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 qualified 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 qualified with a local lender to know what you’re pre qualified for, and then go out and find a house, which is the hard part.”
What documents do buyers need to provide to get qualified and pre approved?
qualification is typically the quick and easy initial step and approval is a more involved process. The qualification 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 approval, 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 home buyer 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
(NMLS#57916)American Mortgage Solutions, Inc.
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Louisville, KY 40223
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Joel E Lobb
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Kentucky FHA, VA, USDA & Rural Housing, KHC and Fannie Mae mortgage loans.
There are 4 basic things that a Kentucky First Time Home buyers in 2020 needs to show a lender in order to get approved for a mortgage. Each category has so many what ifs and sub plots that each box can read as it’s own novel. In other words, each category has so many variables that can affect what it takes to get approved, but without further adieu here are the four categories in no particular order as each without any of these items, you’re pretty much dead in the water:
You need income. You need to be able to afford the home. But what is acceptable income? Let’s just say that there are two ratios mortgage underwriters look at to qualify you for mortgage payment:
First Ratio – The first ratio, top ratio or housing ratio. Basically that means out of all the gross monthly income you make, that no more that X percent of it can go to your housing payment. The housing payment consists of Principle, Interest, Taxes and Insurance. Whether you escrow or not every one of these items are factored into your ratio. There are a lot of exceptions to how high you can go, but let’s just say that if your ratio is 33% or less, generally, across the board, you’re safe.
Second Ratio- The second ratio, bottom ratio or debt ratio includes the housing payment, but also adds all of the monthly debts that the borrower has. So, it includes housing payment as well as every other debt that a borrower may have. This would include, Auto loans, credit cards, student loans, personal loans, child support, alimony….basically any consistent outgoing debt that you’re paying on. Again, if you’re paying less than 45% of your gross monthly income to all of the debts, plus your proposed housing payment, then……generally, you’re safe. You can go a lot higher in this area, but there are a lot of caveats when increasing your back ratio.
What qualifies as income? Basically, it’s income that has at least a proven, two year history of being received and pretty high assurances that the income is likely to continue for at least three years. What’s not acceptable? Unverifiable cash income, short term income and income that’s not likely to continue like unemployment income, student loan aid, VA education benefits,or short term disability are not allowed for a mortgage loan.
What the mortgage underwriter is looking for here is how much can you put down and secondly, how much will you have in reserves after the loan is made to help offset any financial emergencies in the future.
Do you have enough assets to put the money forth to qualify for the down payment that the particular program asks for. The only 100% financing or no money down loans still available in Kentucky for home buyers are available through USDA, VA, and KHC or Kentucky Housing Loans. Most other home buyers that don’t qualify for the no money down home loans mentioned above, will turn to the FHA program. FHA loans currently requires a 3.5% down payment.
Kentucky Home buyers that have access to putting down at least 5% or more, will usually turn to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage programs so they can get better pricing when it comes to mortgage insurance.
These assets need to be validated through bank accounts, 401k or retirements account and sometimes gifts from relatives or employer.. Can you borrower the down payment? Sometimes. Generally if you’re borrowing a secured loan against a secured asset you can use that. But rarely can cash be used as an asset. FHA will allow for gifts from relatives for down payments with little as 3.5% down but Fannie Mae will require a 20% down payment when a gift is being used for the down payment on the home.
The down payment scenarios listed above are for Kentucky Primary Residences only. There are stricter down payment requirements for investment homes made in Kentucky.
620 is the bottom score (again with few exceptions) that lenders will permit. Below a 620, then you’re in a world of hurt with most FHA, VA, Fannie Mae and USDA Lenders that we deal with. I do deal with some lenders that offer a FHA loan down to a 560 credit score, but most FHA and VA lenders will wanta 580 to 620 score. Fannie Mae or Conventional loans will not go below 620.
Even at 620, people consider you a higher risk that other folks and are going to penalize you or your borrower with a more expensive loan. 720 is when you really start to get in the “as a lender we love you” credit score. 740 is even better. Watch your credit scores carefully. You have three credit scores from Experian, Equifax and Transunion, and the lender will take your middle score. For example, Experian comes back with a 598, Transunion a 620 score, and Equifax a 615 score, then your qualifying middle credit score would be 615.
Your scores will have to come from the mortgage company’s credit report bureau they use so please be aware that sites like Credit Karma and Credit Sesame will show different estimates of your scores that could vary once the lender pulls your true fico scores. Getting your fico scores costs money, so you can always pay and get your score first or have the lender pull it for free.
AS FAR AS PREVIOUS BANKRUPTCIES AND FORECLOSURES:
Kentucky FHA Mortgage Loans currently requires 3 years removal from a foreclosure or short sale and 2 years on a bankruptcy with good re established credit.
Kentucky Fannie Mae Mortgage Loans currently requires 4 years removal from a bankruptcy, and 7 years on a foreclosure.
Kentucky VA Mortgage Loans currently requires 2 years removal from a bankruptcy or foreclosure with good re established credit.
Kentucky USDA loans require 3 years removal from bankruptcy and foreclosure with good re established credit.
Generally, there’s nothing you can do to affect this. Bottom line here is…..”is the value of the house at least the value of what you’re paying for it?” If not, then not good things start to happen. Generally you’ll find less issues with values on purchase transactions, because, in theory, the realtor has done an accurate job of valuing the house prior to taking the listing. The big issue comes in refinancing. In purchase transactions, the value is determined as the
Lower of the value or the contract price!!!
That means that if you buy a $1,000,000 home for $100,000, the value is established at $100,000. Conversely, if you buy a $200,000 home and the value comes in at $180,000 during the appraisal, then the value is established at $180,000. Big issues….Talk to your loan officer.
For each one of these boxes, there are over 1,000 things that can effect if a borrower has reached the threshold to complete that box. Soooooooooooo…..talk to a great loan officer. There are so many loan officers that don’t know what they’re doing. But, conversely, there’s a lot of great ones as well. Your loan is so important! Get a great lender so that you know, for sure, that the loan you want, can be closed on!