The smoother home-buying experience means getting financing figured out first.
This infographic is from CAR.org.
This infographic is from CAR.org.
In 2015, 86% of home buyers used financing (first-time buyers were more likely to utilize financing) to purchase their homes, but there were also high numbers of all-cash buyers.
This infographic is from CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS, at CAR.org.
When shopping for a mortgage rate, it is necessary to pay attention to the details. Loan points are often overlooked as buyers are fixated on getting the lowest interest rate; however they are an important point to consider when picking your mortgage.
Loan points are Continue reading
In these financially uncertain times in the housing market, all-cash sales are attractive offers to homesellers, but come with a condition–they usually must settle for less. In a typical housing market, if your home receives multiple offers (from prospective cash-carrying and/or those pre-approved for a loan), you will accept the highest bid. But in this current market, mortgages can be hard to come by, and sellers often will take less in order to have the deal go through.
The outcome: lowering prices despite fewer listings and rising demand. According to the Star Tribune’s article below, the increased amount of cash offers is offsetting other postive trends that, if there weren’t these cash offers, should lead to higher prices.
This all-cash trend is especially prevalent in distressed sales, where investors are the main buyers, and who typically deal with cash as it is. Short sales and foreclosures accounted for 42% of active listings last month, on average in metro areas. Read more about what the Star Tribune has to say on this topic in their article below:
When Chris and Diane Finney decided to buy a bank-owned condo in St. Paul, they knew there would be competition.
Their strategy? Offer less — but offer cash.
While others said they would pay more, they needed to finance the deal. The bank took less and took the cash.
“We were in the driver’s seat,” Chris Finney said.
In a normal housing market, multiple bids usually lead to higher home prices, and the highest bid wins. But when credit markets are tighter and appraisals are often lower, many sellers will take less to be sure that the deal will get done.
“If I get five offers on a property and the cash offer is darned close to being one of those top offers, I’d take the cash offer any day,” said Marshall Saunders, owner/broker at Re/Max Results.
In December, 33 percent of all U.S. home sales were cash deals — a record since the downturn started in 2006, according to Campbell Survey and Inside Mortgage Finance. As a result, home prices can’t gain much traction because many sellers won’t necessarily accept the highest offer.
For most home buyers, it’s confounding to be rejected because they are financing the deal. For the housing market, it means more downward pressure on prices despite tight supplies and rising demand.
“It’s a real sign of what’s going on,” said Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance. “All things being equal, cash wins.”
The volume of cash deals is offsetting other positive trends in the market that should be leading to higher prices. The number of houses on the market has fallen to an eight-year low, and sales are up double digits. At the same time, home prices continue to fall.
At least a third of all homes sales last year involved an investor, Cecala said, and they often pay cash…
Read more of this article from the Star Tribune: “In today’s topsy-turvy housing market, cash rules.”
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.
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.