefit waiting for you to tap, then visit: http://www.benefits.va.gov/HOMELOANS/irrrl.asp for information or call and talk to a home loan specialist.

June 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment

Top 10 Scams According To The BBB

Scammers of all kinds come out this time of year to prey on those that may not be aware. They seek out those that can’t easily fend for themselves. Sometimes it is a senior who may be sick, lonely or suffering from dementia. Because I work with many seniors over the age of 62 in my reverse mortgage business I pay close attention to these con artists. They can pick the vulnerable  out easily and spin their services or products as though they are legitimate.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) listed the top 10 scams of last year. This great organization sees it all and works hard to inform consumers about how to inform themselves of the reputation and quality of services a business performs prior to doing business with them. The Top 10 Scams for 2011 were:

  1.  Top Job scam that targets anyone looking for work – YOU GOT THE JOB! Now fill out the online job form and they have all of your information for Identity Theft.
  2. Top Sweepstakes and Lottery scam– YOU WON! Targets social media users so that when you click on the link the scammer sees all of your personal information
  3. Top Social media scam – click here – downloads a virus that finds your passwords
  4. Top Home improvement scam – in person pitch that results in shoddy work or they take your money and run
  5. Top Check Cashing scam – sorry I wrote the check for too much, write me one for the difference. Their check bounces and your check is cashing
  6. Top Phishing scam – email from ACH (automated clearing house) about an electronic transaction problem. Link takes you to a false banking site that steals your money.
  7. Top Identity Theft scam – you are staying at a hotel and a late night call from someone posing as a desk clerk for your credit card information
  8. Top Phone scam – we can help you keep your house by dealing with your mortgage company. They get paid and do nothing and you owe more in the end
  9. Tom Sales Scam – online pitch like win an iPad – you pay for every bid even if you don’t get what you bid to purchase
  10. Top Phishing scam of the year is the Better Business Bureau Scam

BBB email “complaint against your business” – clicking on the link downloads malware that gets your banking information and transfers money

Helping seniors understand Reverse Mortgages in the Spokane, WA area is my business so I hear a lot of horror stories. Just yesterday I was told about a business owner in town that was on the phone talking with his 90 something mother in Monroe, WA and she told him that her bank account was empty. He was shocked as she wasn’t wealthy but always carried a comfortable balance in her savings.

As it turns out she was a victim of the Top Sweepstakes and Lottery scam. She was called and told that she won but would need to send some money to claim it. Then call after call for more money until she had exhausted all of her savings and incurred $20,000 in credit card debt. The family got DSHS involved and they aren’t sure that she believed them when they told her that she was the victim of a scam.

If you ever have a question about whether or not something is a scam be sure to give me a call, Jack Tenold, and if I don’t know the answer I will refer you to someone with more knowledge.

February 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment

What IS a Reverse Mortgage?

   The other day I had a conversation that summarizes an all-too-common situation.

  I was chatting with a lovely senior lady (we’ll call her Jane) who, with  her  husband,  was shopping for a new senior-friendly home.  I suggested that she may wish to purchase the home with a reverse mortgage.

 “Oh no! I don’t want a reverse mortgage,” Jane proclaimed.  “Why not?” I asked?

“I just don’t want one. No reverse mortgage for me.”

“But you would be able to live here, keep a great deal of your cash from the sale of your current home, and never have a house payment as long as either one of you stayed in the home,” I said.

No no.  Not for me,” she insisted.  “Hold on, tell me more about this thing,” asked her husband.

“No, we don’t want …. Wait. What is a reverse mortgage?” said Jane.

And therein lies the problem. So many people who insist they don’t want a reverse mortgage have no idea what it is. They have worked themselves into a belief that a reverse mortgage would not be good for them, when often times it is a good solution for their financial needs.

You see, a reverse mortgage is simply another tool to consider when making a financial plan. It is quite common for seniors to want to stay in their home, have extra cash, and not be burdened with house payments.

Although my office does all kinds of home mortgages – and does them well – I have made it a point to emphasize to people 62 years of age and older that they should seriously consider the benefits of a reverse mortgage. And do you know what the two biggest obstacles are that I have to overcome?

Here are the obstacles:  Fear and ignorance. All of us are woefully ignorant when it comes to this financial tool. And that ignorance produces fear. 

The media, the government, and financial sites seem to go out of their way to portray this rather simple financial tool as a scary, complex, dangerous instrument. In fact, it is a vital part of a good financial plan for many people.

Here’s a good exercise for you:

Find a financial product that looks like this:

A lump sum or a monthly income given directly to you.

  1. No repayment of that money until you leave the home permanently.

  2. No impact on Social Security.

  3. No impact on Medicare.

  4. No impact on your taxes.

  5. No limitations on what you can do with the money.

  6. You retain title to the home and pay property taxes,  homeowner’s insurance, and HOA dues (if any).

Did you find a financial product which can do those things? Unless you answered “reverse mortgage”, I’m pretty sure you did not. Because there is no product other than a reverse mortgage which can accomplish all of those goals.

December 12, 2012 by · Leave a Comment

What is my home worth?

Anyone considering a home loan today is concerned about the value of their home. With all loans,  the appraisal determines the value of the property.

The appraised value is determined by a licensed appraiser comparing properties that have recently sold in your neighborhood.  The appraiser is independent and cannot be influenced by a loan officer or lender.  He or she is responsible for making certain that the property meets certain requirements.

FHA appraisers are particularly concerned that the house is in reasonable condition and that there are no health or safety issues. An  AMC (Appraisal Management Company) will call you to set a convenient time for you to meet to appraise your home.  Generally, the appraiser’s report will be completed within two weeks.  Sometimes the appraiser makes the appraisal “conditional” to certain repairs being done on the home such as paint, hand rails or other minor repairs.

Call me if you require further information regarding an appraisal.   My toll free number is (800) 617-3105.

May 12, 2012 by · Leave a Comment

First-Time Home Buyer Credit Checklist

Getting a new mortgage for a First-Time Home Buyer  can be a little overwhelming with all of the important details, guidelines and potential speed bumps. Talking to an experienced loan officer to get pre-qualified is a must and finding a good realtor helps too.  But first the basics with this simple list of things to follow throughout the approval process:


  • Continue working at your current job

  • Stay current on all your accounts

  • Keep making your house or rent payments

  • Keep your insurance payments current

  • Continue to maintain your credit as usual

  • Call us if you have any questions


  • Make any major purchases (Car, Boat, Jet Ski, Home Theater…)

  • Apply for new credit

  • Open new credit cards

  • Transfer any balances from one credit or bank acct to another

  • Pay off any charge-off accts or collections

  • Take out furniture loans

  • Close any credit cards

  • Max out your credit cards

  • Consolidate credit debt

Basically, while you are in the process of getting a new mortgage, keep your financial status as stable as possible until the loan is funded and recorded. Any number of minor changes could easily raise a red flag or cause a negative impact on a credit score that may result in a denied loan.

Your loan officer will be in touch with you along the way but don’t hesitate to call on even the simplest question.  Take this Do and Don’t list seriously.  Some folks don’t and unfortunately their loan is denied.


Related Articles – Home Buying Process:

July 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment

Seven Things Your Real Estate Agent Should Know About Your Mortgage Approval

While many experienced real estate agents have a general understanding of the mortgage approval process, there are a few important details that frequently get overlooked which may cause a purchase to be delayed or denied.

New regulation, updated disclosures, appraisal guidelines, mortgage rate pricing premiums, credit score, secondary approval layering, rescission deadlines, property type, HOA insurance requirements, title and property flip rules are just a few of the daily changes that can have a serious impact on a borrower’s home loan financing.

It is  important for home buyers to get a full loan approval which clearly defines all contingencies that pertain to every home buyer’s scenario prior to looking at new homes with a real estate agent.

Here are a few of the top things your real estate agent should keep in mind while showing you properties:

Caution – Agents Beware:

Property Type –

High-Rise, Condo, Town House, Single Family Residence, Dome Home or Shoe House… all have specific lending guidelines that can influence down payment, credit score and mortgage insurance requirements.

Residence Type

Need to sell one home before moving into another? Is a property considered a second home if it’s in the same city?  What if I’m buying a home for my children to live in, it is still considered an investment property?

These are just a few of several possible residence related questions that should be addressed by your agent and loan officer at the initial loan application.

Rates / Locks

Mortgage Rates are typically locked for a 30 day period, and one of the only ways to get a new rate is to switch mortgage lenders.  Rates also have certain adjustments for property / residence type, credit score and down payment which could have a big impact on monthly payments and therefore approvals.

A 1% increase in rate could literally mean the difference between an approval or denial.

Headline News / Employment

Underwriters watch the news as well.  Borrowers who work in a volatile industry during hard economic times may have to jump through a few extra hoops to prove that their employment and income is secure.

Job changes, periods of unemployment or property location in relation to the subject property are other things to consider that may cause a speed bump in the approval process.

Title / Property Flip –

A Flip is considered a property that has been purchased by an investor and quickly sold to a new buyer within a 30-90 day period.  Generally, an investor will do a little rehab work, fresh paint, landscaping…. and try to re-sell the property for a significant profit margin.

While it seems like a perfectly fair transaction, many lenders have strict guidelines in place that prevent borrowers from obtaining financing on properties that have a previous owner with less than 90 days of documented ownership.

These rules change frequently, and are specific to particular property types, so make sure your agent is aware of all the boundaries associated with your approval letter.

Homeowner’s Association Insurance

Some lenders require Condos and Town House communities to have sufficient insurance and reserves coverage pertaining to specific ratios on units that are owner occupied vs rented.  This is especially important for FHA purchases.

It may take a few weeks and cost up to $300 to receive an HOA Certification.  Make sure your Due-Diligence period is set accordingly in the purchase contract.

Appraisal Ordering Procedures

Many new consumer protection laws have been created to protect the home buyer.  For example, all appraisals are now ordered through an AMC (Appraisal Management Company) and eliminates the opportunity for unfair advantage.   This does not slow the home buying process down.

VA, FHA and Conventional loan programs all have separate appraisal ordering policies, so make sure your real estate agent is aware of which loan you’re approved for so that they document any anticipated delays in the purchase contract.

For example, if an appraisal takes three weeks and the average time for an approval is two weeks, then it probably isn’t smart to write a purchase contract with a four week close of escrow.


Related Articles – Home Buying Process:

July 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment

Do I Need To Sell My Home Before I Can Qualify For A New Mortgage On Another Property?

Although every situation is unique, it is not uncommon for homebuyers to qualify for a mortgage on a new home while still living in their primary residence.

Perhaps you are outgrowing your home, or have been forced to relocate due to a job transfer.  Regardless of the motivation for keeping one property while purchasing another, let’s address this question with the mortgage approval in mind:

So, Do I Have To Sell?

Yes. No. Maybe. It depends.

Welcome to the wonderful world of mortgage lending. Only in this industry can one simple question elicit four answers…and all of them may be right.

If you are in a financial position where you qualify to afford both your current residence and the proposed payment on your new house, then the simple answer is No!

Qualifying based on your Debt-to-Income Ratio is one thing, but remember to budget for the additional expenses of maintaining multiple properties. Everything from mortgage payments, increased property taxes and hazard insurance to unexpected repairs should be factored into your final decision.

What If I Rent My Current Property?

This scenario presents the “maybe” and the “it depends” answers to the question.

If you’re not quite qualified to carry both mortgages, you may have to rent the other property in order to offset the mortgage payment.

In that scenario, the lender will typically only count 75% of the monthly rent you are proposing to receive.

So if you are going to receive $1000 a month in rent and your current payment is $1500, the lender is going to factor in an additional $750 of monthly liabilities in your overall Debt-to-Income Ratios.

Another detail that can present a huge hurdle is the reserve requirement and equity ratio most lenders have. In some cases, if you are going to rent out your current home, you will need to have at least 25% equity in order to offset your payment with the proposed rent you will receive.

Without that hefty amount of equity, you will have to qualify to afford BOTH mortgage payments. You will also need some significant cash in the bank.

Generally, lenders will require six months reserve on the old property, as well as six month reserves on the new property.

For example, if you have a $1500 payment on your old house and are buying a home with a $2000 monthly payment, you will need over $21,000 in the bank.

Keep in mind, this reserve requirement is incremental to your down payment on the new property.

What If I Can’t Qualify Based On Both Mortgage Payments?

This answer is pretty straightforward, and doesn’t require a financial calculator to figure out.

If you are in this situation, then you will have to sell your current home before buying a new one.

If you aren’t sure of the value of the home or how your local market is performing, give us a ring and we’ll happily refer you to a great real estate agent that is in tune with property values in your neighborhood.


Purchasing one home while living in another can be a bit complicated.  However,  feel free to contact me anytime so we can discuss your situation and I can guide you to the proper plan of action.

Refinance and home purchase borrowers…..you are my first priority.  I will provide you with all the information you need because education is key.  You won’t be left in the dark along the way.  You deserve and will receive accurate information.  For a no-obligation pre-approval, apply online on my secure website.

Or feel free to call me, Jack Tenold – 800-617-3105


Related Articles – Mortgage Approval Process:

April 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment

What Do Appraisers Look For When Determining A Property’s Value?

My clients are often surprised to learn what appraisers actually look at when determining the value of a real estate property whether it is rural or urban.

A common misconception  is that the value of a home is determined after the appraiser has completed a physical property inspection.   Actually, the appraiser  has a good idea of the property’s value by the time the appointment is scheduled because the professional appraiser has done some homework.

The good news is that you don’t have to worry  about pushing back an appointment a few days just to “clean things up” in order to help influence the value of your property. Most folks prefer to put everything in order because the appraiser will take photographs of the interior and the exterior of the home.  A clean and tidy house will certainly make it easier for the appraiser and you will feel better too.  Also, it doesn’t hurt to mention the new roof or furnace or fence that you may have recently purchased.

The Key Components Addressed In An Appraisal

The Site:

Location, view, topography, lot size, utilities, zoning, external factors, highest and best use, landscaping features…


Quality of construction, finish work, fixed appliances and any defining features


Age, deterioration, renovations, upgrades, added features

Health & Safety:

Structural integrity, code compliance


Above grade and below grade improvements


Is the property conforming to the neighborhood?

Functional Utility:

Is the property functional as built – style and use?


Garages, Carports, Shops, etc..


Curb appeal, lot size, & conforming to the neighborhood are obvious to the appraiser when they drive down into the neighborhood pull up in front of your home.

When entering your home, they are going to look at the overall design, condition, finish work, upgrades, any defining features, functional utility, square footage, number of rooms and health and safety items.

Be sure to have all carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in working condition.

Since a home appraisal provides significant weight to any credit decision involving the security of real estate, the appraisal is done by a qualified, licensed appraiser who is familiar with your neighborhood, and the type of home you are buying, selling or refinancing.

If you’re interested in the format, here is a copy of a blank 1040 URAR form that is used by every appraiser in the country.

Important Update on HVCC:

Appraisers hired for a mortgage transaction on a any  loan are chosen from a pool of qualified appraisers at random.  Neither you nor your lender has the opportunity to decide which appraiser will inspect your home.  This change was brought on with the Home Valuation Code of Conduct HVCC, and took effect with conventional loans originated on or after May 1, 2009.


Related Appraisal Articles:

March 29, 2010 by · Leave a Comment

Understanding the Difference Between an Appraisal vs Neighborhood Listing Prices

Why is there such a difference between what my appraised value is and the price similar homes are selling for on my street?

It’s a great question, and you don’t have to be a mortgage professional or a real estate agent to understand the answer.

The distinction lies in the purpose of the two valuations and who is responsible for creating them.


The purpose of an appraisal is to make sure that an independent non-interested third party verifies the “most likely” sale price based on the market value and condition of the home.

Appraisals are meant to be a realistic determination of the value of a home if it were to sell in the current market, in its current condition.

In addition, appraisers are governed by rules intended to standardize the subjective process of determining a home’s value.

Some of the key factors appraisers look at are: location, above ground size, room count, bathroom count, style of home, condition of property, amenities, and market conditions such as how long it takes for home to sell and if values are increasing, decreasing or steady.

Appraisers are also asked to look only at comparable sales within a certain distance, usually one mile except in rural areas, and within a specified period of time, which is 3 months in the current market.

Listing Prices:

Listing prices on the other hand are influenced by the real estate agent, and set by interested and often emotional sellers.

Sellers are not held by any rules when they list a home. In some cases, sellers take what they paid for the house, add what they have spent on improvements and even add amount for profit.

Often times, sellers will list their home based on the amount needed to pay for the real estate agent, closing costs and cover the amount of the mortgages.

Extra low prices are generally the result of an extra motivated seller that has to sell and move in a rush, so they’ll list their property below market comps in order to be the most competitive.

Throw in bank owned homes (foreclosed properties), and listing prices may be all over the place without a logical explanation due to an asset manager making decisions from another part of the country.

The Verdict:

While list price is never a good indication of what a home in your neighborhood is worth, appraisals are not an exact science that will determine the true value of your home either.

Some will argue that a home is worth what people will pay for it, so there’s obviously a little room for personal interpretation.  Either way, the bank securing that piece of real estate for a mortgage loan generally always has the final opinion that matters the most.


Related Appraisal Articles:

March 28, 2010 by · Leave a Comment