Posts Tagged ‘FHA’

Taking on the spring market

April 16, 2019

It is definitely spring, and the housing market is heating up. It is time to take advantage of new homes on the market. What am I seeing this year that is different from last year:

  1. Mortgage rates are lower this year than they were last year at this time. Right now, they are lower by roughly a half point!
  2. The rise in home values has slowed each month for the past 10 months. The combination of slowing home values and a drop in mortgage rates gives buyers roughly 6% more buying power today than they had this time last year.
  3. I am seeing sellers begin to give money toward closing costs. Don’t read this statement as sellers are paying ALL closing costs again. What I mean is instead of every purchase contract I see where the seller is giving $0 to the buyer for closing costs, now I am seeing contracts with the seller giving a few thousand to the buyer.
  4. Homes sitting on the market for sale for too long are now getting price reductions. Last year, homes weren’t sitting that long and few were getting price reductions.

What to make of all this information? While still a seller’s market, the market is softening and buyers have more purchasing power. Now is the time to act!

I know what you may be thinking…

  • I don’t have enough money to put 20% down…  Not a problem. Did you know a $500,000 home can be purchased with about a 3% down payment. While one’s target may not be $500,000, 3% is all it takes to get into a home.
  • My credit isn’t perfect… Again, not a problem. You don’t need perfect credit to purchase a home. Conventional and FHA loans allow for credit scores down to 620, which is below average credit.
  • I just started a new job, so I can’t buy a home… Not necessarily. A new job doesn’t mean someone lost their chance at buying a home. Being able to qualify for a home depends more on how they are paid (W2, hourly, salary, 1099) versus how much they are paid.

Don’t let what you’ve read on the internet get you down. Just because you read it online, or someone in the office break room told you something doesn’t make it true. It is easier to buy a home than many people think. If you are looking to buy a home in Georgia, contact me  today. Let’s get the process started. In just a few minutes, we’ll be well on our way to getting you into a new home.

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Inventory levels still low

February 21, 2019

If you think you’ve heard this before… it is because you have. Inventory levels are still low across the country. Low inventory levels push home values up due to the simple application of supply-and-demand. This is one of the main reasons home values have jumped so much in the past couple of years. How did we get here? There are a couple of reasons:

  • During the Great Recession, very few homes were being built. After many years of very little new construction (coupled with more people wanting to buy homes), a squeeze on inventory occurred.
  • While unemployment was high during the Great Recession, many people put off buying a home until their financial situation was more stable. This creates a pent up demand on those wanting to buy homes. This increases competition for the few homes available on the market.
  • Homeowners are remaining in their homes longer. We are at the highest rate of owners keeping their homes in 18 years. The length of time is now up to 7 years, which is a 10% increase year over year.

There are many reasons why people may choose to remain in their homes longer (they have a low rate on their current home, fear of finding their new home, tighter loan qualifying guidelines), but one new factor are baby boomers choosing to live/age in place. As baby boomers remain in their current homes (instead of down sizing or moving into assisted living), it again tightens the amount of available inventory. Of course, this will not always be the case. Baby boomers (along with the silent generation) own over 50% of the homes in America. As they age, we may find ourselves in the exact opposite situation – too much inventory.

Until we get there, how can someone make their offer stand out? There are a couple of things to do.

  1. Make a non-contingent offer on the purchase. For those who own their current home, qualifying to carry two mortgages means an offer can be made without a contingency. A seller with multiple offers would find that more attractive. Homes are going fast, so it is not very likely one would carry both home loans for an extended period of time. For those who need equity from the current home for the down payment on the new home, there is always the method of recasting the loan after closing. A future post will cover recasting.
  2. Get pre-underwritten prior to making an offer. In this method, the buyer applies for the home loan with a “to be determined” property address. Once approved, the offer letter to a seller simply says the buyer is ready to close pending an appraisal and final underwriting approval. This is a quick close and the seller knows the buyer is legitimate. Rodney Shaffer covers this more in-depth with this post.
  3. For first time home buyers (and repeat buyers too), look to use Home Ready. This is a conventional loan requiring only a 3% down payment. Some sellers would prefer not accepting an FHA offer, so Home Ready allows for a smaller down payment than FHA (3% vs 3.5%), and is still a conventional loan. Couple this with the “pre-underwrite” option and have even more power behind potential offers. There are conventional loans with only 3% down that are not Home Ready loans, but Home Ready has some advantages over the “standard” 3% down conventional loan that buyers would want to take advantage of if they qualify. Here is a case study on a Home Ready loan.

Yes, it is a tight market when it comes to available homes to purchase. That doesn’t mean buyers should despair. There are ways to help make the offer more attractive to sellers. Looking to buy in the state of Georgia? If so, contact me today. We can start talking about any or all of these potential options.

 

New FHA max loan limit

January 8, 2019

Just as conforming loan limits rose again this year, the maximum loan amount for FHA loans got a bit higher too.

Remember the maximum loan amount for FHA loans vary from county to county; meaning, the max loan amount is determined by the county in which the property resides.

  • The new FHA loan limit for 2019 is $379,500 for the metro Atlanta area.
  • The non-metro max loan amount also increased to $314,827.
  • Georgia also has some counties with max amounts between those ranges (for example, Clarke county is $341,550).

For those who want to see their specific county, use this lookup tool provided by HUD. Just choose your state and county then press “send” to get the exact amount.

The new limit for metro Atlanta counties means a buyer could purchase a $393,000 home and make just a 3.5% down payment. Buyers can look to purchase a home for more than $393,000, but they will need to make a larger down payment. For example, a person could buy a $400,000 home using an FHA loan. Since the max loan is capped at $379,500, the down payment will need to be about 5% instead of the minimum 3.5%.

I know what you may be thinking… why put 5% down and use an FHA loan? Wouldn’t a conventional loan be better? True. Maybe. Remember for those with credit scores under 680 who make a 5% down payment, the private mortgage insurance for a conventional loan is higher than the monthly mortgage insurance for an FHA. Also, the mortgage rate is higher for the conventional loan versus the FHA loan.

This is why it is imperative to speak with a licensed mortgage lender about the differences in loan programs instead of assuming an FHA loan is only for first time home buyers OR never consider an FHA loan if you can make a 5% down payment. The specific details of each client’s situation could make one program more attractive than the other even if it goes against what most people would consider normal.

Looking to purchase a home in the state of Georgia? Unsure of the loan program that is right for you? Contact me today. I can get you prequalified for a home loan in a few minutes, and we’ll discuss the pros and cons of each loan program to ensure the best fit for your situation.

FHA loans are back!

July 21, 2015

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President Obama issued an executive order that reduced the monthly mortgage insurance premium on FHA loans by more than a third. This order started in January. Since then, FHA loan applications rose dramatically. From February through May of this year, the number of FHA loans essentially doubled from the same time period in 2014.

Why all the love for FHA loans? Because the total monthly payment is more competitive now with conventional loans. Prior to the change, home buyers with excellent credit would see monthly mortgage insurance rates 2.5 times higher for FHA loans than conventional loans. Since the change, FHA monthly mortgage insurance is still more expensive, but nowhere near as bad as it was before the executive order.

In fact, I’ve been able to recommend FHA loans again to my clients. What I mean by that is this… prior to Obama’s executive order, the FHA mortgage insurance was so much higher, it made the total monthly payment for FHA uncompetitive to that of conventional loans. Only clients needing a down payment as low as 3.5% or had credit scores under 660 would really consider using FHA loans.

Now the total monthly payments are more balanced, and you see that by the amount of FHA loan applications now being processed. Here is a brief break down of FHA vs. Conventional loans on a decision making basis using credit scores.

  • those with excellent credit will still likely go with a conventional loan even though the interest rate is better on an FHA because mortgage insurance is not permanent (FHA loans can be), and there is no upfront mortgage insurance payment due at closing (FHA requires this).
  • those with average credit could go either way. It really depends on the exact credit score and the rate difference. Remember, the rate for FHA loans are better than conventional, so even though the monthly mortgage insurance could be higher (and permanent, more on this in a minute), the total payment could be basically the same when you take the interest rate difference into consideration.
  • those with below average credit scores tend to go FHA now. Why? The interest rate is much higher on a conventional loan than FHA loans for lower credit scores. Also, the monthly mortgage insurance payment is higher for conventional loans once credit scores go below 680.

The big drawback to FHA loans is that the mortgage insurance can be permanent. That said, under the “old guidelines”, it would take over 11 years of regular, on time payments before mortgage insurance on FHA loans would fall off. Since most people move on average every 7  years, the mortgage insurance would be on the loan the entire time – so “permanent” isn’t as scary as it sounds.

Don’t know if an FHA loan is right for you? If you are buying in the state of Georgia, contact me. We can talk about your situation and decide what loan is right for you and get you into your new home!

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Discussing mortgage options

December 3, 2014

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Now that we’ve talked about the aspects of a mortgage payment, let’s focus on the mortgage options. There are so many mortgage options from which to choose – how do you decide which loan is best for you?

To contact any of us at Dunwoody Mortgage Services, click here!

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Qualified Mortgages

January 21, 2014

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There has been a lot of news coverage lately on Qualified Mortgages now that the rule has taken hold in the mortgage industry. What is a Qualified Mortgage and how does it impact the mortgage industry?

It is a great question and one that has been hotly debated as of late. Instead of getting into all of the minutia, let’s peer through the matrix and simplify the term Qualified Mortgage.

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In short, a Qualified Mortgage is a mortgage that does not have excessive upfront points and fees, no “toxic” loan features (such as interest only, negative amortization, prepayment penalties, and balloon payments), and a capped debt to income ratio of 43%.

What does that mean? Let’s look at each part:

1. There is now a cap on all lender fees to keep customers from being charged with excessive fees.

2. Over the past several years, negative amortization loans, prepayment penalties, and balloon payments have essentially disappeared from the mortgage industry. Interest only loans did exist, but a buyer needs at least a 30% down payment in order to use an interest only product. In other words, these “toxic” loan features are, for now, already out of the mortgage industry.

3. While the debt to income ratio cannot exceed 43%, there is a temporary exception in place until January 2021 for all loans that are eligible to be sold to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA and VA. If the loan being used to buy a home is eligible to be sold to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA or the VA, then the debt to income ratio can exceed 43% just as it was allowed prior to Qualified Mortgage rule taking over the mortgage industry. Given the amount of changes in the mortgage industry over the past few years, a 7 year exception might as well be a 700 year exception. By the time 2021 rolls around, odds are there will be another set of rules that has replaced or modified the Qualified Mortgage rule.

How does this impact those looking to buy a home? In all honesty, it really doesn’t. The part most people are concerned about is the cap of 43% on the debt to income ratio, but doesn’t come in to play unless the loan isn’t eligible to be sold to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA or the VA. Considering there are VERY few loans  available that are not eligible to be sold to these institutions, the 43% cap on the debt to income ratio won’t impact many home buyers in the near future.

When you are out looking to buy a home this year, don’t worry about any of the “the end is near” stories you are hearing about Qualified Mortgages preventing you from buying a home. Work with a professional who is up to speed on the changes and can guide you through the loan process into your new home. If you are buying a home in the state of Georgia, contact me. I can help you get prequalified and start the home buying process today.

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Government Shudtown impacting lending

October 1, 2013

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UPDATE – As of 10/07/2013 – most of the lenders I use are allowing loans to close for W2 salaried borrowers as long as their employer completes a full Verification of Employment. Since the government (and IRS) is still shut down, this is great news for some. Those who are self employed or make most of their money from commission/bonuses will not be able to close until a tax transcript can be provided from the IRS.

With the government shutdown (which is still on as of this post) in full swing, most people assume they will still be able to close their home loan if it isn’t a government loan such as an FHA, VA or USDA loan.

The truth is the shutdown could literally shutdown closings regardless of the type or purpose (purchase or refinance). Why? The government shut down also closed the IRS. That wouldn’t be a huge deal a few years ago, but it is today.

Why?

The reforms in the mortgage industry and underwriting brought the IRS into the middle of the loan process. In order to close on a loan, the IRS must supply tax return transcripts from the previous two tax filing years. It doesn’t matter if you are a W2 salaried employee, self employed, 100% commission, etc… if you are applying for a home loan, tax transcripts are required.

Until the government is up and running again, the IRS won’t process the tax transcript requests. As of today, requests are piling up. The longer this goes on in DC, the larger the pile of requests will get. Eventually this will begin delaying closings, rate locks could expire, emotions will run high… fun times.

Fortunately, government shutdowns only last a few days. I’m sure DC will figure this out soon (fingers crossed!).

In the meantime, juts realize the shutdown could impact your home loan even if it isn’t a government loan.

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Small down payment loan options

March 13, 2013

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With yet another round of FHA mortgage insurance premium increases set to begin on April 1, 2013, many people think their only option of buying a home with a small down payment will just have to coincide with a ridiculously high monthly mortgage insurance payment.

What many people are not aware of is the fact that conventional loans have a program that requires only a 3% down payment. You will need a higher credit score than an FHA loan, but the down payment is actually smaller than an FHA loan. Also, you can get approved for conventional loans with as little as 5% down. Let’s talk these loan programs.

As we have recently discussed, FHA loans only require a 3.5% down payment. The drawback in the monthly mortgage insurance. Starting April 1st, all new FHA loans will have a 1.75% up front premium rolled into the loan amount. Also, the monthly mortgage insurance will increase to 1.35% of the loan amount. The mortgage insurance payments will be permanent unless you make a 10% down payment when you buy the home. The advantage of FHA loans is that your credit score can be as low as 640, but it comes at a cost of a REALLY high monthly mortgage insurance payment.

Conventional loans with 3% down do require higher credit score of 700, but you do get by with a smaller down payment. That isn’t the only thing that is smaller. The monthly mortgage insurance rate is only 1.15% of the loan amount. Also, there is NO upfront mortgage insurance premium rolled into the loan amount. If you have a qualifying credit score, this program comes with a smaller down payment, no upfront mortgage insurance premium, and a lower monthly mortgage insurance rate.

Conventional loans with 5% down only require a 660 credit score. The down payment is higher than an FHA loan, but again, there is no upfront mortgage insurance premium. Even with a 660 credit score, the monthly mortgage insurance will be less than an FHA loan. If you have a credit score in the 700s, the monthly mortgage insurance could be half as much as an FHA loan.

Whether you are a first time home buyer OR just someone looking to buy a home and need a small down payment, you have options other than an FHA loan. You can qualify for a conventional loan with as little as 3% or 5% down. In both cases, the monthly mortgage insurance will be less than an FHA loan. There is also no upfront mortgage insurance premium being rolled into the loan amount.

With all of the changes taking place to FHA loan, conventional loans are becoming more and more attractive. If you haven’t discussed a conventional loan with your mortgage broker, you should. If you are buying a home in the state of Georgia, contact me* and we can discuss it today!

* scroll down to the bottom of the page for my contact information

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FHA changes begin April 1st

February 12, 2013

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As you may have heard OR read on this blog, FHA announced changes to their loans. Those changes take place on all case numbers assigned on or after April 1, 2013. Does this mean you need to be closed on a home by the end of March.

In the words of Lee Corso – not so fast my friend!

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The changes that increase the monthly mortgage insurance rate AND make the mortgage insurance permanent are for all loans with case numbers assigned by April 1st. That doesn’t mean you need to be closed by that date. Ideally, you need to be under contract by Monday, March 25, 2013 so your lender can order your case number. Under this scenario, you should have a case number before April 1st.

Typically it takes 24-48 hours to get a case number back, but there could be a rush on case number orders due to the April 1st deadline. To ensure you get a case number assigned before April 1, 2013, be under contract by March 25th. Have your lender order the case number ASAP, and you should have it back by the end of the week.

This means you don’t have to find a home and be closed in roughly 45 days from now. What it does mean is you have six weeks to get prequalified, find a home, make an offer, and get under contract. You can close after April 1st and still get the current mortgage insurance terms and guidelines for your FHA loan.

Looking to buy a home in the state of Georgia? Contact me today, and I can help y0u get started with the prequalification process.

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FHA changes officially announced

January 31, 2013

blog-author-clayjeffreys2

As I mentioned earlier this month, FHA has indeed announced changes to their guidelines. While FHA was approved by Congress to increase their monthly mortgage insurance rates by roughly 60%, the actual increase wasn’t that severe. Don’t get too excited though. There is one change that isn’t going to be very popular at all.

The announced changes include:

  • Monthly mortgage insurance for borrowers making the minimum down payment will see the monthly mortgage insurance rates increase from 1.25% to 1.35%. On a $200,000 that works out to about a $17 per month increase.
  • The biggest change is that mortgage insurance will be required for the life of the loan. Mortgage insurance will no longer fall off of the loan once you have 22% equity. You’ll pay monthly mortgage insurance for 30 years on a 30 year fixed FHA loan unless you make a 10% down payment when you buy the home (if you can make a 10% down payment, you more likely to be better off going conventional).
  • Borrowers with a credit score less than 620 and a debt to income ratio higher than 43% will require manual underwriting for approval along with a letter from the lender explaining why this borrower was approved. Individuals looking to buy a home that fall into this category will be hard pressed to find a lender who will process their loan.

As expected, these changes make conventional loans look way more attractive. For example, let’s assume you are looking to buy a home and have a credit score 720 or more. With today’s PMI rates, the monthly mortgage insurance on FHA loans is twice as much than conventional loans with a 5% down payment.

Let’s use a $200,000 purchase price again and compare FHA and conventional loans:

  • The FHA down payment is only $7,000, but the monthly mortgage insurance is $220 per month.
  • The conventional loan down payment is a little higher at $10,000, but the monthly mortgage insurance is $107. That is a savings of $113 per month (over $1,300 per year).

Why the changes? It is twofold. First, FHA is looking to raise money because their reserves are exhausted. Increasing mortgage insurance and requiring it for the life of the loan would help replenish their reserves that have been severely hurt by the foreclosure crisis over the past few years.

The second reason is to reduce the number of FHA loans they insure. By making it more expensive to use an FHA loan, it will steer borrowers to conventional loans – which is the goal of the government so they do not have to insure as many mortgages as they are currently funding.

The moral of the story – if you are looking to buy a home using an FHA loan, you want to get started and closed before these changes take effect. If you are buying in the state of Georgia, I can help you get started with the prequalification process today. Don’t delay as these changes are coming!

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