Archive for New Lending Guidelines

Once your loan package has been sent to the lender, there are a number of things you should avoid doing that will change your financial picture. Remember, the lender is looking for stability and consistency. If you want the best interest rate, keep that in mind. Here are a few things to consider:

The lender is looking to see what your source of down payment is.

Your lender will most likely ask you to provide proof of your liquid assets. This includes bank statements for checking and savings accounts, verification of investments, and any other liquid assets. Some of the things they ask for may seem trivial, but keep in mind, if you are planning a move to a new home, it’s important to have all documentation readily available. If the lender asks for cancelled checks or deposit receipts to meet certain conditions, you want to be able to find these things quickly to avoid delaying the closing of your loan. Make sure your paper trail is easy to document, and don’t move money from one account to another or open or close accounts.

Major purchases tip the scales against your favor.

Avoid making any major purchases. You might be thinking about purchasing new appliances for the new home. This is not the time to do it. Avoid making any major purchases on jewelry, appliances, furniture, vacations, or anything with a significant price tag until after your loan is closed.

Buying or leasing a car can make a negative impact on the way the lender views your financial status. This is a big ticket item that dramatically affects your debt-to-income ratio. You may feel you have room in your budget to purchase a new car, and think this is a worthy investment if you are looking for a home that will mean a longer commute for you on a daily basis. But by tacking a car payment onto your existing debt, you reduce the amount that you will qualify for in a home loan. A $400 a month car payment can reduce your approved loan limit by as much as $50,000. Think about doing this after your loan is closed if you really need it.

If you have to change jobs, you may be asked to document why this change occurred.

If you are changing jobs to increase your income, that’s a no-brainer for the lender. If you have an erratic work history to start with, another job change may make it look worse for you.

If you are an hourly wage employee, most likely a job change will have no effect on your ability to qualify for a loan. If you have a track record of a consistent amount of overtime or consistent bonuses over the last two years, the lender views this favorably. If you change jobs, there is no way of knowing if the new employer will pay overtime. Many do not! If you work on a salary + commission or straight commission basis, it has a dramatic effect on your stability. If you are considering starting your own business, again, this is something to consider after your loan is funded.

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A good credit score translates into lower interest rates for home-shopping borrowers. In a mortgage lender’s eyes, the higher your score is, the less risk you are, and the more likely it is you will pay off your debt. For this reason, borrowers with lower scores usually end up paying higher interest rates on their loans.If this is you, don’t panic. There are a number of things you can do to adjust your credit score to receive a favorable review from the underwriter. Here are a few suggestions:

Should I pay off all my past due balances and charge-offs?
This is usually a good idea, but you only need to worry about the past due balances and charge-offs that have occurred in the last two years. Items more than two years old have little effect on your current credit score. In fact, if you pay off delinquent items over two years old, it can actually bring your credit score down – something you don’t want to do. Bringing that score up means you’ll get a better interest rate on your loan.

Should I close existing credit card accounts that I don’t use?

No. Part of your credit score is based upon credit history. If you have old credit cards that you don’t use very much, you still have the benefit of the credit history they represent.

Rather than trying to pay off all your credit cards, you can move part of the debt from one card to another to even out the distribution of debt. Try to keep balances as close to zero as possible, and definitely below 30% of the available credit limit when trying to purchase a home. Also, if your credit provider will increase your line of credit, the ratio of debt to available credit is automatically reduced.

When married couples have separate credit card accounts, the debt can be transferred from one spouse to another to clear up credit issues for the other spouse. That spouse with clean credit can be designated as the sole borrower on the loan, but ownership of the home can still go in both names.

What about errors on my credit report?

If you have items that are showing up on your credit report that you know you have already paid, request that these items be removed by the credit bureau. They are obligated to rectify this within 30 days.

If there are items on your credit report that are less than two years old, send in your payment if possible and mark the back of the check with the following notation: “Accepting this check is evidence that the transaction is complete and this charge will be deleted from my credit record.” If necessary, the cancelled check will be proof that this should be promptly removed from your credit report if it interferes with the closing of your loan.

May
05

How Purchase Loans Are Made

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A Step-By-Step Walkthrough

1. Pre-approval – Get pre-approved for a mortgage and know in advance exactly how much house you can afford. Completing this step will also increase your negotiating power since you’ll be viewed as a “cash buyer”.
2. Loan Search – Put yourself in the hands of an experienced mortgage professional, someone who will help you to determine which financing options best suit your needs today and in the future.
3. Loan Application – It’s crucial to supply the lender with as much information as possible, as accurately as possible. All outstanding debts as well as assets and income should be included.
4. Documentation – Paperwork supporting the application must also be submitted. Information commonly sought includes pay stubs, two years’ tax returns, and account statements verifying the source of the down payment, funds to close and reserves.
5. The Hunt – Begin shopping for a house. Once you find the right one, the terms of the sale will be negotiated, including the price and potentially the terms of the loan being sought.
6. Appraisal – Lenders require an appraisal on all home sales. By knowing the true value of the home, the borrower is protected from overpaying.
7. Title Search – This is the time when any liens against the property are discovered. A lien may have been placed on a property to ensure payment of outstanding debts by the owner. All liens must be cleared before a transaction can be completed.
8. Termite Inspection – While most purchase loans do not require a formal inspection for termite and water damage, some loans (especially government loans) allow for the possibility. If problems are found, repairs may be necessary.
9. Processor’s Review – All pertinent information will be packaged by your mortgage professional and sent to the lending underwriter, including any explanations that may be needed, such as reasons for derogatory credit.
10. Underwriter’s Review – Based on the information put together by the loan professional, the underwriter makes the final decision regarding whether a loan is approved.
11. Mortgage Insurance – Many lenders require private mortgage insurance when borrowers put down less than 20 percent on a loan.
12. Approval, Denial or Counter Offer – In order to approve a loan, the lender may ask the borrowers to put more money down to improve the debt-to-income ratio. The borrower may also need a bigger down payment if the property appraises for less than the purchase price.
13. Insurance – Lenders require fire and hazard insurance on the replacement value of the structure. Flood insurance will also be required if the property is located in a flood zone. In California, some lenders require earthquake insurance on condominiums.
14. Signing – During this step, final loan and escrow documents are signed.
15. Funding – At this point, the lender will send a wire or check for the amount of the loan to the title company.
16. Confirmation of Funding – The lender authorizes the disbursement of loan proceeds.
17. Closing – Documents transferring title will now be officially recorded by the County Recorder.
18. Congratulations, you are now a homeowner!

If you’d like to learn more, please give me a call. I’d be happy to speak with you!

Nov
11

You Served Your Country With Honor

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We have recently reported on the misconception that many buyers have regarding the down payment necessary to purchase a home. Multiple studies reveal that 40-50% of Americans believe you need between 15-20% of a down payment to be eligible to purchase a home.

This misconception came about as the government just last year debated new guidelines for residential mortgages because of the housing collapse in 2007. Some were arguing that there should be a minimum of 20% or even 30% down payment on all mortgage loans. However, those standards were never implemented.

To counter this misunderstanding, Christina Boyle, Freddie Mac’s VP and Head of Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management, in a recent Executive Perspectives explained that a person “can get a conforming, conventional mortgage with a down payment of as little as 5 percent”.

3% Down Payments Available Soon?

Just last week, Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt announced that mortgages requiring only a three percent down payment may soon be available:

“To increase access for creditworthy but lower-wealth borrowers, FHFA is also working with the Enterprises to develop sensible and responsible guidelines for mortgages with loan-to-value ratios between 95 and 97 percent. Through these revised guidelines, we believe that the Enterprises will be able to responsibly serve a targeted segment of creditworthy borrowers with lower-down payment mortgages by taking into account “compensating factors.”

Bottom Line

If you are saving for either your first home or that perfect move-up dream house, make sure you know all your options. You may be pleasantly surprised.

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