I don’t have a lot of savings! My credit scores aren’t great! Can I still get a mortgage? The answer is YES! Let’s talk about your situation.
If you think having financial problems will stop you from buying a home, think again! Believe it or not, it may not be as difficult as one may think to purchase a home with less than perfect credit. Here are some common financial problems – and some smart solutions that may help you purchase your new home this spring!
General Tip – Work With a Professional Mortgage Broker
Getting a mortgage is an expensive proposition. – and without guidance from a qualified professional you could pay substantially more than necessary. If you’ve got financial issues, going to a regular bank might not be the right solution for you. You may be a square peg that doesn’t “fit” into their square boxes of credit guidelines. Instead, you should work with a Mortgage Broker who has established direct relationships with numerous lenders who offer a a wide range of mortgage options.
Why? Well, if you work with them directly, mortgage brokers might be able to direct you to a lender who will make exceptions to the standard underwriting guidelines. For example, I’m working with lenders who consider a borrower with a DTI higher than 43%; and a lender who will accept applications from borrowers with a 580 credit score.
Problem #1 – High Debt-To-Income Ratio (DTI)
If you’ve looked into getting a mortgage, you may have heard the term “DTI.” Just what is DTI and how does it impact your ability to get a loan?
DTI is your debt-to-income ratio – a percentage calculated by dividing all your current debt payments plus what the new mortgage will cost you every month by your gross monthly income. The new “ability to repay” rules mandated by the CFPB in January 2014 limit the borrowers to a maximum 43% DTI. The higher the DTI, the higher the risk of non-payment and the harder it is to qualify for a mortgage. If it exceeds 43%, traditional banks will probably decline the request.
Solution: You have to reduce your monthly payments.A good place to start is your car. I’m working with borrowers now who pay $600 per month in car payments. What’s done is done, but instead of financing those fancy new car a few years back, they might have considered buying a good used with substantially lower monthly payments. The cars are in good shape,have low mileage, so I suggested that they apply at their credit union for a loan to refinance their car loans for 24-36 months to lower their payments. I could argue that it’s best financial decision, and of course they could still make the former payments, but their DTI ratio would improve to a point where they could obtain a mortgage.
Problem #2 – Low Credit Score
A borrower’s credit score is the single most important snapshot of your credit risk by reporting the payment history on all your credit accounts. Lenders perceive a low credit score as a high credit risk and this could negatively impact your odds of being approved for a loan. And if you still qualify for a loan, a low credit score could still cost you. The lower the credit score, the higher the perceived risk and the higher the interest rate to compensate for that risk.
Solution: Get copies of your credit report. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com. the Only Website Authorized By Law to Provide a Free Annual Credit Report. Then discuss your findings with your mortgage broker ask him which areas need improvement. Work with someone you feel is honest, helpful, and has your best interests in mind. In addition to reviewing your overall credit situation, be sure to continue to make all payments on time; pay your credit card balances below your 50 percent of your approved credit line. These steps alone will help show the credit agencies that you’re a better credit risk and help improve your scores. Caution: Do not clear up active collections against you without discussing the ramifications with your mortgage broker.
Problem #3 – Low Down Payment
A major factor deterring home buyers today is saving the cash for the down payment on a home, the closing costs, and still having a few dollars left over in reserves. This is where your mortgage broker and your Realtor, working in tandem, can help.
Solution: Depending on your situation, you might be able to find a way to buy a home with a low down payment and still preserve your hard earned savings. There are a number of strategies and loan programs that help you get closer to your home ownership dreams.
• Conventional Loan: If you have a fairly good credit score, you might be able to qualify for a mortgage with a down payment as low as 5 percent. The lower the score the minimum down payment may increase to 10%.
• FHA Loan: The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan option might be the right choice if you have a low credit score limited cash. With an FHA loan, the minimum down payment is 3.5% even if you credit score is in the 620 range. Some lenders will work with a borrower with credit scores down to 580 with overlays to compensate for the perceived risk of default. It doesn’t hurt to talk to your mortgage broker about both these options.
• USDA Loan: In my opinion, the USDA Guaranteed Rural Housing Development Loan program is the best deal in town for those with limited savings. It offers 100% financing for eligible properties in USDA approved communities. Closing costs can be rolled into the loan amount when the appraised value exceeds the contract sales price. There is no limit on gift funds or seller concessions
• VA Loan: The Veterans Affairs (VA) loan has similar criteria as the FHA loan. But it’s targeted to serve toward past or present military personnel. Veterans may also be able to purchase a home with no down payment through a VA loan.
• Seller Concessions: In certain negotiations, the property owner may be willing to entice eligible buyers to purchase their home by offering to contribute up to 3-6% of the contract price toward the buyers closing costs. It’s important to talk to your mortgage broker and your real estate agent about this option. It’s also important for the buyer to understand that they “can’t have their cake and eat it too.” Buyers can’t expect to offer less than the listing price and still ask for concessions. You may have to pay full price and then hope the seller will take less for the property.
• Gift Funds: Funds for the down payment and/or closing costs can be gifted to the borrower from a close family member. It is important to discuss this possibility with your mortgage broker as different loan programs have different limitations on how much the borrower must contribute to the transaction and how much can be gifted. Sourcing the receipt of gift funds, especially wedding gifts, has been a problem for 15 years. DO NOT deposit gift funds into any account without talking to your mortgage broker.
• State-Sponsored Down Payment Assistance: Another option for borrowers are down payment assistance programs sponsored by certain states, municipalities, and non-profit organizations. They may be offer to teachers, police and firemen who plan to live in their city and/or earn below a certain income level. These programs may be limited to first-time homebuyers. Check with a broker who specializes in these types of programs.
Summary: Low credit scores and/or lack of funds may be just a bump in the road to owning your own home. Talk to your mortgage broker about what it takes to get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage and how to get over these hurdles.
Still Have Questions or Concerns?
Call Me at 860.945.9284 to discuss the right mortgage option for your family and to take advantage of my FREE Mortgage Pre-Approval service. Then you can call your agent to schedule a showing and be ready to make an offer.
With today’s attractive rates, and my direct relationships with trusted lenders who offer a wide range of affordable mortgage programs, you just might be able to move in with a minimal down payment and low closing costs