Seven Things Your Agent Should Know About Your Mortgage Approval

Most experienced real-estate agents are aware about all the nitty-gritty’s of the mortgage loan approval process, but there are certain vital details that tend to get overlooked. Eventually, these can result in a delay or denial of the purchase. Some of the aspects that can undergo a change, and can impact your home loan financing are:

  • New regulation

  • Appraisal guidelines

  • Updated disclosures

  • Mortgage rate pricing-premiums

  • Credit score or bad credit rules

  • Rescission deadlines

  • HOA insurance requirements

  • Secondary approval layering

  • Property type

  • Title

  • Property flip rules

  • Others

Seven Important Things

The current-day lending environment is highly volatile and it is crucial for home-buyers to obtain a full mortgage loan approval that very clearly defines all the contingencies related to an individual home buyer’s situation. Ideally, these are the things you should be looking at before you spend time looking for new home with your real estate agent. These are the things your agent should always keep in view while you are being shown new properties, which will help in easy mortgage approval:

  • Property Type- High-Rise, Town House, Condo, Single Family Residence, Shoe House or Dome Home

  • Residence Type- Understanding whether you have to sell your 1st home before buying another
  • Mortgage Rates / Lock-in- Typically, mortgage rates have a 30-day lock-in period. If you are looking for a new mortgage rate, you will have to switch to a new mortgage lender

  • Headline News or Employment- This relates to income security, periods of unemployment and job changes

  • Title or Property Flip- If a property has been bought by an investor and then sold within 30-90 days of the purchase; it’s called a property flip. Some lenders have stringent rules around these kinds of transactions and will take this into consideration in the mortgage loan approval process

  • Homeowner’s Association Insurance- Certain lenders need that Condos & Town House communities have enough insurance & reserves coverage related to specific ratios on the units that are owner-occupied vs. rented ones

  • Appraisal Ordering Procedures- There are frequent changes to appraisal ordering guidelines as regulators implement numerous new consumer-protection laws created in an effort to prevent foreclosure epidemics in the future

Though there are a number of things that your agent will have to look into and keep in view, these 7 points are important to understand. And as a buyer, if you want easy mortgage approval, it becomes all the more important for you to be aware of these things too. Contact ResMac Home Loans for any other mortgage-related information you need.

 

Do I Need To Sell My Home Before I Can Qualify For A New Mortgage On Another Property?

Every home buying situation is unique, but there are a number of buyers who qualify for a mortgage loan on another home, while they still reside in their first home. There are a number of reasons why people opt for a 2nd home. Their family might be growing and they feel the need for a bigger house. In some cases, people get a job transfer and have to relocate to a new home. The question here is- are you required to sell before you buy?

Things to Consider

The answer is not a straightforward yes or no as there are a number of factors that come into play. If you are in a strong financial position, you qualify and can afford your present residence as well as the proposed payment on the new home, then you will not have to sell the first home.

Even if you do qualify for a mortgage loan on a second home without having to sell the first, there are some other considerations you will have to take into account. When you plan on maintaining multiple properties, you will also have to factor in all the additional expenses such as:

  • Mortgage payments

  • Higher property taxes

  • Hazard insurance

  • Unexpected repairs

  • Others

Can You Rent Your Current Property?

There are different possibilities in this scenario as well:

If you do not qualify to carry mortgages on both the houses, you might have to rent the first property to offset your mortgage payment. In this scenario, the lender will then generally count only 75% of the total monthly rent that you will receive.

There is another aspect which has to be taken into consideration. Most lenders have a reserve requirement & equity ratio, and this can be a big hurdle in your path. In some cases, if you plan on renting out your existing home, you are required to have a minimum of 25% of equity to offset the payment with the rent that you will receive.

Without that large amount of equity, you’ll need a significant amount of money in the bank and will have to qualify for mortgage payments on both homes. If you do not qualify for both the mortgage payments, you will obviously have to sell the current house before you buy the new one. For more information about how the process works, contact ResMac Home Loans today.

 

Understanding the FHA Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP)

* Disclaimer – all information in this article is accurate as of the date this article was written *

The FHA Mortgage Insurance Premium is an important part of every FHA loan.

There are actually two types of Mortgage Insurance Premiums associated with FHA loans:

1.  Up Front Mortgage Insurance Premium (UFMIP) – financed into the total loan amount at the initial time of funding

2.  Monthly Mortgage Insurance Premium – paid monthly along with Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance

Conventional loans that are higher than 80% Loan-to-Value also require mortgage insurance, but at a relatively higher rate than FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums.

Mortgage Insurance is a very important part of every FHA loan since a loan that only requires a 3.5% down payment is generally viewed by lenders as a risky proposition.

Without FHA around to insure the lender against a loss if a default occurs, high LTV loan programs such as FHA would not exist.

Calculating FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums:

Up Front Mortgage Insurance Premium (UFMIP)

UFMIP varies based on the term of the loan and Loan-to-Value.

For most FHA loans, the UFMIP is equal to 2.25%  of the Base FHA Loan amount (effective April 5, 2010).

For Example:

>> If John purchases a home for $100,000 with 3.5% down, his base FHA loan amount would be $96,500

>> The UFMIP of 2.25% is multiplied by $96,500, equaling $2,171

>> This amount is added to the base loan, for a total FHA loan of $98,671

Monthly Mortgage Insurance (MMI):

  • Equal to .55% of the loan amount divided by 12 – when the Loan-to-Value is greater than 95% and the term is greater than 15 years
  • Equal to .50% of the loan amount divided by 12 – when the Loan-to-Value is less than or equal to 95%, and the term is greater than 15 years
  • Equal to .25% of the loan amount divided by 12 – when the Loan-to-Value is between 80% – 90%, and the term is greater than 15 years
  • No MMI when the loan to value is less than 90% on a 15 year term

The Monthly Mortgage Insurance Premium is not a permanent part of the loan, and it will drop off over time.

For mortgages with terms greater than 15 years, the MMI will be canceled when the Loan-to-Value reaches 78%, as long as the borrower has been making payments for at least 5 years.

For mortgages with terms 15 years or less and a Loan -to-Value loan to value ratios 90% or greater, the MMI will be canceled when the loan to value reaches 78%.  *There is not a 5 year requirement like there is for longer term loans.

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Making Sure Your Cash-To-Close Comes From The Proper Source

The loan closing process is very important and there are a number of aspects that have to fall into place. It is crucial that you provide all the proper asset documentation as well as information about the source of the funds. If you use the incorrect checking account for your down payment, there is a possibility of your loan being denied, even if all the final documents have been signed; and this can be a truly frustrating situation to be in.

Acceptable Sources

Seasoning of your down payment money is almost as important as its source. This is exactly why underwriters need a minimum of 2 months of bank or asset statements right at the start of the approval process. These are some of the acceptable sources of a down payment:

  • Bank Accounts- either savings or checking

  • Investment Accounts- mutual funds or money market

  • Retirement Funds- It’s important for you to keep in mind that when you borrow against a 401K plan, a repayment will be required. This will be calculated based on the Debt-to-Income Ratio

  • Gifts – It is possible for family members to gift the down payment funds (certain restrictions apply)

  • Trust/ Inheritance Funds

  • Life Insurance- Cash value & face amount

  • Government Grants- A number of state, county & city agencies offer certain special down-payment assistance programs

Things to Remember

As a borrower, it is important for you to make sure that your loan officer has been provided complete information about the down payment. This information should go to him very early in the process. This ensures all the required questions, documentation & explanations are reviewed or approved by the underwriter. A good rule to keep in mind that all the funds you are using for the down payment should be pre-approved by the underwriter right at the start of the approval process.

Very simply, if you forget to deposit the required money in your checking-account while you are heading to the closing appointment, it will not be acceptable to get any cashier’s check from a friend, for this purpose. Always make sure that your cash-to-close has come from the proper source. It will save you a lot of trouble and frustration during the closing process. Contact ResMac Home Loans for all mortgage-related information.

 

Assembling Your Home Buying Team – Knowing The Players

Choosing a Home-buying Team

Buying a first home can be a complex process and there are a number of steps involved. The good news is that there are many professionals who can help and guide you through the mortgage approval process. These are the different professionals who will play a role in the home buying process. But it has to be understood all of them will not be involved in every stage. Your home buying team may include:

  • Real estate professional

  • Housing counselor

  • Attorney

  • Lender

  • Escrow officer

  • Housing inspector

  • Title insurance officer

  • Insurance agent

  • Surveyor

  • Appraiser

Important Functions

These are the different professionals you may have to deal with in the mortgage approval process. There will always be situations in which you will need and seek some impartial advice. This is where a housing counselor comes into the picture. These counselors work with nonprofit organizations and can provide one-on-one counseling sessions as required. They may also be able to provide you with information about the process involved in buying a home online.

Getting the Right Advice

There are so many different professionals that you will be hiring & working with right through the home-buying process that you will definitely want someone to support you and provide you with some sound and impartial advice. The real-estate agent plays a very crucial role in the entire process and he/she is trained to sell properties. The person will provide you complete information about the type of properties that are available and will look for something that falls within your budget.

Legal and Insurance Professionals

If you are getting a mortgage loan, you will go to a lender, complete the application form and give the lender all the information and paperwork they require. The lender will then check all the documentation and decide whether you are a good credit-risk. In certain states, it is a legal requirement that the real estate contract be written by a lawyer.

Attorneys will also review the terms of the documents that are being signed or help in settling disputes, if any. In addition to all these professionals, the escrow officer, the Title Insurance Officer, the housing inspector, Appraiser, Surveyor and the Insurance Agent will have a role to play at some point of the mortgage approval process. You should get all the information you can from them and understand the scope of their job while you are buying a first home. Call ResMac Home Loans for knowing more about how to get the best home buying team.

 

Why Do I Need Mortgage Insurance?

Mortgage Insurance, sometimes referred to as Private Mortgage Insurance, is required by lenders on conventional home loans if the borrower is financing more than 80% Loan-To-Value.

According to Wikipedia:

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is insurance payable to a lender or trustee for a pool of securities that may be required when taking out a mortgage loan.

It is insurance to offset losses in the case where a mortgagor is not able to repay the loan and the lender is not able to recover its costs after foreclosure and sale of the mortgaged property.

PMI isn’t necessarily a bad thing since it allows borrowers to purchase a property by qualifying for conventional financing with a lower down payment.

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) simply protects your lender against non-payment should you default on your loan. It’s important to understand that the primary and only real purpose for mortgage insurance is to protect your lender—not you. As the buyer of this coverage, you’re paying the premiums so that your lender is protected. PMI is often required by lenders due to the higher level of default risk that’s associated with low down payment loans. Consequently, its sole and only benefit to you is a lower down payment mortgage

Private Mortgage Insurance and Mortgage Protection Insurance

Private mortgage insurance and mortgage protection insurance are often confused.

Though they sound similar, they’re two totally different types of insurance products that should never be construed as substitutes for each other.

  • Mortgage protection insurance is essentially a life insurance policy designed to pay off your mortgage in the event of your death.
  • Private mortgage insurance protects your lender, allowing you to finance a home with a smaller down-payment.

Automatic Termination

Thanks to The Homeowner’s Protection Act (HPA) of 1998, borrowers have the right to request private mortgage insurance cancellation when they reach a 20 percent equity in their mortgage. What’s more, lenders are required to automatically cancel PMI coverage when a 78 percent Loan-to-Value is reached.

Some exceptions to these provisions, such as liens on property or not keeping up with payments, may require further PMI coverage.

Also, in many instances your PMI premium is often tax deductible in a similar fashion as the interest paid each year on your mortgage is tax deductible. Please, check with a tax expert to learn your tax options.

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Ten Things You Can Do To Protect Your Identity

Facts About Identity Theft:

It’s estimated that there were 10 million victims of identity theft in 2008, and 1 in every 10 U.S. consumers have reported having their identity stolen.

The U.S. Department of Justice reported in 2005 that 1.6 million households experienced fraud not related to credit cards (i.e. their bank accounts or debit cards were compromised).

And, the U.S. DOJ also reported that those households with incomes higher than $70,000 were twice as likely to experience identity theft than those with salaries under $50,000.

What Is Identity Theft?

According to the United States Department of Justice, identity theft and identity fraud “are terms used to refer to all types of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person’s personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain.”

Such personal information may include your name, address, driver’s license number, Social Security number, date of birth, credit card number or banking information.

Victims of identity theft can spend months trying to restore their good name. And most victims do not realize it has happened until they get denied for a mortgage or a credit card.

Ten Ways to Protect Your Identity:

1.  Dumpster Diving –

Avoid “dumpster diving” by shredding all papers that contain any personal information.

Criminals sift through trash looking for the following:

-Bank Statements
-ATM Receipts
-Canceled Checks
-Credit Card Statements
-Credit Card Purchase Receipts
-Credit Card Solicitations (unopened “pre-approval” solicitations)
-Pay Stubs
-Tax Documents
-Utility Bills
-Expired Identification Cards (Drivers License, Passports…)
-Expired Credit Cards
-Medical Statements
-Insurance Documents

2. Personal Info / Phone Calls -

Never provide personal information, including your Social Security number, passwords or account numbers over the phone or internet if you did not initiate the call.

If you are asked for any type of personal information, before giving any information, ask the caller for their name, telephone number and the organization that they are representing.

You should then call the company using the customer service number the company provides with your account statement. Do NOT call the number you were given by the caller.

To reduce the number of solicitations you receive, you can sign up at the do not call registry:

web: http://www.donotcall.gov
call: (888) 382-1222

3. Look Over Your Shoulder –

Avoid “Skimming and shoulder surfing” (Never let your credit card out of your sight).

Pay with cash. Try never to let your credit card out of your sight to avoid a fraud scheme known as “skimming”.

According to Wikipedia:

“Skimming is the theft of credit card information used in an otherwise legitimate transaction. It is typically an “inside job” by a dishonest employee of a legitimate merchant. The thief can procure a victim’s credit card number using basic methods such as photocopying receipts or more advanced methods such as using a small electronic device (skimmer) to swipe and store hundreds of victims’ credit card numbers.”

Be aware of people “shoulder surfing”. This is when they are looking over your shoulder or standing too close trying to obtain your PIN number when making purchases with your debit card. They may also be listening for your credit card number.

4. Secure Your Mail –

Always mail your outgoing bill payments and checks from the post office or a neighborhood blue postal box and never from home.

Pick up your incoming mail as soon as it is delivered. The longer it sits the better chance a criminal has of stealing it.

-Get a P.O. Box.
-Lock Your Mail Box

Contact your creditors if a bill doesn’t arrive when expected or includes charges you don’t recognize. It may indicate that it was stolen.

5. Read Credit Card Statements -

Review account statements to make sure you recognize the purchases listed before paying the bill.

If your credit card holder offers electronic account access, take advantage and periodically review the activity that is posted to your account.

The quicker you spot any unauthorized activity, the sooner you can notify the creditor.

6. Monitor Credit Report -

Review your credit report at least once a year to look for suspicious activity. If you do spot something, alert your card company or the creditor immediately.

7. Email Links –

Never click on a link provided in an email if you believe it to be fraudulent.

Keep in mind, no financial institution will ask you to verify your information via email.

Criminals may link you to phony “official-looking” web site to confirm your personal information. This is known as “phishing”.

According to Wikipedia:

“Phishing” is the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

8. Opt Out –

Opt out of credit card solicitations. (Take your name off marketers’ hit lists)

You can opt out of credit card solicitations by calling 1-888-567-8688 to have your name removed from direct marketing lists.

You can do this online at OptOutPrescreen.com, which is the official consumer credit reporting industry opt-out website for the three credit companies:

Experian
Equifax
Trans Union

9. Safeguard Your Social Security Number -

Protect your Social Security number.

Never carry your Social Security card or anything else with your social security number on it in your wallet or purse, along with your driver’s license.

Do not put your Social Security number or driver’s license number on any checks you may write.

Only give out your Social Security number when absolutely necessary.

10. Read Privacy Policies –

Find out what company privacy policies are (know who you are dealing with).

When being asked for your Social Security number or driver’s license number, find out what the company’s privacy policy is.

Inquire as to why it is being asked for.

Ask who has access to your number.

Ask if you can arrange for them not to share your information with anyone else.

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Is There A Rule-of-Thumb Regarding The Number Of Credit Lines To Have Open?

While the actual credit score has a big impact on a loan approval, it’s not the only component of the credit scenario that underwriters consider for a mortgage approval.

Since loan programs, individual lenders and mortgage insurance companies all have their own credit report restrictions, it’s difficult to define a standard Rule-of-Thumb to follow.

However, the number of “Open and Active Trade Lines” seems to be the common denominator in most approvals.

A trade line is basically a credit card, installment loan or other credit liability that is reported to the credit bureaus and displayed on a credit report.

Credit Trade Line / Approval Bullets:

  • Banks usually won’t count a trade line that is less than 12 months old.
  • The minimum number of trade lines most lenders find acceptable is 4 open and active trade lines.
  • Lenders like to see at least one credit line of $5,000, or all credit lines to total $1,000 or more.

Exceptions to Trade Line Rules:

Interestingly enough, a recent list of Mortgage Insurance requirements included a favorable trade line requirement, which read:

Min 3 trade lines @ 12 mo reporting. Cannot be ‘authorized user’

Basically, this means as long as the lender, and the loan program allow for less than 4 trade lines, this mortgage insurance company will accept only 3 trade lines that are in the borrower’s name.

Another exception to this rule is if you have no FICO score, and no negative trade lines.

In this case you may qualify for an “alternative credit” loan. The most common loan of this type is insured by FHA, but there are select programs that are usually targeted to assist people whose culture does not trust or use banks.

Borrowers applying for a non-traditional credit loan will still need to prove they have successfully paid their bills on time for 12 months by clearly documenting at least four creditors.  A verification of rent from a property management company, power, utilities, cell phone… are alternative sources of credit that can be used.

*A letter from a landlord or creditor stating that the bills were paid on time is not acceptable forms of proof.  Lenders will need canceled checks and / or copies of bank statements to start out with.

Since not all companies report to credit bureaus, it’s possible to get a complimentary credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com to verify your total reported trade lines.

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Alternate Sources For Establishing Credit

While the basic Rule-of-Thumb for acceptable credit history is a minimum of four trade lines documented on a credit report, there are alternative methods of building a credit picture that an underwriter can use to make a decision for a loan approval.

For potential home buyers with little or no credit history, keeping records for 12 months of paying bills on time is essential for mortgage loan approval. In fact, loan officers will appreciate receiving proof that you have paid a variety of accounts regularly and on time. Even if you do not have a credit history, or your credit report isn’t as good as it could be, this may enable you to get a mortgage.

The industry term for this is “thin credit.”

Some loan types, namely FHA and USDA, will accept alternative credit sources in order to establish proof of financial responsibility.

Alternative credit is unreported to the bureaus, but will still be verified and can be instrumental in a home loan approval.

Those with thin credit don’t usually have bad credit, but have just not had an opportunity to build enough traditional credit, such as bank/store credit cards, auto loans, etc.

Alternative Sources for Building Credit:

  • Rental History – Canceled checks and letter from property management company
  • Medical Bills – 12 months of statements from medical billing company showing paid as agreed
  • Utilities – power, gas, water, cable, cell phone
  • Auto Insurance
  • Health / Life Insurance – as long as it’s not auto-deducted from pay check

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What’s The Difference Between A Primary Residence, Second Home and Investment Property?

When you are applying for a mortgage loan, your “occupancy type” becomes a major factor in the actual amount of the down payment that is required, the loan program available & the mortgage interest rate. Whether you are buying, doing a term or rate financing/ taking equity out of the property via cash-out refinance- the underwriter will always take the “occupancy type” into consideration.

Types of Occupancy

There are 3 types of occupancy:

  • Owner Occupied or Primary Residence – As per the HUD, a primary residence is essentially a property which a borrower will occupy for a larger part of the calendar year. At least 1 borrower has to occupy that property & sign the security instrument as well as the mortgage-note for that property to be considered as “owner-occupied”

  • Second Home – In order to qualify as a 2nd home, typically, that property should be a minimum of 50 miles from your primary residence. The real-estate should not be acquired for rental investment purposes

  • Investment Property- This type of property is not occupied by the owner and is used only as source of rental income

Down Payment Requirements

The down payment that you make will be dependent on the type.

  • Primary Residence – Purchases for VA & USDA can go upto 100% financing, while the FHA requires 3.5 percent of the purchase price as down-payment. Conventional financing might require the down payment to be in the 5% – 25% range, based on the credit score, property type, county and the loan amount

  • Second Home – An average 10 percent of a down-payment is required for a purchase, and 25 percent equity for any refinance

  • Investment Property – The down payment requirement can be the 20-25% range based in the total number of units. When you are doing a cash-out refinance on any investment property for 2-4 units, the required loan-to-value will have to be 70percent /lower to qualify.

Note- For any kind of high-balance loan amount the mentioned LTV- Loan-to-Value requirements will undergo a change. Certain credit score requirements will also be applicable. To understand more about how the property type affects your down payment, contact ResMac Home Loans today.