COVID-19 Questions You Should Ask The Lender before Accepting Offer!

“In this COVID-19 world, what questions should I ask the buyer’s lender before accepting an offer on my listings?”

When was the last time credit was pulled? Ideally the last week or so.

If an FHA/VA offer, can you fund with their FICO today? Many lenders have changed the minimum FICO requirements. If the buyer’s credit was pulled prior to that change, do they still qualify?

Are you able to lock loans prior to final approval or appraisal? You want a “yes” – if rates go up after application, it could hurt their pre-approval or scare the buyer away from an increased payment. Many lenders are not allowing this. If that’s the case, can they withstand, and are they prepared for a rate increase?

What happens if the loan program is suspended during the loan process? Once you are locked you are “mostly” safe from program changes or program suspensions.

Could you force a lock date, per the contract, to protect your seller from suspended or canceled loan programs? Write it into additional provisions. Some lenders are not allowing loan to be locked until loan is approved and, in some cases, once all prior to doc conditions are met. Guild can lock day 1

Have you verified the Borrower’s full-time employment within the last 24 hours? Employment is tenuous today. It can change at any moment.

What are your current underwriting turn times? It longer than 3-4 days, a 30-day, or less, COE will be challenging.

Will you be requiring employment verification at the Funding/Closing Table? If they want verification done on or the day before the closing date, it could be a challenge to close on-time if the employer is not responsive or available.

What is your company’s policy on appraisals currently? Do they allow drive-by or desk reviews?

What are your appraisal turn times? If longer than 10 days, a 30-day close will be challenging.

Can the lender honestly close in 30 days? What % of the time do they experience that today?

Does the buyer currently own a home and if so, have they requested payment forbearance? If any mortgage loan is currently in forbearance, the buyer cannot likely get a new loan.

Is the lender allowing e-closings? If not, how long is the current process from CD to funding?

Does the lender allow for early closing if everything is done?

If you have questions on any of these, please do not hesitate to ask.

BE SAFE!

DOES LEASING A CAR AFFECT A BUYER’S ABILITY TO BUY A HOME?

As a mortgage professional for almost 20 years, I know just about every gotcha that can cause an underwriter to deny your loan. We look at monthly minimum obligations you pay on your debts. We take those minimum payments, including your proposed total mortgage payment (principal, interest, taxes, insurance, and private mortgage insurance), and then divide this by your gross income. This debt-to-income ratio is the barometer we use to determine your ability to repay the mortgage.

My wife, a college professor, texted me:

“My friend, who is a business/finance professor and contract attorney is insisting that leasing a car will not affect buying a home because it’s not debt… He says he also teaches Mortgage people this stuff.”

WIFE: “Can I tell him he’s wrong?”

ME: “Yes, he’s wrong. It’s debt!” 

WIFE: “LOL, I knew it! He is generally full of crap, but when he said that’s what he teaches in his classes, it made me pause.”

Imagine you have a $375/month car payment, which is nearly equivalent to $75,000 in spending power when buying a home. Or imagine you are a 2-car family spending $750/month on car loans. This reduces your buying power by $150,000. So instead of affording that charming $500,000 home, you have had your eye on, your max is only $350,000. As my clients know too well, this could hinder getting into that perfect neighborhood with the right schools and the short commute you so desperately want.

And here is the rub – a leased vehicle is even worse. Are you listening, Mr. Professor? Most of us know that when your lease period expires; you either lease again, or keep the leased vehicle with a large buyout (this could be money you need for your down payment or closing costs for a new home). Whereas with a conventional car loan, when you make your last scheduled payment, you own the car free and clear (aka no debt).

Also, in some circumstances, if you are a few months shy of paying off your auto loan, an underwriter will not hit you with the monthly auto debt and will not hold it against your ratios. You can see why the hair on the back of my neck jump to attention hearing this professor tell his many students that a car lease is not debt and will not affect their ability to buy a home. Rubbish!

This one financial decision can be the reason you miss that opportunity to get into your dream home. When something sounds too good to be true, it genuinely is too good to be true. My best advice is to sit down with a trusted mortgage professional before paying off any debt, or restructuring those credit card balances, and work through your debt-to-income ratios with someone who does this every day.

3 ‘Must Know’ Pieces of Advice for First-time Home Buyers

3 'Must Know' Pieces of Advice for First-time Home BuyersWhen delving into the realities of homeownership in Sacramento, there can be many factors involved that make it difficult to determine what you need to know and what can wait until later. If you happen to be a first-time buyer who’s looking for the best tips for purchasing a home, look no further than the following three-pointers to set you on the right path.

Get Familiar With Your Credit Score

If you haven’t looked at your credit report for a long time, it can be a daunting task to request this information. Fortunately, your credit report is free from AnnualCreditReport.com and it will prepare you for what lenders are going to see. By taking this important step, you will be able to determine any delinquent accounts or balances owing that have gone to collections, and hopefully have these cleaned up before they can become a problem for your mortgage.

Determine The Price You Can Pay

While you may have a price in mind for what you’re willing to pay for a home, it’s important to determine your debt-to-income ratio before putting in an offer. Your DTI ratio can be determined by taking your total monthly costs, adding it to what you would be paying for a home and dividing it by your monthly gross income.

Organize Your Housing History

If you have a good history as a tenant, the next step will probably be the easiest of all, but it’s very important in order to prove you’re a responsible candidate for homeownership. Once you’ve acquired a Verification of Rent from any applicable landlord in the previous year, you’ll want to ensure that you have money in the bank. But don’t assume you need 20% down to get into your first home. Unfortunately, many first time homebuyers think they need this large down payment to qualify and that is just not true.

There are a lot of things to know when it comes to buying a home, but if you’re a first-time buyer the most important thing is to ensure that your finances are organized and that you’re not diving into more house than you can afford. By taking the time to determine your debt-to-income ratio and looking into your credit, you can ensure a positive first-time buying experience. If you’re wondering about homes for sale in your area, you may want to contact your trusted real estate professionals for more information.

ALERT! 3 Mortgage Scams to Watch Out For (And How to Avoid Them)

Scam Alert! Three Mortgage Modification Scams to Watch out for (And How to Avoid Them)As if homeowners in Sacramento who are facing foreclosure don’t have enough to worry about, a multitude of loan modification scam artists have invaded the internet, public files and even foreclosure notices in newspapers in hopes of targeting their next victim. By identifying the top three modification scams and learning how to avoid them, at-risk homeowners can protect themselves (and their homes). Continue reading “ALERT! 3 Mortgage Scams to Watch Out For (And How to Avoid Them)”

A 2-Minute Guide To Flood Insurance: Do You Really Need it?

The 5-Minute Guide to Flood Insurance: What It Is, How It Works, and Whether You Need ItYou’ve got house insurance, and assume your property is covered for any type of detrimental occurrence that can possibly take place.

However, not all homeowners in Sacramento are aware that home insurance policies don’t necessarily cover damage related to a flood, as the risks are too great. As a result, homeowners must purchase flood insurance through a private company.

Floods are one of the most common hazards in the US, costing billions of dollars in damage to properties every year. And more importantly, if you are in the process of shopping for a new home in Sacramento or anywhere in California for that matter, budgeting that monthly payment, its good to know if flood insurance will be required. Continue reading “A 2-Minute Guide To Flood Insurance: Do You Really Need it?”