Back in the bad old days of the housing boom, merely having a pulse seemed to qualify you for a mortgage. Now, not only do you need a strong heartbeat, all of your documents need to be double and triple-checked.
After a massive surge in defaults and foreclosures, mortgage lenders have made it far tougher to qualify for a home loan. And even as the housing market stabilizes, those tightened standards mostly remain in place.
To get the best rate and the lowest fees, you'll need a top-notch credit score of at least 720 out of a possible 850. You must provide proof of your income. And you need to have a decent down payment.
"Either you fit the box or you don't," says Shawn Trock, a mortgage baker with Pan American Mortgage in Knoxville, Tenn. "There is very little room for negotiation."
Here are some tips:
SAVE UP: If you can bring 20 percent of the home's purchase price to the table, you will save money. But if you don't have that kind of cash lying around, your most likely route is mortgage insurance. That protects your lender if you default. But it will cost you.
The Federal Housing Administration, a government agency that provides mortgage insurance, charges an upfront fee of 2.25 percent of the loan amount, plus an annual premium paid in monthly installments of up to 0.55 percent. Also, several private mortgage insurance companies compete with FHA.
GET THOSE DOCUMENTS READY: These days, mortgage lenders need to see anything and everything in writing. They typically require at least two months of bank and investment account statements, your two most recent pay stubs and your last two years of tax returns.
SHOP AROUND: A home is the biggest purchase most people ever make, so spend plenty of time doing research. Get quotes from at least six bankers, brokers and credit unions, advises Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH Associates, a financial publisher. "These are permanent debts," Gumbinger says. "You need to spend some time being involved in it."
WHAT'S YOUR COMFORT LEVEL: Many of the shadier players in the mortgage industry were weeded out when the market went bust. But unsavory characters still lurk, so take your time. "I would be nervous about the person who rushes you," said Jared Martin, chief executive of GOTeHomeLoans, a broker in Malvern, Pa. and board member of the UpFront Mortgage Brokers Association, an organization of brokers with a code of ethical standards.
KEEP AN EYE ON RATES: Mortgage rates were at record lows for much of past year as the Federal Reserve bought up bonds backed by home loans. But the central bank ended that program last month, and rates are expected to go up.
"People may get lucky and may catch a day or a week when rates are relatively low," said Michael Frata
Questions about Financing or Real Estate. Post your question in the Comments Section and I will be happy to answer them!
Find out how well homes are selling in your neighborhood. Get a report with charts and graphs showing sold home prices, days on market, homes currently for sale and more emailed directly to you within minutes. Click here to get your Free Report.
To see a Sample Report Click here, then click Sample Report on the form.
Welcome to the most current Housing Trends eNewsletter. This eNewsletter is specially designed for you, with national and local housing information that you may find useful whether you’re in the market for a home, thinking about selling your home, or just interested in homeowner issues in general.
Please click on this link to view theMARCH-2010 Newsletter Housing Trends eNewsletter:
The Housing Trends eNewsletter contains the latest information from the National Association of REALTORS®, the U.S. Census Bureau, Realtor.org reports and other sources.
It also includes press releases with charts and videos, key market indicators and real estate sales and price statistics, a video message by a nationally recognized economist, maps, mortgage rates and calculators, consumer articles, plus local neighborhood information and more.
If you are interested in determining the value of your home, click the “Home Evaluator” link for a free evaluation report or visit my website at www.hometeamsugarland.com. For a more customized report for your area, click Market Trend Report .
Sound decisions can only be made with accurate and reliable information, and I am happy to be a trusted resource for you. Thank you for the opportunity to provide you with this monthly eNewsletter, and I look forward to answering any questions you may have and to the opportunity to be your REALTOR® in the future.
Mechelle Miller RE/MAX Southwest 14905 Southwest Freeway Sugar Land TX 77478 281-491-1776 281-948-1047
(While I hope you find the information contained in this eNewsletter useful and informative, if you wish to no longer receive it, you may click on the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of the newsletter.)
Fort Bend County Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) –
SETH administers Fort Bend County's Neighborhood Stabilization Program Funds. These funds will be available to assist first-time homebuyers in an amount up to $25,000 per household, depending on the applicant's income level (see application). The home must be a FORECLOSED single family home located within Fort Bend County, but outside the cities of Houston, Sugar Land, Missouri City, and Katy. For more information you may contact me or visit my website at http://www.hometeamsugarland.com/free_reports.shtml . Click the report under Grant Money.