Tag Archives: credit

Money Monday: Prioritize bills when you’re short on cash

How to prioritize which bills to pay

If you’re in a tough spot and can’t pay all of your bills, then you need to make a strategic decision on what to pay and what to delay.

money

Daily Finance gives advice on what “five bills you should always pay on time, each month. Not doing so could damage your credit, leave you with huge financial penalties, or even cause you to lose your home or car.”

1. Your mortgage
2. Student loans
3. Credit card payments
4. Your rent
5. Auto loans

Details on each of these bills to pay and the reasons why you shouldn’t miss payment is covered by Daily Finance. And the bills you need to pay late? They have some tips on dealing with that, too.

Read all of Daily Finance’s article here: “Prioritize These 5 Bills When You’re Short on Cash”.

Avoiding Common Mortgage Mistakes

There is no doubt that the mortgage process can be an intimidating and confusing process for the uninitiated. Let’s look at the situation: you are putting yourself into debt for the next 15-30 years, signing stacks of paperwork, and learning about new fees every day. In such a stressful environment it easy to make mistakes and the worst part is that you might never even know that you made a mistake.

In order to make sure that you do not pay for that one mistake over the next 30 years it is important to do your homework and gain an understanding of the mortgage process. Below you will find a list of some of the more common mistakes that mortgage brokers and lenders see every day.

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Housing Recovery Is Sustainable

“Despite a number of potentially damaging headwinds, the ongoing housing recovery will remain sustainable for the foreseeable future, analysts for Capital Economics say in a recently released report.

The housing industry’s rapid rebound took many experts by surprise-even the researchers who authored the report admit they “have been slightly taken aback” by the recovery’s speed. However, they point to several major indicators that show the current upturn is more than a temporary blip or a false recovery.

Sustained rises in demand, home prices, homebuilding activity, and new and existing-home sales all demonstrate that the market is seeing a lasting recovery, they say. They also forecast further price growth of 5 percent in each of 2013 and 2014.

What’s more, even as prices rise, valuation and affordability-“the cornerstone on which the improvement in housing is being built”-remain very favorable.

The major threats to the market at this juncture, the analysts say, are the potential for a new American recession (brought on by complications from the fiscal cliff and the potential of a partial euro-zone break-up) and the risk that properties in the shadow inventory will flood the market and drive prices down…”

This article is from DSNews.com; read the rest of it here: “Housing Recovery Is Sustainable, According to Market Analysts”.

5 myths about credit scores and mortgages

Remember that department-store card you signed up for to get an instant discount? Or the medical bill you didn’t pay on time?

What seem like minor moves could drive down your credit score, which factors in big time when you’re trying to finance your future home. Lenders look at how much you make, what you own and how much you’re able to put down — but your credit score also is a major factor.

“It’s four basic factors: income, assets, credit and the property itself,” said Chad Baker, a loan officer at Prime Lending, which has offices in the UTC area and Mission Valley.

“If anything is wrong with the four, then you will have problems,” he added. “If you need a higher down payment, then you can offset it with a gift from a friend or family member. But if you’ve exhausted everything (to fix your credit,) there’s nothing you can do. So, it’s extremely important.”

The good news: Certain credit-score issues can be fixed on your own at no cost as long as you understand a few financial basics — from paying bills on time to requesting your free credit reports. Those simple pointers could help you not only qualify for a mortgage but also save you up to thousands of dollars in the long run.

They can also make or break your chances in today’s tougher lending environment, which generally requires a bigger down payment and more proof of income than during the last housing boom.

A recent study shows the average credit score for someone who successfully closed any kind of mortgage in April was 745 (with 20 percent down). The findings, based on 20 percent of loan originations in the country, are from Ellie Mae, which provides services to the mortgage industry.

The U.S. average is 692, and California’s is 691, according to FICO, which rates consumers’ credit histories on a scale of 300 to 850. So, if you don’t have the 745 score cited in the Ellie Mae study, does that mean your chances of getting a mortgage are nil? No, mortgage insiders say. U-T San Diego busts that credit myth and others in this how-to guide:

Myth: Lenders are looking for one magic number.

Fact: The score range you should shoot for depends on what kind of mortgage you want…

Myth: There’s nothing I can do to change my credit score.

Fact: You have more control than you think. Changes all start with knowing what’s in your credit report…

Myth: Even if I do find an error in my credit report, it will take forever to correct.

Fact: You can get a rapid rescore done with the help of the lender…

Myth: I’ve never been late on any payment, so it’s a waste of time to check my score.

Fact: Errors in credit reports happen all the time…

Myth: The definitive source to get my free credit report is freecreditreport.com.

Fact: It’s actually annualcreditreport.com

Read U~T San Diego’s article in full here: “5 myths about credit scores and mortgages”.

How to bargain shop for mortgages

Shoppers, I bet many of you scoured the Sunday ads and bounced to several stores for deals over Thanksgiving weekend.

What if you applied that same effort and vigilance to shopping for a new home loan or refinance? That same attention to detail could translate into hundreds to thousands of dollars in savings over time.

“People think nothing about going to many different stores to buy a toaster or oven or dishwasher,” said Norma Garcia, attorney at Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports magazine. “They just don’t shop for (home) loans the same way they shop for other products, but they ought to.”

Consumers likely are more comfortable comparison-shopping for microwaves than mortgages because the home-loan process can be cumbersome, with reams of paperwork, unfamiliar jargon, and of course, the rush to close and move to a new place.

The U.S. government is working to make the process easier. Since May, officials have been trying to simplify and combine two required forms that show would-be borrowers their final loan terms and costs before closing. The “Know Before You Owe” campaign, spurred by sweeping financial reforms in 2010, has produced two drafts of the merged documents that are still in testing phase…

FORMS TO KNOW

This gives you an approximation of what you may owe at closing. It lists the basics including loan amount, interest rate and potential penalty costs. The form also shows you different loan scenarios to illustrate whether it would make sense, for instance, to buy points upfront to reduce your interest rate. (One point typically equals 1 percent of the loan’s value, or $1,000 for each $100,000 borrowed.) Click here to see the whole form

 

FORMS TO KNOW

You get this at the closing table. The form lists every single expense and credit involved in the transaction. Click here to see the whole form

 

You also get this at closing. The document breaks down how much you will owe in a different way. Perhaps the most important detail is the annual percentage rate, which rolls in all of your costs and is defined by HUD as the “true cost” of a loan. Click here to see the whole form

TO-DO LIST BEFORE CLOSING

• If there’s a line item you don’t understand in any of the forms, ask about it.

• Scan for hidden costs. Third parties get proceeds from loans in the form of fees and commissions, said Norma Garcia, attorney at Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports magazine.

• Know who’s going to service your loan. The holder of your loan can sell the loan to anyone, but they have to disclose the percentage of loans that are sold. “If you choose to go with that lender, just know that may not be the person you’re dealing with down the line,” Garcia said.

• If you sense your lender isn’t being upfront or answering your questions, find someone else. It may take interviewing two to three people to find the right lender.

• Get a second opinion on your loan documents from HUD-approved counselors at little or no charge. But be sure to do this before closing. For San Diego, you can call the Housing Opportunities Collaborative at (619) 283-2200 or (800) 462-0503. Someone will direct you to the right agency.

• Don’t sign anything unless you understand it.

Read the whole article by SignOnSanDiego.com here: “How to Bargain Shop for Mortgages“.

Top six reasons mortgage applications are rejected

Half of refinance applications are abandoned or rejected, as are 30 percent of purchase mortgage applications, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. All told, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) says that well over 2 million mortgage applications were rejected last year.

Want to avoid falling into that number? It’s tough — especially in light of the fact that mortgage lenders have become increasingly restrictive in terms of their lending guidelines since the housing market crash.

Here, as a cautionary tale and primer on what to expect, are the top six reasons mortgage lenders reject applications.FFIEC

1. Income issues. Most failed applications falling into this category have income too low for the mortgage amount they are seeking; often, a spouse’s credit issues can create this problem, too, as the income the spouse plans to actually chip in toward the mortgage cannot be considered by a lender.

But increasingly, the recent vagaries of the job market are also causing this issue, as people who have changed their line of work or have changed from salaried employee to freelancer over the last couple of years can also have their home loan applications rejected based on income.

2. Muddled money matters. If the mortgage for which you’re applying plus your monthly payments on credit card, car and student loan debts will comprise more than 45 percent of your total income, you could have problems qualifying for a home loan. You might also run into problems if you rely too heavily on bonuses, overtime, cash wages or rental income — all of these can be difficult or impossible to get a mortgage bank to consider, and if they do, they might not take all of it into account.

3. Credit issues. Today, the mortgage-qualifying FICO score cutoff falls somewhere between 620 and 660, depending on which lender and which loan type you seek. More than one-third of Americans, by some numbers, have credit scores too low to qualify for a home loan. Even if your credit score is high enough to qualify, if you have any late mortgage payments, a short sale, a foreclosure or a bankruptcy in the last two years, loan qualifying could be difficult to impossible.

4. Property didn’t appraise. Since the whole industry had its hand smacked for allowing home values to skyrocket in a very short time, appraisal guidelines have tightened up — some would say, even more than overall mortgage guidelines. So, it is increasingly common to have the property appraise for a price lower than the sale price negotiated between the buyer and seller.

This is especially common in the refinance realm, as well over a quarter of U.S. homes are now upside-down, meaning the mortgage balance owed is greater than the value of the home.

5. Condition problems. With all the distressed properties on the market, and with most non-distressed sellers barely breaking even, more home-sale transactions than ever are falling apart due to condition problems with the property. Many lenders will not extend financing on homes where the appraiser points out problems like cracked or broken windows, missing kitchen appliances, electrical problems, or wood rot.

And in the world of condos and other units that belong to a homeowners association, if more than 25 percent of units are rented (rather than owner-occupied) or more than 15 percent are delinquent on their HOA dues, new applications for refinance or purchase mortgages on units in the development are likely to be rejected.

6. Technical difficulties with application. The days when lenders just took your word for it are long, long gone. Applications with incomplete or unverifiable information are doomed.

If any of these mortgage loan application glitches arise in your homebuying or refinancing process, it’s critical that you connect with your mortgage professional, be it your banker or mortgage broker, to determine what course of action to take.

In some cases, it might be as simple as buying a stove you find at Craigslist and installing it before escrow closes; but with income issues your mortgage pro will need to help you determine whether it makes sense to pay some bills down, get a co-signer, or even wait six months so your income documentation will qualify.

Tara-Nicholle Nelson is an author and the Consumer Ambassador and Educator for real estate listings search site Trulia.com.

Personal Short Sale Experience

I just closed one of the longest short sales in history with Bank of America. This sale totaled 39 months, over 3 years. Short SaleThere were a few unfortunate problems with this short sale.

Throughout the time of having this listing, there were six individual buyers that were all approved.  Unfortunately, all six also cancelled, with one rewriting an offer through another agent after the initial cancel.  This offer was not submitted when I questioned this buyer’s agent, and as a result, the offer obviously did not go through.

After the seller’s family moved out, they left the house in shambles, but I invested my personal money (which thankfully was reimbursed later through the rent payments) to paint the interior, re-sod the front yard, and thoroughly clean.

There were several liens on the house: water, sewer, trash, and HOA liens.  Most were eventually paid off by the bank and buyer.  The tremendous HOA fines totaling over $5K I managed to negotiate them off completely with no fees to be paid.

The bank changed the locks and I had to pay $250 to re-key the house.

The property sold for $30K less, with a $12K credit for closing costs–very rare on a 50% cash
down purchase, than the REO  (bank-owned) property with no closing costs credit, a block away the
month before.

All these experiences may be things that you, as a short sale buyer, are familiar with.  And while short sale transactions can be the trickiest side of the real estate market, I have had plenty of experience in managing such transactions.  Please, let me be the one to deal with the messy side of short sales–not you!  Give me a call today if you have any questions.

John A Silva
www.johnasilva.com
619-890-3648