Posts Tagged ‘3% down convetional loan’

Beyond the Down Payment…Cash to Close

August 30, 2017

In the last post, we debunked the myth that home buyers must make a 20% down payment to buy their home.  There are many programs enabling buyers to close with 5%, 3.5%, or even 3% down payments.  But there is one other factor to consider regarding the cash you have available to buy a home…your “cash to close.”

Cash to close includes your down payment, PLUS the closing costs and prepaid escrow.  In short, you need more cash than just the down payment to close the purchase.  Here is a quick description of the other items:

  • Closing costs are the actual costs of transferring title and obtaining a mortgage loan.  Closing costs include items such as appraisal fees, transfer taxes, intangible tax, attorney fees, title insurance, etc.  Some of these costs are fixed while others increase with the home purchase price or loan amount.
  • Prepaid escrow represents the cash needed to pay the first year of homeowners insurance and to prefund your escrow account to pay future property taxes and homeowners insurance premiums.  These typically increase as the home price increases.

So what options does a buyer have when he has scraped together that 3.5% down payment, but does not have enough cash to cover the remaining cash to close?  Here’s where a proactive lender, working as a consultant to help the buyer, can make a huge difference.  Typically, the buyer has 4 options, and the lender should explore them all with the buyer:

  1. The seller can agree to contribute cash towards the closing as part of the purchase contract.  There are limits regarding how much the seller can contribute based on the loan type and down payment percentage, but a seller contribution can be a huge help.  Note that the seller contribution cannot be applied to the down payment.
  2. The buyer can choose a “no closing cost” loan.  Many buyers choose not to use this option because it involves a higher interest rate and monthly payment, but it can be a good option for some buyers who have limited available cash.
  3. The buyer can receive a gift from a relative.  We must carefully document the gift, but this is a great way for parents and grandparents to help a young adult get started building equity.  The gift can be applied to the down payment.
  4. We can combine the 3 options above to resolve a cash shortfall.

The key here is to remember (1) more cash than just the down payment is needed to close a mortgage and (2) there are creative ways we can solve a cash shortfall.

If you know a renter with a good job but not much cash, refer them to me at Dunwoody Mortgage Services.  We will work closely with your referral and his / her Realtor to structure a mortgage that best meets their financial situation.

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The Truth About Down Payments…

August 25, 2017

Many young adults and other potential home buyers mistakenly assume that they cannot buy a house.  Why?  Because they believe the myth that a home buyer must make a 20% down payment to buy a home.  A recent study by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) shows that the average down payment for 60% of first time buyers is 6% or less.  However, their research indicates that just 13% of adults age 34 and younger understand that they can buy a home with as little as 5% down, or less.  Their analysis shows that, over the last 5 years, more than 70% of non-cash, first time buyers, along with 54% of all home buyers, made down payments of less than 20%.

So why do so many Americans not understand this home buying truth?  Perhaps it is because 20% is the down payment benchmark most often quoted by “experts” in print and other news media.  And perhaps it is because that to avoid mortgage insurance on a conventional loan, you must make at least a 20% down payment.

Whatever the reason, it is time for us to spread the truth about down payments.  That truth is, the majority of home buyers make down payments of less than 20%.  Here are some quick options for folks who want to buy, but don’t have a lot of cash saved for a purchase:

  • Active duty military, National Guard, Reserves, or military veterans may qualify for a 0% down VA loan.
  • FHA loans offer minimum down payments of 3.5% with low interest rates.
  • Buyer who qualify can obtain a Home Ready conventional loan for 3% down, with competitive interest rates and discounted mortgage insurance premiums.
  • Buyers who do not qualify for Home Ready may still qualify for a 3% down payment, but possibly with a higher interest rate.  In this case, the buyer will likely receive a lower interest rate if she makes a 5% down payment.

Bottom line, many home buying options exist for folks who can afford less than a 20% down payment.  These home buyers need a mortgage expert to coach them to the best option for their financial situation.  That is the type of individualized service we deliver at Dunwoody Mortgage.  We work closely with our clients to help them obtain the mortgage solution that best meets their needs.

If you know a young adult in Georgia who has a good job, who is renting and doesn’t think she can buy her own home, suggest that she call me at Dunwoody Mortgage.  She just might be able to fire her landlord, buy her own place, and start building equity.  Don’t let her believe the down payment myths.

 

Geographic Income Limits for Home Ready Program

May 1, 2017


One potentially limiting aspect of the Home Ready program is that income limits are specified by census tract.  (Notice I said “potentially.”  We will get back to that point very soon.)  To qualify for the program, the borrower’s income must be less than or equal to the income limit set for the geographic area of the subject property.  Fannie Mae specifies and publishes the geographic income limits as part of the program.  Many areas in Metro Atlanta have an annual income cap of $67,200, but there are many other areas that do not have an income limit.  Now back to the word “potentially.”  If the home you want to buy lies in a no-income-limit area, you could make a million dollars per year or even per month and still qualify for a Home Ready loan for that house.

Two key points to remember here:  First of all, the income limits are based the subject property’s location, so you can have varying income limits in different parts of the same county.  In fact, the eligibility maps go down to the street level, which means that houses on one side of a street could carry a $67,200 income limit and houses on the other side of the same street could have no income limit.  Secondly, the income limits apply only to borrowers on the loan.  If two employed people plan to live in the home, but only one of you is on the loan, then the other occupant’s income does not count toward the income limit.  Of course that means that the sole borrower must qualify for the loan using his or her income only.   

So how can you determine whether you qualify for the Home Ready program’s low down payment / low-interest rate / low mortgage insurance benefits?  You can call me at Dunwoody Mortgage!!  We will first discuss your income and the geographic area where you want to buy.  I can look up the area online and determine whether your income qualifies for Home Ready in that area.  If you meet the geographic income limits, we will complete your loan application, pull your credit report, and run your application through our Automated Underwriting System (“AUS”).  The AUS findings will then determine if you do qualify for Home Ready’s great benefits. 

Buying a house in Georgia and curious whether you can obtain a Home Ready loan?  Give me a call and we will review Home Ready and your other loan options.  Don’t think you will qualify?  We at Dunwoody Mortgage have secured loans for many customers who initially thought they would not qualify.  Don’t assume you cannot win loan approval!  Call me and let’s discuss your situation.  We might just surprise you!! 

 

 

 

3% Down and a Great Interest Rate!

April 24, 2017

National mortgage giant Fannie Mae offers the Home Ready conventional loan program that can be very helpful for qualifying home buyers.  Home Ready enables qualified buyers to obtain a mortgage with a 3% down payment, so it’s great for people with limited available cash.  In addition, when the buyer has an average credit score, Home Ready provides lower interest rates and mortgage insurance premiums relative to standard conventional loans.

One important point is that this program is NOT limited to first time home buyers.  If you have owned a home before or if you have an ownership interest in another property, you may still qualify for a new Home Ready loan, as long as you plan to occupy the new home as your primary residence. 

Home Ready requires that at least one of the home buyers complete an online home buyer education course.  This course costs $75 and takes about 4 to 6 hours to complete.  The course topics include:

  • Home affordability and budgeting
  • Credit ratings and credit improvement
  • Real estate agent selection
  • Mortgages
  • Offer letters
  • Home inspections
  • The closing process

The prospective home buyer will receive a certificate of completion after passing a final quiz and submitting a feedback survey.   Passing the quiz requires a score of 80%, and the buyer receives three attempts to pass the quiz.  If the buyer does not pass the quiz in three attempts, an additional approximately 30 minute telephone educational review session is required.   After obtaining the certificate of completion, the buyer should send a copy to his / her selected lender.

Here are a couple of additional program benefits:

  • Non-occupant borrowers are permitted.
  • Non-borrower household income from a family member (parents or siblings, for example) can be used to support a higher debt to income ratio than the borrower can obtain alone.

Future posts will cover Home Ready’s geographic income limits, and we will give an example scenario to highlight the program benefits.  But keep this in mind for now, if you want to buy a home in Georgia, but your credit score is less than great and you don’t have much available cash for a down payment, Home Ready could be the program that makes home ownership a reality for you.  Call me to discuss Home Ready and other options.  Or if you have a friend or family member who could benefit from Home Ready, forward this blog post to them.  We at Dunwoody Mortgage love to make home ownership a reality for everyone, and it’s especially fun for people who initially think they can’t qualify!

 

Q: How Do You Earn? A: Salary or Hourly

October 22, 2015

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If you saw my last post, you’ll remember that, in the mortgage world, how you earn your income is almost as important as how much income you earn.  See http://bit.ly/1KT9Snx for a quick refresher.

So let’s unpack how we underwrite the different types of income earning methods.  I’ll start with the easy ones first.

Salary Income:  If you earn a salary, we will need to know your gross monthly income.  That is, your monthly salary before taxes and withholdings.  We basically take your annual salary and divide by 12 months.

Underwriting will review your 2 most recent pay stubs and W-2 statements.  Don’t worry if you just started a new job.  So long as you are in a W-2 salaried job and you did not have a job gap of more than 6 months prior to your current job, you can qualify once you have 30 days of pay stubs.

Hourly Income:  If you are paid by the hour, underwriters will base your income on your average earnings over the last 24 months.  We will obtain a “Verification of Employment” (VOE) from your employer to document your income.  This employer-provided VOE is ultimately what underwriting will use when reviewing your application.

I know, it sounds confusing and very detailed.  That’s why it’s my job to know the details, understand the guidelines, and walk you through the process so you know exactly where you stand with underwriting.  I love handling the details and coaching my clients so that they can buy the home of their dreams.  If you are looking to buy in the State of Georgia and you want great mortgage service plus great rates, email or call me today.  We will make buying your dream home as easy as it can be.

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So How Much Money Do You Make?

September 24, 2015

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It pretty much goes without saying that everyone needs an income and most people need a job to qualify for a mortgage.  “No duh, Sherlock, right?”

Some people can qualify for a mortgage if they have an income and no job.  For example, retirees who have income from Social Security and retirement assets can use income from these sources to qualify without a job.

But the majority of us must be employed and earning a regular paycheck to qualify.  So here are some important income questions underwriting will want to consider when you apply for a mortgage.  #1:  What is your income?

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#2:  How do you earn your income?  Your answer to that question dramatically impacts your ability to qualify for a mortgage and the documentation you must provide to verify that income.  It also affects how we calculate the monthly income that we enter on your mortgage application.

Below is a quick summary of different income earning methods we frequently see in the mortgage world.  In future posts, we will review in more detail how underwriting verifies each different method of earning your wages.

  1. Salary income
  2. Commission income
  3. Hourly income
  4. Bonus and overtime income
  5. Part time job, second job, and multiple job income
  6. Self-employment income
  7. Rental income
  8. Child support, alimony, maintenance income
  9. Asset based income
  10. Social security / survivor and dependent benefit income
  11. Tip income

Not sure whether your income will qualify for a mortgage on your Georgia dream home?  No worries, just give a call to Dunwoody Mortgage Services.  We will ask you the right questions to make sure that your eligible income is recorded correctly for underwriting.  Give me a call or send me an email to start the process.  We will make sure that we do this right the first time!

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Conventional Loan Limits Rising

July 16, 2015

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Well, maybe… after a decade of being stuck at $417,000 (although it is higher in the “high cost” areas determined by the government), there may be a rise in the conforming limit. We’ve been down this road before, but it could happen this time. Why?

During the height of the housing boom, many talks focused on raising the limit over $417,000. We all know what happened next… housing crash, home values plummet, and $417,000 was more in line with the market.

Fast forward a few years, and home values are rising again! Some indices show the values are back to pre-recession levels. With home values rising, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is considering the increase in conforming loan limits. This could help spur home purchases. Why?

  • Conventional loans come with smaller down payment requirements than Jumbo loans.
  • Conventional loans typically have better interest rates than Jumbo loans.
  • This makes it easier to qualify for a Conventional loan than a Jumbo loan.
  • Home buyers moving up to a pricier home are more comfortable using a Conventional loan.

The FHFA will decide this fall on whether or not to raise the conforming loan limits. If so, look for increase to begin for new loans starting January 1, 2016.

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LPMI loans – how to decide?

May 12, 2015

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I am finishing a series on LPMI loans. If you’ve missed any of them, here is a quick recap for you:

LPMI loans, or Lender Paid Mortgage Insurance, are loan programs that allow a borrower to not make a monthly mortgage insurance payment on the loan. The “catch” is the borrower agrees to a higher interest rate instead.

If deciding which one to do by going with the lowest payment, it is normally going to be the LPMI loan. That said, LPMI loans make less sense when making a larger down payment and/or having an average or below average credit score. So how to make the decision?

Answer this question – How long do you plan to stay in the home?

The shorter the time frame of staying in the home, the more it makes sense to go with the LPMI option. Why? It takes around 4 years for the monthly mortgage insurance to fall off when making a 15% down payment. Closer to 9 or so years when making a 5% down payment.
– If the plan is to stay in the home for only 5 years, then the LPMI loan would probably be the way to go.
– If the plan is to stay in the home for the next 10+ years, then the monthly mortgage insurance loan would probably be the way to go. Why? Once the monthly mortgage insurance payment falls off, the interest rate will be lower compared to the LPMI loan. When using the LPMI loan, you’ll always have the higher rate.

After completing this series, here are the combinations to consider when deciding between using the LPMI loan or a traditional loan with monthly mortgage insurance.
– Consider LPMI when the plan is to stay in the home for a shorter time period, you have excellent credit, and the down payment will be 5%.
– Consider a traditional loan with monthly mortgage insurance when staying in the home for a longer period of time, and/or you have average or below average credit, and/or making a larger down payment.

Clear as muddy water?

If unclear, no worries. That is why I am here. If buying a home in Georgia, contact me today. We can talk about the ins-and-outs of LPMI loans and see what works best for you.

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LPMI Loans – Things to consider

May 7, 2015

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Continuing a series on LPMI loans, or Lender Paid Mortgage Insurance. Last time I introduced LPMI loans. Today, I want to focus on two things to consider when deciding between using a conventional loan with monthly mortgage insurance OR using a LPMI loan.

#1. Credit – I bet you could have guessed this one! With a higher credit score, the impact to the interest rate is decreased. That said, the lower the credit score, the more the interest rate will be increased.

Remember how LPMI loans work – the borrower won’t pay a monthly PMI payment, but to do so, they are agreeing to a higher interest rate. How much higher? Let’s take a look at two examples of a $300,000 purchase price with 5% down. That gives us a loan amount of $285,000 on a 30 year fixed rate loan.

– 760+ Credit Score: the interest rate on the LPMI loan is 0.375% higher. While the mortgage payment is higher, when you factor is NOT making a monthly mortgage insurance payment, the LPMI loan is lower by about $65 per month.
– Under 720 Credit Score: this time, the net total payment is about $30 less going with the LPMI option. The drawback is the increase to the interest rate, which is 0.750% higher going with the LPMI loan.

The lower payment with the LPMI loan is great, but having the interest rate increased that month is tough to swallow (at least it is to me). The moral of the story is this – an LPMI loan may make more sense for those with excellent credit.

#2. Down Payment – the more money that is put down at the time of the purchase will lower the impact to the interest rate when using an LPMI loan. For example, let’s look at a 5% down payment versus a 15% down payment on our $300,000 purchase price.

– 5% down: it would take about 9 years for monthly PMI to fall off making the minimum monthly payment.
– 15% down: it would take a little over 4 years for monthly PMI to fall off the loan.

The borrower may have the lower monthly payment using an LPMI loan, but why go with the higher rate if the monthly PMI will fall off in only a few years. With an LPMI loan, you are stuck with a higher rate for the life of the loan. The monthly MI payment may result in a higher mortgage payment for a little while, but when the PMI falls off, you’ve got a lower monthly payment. The moral of the story is this – an LPMI loan makes more sense when making a smaller down payment.

How to decide? Tune in next time when we ask the question that helps to decide which option is best for you!

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FHA lowering mortgage insurance

January 13, 2015

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Finally, FHA mortgage insurance becomes more reasonable (and competitive) when compared to conventional loans. As recently posted on this blog, FHA mortgage insurance has been priced so high that it rarely made sense to consider using an FHA loan.

FHA mortgage insurance still has the one-time upfront premium, and is permanent if making less than a 10% down payment, but at least the monthly mortgage insurance payment is closer. Let’s take a look at how the new numbers compare to one another.

  • FHA – the monthly mortgage insurance rate is dropping from 1.35% to 0.85%. Using our same example of a $250,000 purchase price, the total loan amount would be close to $245,500. If you take 0.85% of that amount, you get $2,087, which is $174 per month.
  • Conventional – assuming the buyer’s credit score is 720+, the same $250,000 purchase price with 5% down would give us a monthly payment of $122 for mortgage insurance. When you take into consideration the fact that FHA loans have a lower interest rate, the difference in the total payment between the two is not much at all.

The buyers who could benefit the most from this are ones looking to make as small of a down payment as possible.

  • The 3% conventional loan is only available to first time home buyers. With only a 3.5% down payment, a buyer would qualify to purchase the home and not get hammered on the monthly mortgage insurance payment since FHA has lowered the monthly amount so much.
  • On the flip side, let’s say it is a first time homebuyer and they’d qualify for a 3% down conventional loan. The FHA loan may still be more attractive since the monthly mortgage insurance payment for an FHA loan is now lower than the monthly mortgage insurance payment for a 3% down conventional loan. Also, the interest rate would be lower on the FHA loan.

That is a lot to consider, which is why you should consult a professional who can ask you questions about your purchase, find out how long you plan to stay in the home, and if you plan on aggressively paying down the loan balance. The answers will ensure you choose the right loan for you situation.

Whether a first time home buyer or an experienced buyer, if you are buying in the state of Georgia, I’m happy to help. Contact me today to get started and we’ll get you into your new home.

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