Tag Archives: down payment

Six must-haves for mortgage approval

Interest rates are hovering around historical lows, and low interest rates increase affordability, making it easier for buyers to qualify. Yet stories of buyers waiting months to gain loan approval and home purchase transactions not closing on time due to lender’s strict underwriting are all too common.

Some buyers are turned down for illogical reasons. For instance, if you have investments — even if they’re performing well — an underwriter might deny the mortgage because your portfolio doesn’t fall into the underwriter’s risk assessment model.
checklist
One couple was turned down because the husband had worked at his current job for less than a year — even though he was making more money at the new job than he was before.

These buyers were well-qualified. The wife had worked several years for one employer and was able to qualify for the loan on her own. So, the transaction closed, although two months late.

Generally, it’s more difficult to qualify now than it was a year ago. Most conventional lenders require a 20-25 percent down payment. For the lowest interest rates, your credit scores need to be in the 700 range. You need to have verifiable income and cash reserves in addition to your down payment and closing costs.

You could run into underwriting problems if you’re self-employed, as W-2 income is much easier to verify. Other hurdles are lapses in employment and owning a lot of property. Some lenders won’t lend to buyers who have more than three or four residential properties.

If you’re buying a new home before selling your current home, you’ll need to have 30 percent equity in your current home. This needs to be verified by the lender’s appraiser. Also, the lender will want to see a copy of the cashed check from the tenant for the first month’s rent to verify rental income if needed to qualify.

HOUSE HUNTING TIP: As soon as you’re serious about buying a home, find the best mortgage broker or loan agent you can to assist you. Don’t make your selection based on interest rates alone. A good track record counts for a lot.

Closing the deal should be your primary goal. If you have to pay 0.25 percent more to assure your transaction closes on time and that you’re not turned down at the last minute, it’s worth it.

Be candid with your loan professional about anything in your financial picture that might impact loan qualification. A good loan agent or broker will be able to assess your financial situation and anticipate what you’ll need to do to satisfy the underwriter.

Be aware that appraisal issues can impact your loan approval. For example, if a previous owner added square footage without a building permit, the additional square footage probably won’t be included as livable square feet.

If the appraisal comes in for less than the purchase price, the lender might not lend you enough to close the deal. Include an appraisal contingency in your contract.

There are more jumbo financing options available now. Adjustable-rate mortgages that are fixed for 10 years and then revert to an adjustable have a starting rate about 0.25 percent less than a 30-year fixed jumbo. A five-year fixed starts about 0.5 percent to 0.75 percent lower, but is riskier.

THE CLOSING: Because of the risk factor, the lender may want you to have a large cash reserve. Your retirement account counts toward this.

Dian Hymer is a real estate broker with more than 30 years’ experience and is a nationally syndicated real estate columnist and author.

Getting a mortgage after foreclosure

There are some additional hurdles for homeowners who have gone through a foreclosure, short sale or bankruptcy, but a little patience and some financial hard work will go a long way.

MortgagesBuying a home is a challenging goal for most hopeful homeowners. But for those who have experienced a bankruptcy, foreclosure or short sale, the hurdles are even higher.

Still, it’s not impossible to buy a home after financial difficulties, says Dan Keller, a mortgage banker with Hometown Lending in Everett, Wash. In fact, Keller says, people who have cleaned up their credit and are otherwise qualified to get a mortgage can buy a home as soon as they have outlasted a prescribed waiting period after the bankruptcy, foreclosure or short sale.

Wait a while
The waiting period can last one to seven years, says Kirk Chivas, chief operating officer at First Commerce Financial in Wixom, Mich. The one-year requirement applies to buyers who complete a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, have a spotless subsequent credit history and want to get a new loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration or guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The seven-year requirement applies to buyers who experienced a foreclosure and want to get a new conventional loan that can be sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

In between are a number of two-, three- and four-year timelines based on similar criteria and other factors such as whether the buyer’s previous mortgage was current at the time of a short sale or the size of the buyer’s new down payment as a percentage of the home’s purchase price.

Generally speaking, the waiting periods after a bankruptcy tend to be more black and white while the waits after a foreclosure or short sale have more gray areas, Keller says. And in some cases, a waiting period can be waived or shortened if the buyer’s bankruptcy, foreclosure or short sale was due to extenuating circumstances or a hardship beyond his control.

Technically, it is possible for a buyer whose prior loan wasn’t in default at the time of a short sale to get a new FHA-insured loan with no waiting period, Chivas says. But he adds that he’s never encountered anyone in that situation.

Clean credit
Buyers must have very clean or perfect credit histories before they can buy homes after bankruptcy, foreclosure or short sale. A slip-up as small as one late credit card payment could disqualify a post-bankruptcy buyer from some loan programs, even if the waiting period has been completed, Keller says.

“Bankruptcy is a serious word,” he says. “If you do it, it’s a get-out-jail-free card. But once you get out of bankruptcy, you need to be flawless in your credit. Don’t even drop a gum wrapper.

Credit dings can be difficult to sort out for buyers who experienced a loan modification or short sale, in part because, as Chivas says, there’s “no consistency” in how lenders report those events to the credit bureaus. Buyers should review their credit reports and correct any errors or clarify the circumstances of adverse items.

Stable employment can be a plus, too, Keller says, noting that some loan programs are more lenient than others. “If there was a gap,” he says, “it needs to be explained.”

Consult a loan pro
Given these complexities, buyers are advised to consult a loan officer or mortgage broker early on for advice that applies to their situation.

“They may think they’re fine, but if they’re not talking to a professional, their hopes can get dashed or crushed,” Chivas says. “That’s why you want to speak to someone as soon as you start dreaming it up in your head” that you want to buy a home after a bankruptcy, foreclosure or short sale.

This article is by RealEstate.MSN.com, and is viewable here: “Getting a mortgage after foreclosure.”

Why you can’t get the lowest mortgage rates

Five reasons near-record low rates are out of reach for some

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) — Mortgage rates are near historical lows, but the rates lenders are quoting you aren’t as eye-popping as those you see in the news.

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Buying a retirement or second home might sound like a great idea, until friends and family begin using your place as a crash pad. Here are tips on how to handle unexpected guests without damaging relationships.

Why is that?

First, remember that mortgage rates are moving constantly, and rate surveys are capturing rates from past points in time. For example, Freddie Mac’s weekly survey collects rate data over the course of a week. Bankrate.com’s survey collects rate data every Wednesday…By the time results are released, they’re already outdated.

There are other reasons your rate might be higher. Below are five of them.

mortgage rates1. You’re not paying points

Average rates in Freddie Mac’s survey include average discount points paid for the mortgage. But not everyone is willing to pay points.

For the week ending Oct. 27, rates on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.1%, but that rate required an average 0.8 point to get it. A point is 1% of the mortgage amount, charged as prepaid interest.

Unless you’re going to live in your home for a very long time, paying points often doesn’t make sense…

2. Your borrower characteristics mean price adjustments

A credit score on the low side will prevent you from getting the lowest rates. Low levels of home equity will also mean a pricier mortgage rate.

That’s thanks to loan level price adjustments from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that have been making it tougher for borrowers to get the best rates for the past few years…

3. Your property type means higher rates

For condo-unit mortgages, you need a 75% loan-to-value ratio, or a 25% equity position, to get the best rates, said Christopher Randall, vice president, secondary marketing, at the Real Estate Mortgage Network, a mortgage lender.

And if your mortgage is for a vacation home or investment property, you can also expect to pay a higher rate, McBride said…

4. You don’t have recent proof of income

For the self-employed — who don’t have pay stubs as proof of recent income — the most recent tax returns are what a lender will look at before giving you a mortgage. If business has improved after your past tax return, that’s not going to be of any help as you try and get a mortgage today…

5. Your lender isn’t hurting for business

There can be a big disparity in what rates are offered from lender to lender, Findlay said. And it may have to do with how many mortgages they’ve been originating lately.

“Some that are lacking volume will tend to be more competitive,” he said. “Those that have enough volume may say we’re going to keep rates high.”

But the rate isn’t everything, Randall said. When shopping for mortgages, borrowers need to focus on comparing their monthly payments. “People are drawn to the interest rate… but you have to look deeper. Review the documentation,” Randall said.

For instance, it’s possible for someone to get an offer of a very low rate on a mortgage backed by the Federal Housing Administration — that loan also may come with a higher insurance premium, Randall said. That person may be better off taking a conventional mortgage with lower priced private mortgage insurance, even if their interest rate is a little higher, he said…

Read the article in full by going to MarketWatch.com.

How to take advantage of a short sale

If you’re shopping for a home with a bargain-basement price, a short sale could be the answer.

This is where a lender allows borrowers who can’t keep up with the mortgage payments to sell their home for less than they owe on the property. The bank or mortgage company approves what you paid to purchase the home and forgives the remaining debt.

How low can you go and still expect a lender to approve the deal?

Lenders usually will accept offers that net at least 82% (after expenses) of the home’s current fair-market value, regardless of what the borrower owes. When there is a 40-50% reduction in price, this does not matter.

Why would a lender do that?

Because lenders will lose less by allowing a short sale to occur, than by going through a foreclosure on the home.

Taking advantage of a short sale is less risky then buying a foreclosure, because so many repossessed homes need tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of repairs. The worst of the bunch have been deliberately vandalized by angry owners just before they were evicted.

Here are 4 smart moves for buying a short sale property:

Smart move 1. Make sure you’re a good candidate for a short sale.

Short sales are all about presenting the lender with a deal that can’t be refused. Banks and mortgage servicing companies are more likely to approve buyers that:

  • Have a substantial down-payment.
  • Have been preapproved for a mortgage.
  • Place no contingencies on their contract, such as having to sell their current home before proceeding with the purchase.

Smart move 2. Hire a real estate agent who’s experienced in short sales.

You need someone who can steer you away from short sales that aren’t likely to succeed.

I will interview the listing agent to determine whether the seller has done everything that’s needed to win lender approval, in addition to and most importantly, finding out what is necessary to put you, the buyer, in the number one position.

You need to know whether the home has been aggressively marketed — the bank won’t like it if the seller hasn’t made a good-faith effort to get a reasonable bid — and whether the bank has received a broker’s price opinion, which it will use to determine the home’s market value.

Smart move 3. Offer the right price.

Short sales aren’t the time or place to do a lot of dickering.  There is competition for these properties, even more so than bank-owned homes that are in great condition.  The difference between the two types, is that short sales will always end up going for less than a bank-owned property.

Lenders don’t have the time or staff to evaluate an endless bunch of bids, each a little higher than the last. If you deliberately lowball a bank or mortgage company, it will just write you off as a waste of time.

You need to come up with a cheap but reasonable offer that the bank or mortgage company will accept, in one try and in a short sale. The agent representing you should be doing the work to make sure you get the best deal. Most of the time on properties that I sell as a short sale, the price accepted is one of the lower offers.

Start by estimating the fair-market value of the home for yourself, using comps (values of comparable properties that have sold near the home in the past few months), then collaborate with your agent for the highest and best offer to submit.

Take the condition of the home into account and reduce your estimate if the home needs repairs. It’s a buyer’s market, and you don’t have to treat a fixer-upper like it’s in pristine condition.

Calculate 90% of the home’s value, throw in a few thousand dollars to cover the lender’s cost of doing a short sale (ask me, your agent, what that typical is for your area), and you have a good starting point.

Now look at the quality of your comps.

If it’s a straightforward deal, and the home has spent no more than three or four months on the market, then you’re good to go. There are variables that can go with this that I can explain for you when we meet.

But if all of the comps are foreclosures that sold within a few weeks of hitting the market, then those may be damaged homes being dumped at fire sale prices, so further investigation is necessary.

You’ll have to adjust your offer upward, perhaps all the way to the full fair-market value calculated with those comps in most cases, but sometimes there may be a quick steal in sight and I can get it for you.

Check how close your offer is to the asking price on the home. Remember, the sellers won’t get any of the money, so they have no incentive to demand an unreasonable price. But unfortunately, sometimes there are unreasonable sellers and I can help get them to be co-operative, even though I am not representing them, to put the price at what you want to pay which will ultimately help the agent representing the seller get the bank to do the same.

They’re just trying to find a price you’ll pay, and one the bank will accept, to relieve them of their debt, but I have a knack for getting the seller and seller’s agent to realize what is necessary in doing the transaction because I have dealt with countless lenders while knowing their tendencies.

From the your perspective, given your agent’s guidance, you’ve probably come to the same conclusions as the seller and their real estate agent, but unfortunately this is not always the case.  It is not about the seller deciding the price; it is about the lender’s decision, while being guided by the real estate agent.  If the listing agent or their hired negotiator are not experienced in handling the process,  I take care in making sure the seller’s agent understands the approach and if the agent isn’t doing the negotiating, then I will speak with the person the listing agent hired and show them how a short sale can be successful.

Smart move 4. Be patient.

It almost always takes longer to close a short sale than a typical sale of a property, because it takes so long for lenders to review and accept your proposal.

There are deals closing in as little as five weeks when the lender has preapproved the short sale and asking price and you agree to meet that price.

But that rarely happens, however, when you hire an agent like me those results go way up!

More often than not, it takes two to four months to get a “yes” from the bank or mortgage servicing company.

Although lenders say they’re trying to process these requests more quickly, there still is a problem because of the lack of knowledge or contacts by the listing agent within a bank that I can help expedite for you the buyer.

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Bottom line, buying or selling a property in today’s market requires a skilled and experienced agent.  There is money to be made by sellers even if you are upside down (banks are offering special incentives or thousands of dollars to sellers that most agents do not know about) and discounts to be gotten by buyers, but only with the “RIGHT AGENT”. Call me TODAY!

I’m available at (619) 890-3648 or via email.