Where do buyers begin?
Haley Newton, a loan officer with Starkey Mortgage in Sherman, said the first step in the buying process is not finding a house, rather it’s getting prequalified for a home loan. Buyers need to first find out how much house they can afford and if they can actually purchase a home.
“A lot them want to know what the first step is, and many people believe that the first step is finding a house, but that’s actually the second step,” Newton said. “You want to get prequalified with a local lender to know what you’re prequalified for, and then go out and find a house, which is the hard part.”
What documents do buyers need to provide to get prequalified and preapproved?
Prequalification is typically the quick and easy initial step and preapproval is a more involved process. The prequalification process starts with an application, which most lenders have available online, though Newton said buyers can call a lender or meet them in person to fill it out. After buyers fill out an application, which covers the buyers’ finances and history, the lenders will verify the information for preapproval and that requires the supporting documents.
“Once they’re prequalified, we’ll give them a list of documents they need depending on their application,” Newton said.
The list typically calls for pay stubs from the last 30 days, tax returns for the last two years, bank statements for the last two months, W-2s, IDs and Social Security cards.
Jeremy Lewis, branch manager of Grayson Home Loans, said sometimes the lender may require divorce decrees and documentation to indicate other income depending on the buyers’ situation. After preapproval, Lewis said he usually gives the buyers a call, and they figure out a loan program that best fits the buyers.
How much do buyers need for a down payment?
Short answer: It depends on the loan.
Lewis said the down payment is often the main concern for buyers, and it’s not a set amount. Depending on the loan type and what programs the buyers are eligible for, the down payment can be as little as zero down. Loans from the Federal Housing Administration, Veteran Affairs and the U.S. Department of Agriculture each have a set of stipulations that include the percentage required for the down payment.
“It depends on the loan type they’re going with — whether it be a conventional loan, an FHA loan, a VA loan or a USDA loan, it will determine what they’re going to have to place down — what their initial investment is going to be,” Lewis said. “There are still those out there out there that think they have to put 10 to 20 percent down, which is not correct. They can, in certain programs, put as little as zero down.”
Newton said there are down payment assistance programs in the state that can help cover the amount needed. These programs are income based and are capped anywhere from $55,000 to $75,000 depending on the program.
What’s the deal with closing costs?
In addition to a down payment, buyers also need funds to cover the closing costs. Lewis said the closing costs depend on the loan amount as a higher loan amount is going to cost more. About half the closing costs are directed to building the buyers’ escrow account, and the other half is a combination of fees for items such as the title and appraisal.
“Closing costs are another piece of the puzzle they’re going to have to come up with,” Lewis said. “However, in a Texas residential contract, you can ask the sellers to pay a certain percentage, depending on the loan type, for your closing costs.”
Buyers can negotiate with the sellers and ask that the seller pays a portion of the closing costs, which if the buyers qualify for a down payment assistance program, the initial costs can be very low.
“If you’re able to use the down payment assistance programs in addition to requesting the seller to pay some of their closing costs, they can actually get into a home with little to nothing down,” Newton said.
What is an escrow account?
“It kind of works like a separate checking account, and the purpose of that account is to pay the yearly tax bill that comes due every January, and their insurance premium that’s due once a year depending on when they closed on their home,” Newton said.
The initial money put into the escrow account is part of the closing costs, and Lewis said homeowners then add to it monthly when they make their house payments. The account is for buyers to put back money so property taxes and insurance are covered.
“Say when their tax bill comes due in January, there will be plenty of money in the account for them to pay their taxes, so that way they’re not coming up $2 to 3 to 5,000 all at once to pay their tax bill,” Newton said.
Can buyers purchase a home with a bad credit score?
Newton said buyers don’t necessarily need the best credit in order to get a home loan, and she noted that first-time homebuyer programs have recently lowered their credit score requirements.
“A lot people around here they don’t necessarily have bad credit, they just don’t have a lot,” Newton said. “They don’t use their credit.”
Newton said lenders will work with buyers and give them steps to take over 60 to 90 days to boost their credit score to where they can buy a home.
“It can be intimidating but we can walk them through it,” Newton said.
Buyers should consult with local lenders, and Lewis said he guides buyers through the process so they know what to expect.
“There’s so many different moving parts to a loan anymore,” Lewis said. “I try to keep everyone versed and ready for what’s to come in the process and what to expect.”
Senior Loan Officer
American Mortgage Solutions, Inc.
10602 Timberwood Circle, Suite 3
Louisville, KY 40223
text or call my phone: (502) 905-3708
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The view and opinions stated on this website belong solely to the authors, and are intended for informational purposes only. The posted information does not guarantee approval, nor does it comprise full underwriting guidelines. This does not represent being part of a government agency. The views expressed on this post are mine and do not necessarily reflect the view of my employer. Not all products or services mentioned on this site may fit all people. NMLS ID# 57916, (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org). Mortgage loans only offered in Kentucky.
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Joel E Lobb
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Kentucky FHA, VA, USDA & Rural Housing, KHC and Fannie Mae mortgage loans.
A Complete Guide to Closing Costs. Complete Guide to Closing Costs A Complete Guide to Closing Costs Types of Closing Costs Let’s talk briefly about the types of closing costs you mi…
In a little-known policy shift, the three national credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — plan to stop collecting and reporting substantial amounts of civil judgment and tax lien information on public records affecting millions of American consumers starting July 1.
Both types of information have negative impacts on credit scores and remain in credit files for extended periods. Tax liens are levied against properties when the owner is delinquent on payment of taxes. Civil judgments — debts owed by the losing party in legal disputes that typically involve monetary damages — are ordered by courts.
With the elimination of this information from vast numbers of consumer credit files, some lenders are concerned that when they order credit reports to evaluate an applicant, they may no longer get the full picture of the risk of nonpayment posed by the consumer.
Senior Loan Officer
Here is my Top 5 List for getting a Kentucky FHA Mortgage Loan: 1.A Low Down Payment – Kentucky FHA Mortgage Loans only require a 3.5% down payment. And what makes that even more attractive is tha…
Source: Kentucky FHA Loan Guidelines
FHA Guidelines: How to Qualify for an FHA Loan
The first step to qualifying for an FHA loan is to work with a loan officer at an FHA approved lender. General FHA guidelines that the loan officer will discuss with you include:
- Documenting an employment history over the last two years. FHA guidelines consider the last two years of employment and look at a steady pay history or employment with the same employer.
- Providing a valid social security number and proof that you’re a resident of the United States. There are exceptions for resident aliens, but these exceptions will vary by lender.
- Producing the necessary down payment. FHA loans require a minimum down payment of 3.5% when buying a home — but the down payment may be a gift under certain conditions.
- Performing the necessary due diligence. The property will need to be inspected by an FHA appraiser and an FHA approved appraisal must be done.
- Assessing how much you can afford. Although there is some flexibility, the total monthly mortgage payment generally should not exceed 30-32% of your gross monthly income.
- Assessing your level of debt. Your total debt should not be more than 43% of your gross monthly income. Again, there is some flexibility with this number, but this is a good guideline.
- Note from mortgage professional, Albert Bui, “the 43% DTI to income is mainly a guideline max for many loans out on the market to comply with certain qualified mortgages (QM) guidelines however in reality the max on FHA I’ve seen is 46.99% on the front ratio (housing payment only) and 56.99% on the backend when factoring in all other obligations. So this means you can borrow up to 46.99% on the front ratio for your housing payment but it doesn’t mean the borrower should max it out, rather they “can.”
- Knowing your credit score. Minimum credit scores now apply with FHA loans and can vary by lender. A credit score of 580 and above requires a 3.5% down payment, and a credit score of 500-579 requires a 10% down payment. Credit score requirements will vary by lender.
- According to Mr. Bui, “a 3.5% down payment is the min however there are many down payment assistance (DPA) programs that will either grant you the 3.5% for free with no repayment’s, offer the borrower a 3.5% community 2nd loan that is silent (no payment) and may be forgivable after a certain period of time, or a 2nd that has a silent payment but is due at a certain period of time or payoff in the future. So you can bring in as little as $0.00 with qualifying income or additional requirements.”
- Disclosing prior bankruptcies. If you have had a bankruptcy that has been discharged, the waiting period is 2 years.
- Disclosing prior foreclosures. If you have had a foreclosure, the waiting period is 3 years, and you must have good credit