Archive for October, 2008

Can Anyone Get A Home Loan?

Friday, October 24th, 2008

As someone that writes about home loans on a regular basis, I fully understand the frustrations so many are going through. The fact is, people are wondering several things.


  • Some think mortgage companies are going to come calling to demand payment on full on their mortgage 
  • Some people believe that no one will get mortgage loans again, not for a long time
  • Others think that the mortgage crisis is going to cause them to lose their home even though they have made payments regularly throughout their loan

These are all mistaken beliefs.


While there are some instances when the mortgage companies can come demanding payment in full on your loan, this only happens when you are in foreclosure, after months of trying to get you back on track. Most lenders want you to keep paying them, they don’t want to own your home. For those who are making timely payments, your mortgage loan will not become due immediately.


As for the second concern, there is some concern here, but not nearly as much as you may think. First, there are loans available from nearly all of the traditional mortgage lenders in business. The requirements are stricter with some lenders requiring more down and a higher credit score before they will lend. Call it the “once burned, twice shy” scenario with home loans.


At the same time, for those without a lot of money to put down and with a credit score that is not as high as it could be, there is the FHA.  FHA loans are still available for most American home buyers. These loans require much less down (just 3%) and they provide you with an outstanding assortment of opportunity: even the fact that these are fixed rate loans.


On the final concern, as long as you keep paying your mortgage back on time, your loan is going to be in good standing and to the mortgage lender, you are a good person to have on board. The only way for lenders to make money is to lend money and charge interest.


Is Now A Good Time To Buy?


Here’s another situation I hear which is one of the biggest problems with the market right now. People who have the money and want the home are avoiding the market. This is a mistake and here’s why.


  • The current interest rates on home loans are at an all time low: just 5 percent in some cases. This is the perfect time to buy.
  • Lenders want good buyers. They are actively looking to lend to those that want to buy.
  • Home prices are also low: lower in some areas than they have been in ten years.

No matter which way you look at it, now is the best time to buy a home, if you qualify for a home loan. If you are not sure if you do qualify, a good place to start looking is through a FHA loan specialist. These professionals provide guidance to prospective home buyers. They also have the ability to help you qualify. These are not bad mortgages, these are good mortgages and some of the safest investments to be in right now.

Home Buyers With Less Than 20 Percent Down Need FHA

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

It used to be common that purchasing a home with little to even no money down was acceptable, especially when you were a first time homeowner with decent or better credit. This “used to be” was in fact just a handful of years ago. The problem is now that lenders are not willing to take on that level of risk any more.

As one of the problems of the current credit crunch, people from all walks of life are finding it more difficult to obtain the loan they need and want to buy a home. The only organization offering any type of mortgage loan under 20 percent down is the FHA. FHA loans with low down payment are becoming the best route for those homeowners who just want to find an affordable solution to buying a home.

Why Creditors Just Aren’t There

Over the course of the last two years, many lenders who typically provide home loans have faced a number of foreclosures on their properties. Some continue to lose money on these properties and are facing an incredible decision: risk losing more money or only lend to those less likely to default.  By requiring a larger down payment, the homeowner is less likely to walk away from their loan since they have a stake in the property. Therefore, these loans are less risky to lenders.

Here’s the kicker: in order for the credit markets and financial markets to get better, the housing market must improve.  In order for the housing market to improve, banks have to lend to borrowers so they can purchase the homes. The cycle is quite limiting and stressful.

What To Do If You Don’t Have 20 Percent

The American family just starting out may have a small amount of money set aside, but most do not have 20 percent for a home. They are struggling to find lenders who will qualify them for a home loan. If you are one of those looking for a home loan with a low down payment, one of the best places to look is the Federal Housing Administration, or FHA.

Here’s how you will benefit from an FHA loan:

  • Down payments as low as 3%
  • Low interest rates on home loans
  • Easier qualifications for home loans than most traditional lenders
  • Fixed rates: giving you stability in your repayment terms
  • Help even with less than perfect credit
  • A variety of programs for those who need help or have unique requirements

They are federally backed loans, with a larger amount of flexibility. What is important is to note that the current credit freeze traditional banks are placing on the housing market is unlikely to change right away. But, FHA can help you to get the home you need and want.

Contact a professional to talk about your options. When 20% down is too much, these lenders can help.

The Stocks Are Tanking: Here’s Where To Put Your Money

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Today, the stock market fell, again. How in the world will people make money if they keep losing it? The fact is, the financial markets are horrible and they are shaking even the most seasoned professional investors. So, as an individual with money, where should you put it?

One option you do have is to put the money towards a home investment. Buying real estate now just makes sense. In some areas of the country, the value of real estate has fallen 10 percent, 25 percent or as much as 50 percent. The good news is that the homes are still as highly valued (outside of the financial sense.) Buying a home now can help you safely invest your money. Consider the following.

Let’s say that in your area you invest in a home selling at $200,000. You secure a home loan at 6% through the FHA with a fixed interest rate. You put down $6000, which is the minimum 3% investment the FHA requires as a down payment.  You have a $1200 mortgage payment.

Over the next few years, the home continues to rise in value, as many real estate investors believe that this is the bottom and that housing values will continue to rise. So, in 5 years, at just a 3% gain in value per year, you could have a home valued at nearly $220,000. This would be a low gain, but a safe one.

As you can see, socking your money away into a home loan could make you a sizable profit over the long term. But, even as the market stays well priced, your money is safe. It is not going anywhere. Even if property values fall, you will still be making money in the long term. There is no telling what the future of the stock market is today, but there is only so much real estate available.  It is one of the safest loans.

Do You Qualify?

To get into a safe loan, do consider FHA loans. These loans are the most well priced homes you will find in the coming months. They offer a low down payment. They also provide you with a low interest rate that is fixed for the life of your loan. Those with credit scores that may be slightly low may still qualify for these loans. There are just so many options available.

It is your money and no one wants to lose their money. When you invest in real estate, you do not put your money on the line with investors who may or may not be too scared to allow the stock market to grow. Rather, you have a security at a very low rate. That home you bought for $200,000 was valued at $250,000 or even higher just a year and a half back. As the housing market picks up, it could be back at that level in just a few short months.  For most, this is an option for you.

Hope for Homeowners Program: Refinancing Opportunity for Borrowers

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

With all the latest legislation passing through Congress specifically aimed at the housing market, it’s getting not only harder to get loans but more difficult to understand it all.  Luckily, the HOPE for Homeowners Program looks to be one with a basic breakdown.  The program has authorization under the National Housing Act, which was amended earlier in the year by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.

What Does It Say?

HUD issued Mortgagee Letter 2008-29 detailing what this program includes.  First, it gives any current or delinquent borrowers the ability to refinance into a 30 year fixed rate loan through FHA. In order to qualify for this aspect, you must have made at least six payments on the mortgage prior to requesting the refinance.

Additionally, the program is designed for those who have a debt to income ratio higher than 31 percent with their current home loan.  The original loan must originate prior to January 1st, 2008.

  • Payment to income is limited to 31 percent while debt to income is limited to 43 percent.
  • These numbers may be higher, according to the program, following a three-month trial modification put in place through the program first.
  • There is a maximum loan of $550,440 on all loans through the HOPE for Homeowners program, (referenced as the H4H program.)
  • There is also a restriction of a 90 percent loan to value in place on these loans.
  • All homes must be owner occupied homes, on one unique properties
  • FHA approved appraisers must appraise the properties within three months prior to the closing
  • Origination fees are capped at 1 percent
  • Buyers do not pay closing costs and prepaid items upfront
  • A 3 percent upfront mortgage insurance premium and annual premium up to 1.5 percent will be applicable.

One of the unique aspects of the HOPE for Homeowners program is that lenders must insure that appraisals are complete within the letter of the law.  In other words, they are responsible for any poor or fraudulent appraisals that lead to an FHA insured mortgage.  Inflated home values, considered one of the problems within the housing market crash today.

More Information

The HOPE for Homeowners program promises to offer outstanding opportunities for homeowners to get out of the hole they are in.  Namely, they are able to get into FHA loans with a fixed rate, often lowering the amount they must pay monthly.

The program is available to those who have government loans and conventional prime loans, as well as Alt-A loans and the worrisome subprime loans. This includes most types of mortgages, too, including negative amortization, payment option and interest only mortgages.  There are legal restrictions, for example, any state or federal fraud conviction within the last ten years can disqualify an individual from obtaining the loans.

For homeowners struggling with their current loans, falling within these areas, there is no doubt that the HOPE for Homeowners Program offers a lifeline.  It is highly encouraged that you seek out FHA lenders to get the process started.

FHA Loan Inspections: What to Expect

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

FHA loans used to be highly avoided by home sellers. Those who were selling their homes often requested only conventional loans because they worried about the complexities of loan inspections. FHA loans are insured by the federal government. That means that the government wants to be sure the value and condition of the home are high enough to warrant the mortgage and that they are safe to live in. The good news is that FHA loan inspections are much less complex than they used to be. The bad news is that you still have to have one to get into a home with an FHA loan.

While that’s the case, don’t worry too much about what goes into the FHA loan inspections. Even with conventional loans, you’ll want a home inspection. You want to know what hidden problems there are with a home. More so, you want to be sure that what you are getting is really worth the price you are paying for it. Therefore, view FHA loan inspections as opportunities to learn about problems you may not have noticed.

What They Are Looking For

What are FHA loan inspectors looking for? Once you apply for an FHA loan and have an offer on the home, the next step is to have an approved home inspector (who is working for FHA, not you, not the lender and not the home seller) come to the home. They will walk around, checking various aspects of the home. Most inspections take only 30 minutes to an hour to complete. You may wish to be present so you can learn of any defects or problems first hand.

There are some problems that they may require repairs to be made on before they will agree to funding the loan. Some potential problems include:

· The home has a defective roof; leaking roofs will need to be replaced or repaired. Age is less likely to be a factor assuming the roof doesn’t have any signs of leaks.

· Chipping paint may be a problem, especially in an older home.

· Handrails may need to be installed on steep steps without them.

· Windows that are broken may be a problem, though sticking or cracks may not warrant replacement.

It’s important to note that the FHA loan inspector that comes to your home is not doing the job of a professional home inspector working for you. If there are problems with the home’s inspection, the repairs will need to be made before the loan can be funded. The home seller often does repairs, but in some cases, the home buyer can do them. Once complete, the loan will move along the financing process.