How To Qualify For A First-Time Mortgage

Making the decision to buy your first home is a big step. One of the most uncertain parts that’s involved in buying a home is that of securing a first-time mortgage. You’ll need to know what types of programs exist to help you on your journey to homeownership. Even if you have owned a home in the past but are now renting your home, you may be eligible for first-time mortgage benefits. 

The first thing you should do is understand your options for getting a mortgage. The Department of Housing and Urban Development often provides you with agents to help you see whether you will, in fact, qualify for a first time mortgage and all the benefits that go along with it. They may also help you to see exactly what programs will work best for you. You can find agencies in your specific area on the HUD website. 

Each state and local municipality have its own resources for those seeking to buy a home as well. These programs may get more specific, helping low-income earners, first-time home buyers and people with disabilities. Of course, you’ll need to meet certain eligibility requirements before qualifying for the programs. Your state and local housing offices are other great places to start when you’re searching for benefits for first-time home buyers.   

Save, Save, Save! 

Even before you think you might be ready to buy a home, you need to start saving. You’ll need a significant down payment, especially if you’re hoping to avoid private mortgage insurance or PMI. If you can’t swing a 20% down payment, there’s good news: First-time home buyers are eligible for loans that require a lower down payment- as little as 3%! 

You’ll also need a significant amount of savings to pay upfront for closing costs. These fees can come in somewhere between 3 and 4% of the purchase price of the home. It won’t be very pleasant if your bank account is completely empty by the time you reach the closing table. This is why it’s a wise idea to save long before you even think you might want to buy a home.      

Look At Your Finances

In the same light of saving money, you’ll want to keep your financial health in check in order to prepare to secure your first mortgage. First, check your credit score and see where you stand. You can take the time to dispute any discrepancies you may find on your report. Then, start paying off any credit card balances that you may have. Remember that the higher your credit score is, the better your chances are of securing a mortgage and being approved for a first-time home buyer program.

What is an Interest-Only Mortgage?

When it comes to mortgages there is a lot to know and a lot of choices. One loan that was popular before the housing crisis was the interest-only loan.

An interest-only loan is an adjustable-rate loan with an initial fixed period when only interest is due. They are typically available in 5-, 7- or 10-year terms.

Economists blame interest-only loans for the foreclosure crisis citing they were issued too freely. Today, interest-only loans are more difficult to obtain. Borrowers were using interest-only loans to qualify for a more expensive home and when the interest-only term ended the payment went up leaving many homeowners unable to afford the mortgage payment.

Interest-only loans are now being used by wealthy borrowers as a financial tool to help them manage irregular cash flow, reap a tax benefit, or free up cash for investment elsewhere.

Lenders that offer interest-only loans have strict qualifying standards. They generally require 30 percent equity in a property, and a minimum FICO score of 720. Lenders also look at the ability to pay back the loan is based on the fully amortized payment, not the interest-only payment.

 

 

Low Mortgage Rates: Do You Qualify?

Mortgage rates are at historic lows and there is no better time to buy a home. Do you qualify for those low advertised rates? Will you be able to secure a mortgage? Studies show that 6 in 10 people do qualify for mortgage loans. For those that can’t qualify here are ten reasons why a would-be borrower might face rejection:

1. A low credit score will keep you from getting a mortgage. Typically, a score less than 620 is unacceptable by most lender standards.

2. A maxed out credit card threshold will stop a mortgage in its tracks. If your balance more than 30 percent of the allowable credit lenders will take pause.

3. Multiple credit inquiries may drop your credit score. Limit your credit inquiries to mortgage-only credit pulls within a 30-day period.

4. Did you Co-sign a loan with someone? If so, plan to provide 12 months of canceled checks showing they make the payments to the creditor.

5. Other housing liability payments or a consumer loan for a vehicle may prevent your loan approval. Lenders are looking for you to have double the income to offset each dollar of debt you carry.

6. If you are self-employed you may not be showing income under a Schedule C. This reduces your borrowing power.

7. Claiming many unreimbursed business expenses and losses on your taxes may help you pay less taxes but it also can reduce your borrowing power.

8. If you change jobs often this could also hurt your chances at a mortgage. If you occupational status has changed in the past two years it can hurt you.

9. If you are planning on using cash for your purchase think again. All monies must come from some kind of a bank account.

10. Don’t plan on transferring money from different accounts during the loan process. Be prepared to show full bank statements and a chain of deposits etc.

Your mortgage professional should be able to look at your credit, debt, income and assets and make a determination of whether you qualify for a mortgage.