Applying for a mortgage is a big step towards homeownership and financial independence. If it’s your first time buying a home, you might be curious (and a little intimidated) about all of the things that go into your mortgage application.
When reviewing your application, mortgage lenders are trying to determine how risky it is to lend you money. If all goes well, and they determine that lending to you would be a worthy investment, you’ll get approved for a mortgage.
There are three main things that lenders will use when weighing your application (however, there are other factors as well).
First, they’ll run a detailed credit report. This will tell them how much other debt you have, what kind of accounts you have open, how long you’ve had this debt, and how responsible you are when it comes to making your monthly payments in time.
Second, they’ll consider how much money you’ll be using toward a down payment. A larger down payment alleviates some of the risk associated with lending to you. Therefore, people with little or no down payment saved can have a difficult time getting approved for a mortgage. And, if they do get approved, they’ll have to pay monthly private mortgage insurance on top of their regular mortgage payments.
Finally, the third main consideration will be your current income. Lenders will look at your previous two years of income (including tax returns) and will seek out current income verification from your employer.
The latter is a key part of getting approved, as lenders will want to ensure that you are in a stable financial situation and will be able to immediately start making mortgage payments.
Today’s post will center around income verification and how mortgage lenders will use your income to determine your borrowing eligibility.
How Do I Verify My Employment?
If you’re employed with a company, most lenders will reach out to your employer directly to verify your employment. You’ll be asked to sign a form that authorizes your employer to share these details with the lender, and then your part of the job is done and you can move on to the next step of your application.
Things get trickier when you’re a freelancer, are self-employed, or work with several clients as a contract worker. In these situations, lenders will typically require you to file a Form 4506-T with the IRS. This form allows your lender to obtain your tax returns directly from the IRS.
Can I submit additional information to verify my income?
There are some situations where providing additional income information can bolster your case in terms of getting approved for a mortgage.
If you own a business, your lender of choice may ask for a profit and loss statement. If you’re an independent contractor or freelancer, your clients who have paid you at least $600 or services or $10 in royalties will be required to send you a Form 1099-MISC.
If you have mixed income, such as a full-time job with freelance work on the side, showing these 1099-MISC forms can help increase your income on paper so that lenders will approve you or a higher mortgage amount or lower interest rate.
Mortgage interest rates have a remarkable effect on the overall long-term cost of buying a property through financing. Mortgage borrowers are looking for the highest possible rates while lenders have to manage their risk by charging interest rates. Borrowers with good credit histories and stable finances are those who can access a mortgage with lower interest rates. The financial status of borrowers has a significant impact on the interest they can get; government fiscal policy and other economic factors can affect mortgage rates on a global level. Below are some of the factors that can affect your mortgage interest rates:
Inflation causes the price to rise gradually. It is a critical factor in the overall economy and an essential element for mortgage lenders. It reduces the purchasing power of dollars. And, mortgage lenders manage the interest rates such that it will be able to withstand the reduction of purchasing power through inflation to make sure that there is a real net profit on their interest returns.
The Level of Economic Growth
The gross domestic product and the employment rates are the economic growth indicators that have a remarkable effect on mortgage rates. When economic growth rates increase, there is higher income, and there is an increase in the level of consumer's spending which translates to a rise in consumers seeking mortgage loans.
Federal Reserve Monetary Policy
The monetary policy of the Federal Reserve Bank is one of the essential factors that affect mortgage interest rates and the overall economy. The Federal Reserve Bank does not stipulate a specific price in the mortgage market, but the establishment of the federal funds' rates and the adjustment of money supply upward or downward have a pronounced effect on the mortgage interest rates that are available to borrowers.
Generally, a rise in the supply of money pressures rates downward while a reduction in money supply puts upward pressure on rates.
Housing Market Condition
The conditions and trends in the housing markets can influence mortgage rates. When there is a decrease in the number of new constructions, there is will a reduction in home purchases which automatically leads to a decline in demand for mortgages. This situation makes the interest rates to reduce. Another trend that affects the mortgage rate is the number of consumers renting an apartment instead of buying a home.
The rise and decline of mortgage interest rates operate based on the basic rules of demand and supply. All the factors mentioned above have a pronounced influence on mortgage rates. Most importantly, your financial standing affects your mortgage rate. It is essential to speak to a financial advisor before deciding on starting a home purchase and mortgage process.
FHA loans have long been a valuable resource for Americans who want to fulfill their goal of homeownership but who don’t have the benefit of a lengthy credit history and equity.
If you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future but want to explore all of your options in terms of financing, this article is for you.
Today we’re going to talk about FHA loans and how to know if you qualify for one.
What are FHA loans?
FHA loans are issued by private mortgage lenders across the country, just like regular mortgages. The difference, however, is that an FHA loan is “guaranteed” by the federal government.
Lenders decide your borrowing eligibility, and how much you can borrow, by determining risk. If you don’t have a sizable down payment (oftentimes 20% or more) and you have a low credit score, most mortgage lenders will see you as a risky person to lend to.
When you get an FHA loan, however, the federal government assumes some of that risk, allowing you to secure the loan anyway.
This means you can buy a home with a low credit score, a smaller than usual down payment, and save on some closing costs.
How do I qualify for an FHA Loan?
To find out if you qualify for an FHA loan, you’ll head to the same place as a traditional mortgage--a mortgage lender. Oftentimes, you can simply call or visit the website of lenders to get the process started.
As with all things, it’s a good idea to shop around for a mortgage lender. Their offerings will be largely similar, but there might be minor differences that make one better than another for your particular circumstances.
Down payment requirements
To secure an FHA loan, you will need to make a down payment of at least 3.5%. However, this low down payment comes with a price. You’ll typically be required to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) fees on top of your accruing interest for your loan.
Credit score requirements
While you can often secure a mortgage with a lower credit score through an FHA loan, there are still some requirements. To secure a loan with the lowest possible down payment (3.5%), you’ll need a credit score of 580 or above.
Previous homeowners and FHA loans
A common misconception about FHA loans is that they are only for first-time homeowners. However, you can still qualify for an FHA loan if you’ve owned a home before as long as it has been three years since you’ve had a foreclosure or two years since filing for bankruptcy.
If you meet these three conditions, you should be able to secure an FHA loan through a traditional mortgage lender.
Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or someone who has previously owned a home at some point in their life, you most likely know how expensive buying a house can be.
Fortunately, there are many organizations who would agree and who seek to help qualified buyers. There are a number of programs available at the state, local, and federal level designed to help certain buyers purchase a home.
There are also a number of myths around these programs, such as what the term “first-time homebuyer” really means.
In this article, we’ll talk about some of the programs you can look into to get help paying for a home.
Who Qualifies as a First-Time homebuyer?
Contrary to what it sounds like, you can still qualify as a first-time homebuyer if you’ve owned a home in the past. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has been helping people achieve their goal of homeownership since the 1930s. The FHA connects first-time homebuyers with lenders if the buyer meets certain criteria. Those criteria are:
Someone who hasn’t owned a home in the time previous three years. This includes spouses.
A single parent who previously owned a home with a former spouse, or a “displaced homemaker” who has only owned a home a former spouse.
People who have only owned homes that didn’t meet building code or a residence not fixed to a foundation.
The way the FHA helps buyers secure an affordable home loan is by insuring the mortgage. This makes it safer for lenders to approve you for a better rate for your home loan.
Veteran, Rural, and Native American Loan Programs
Aside from FHA loans, you might also qualify for a VA loan, a USDA program, or the Section 184 Indian Home Loan program.
VA loans from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs help veterans secure low-interest loans with affordable down payments. They will also help repeat veteran home buyers who have had financial difficulties in the past such as foreclosure and bankruptcy.
The Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program works similarly to an FHA loan in that the federal government insures the loan so that the buyer can receive a better rate and lower down payment.
This program is designed for American Indian and Alaska Native families. However, not every state is eligible for the loan.
The United States Department of Agriculture is another federal department that offers mortgage assistance. You don’t need to be a farmer or have agricultural aspirations to be approved for a USDA loan. Rather, these loans are designed to help develop rural areas by offering loans with no down payments.
State, Local, and Private Programs
Each state in the United States offers various buyer’s assistance and incentive programs. Be on the lookout for programs specific to your area to find low-interest rates and affordable down payments.
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other companies work with lenders to create affordable lending programs throughout the country. Remember to shop carefully when dealing with private lenders and look out for hidden costs.
Buying a home represents a dream come true for many individuals. However, to transform this dream into a reality, you'll likely need to qualify for a mortgage.
Finding the right mortgage may seem difficult, particularly for a first-time homebuyer. Fortunately, we're here to help you make sense of all of the mortgage options at your disposal so you can select the right option based on your budget and lifestyle.
Here's a closer look at three of the most common mortgage options for homebuyers.
With a fixed-rate mortgage, there are no cost fluctuations. This means that you'll pay the same amount each month for the duration of your mortgage, regardless of economic conditions.
For example, if you sign up for a 15- or 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, you'll wind up paying the same amount each month until your mortgage is paid in full. In some instances, you may even be able to pay off your mortgage early without penalties.
A fixed-rate mortgage often serves as a great option for those who don't want to worry about mortgage bills that may fluctuate over the years. Instead, this type of mortgage guarantees that you'll be able to pay a consistent monthly amount for the life of your loan.
An adjustable-rate mortgage represents the exact opposite of its fixed-rate counterpart. The costs associated with this type of mortgage will change over time, which means you may wind up paying a fixed interest rate for the first few years of your loan and watch this rate go up a few years later.
For instance, a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage means that your interest rate is locked in for the first five years of your loan. After this period, the interest rate will adjust annually. Therefore, a rising interest rate may force you to allocate additional funds to cover your mortgage costs in the future.
An adjustable-rate mortgage may prove to be a viable option if you plan to live in a home for only a short amount of time. Or, if you're a college student or young professional, an adjustable-rate mortgage may help you pay less for a home now, secure your dream job and become financially stable by the time your initial interest rate period ends.
3. VA Loans
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides loans to military service members and their families. These loans are backed by the government and enable individuals to receive complete financing for a house. Thus, with a VA loan, an individual is not required to make a down payment on a house.
If you ever have concerns or questions about mortgage loans, banks and credit unions are available to help. Also, your real estate agent may be able to offer mortgage insights and tips to ensure you can secure a mortgage quickly and effortlessly.
Learn about all of the mortgage options that are available, and by doing so, you can move one step closer to buying a home that matches your budget and lifestyle.