Before an owner can market a property to buyers that want to use a FHA loan, he will want to familiarize himself with the FHA’s standards. FHA won’t insure loans on just any property.
While their standards aren’t as stringent as they used to be, a home needs to be in relatively good condition to qualify for FHA financing.
Location And Lot
To qualify for FHA financing, the property has to be located on a road or easement that lets the owner freely enter and exit.
The access also has to be paved with a surface that will work all year a long dirt driveway that washes out in spring won’t qualify.
The FHA also wants the lot to be safe and free of pollution, radiation and other hazards. For that matter, it also needs to provide adequate drainage to keep water away from the house.
The FHA’s requirements for making a loan start with the home’s roof. To pass muster, the house must have a watertight roof with some future life left. In addition, if the roof has three or more layers of old shingles, they must all be torn off as part of the replacement process.
The property’s exterior has to be free of chipped or damaged paint if the home has any risk of having lead paint. Its foundation should also be free of signs of exterior (and interior) damage. It also needs full exterior walls.
The property’s interior also needs to be inspected. FHA standards require that the home’s major systems be in good working order.
Bedrooms should have egress routes for fire safety and the attic and basement should be free of signs of water or mold damage.
The bottom line is that the FHA wants to make loans on homes that borrowers can occupy. This doesn’t mean that a home has to be in perfect condition to be sold to an FHA mortgage-using borrower. It just needs to be a place that they can live.
A mortgage pre-qualification is an initial estimate of what type of mortgage a borrower could get. It is limited, though, because it’s only based on what the borrower tells the lender, which might not be the same as what the lender finds out when it goes through a full process of analyzing the borrower and his credit.
Steps Of A Pre-Qualification
To get pre-qualified, a borrower starts by finding a lender. Typically, he will give the lender basic information on his ability to borrow. This includes his income, how much money he has in the bank, his current payments and an estimate of his credit worthiness.
The lender takes the pre-qualification information that he gets and compares it to the loan programs of which he is aware. For instance, if he knows that a borrower doesn’t have a lot to put down, but the borrower mentions that he’s active-duty military, the mortgage broker might offer a VA loan as an option.
Based on the programs he sees and the information the broker gets from the borrower, he will tell the borrower what kind of mortgage to expect. Typically, this gives the borrower a sense of the likely rate and of the amount he can borrow. Generally, this is enough to let a borrower start looking at listings with a realistic sense of what will be affordable.
Mortgage Pre-Qualifications And Pre-approvals
When it comes time to start writing offers, though, a mortgage pre-qualification might not be enough. A pre-qualification is missing one important factor — underwriting the borrower’s income and credit. When a borrower goes beyond a pre-qualification to get a mortgage pre-approval, he submits his credit for the lender to check.
That way, his qualifications get confirmed and the lender can issue a more binding letter that not only lets him know what he can afford but also lets him show a seller that he is truly qualified to get a loan. With that letter, his offer may be viewed as stronger and he can be more likely to get the ability to buy the house he wants.
Getting a home loan can be a challenging process, and a finicky one. Qualifying can be challenging and once a buyer gets approved, it can be surprisingly easy to derail the process. Here are some mistakes to be avoided:
Not Pre-Checking Credit
Once a borrower makes his application for a mortgage, his fate is largely sealed. One way to increase the chance of qualifying for a home loan is for a borrower to check his credit before applying. That way, he can address any issues before they become problems for the lender.
Lenders judge borrowers on their ability to repay the loan. While a borrower’s credit rating is a good indicator of past performance, his current job and income provides some assurances that he can make his payments.
Changing jobs or losing a job interrupts the income, and can make a lender decide not to lend to that borrower.
Taking On New Debt
New debt can derail a mortgage in two ways. First, adding debt can lower credit scores from the inquiry that comes as well as worry lenders. Second, new debt increases monthly payments, which lower the amount that a borrower can take out on a home loan due to the limitations imposed by the lender’s debt to income ratio.
Fudging The Numbers
Some borrowers might be tempted to tweak some of the numbers on their mortgage applications to make them more attractive to the lender, but lying on a mortgage application is a very bad idea.
First, lenders investigate what gets entered and they’re likely to catch it. Second, it is also fraud and could leave the borrower subject to prosecution.
In general, people considering a home loan should remember the Hippocratic Oath that doctors take. Its message — do no harm — is a good rule of thumb for applying for a mortgage.
Applicants that keep their financial status the same throughout the process without making any changes are more likely to emerge at the end with their new home and their original loan.
So you are thinking of refinancing? Well you are in luck because I have 4 quick and important questions you should ask yourself before doing so.
1) Do I Have Enough Equity To Get A Mortgage?
To get a conventional loan, you will usually need to have at least 20 percent equity. This means that your house will have to be worth at least $250,000 to get a $200,000 loan.
If you have less equity, you could end up having to pay for private mortgage insurance, which can easily add $100 or more to your monthly payment.
2) How’s My Credit?
Most lenders will look at your credit score as a part of determining whether or not to make you a loan. With conventional lenders, your rate will depend on your score and the higher it is, the lower your payment will be.
Other lenders, like the FHA and VA programs have an all or nothing rule. If you qualify, your rate won’t be based on your credit, but if your score is too low, you won’t be able to get any loan. Generally, 620 credit scores are the lowest that will qualify you for any loan.
3) What Do I Want To Accomplish?
Mortgages typically offer a choice as to their term. While the 30-year loan is the most popular, shorter term mortgages save you money since you pay less interest over their lives. They also get you out of debt sooner, at least as regards your house.
The drawback is that they carry higher payments since you pay off more principal every month. This can make them less affordable for some borrowers, generally, you’ll need to keep your current house and loan for anywhere from three to six years to break even on the costs of refinancing.
4) How’s My Current Loan?
If you have an adjustable rate mortgage, you may want to switch to a fixed rate mortgage simply for the additional security it offers you. On the other hand, if you are planning to move relatively soon, your current mortgage could be a better deal whether it’s fixed- or adjustable-rate.
When trying to decide what to do, compare the cost of refinancing with what it would cost you in additional interest to hold on to your existing loan. While the breakdown is different for every borrower, generally, you’ll need to keep your current house and loan for anywhere from three to six years to break even on the costs of refinancing.
Deciding what to do with your mortgage can be complicated. Working with a qualified loan broker that can consider every angle with you can help you to make a better decision.
It can be pretty intimidating to dip your toes into the realm of home ownership, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. To make things worse, there are a number of myths floating around out there surrounding the home buying process.
Such misconceptions have many kept many would-be homeowners from realizing the personal and financial rewards of owning a property. To clear things up, here are 4 myths about buying your first home that simply aren’t true.
Myth #1 – “It’s Cheaper To Rent Instead Of Own”
If you buy a property that is within your budget and your mortgage terms allow you to make comfortable monthly payments, the cost of rent can often be higher than mortgage payments.
Sure, there are other expenses associated with owning a property that you wouldn’t be responsible for if you were renting, but one thing that many people forget is the fact that renting does not allow you to build equity.
The ability to build equity into a property that you own is like paying into a savings account – if you buy a home for $200,000, and pay down your mortgage to $175,000 in 5 years, you’ll have $25,000 in home equity that can be tapped into later if you need a lump sum of cash to pay for other large expenses.
If you sell your property down the line, any equity that the property has accumulated will provide you with more profit from the sale of the home.
Myth #2 – “Whatever Shows Up On The Inspection Report Is The Seller’s Responsibility”
Most offers on a home usually come with a home inspection condition that makes the offer contingent on the acceptance of a home inspection report by the buyer. Many buyers, however, are under the impression that sellers are responsible for any issues that show up on the inspection report.
Although the seller is required to make certain major repairs as stipulated by the lender, everything is still negotiable. A buyer may ask the seller to fix a minor crack in the basement wall or repair any scuff marks on the hardwood flooring, but the seller can essentially refuse, leaving the buyer with the decision of whether or not to continue with the offer anyway.
Myth #3 – “The Perfect Home Is Out There – I Just Have To Wait For It”
Buyers have a tendency to focus too much on all the little things that may be wrong about a house rather than on the majority of the things that are right. Homes are much like people – they aren’t perfect. Even brand new homes might have a few minor flaws.
The goal of a house hunt is to find the perfectly acceptable home – one that may have a couple of quirks that you can either live with or fix, but is otherwise ideal. An experienced buyer’s agent can help you identify issues that are deal-breakers, and help keep some perspective by separating irritating details from the big picture.
Myth #4 – “I Don’t Need A Real Estate Agent To Buy A House”
Without the proper team behind you – especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer – you could potentially find yourself in a compromised position. Many buyers don’t take the time necessary to shop for an agent who can best represent them in their purchase.
Think about it this way – would you perform surgery on yourself? Do you feel comfortable filing your own income taxes, or do you opt to use the services of an accountant? Being represented by a licensed real estate agent will give you the benefit of professional skills and knowledge, including the ability to find financing and close the deal with your best interests put first.
It’s always in your best interests to have an experienced, knowledgeable agent representing you in a home purchase. With such a major investment on the line, you want to have someone who can help you complete a purchase leaving no stone unturned, and ultimately saving you money – and a lot of headaches.