If you want to get an equity line of credit, you need to go to your bank or credit union and you need to know what to shop for. I give advice to my clients as part of my ongoing service and it can be a useful tool for some and it can be a bad idea for others. Banks and credit unions generally don’t offer advice, they just offer financial products. I offer advice and here is some on HELOC’s
I LOVE Realtors!
A lot of people can’t refinance because they owe more than their house is worth or they have a 2nd mortgage or Mortgage Insurance (MI) and we have solutions for many of those issues. There are several programs here now or coming but let’s start with the HARP which stands for Home Affordable Refinance Program.
Everyone is talking about HARP 2.0 and so let’s define it. First of all, since it is 2.0 that means that the program was already around and we are talking about changes so let’s show you what it looks like now and then discuss changes that are sort of in effect now and really in effect after March 19th 2012 when the new changes will be coded into the automated underwriting systems so we can actually approve these loans.
The first thing that you need to know is that this is only for people who have a mortgage already owned by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. People tell me all the time that their mortgage is owned by a big bank but if you have a 30 year fixed rate mortgage and it is not interest only, it is probably owned by Freddie or Fannie and I will show you how to find out a little later. Currently you can refinance your home even up to 125% Loan To Value (LTV) and there are different rules and pricing at different levels (95%, 105% etc.). Currently it is a little more difficult if you have a 2nd mortgage or MI. This is what HARP 2.0 is looking to fix.
The first part is easy, they have removed the LTV issue altogether. There will definitely be approvals where we do not need an appraisal but there will also be instances where appraisals will be required but in all instances, any LTV can be approved. Next, it is getting easier to keep a 2nd mortgage or HELOC in place while refinancing the first mortgage and we will be able to accommodate many loans with MI. There is another enhancement that limits the fees on these loans and the qualifying ratios will most likely be relaxed. My suggestion is to look online and see if your loan fits and if it does, gest started with your favorite lender. Start by going to www.FreddieMac.com/mymortgage/ and/or www.FannieMae.com/loanlookup/ to see. Loan applications can be taken in mid February 2012 but may not be able to be fully approved until March 19th if you need the new rules. This program makes sense because they already own these loans and so giving people lower payments makes them more stable so everyone wins.
What if I don’t have a Freddie or Fannie Loan?
On the flip side, you can see why if Fannie or Freddie does not own your loan currently they may not be too excited to take on a new loan of $250,000 on a home that is worth only $200,000 but there may be hope for these people as well. There is talk of using FHA to help these folks even if they do not have a current FHA loan. I think this will probably come true but I do not know how long it will take or what the rules will look like so stay tuned.
One more note is that if you currently have an FHA, USDA or VA loan, you can get a streamline loan without an appraisal and with relaxed qualifying guidelines. We do not use debt ratios at all and we weigh heavily on whether the house payment has been made on time in the last 12 months. This program has been around for the entire 22 years I have been in business so the model is strong.
Please send me your real estate and mortgage related questions. I am happy to answer you and it may become the topic of a future article.
Hans Bruhner is a branch manager for First Priority Financial. Hans is licensed by the CA DRE # 01085398 and NMLS #243484 and First priority is licensed by the CA DRE # 00652852 and NMLS #3257. If you have a question, please contact him at (707) 347-9250 or email@example.com
How can a fully approved loan get denied for funding after the borrower has signed loan docs?
Simple, the underwriter pulls an updated credit report to verify that there hasn’t been any new activity since original approval was issued, and the new findings kill the loan.
This generally won’t happen in a 30 day time-frame, but borrowers should anticipate a new credit report being pulled if the time from an original credit report to funding is more than 60 days.
Purchase transactions involving short sales or foreclosures tend to drag on for several months, so this approval / denial scenario is common.
It’s An Ugly Cycle:
- First-Time Home Buyer receives an approval
- Thinks everything is OK
- Makes a credit impacting decision (new car, furniture, run up credit card balance)
- Funder pulls new credit report and denies the loan
In the hopes of stemming the senseless slaughter of perfectly acceptable approvals, we’ve developed a “Ten credit do’s and don’ts” list to help ensure a smoother loan process.
These tips don’t encompass everything a borrower can do prior to and after the Pre-Approval process, however they’re a good representation of the things most likely to help and hurt an approval.
Ten Credit Do’s and Don’ts:
DO continue making your mortgage or rent payments
Remember, you’re trying to buy or refinance your home – one of the first things a lender looks for is responsible payment patterns on your current housing situation.
Even if you plan on closing in the middle of the month, or if you’ve already given notice, continue paying that rent until you’ve signed your final loan documents.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
DO stay current on all accounts
Much like the first item, the same goes for your other types of accounts (student loans, credit cards, etc).
Nothing can derail a loan approval faster than a late payment coming in the middle of the loan process.
DON’T make a major purchase (car, boat, big-screen TV, etc…)
This one gets borrowers in trouble more than any other item.
A simple tip: wait until the loan is closed before buying that new car, boat, or TV.
DON’T buy any furniture
This is similar to the previous, but deserves it’s own category as it gets many borrowers in trouble (especially First-Time Home Buyers).
Remember, you’ll have plenty of time to decorate your new home (or spend on your line of credit) AFTER the loan closes.
DON’T open a new credit card
Opening a new credit card dings your credit by adding an additional inquiry to your score, and it may change the mix of credit types within your report (i.e. credit cards, student loans, etc).
Both of these can have a negative impact on your score, and could result in a denial if things are already tight.
DON’T close any credit card accounts
The reverse of the previous item is also true. Closing accounts can have a negative impact on your score (for one – it decreases your capacity which accounts for 30% of your score).
DON’T open a new cell phone account
Cell phone companies pull your credit when you open a new account. If you’re on the border credit-wise, that inquiry could drop your score enough to impact your rate or cause a denial.
DON’T consolidate your debt onto 1 or 2 cards
We’ve already established that additional credit inquiries will hurt your score, but consolidating your credit will also diminish your capacity (the amount of credit you have available), resulting in another hit to your credit.
DON’T pay off collections
Sometimes a lender will require you to pay of a collection prior to closing your loan; other times they will not.
The best rule of thumb is to only pay off collections if absolutely necessary to ensure a loan approval. Otherwise, needlessly paying off collections could have a negative impact on your score.
Consult your loan professional prior to paying off any accounts.
DON’T take out a new loan
This goes for car loans, student loans, additional credit cards, lines of credit, and any other type of loan.
Taking out a new loan can have a negative impact on your credit, but also looks bad to underwriters and investors alike.
Just remember the simple tip: wait until AFTER the loan closes for any major purchases, loans, consolidations, and new accounts.
Related Credit / Identity Articles:
Perhaps you are outgrowing your current house, or have been forced to relocate due to a job transfer? Regardless of the motivation for keeping one property while purchasing another, let’s address this question with the mortgage approval in mind:
So, Do I Have To Sell?
Yes. No. Maybe. It depends.
Welcome to the wonderful world of mortgage lending. Only in this industry can one simple question elicit four answers…and all of them may be right.
If you are in a financial position where you qualify to afford both your current residence and the proposed payment on your new house, then the simple answer is No!
Qualifying based on your Debt-to-Income Ratio is one thing, but remember to budget for the additional expenses of maintaining multiple properties. Everything from mortgage payments, increased property taxes and hazard insurance to unexpected repairs should be factored into your final decision.
What If I Rent My Current Property?
This scenario presents the “maybe” and the “it depends” answers to the question.
If you’re not quite qualified to carry both mortgages, you may have to rent the other property in order to offset the mortgage payment.
In that scenario, the lender will typically only count 75% of the monthly rent you are proposing to receive.
So if you are going to receive $1000 a month in rent and your current payment is $1500, the lender is going to factor in an additional $750 of monthly liabilities in your overall Debt-to-Income Ratios.
Another detail that can present a huge hurdle is the reserve requirement and equity ratio most lenders have. In some cases, if you are going to rent out your current home, you will need to have at least 25% equity in order to offset your payment with the proposed rent you will receive.
Without that hefty amount of equity, you will have to qualify to afford BOTH mortgage payments. You will also need some significant cash in the bank.
Generally, lenders will require six months reserve on the old property, as well as six month reserves on the new property.
For example, if you have a $1500 payment on your old house and are buying a home with a $2000 monthly payment, you will need over $21,000 in the bank.
Keep in mind, this reserve requirement is incremental to your down payment on the new property.
What If I Can’t Qualify Based On Both Mortgage Payments?
This answer is pretty straightforward, and doesn’t require a financial calculator to figure out.
If you are in this situation, then you will have to sell your current home before buying a new one.
If you aren’t sure of the value of the home or how your local market is performing, give us a ring and we’ll happily refer you to a great real estate agent that is in tune with property values in your neighborhood.
As you can tell, purchasing one home while living in another can be a very complicated transaction. Please feel free to contact us anytime so we can review your specific situation and suggest the proper action plan.
Related Articles – Mortgage Approval Process:
- Basic Mortgage Terms
- How Much Can I Afford?
- Common Documents Required For A Mortgage Pre-Approval
- Top 8 Questions To Ask Your Lender During Application Process
- What’s The Difference Between An Investment Property, Second Home and Primary Residence?
- Seven Items Real Estate Agents Need To Know About Your Mortgage Approval
Most people are surprised to learn what appraisers actually look at when determining the value of a real estate property.
A common misconception homeowners generally have is that the value of their home is determined after the appraiser has completed their physical property inspection.
However, the appraiser actually already has a good idea of the property’s value by the time they have scheduled an appointment to stop by the property.
The good news is that you don’t have to worry so much about pushing back an appointment a few days just to “clean things up” in order to help influence the value of your property.
While a clean house will certainly make it easier for the appraiser to notice improvements, the only time you should be concerned about “clutter” is if it is damaging to the dwelling.
The Key Components Addressed In An Appraisal
Location, view, topography, lot size, utilities, zoning, external factors, highest and best use, landscaping features…
Quality of construction, finish work, fixed appliances and any defining features
Age, deterioration, renovations, upgrades, added features
Health & Safety:
Structural integrity, code compliance
Above grade and below grade improvements
Is the property conforming to the neighborhood?
Is the property functional as built – style and use?
Garages, Carports, Shops, etc..
Curb appeal, lot size, & conforming to the neighborhood are obvious to the appraiser when they drive down into the neighborhood pull up in front of your home.
When entering your home, they are going to look at the overall design, condition, finish work, upgrades, any defining features, functional utility, square footage, number of rooms and health and safety items.
Be sure to have all carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in working condition.
Since the appraisal provides half the weight in any credit decision involving the security of real estate, the appraisal should be done by a qualified, licensed appraiser whom is familiar with your neighborhood, and the type of home you are buying, selling or refinancing.
If you’re interested in what specifically appraisers are looking for, here is a copy of the blank 1040 URAR form that is used by every appraiser in the country.
Related Update on HVCC:
Appraisers hired for a mortgage transaction on a conforming loan are chosen from a pool of qualified appraisers at random. Neither you nor your lender has the flexibility of deciding which appraiser will inspect your home.
This recent change was brought on with the Home Valuation Code of Conduct HVCC, and is effective with conventional loans originated on or after May 1, 2009.