Industry Watch: Guaranteed Rate adds assistance for underserved buyers, APM acquires Lend Smart and more

Guaranteed Rate launched a new special purpose credit program. This new initiative aims to make homeownership more accessible by providing up to $8,000 in assistance to underserved homebuyers, helping to overcome accessibility challenges such as minimum deposits and move-in repair and maintenance costs. The program provides a minimum of $5,000 in downpayment and closing-cost assistance and up to an additional 1% of the sales price (or $3,000). The program is currently available for first-time homebuyers in specific regions of six metropolitan areas — Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis and Philadelphia — and tracts determined by U.S. Census Bureau data. Eligible homebuyers in these areas can use the assistance toward a purchase anywhere in the country.

United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM) enhanced its TRAC (title review and closing) program, initially launched in October 2022. The company added two settlement agents to its TRAC program, allowing loan officers to choose from three UWM-approved settlement agents and pay a flat fee of $350. Mortgage originators also will have the option to request the addition of their own settlement agent. According to UWM, the additions offer speed and increased flexibility. Per the company’s statement, loan officers can get title documents prepared in an average of one day.

Spruce announced SpruceProtect: HOA Guarantee, which the company describes as “the industry’s first and only HOA (homeowners association) rental coverage policy.” SpruceProtect provides financial coverage in the event of rental restrictions that could negatively impact the rentability of an investment property located within an HOA. Specifically, SpruceProtect offers investors the opportunity to recoup certain expenses (such as the loss of rental revenue or the cost of resale efforts) up to $50,000, for an additional endorsement fee per property.

American Pacific Mortgage (APM) announced the asset purchase of Lend Smart Mortgage LLC, based in Shoreview, Minnesota. Lend Smart Mortgage is licensed in 29 states, adding production outlets in Minnesota and Arizona to APM’s mortgage footprint. Under the APM divisional model, Lend Smart Mortgage will retain its name, leadership and brand.

Hyperion Mortgage became licensed in South Carolina. Hyperion Mortgage also holds licenses in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.


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