Aug 19 2010

Getting Preapproved for a Mortgage

Getting Preapproved

Getting preapproved for a mortgage can help you buy a home you can afford.

By Marcie Geffner – LendingTree.com

January 23, 2009

If you’re getting ready to buy a home, you probably already know that lower home prices and interest rates have made homes much more affordable. But did you also know that getting preapproved for a mortgage can help you shop for and find a home that’s right for you? Here’s why:

Find out how much you can afford to spend

It’s no secret that lenders have tightened their standards or that loan qualifications now tend to be stricter than they were a few years ago. Lenders today will want to review your income, debts and credit score, and they’ll expect documentation that shows your income and assets.

By getting preapproved for a loan, you’ll be able to find out whether you’ll be able to qualify and how much you’ll be able to borrow. Since you’ll know how much you can afford to spend before you start shopping for a home, you won’t get your heart set on a home that’s too pricey or miss out on a home you thought you couldn’t afford. Instead, you’ll be able to limit your search to homes that meet your needs and budget. By getting preapproved, you’ll also get a good-faith estimate of your closing costs, so you won’t be surprised by those expenses later on.

Find out your interest rate and monthly payment

Getting preapproved for a loan will also introduce you to the loan application and approval process. You’ll find out the types of loans, interest rates and monthly payments that may be offered to you, depending on your income, credit score and other aspects of your personal situation. And when you find a home you want to buy, you’ll be ready to make an offer without delay. A preapproval letter from a lender will help make a good impression on home sellers. Home sellers will know that you’re serious about buying a home and that you won’t have to struggle to get financing. That might even improve the odds that the seller will accept your offer.

How to get prequalified and preapproved

To get “prequalified” for a home loan, you’ll need to answer some basic questions about your financial situation. After that, the lender will review your paycheck stubs, bank statements and other documents, and then you’ll be “preapproved” for your loan. Be aware that prequalified and preapproved are preliminary; your loan will still need to receive final approval before you can buy your new home.

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Aug 12 2010

Unemployed? The New HAMP Loan Modification Program Might Help You Keep Your House

HAMP

If you’re unemployed and can no longer afford your mortgage, a new Making Home Affordable loan modification program might offer some relief.

The new Unemployed Program (UP) starts August 1, 2010, and it requires lenders to reduce or suspend payments for at least three months for eligible borrowers. It is at the lender’s discretion to extend the forbearance, and the program ends once the borrower gets a new job.

According to Supplemental Directive 10-04, mortgage servicers are required to offer an Unemployment Program forbearance plan to a borrower who meets the following criteria:

1. The mortgage loan is secured by a one- to four-unit property, one unit of which is the borrower’s principal residence.

2. The mortgage loan is a first-lien mortgage originated on or before January 1, 2009.

3. The current unpaid principal balance of the mortgage loan is equal to or less than $729,750 for a single-family property. Higher loan amounts apply to two- to four-unit dwellings.

4. The mortgage is delinquent or default is reasonably foreseeable.

5. The mortgage loan has not been previously modified under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and the borrower has not previously received an UP forbearance period.

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Aug 5 2010

Top 10 Home Buying Mistakes That Can Cost You : HGTV FrontDoor Real Estate

The logo used from December 1, 1994 to March 1...

Avoid these blunders that homebuyers commonly make

By Shannon Petrie, FrontDoor.com

Pre-approval lets you know how much you can afford before you start shopping for a home.

Mistake #10: Not getting pre-approved before house hunting

Why get your hopes up looking at $500,000 homes, when you can really only afford a $300,000 home? Before you start house hunting, narrow down your price range by getting pre-approved. Shop for a lender or mortgage broker you can trust. The mortgage pro will review your credit, income, assets and debts, and recommend a mortgage with monthly payments that fit your budget. The result is a good faith estimate, a document that spells out the likely terms of your loan, including the interest rate and closing costs. Not only does this let you know how much house you can afford, it also lets sellers know that you’re serious about buying.

via Top 10 Home Buying Mistakes That Can Cost You : HGTV FrontDoor Real Estate.

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Aug 3 2010

Associations Can No Longer Ignore FHA Approval

By Christopher L. Gardner, J.D. Print Article

July 16, 2010

The screaming and cursing you hear in unit 404 isn’t coming from Mr. Armbrister’s television—Armbrister has just learned that another potential sale of his condominium unit fell through due to the buyer’s inability to obtain financing. In this case, the buyer wanted to purchase Armbrister’s condo unit with an FHA loan—Armbrister’s homeowners association, however, had neglected to obtain FHA approval.

FHA loans, which are mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration, accounted for a mere 1.7% of new mortgages as recently as 2006. Today, almost half of all new mortgages are FHA—yet there are still many misconceptions associated with their use and their benefits.

Due to the elimination of ‘spot approval’ in February 2010, an entire condominium development must now apply to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and be granted FHA approval before someone can purchase or refinance a unit using an FHA loan. Before its elimination, spot approval allowed an FHA buyer or refinancer to conduct a transaction in a specific condominium unit located in an unapproved complex.

Management companies and homeowners associations constantly ask why their condominium developments should seek FHA approval. A recent survey of more than 12,000 home buyers conducted by the Home Buying Institute indicated that the vast majority of respondents (87%) planned to use an FHA loan for their purchase. Given the prevalence of FHA loans in today’s housing market, the simple answer is that unit sellers in an association without FHA approval are severely limiting the pool of potential buyers. Thanks to the law of supply and demand, fewer possible buyers mean units will often sit on the market for longer periods and sell for lower prices. Even non-sellers are affected as lower sales prices for neighboring units often result in lower appraised values for all units.

Why have we seen such a surge in FHA borrowing? First, the general unwillingness of today’s lenders to extend credit and an almost complete withdrawal of private capital from the home mortgage sector forced HUD and FHA to take action. They ultimately crafted policies to increase FHA availability in order to help stabilize the housing market. FHA loans encourage lenders to lend, assuring them that they will be paid back by the federal government in case of default.

Second, as many residential real estate agents know all too well, the sudden and inevitable collapse of the high-risk subprime mortgage industry left a tremendous void in the marketplace for those buyers that did not have the 20% downpayment typically required when obtaining a conventional loan. This void is nicely filled by FHA loans, which require as low as a 3.5% down payment.

Finally, the significant increase in the maximum FHA loan limits from $362,790 to $793,750, means that an FHA loan is now relevant and appropriate for a much greater percentage of home purchases and refinances than ever before.

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Aug 3 2010

Top Seven Reasons Banks are Denying Home Loan Requests

August 2, 2010

The lending landscape has changed quite drastically over the past several years. Practices, approvals and standards that were once widely accepted have either vanished or transformed beyond the point of recognition. Many banks, which were once extremely careless with their loan underwriting techniques and approvals, have dug themselves into a significant hole that will take many years to climb out of. Promotions such as “100% Financing” and “No Doc Loans” were both major contributors to the financial crisis banks and consumers are facing today.Today, banks are making sure they don’t make the same mistakes again, so loan underwriting standards have become more stringent than ever before.According to a recent Federal Reserve survey, it was found that about 75% of the banks surveyed indicated they had tightened their lending standards for prime, subprime and commercial mortgages. That was up from about 60% in the previous survey. With this sharp increase in lending standards, borrowers are being turned down for real estate loans at an alarming rate.

via Top Seven Reasons Banks are Denying Home Loan Requests | RISMedia.

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May 23 2010

10 Things to Know About Real Estate in 2010 – US News and World Report

Larry House - Front Yard Patio View

Image by Lagravier Real Estate via Flickr

Prices bottom, mortgage rates increase, and foreclosures move upstream

By LUKE MULLINS

Posted: December 21, 2009

Is 2010 the year to buy a house? It certainly looks that way: After a steep run-up in prices during the first half of the decade, home values have plummeted back to 2003 levels. Fixed mortgage rates are sitting near record lows. And the foreclosure epidemic

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