Mortgage and Portfolio Loan Guide

Do I qualify for a home loan?

Here are all the answers to the question “Do I qualify for a home loan?” The answer to that question is really a four part question regarding you income, credit, assets, and property.

The real questions to be asking are:

  • Does my income qualify me for a mortgage?
  • Does my credit meet mortgage requirements?
  • Are my assets enough to cover the required down payment, closing costs, escrows, and reserves?
  • Does the property I am looking to buy meet lender guidelines and requirements?

In this post I will cover the answers to all of those questions and more. You’ll know exactly what you’re up against when seeking mortgage approval.

Does my income qualify for a home loan?

When applying for a mortgage you have to think like an underwriter.

Regarding income, here is how an underwriter thinks: “does this potential borrower show consistency and stability with their income and employment history?”

In the mortgage world consistency is best demonstrated by providing proof of income for the most recent two year history. If your income is the same or more this year than it was last year, and the year before – that means your income is consistently increasing.

If your income is less last year than it was the year before, that means your income is “declining”. Declining income demonstrates instability, and could potentially cause an issue with approval unless there is a legitimate reason for the declining income.

If showing declining income it helps to show that you’re back on your feet by showing your year to date income is back on track to earn what you did in previous years.

If you are W-2 employee of a company your income will be based on the gross amount on your pay stub. If you are a salary employee it’s very simple.do I qualify for a home loan income

If you are an hourly employee your income is: your wage X average hours per week X 52 / 12.

If you recently received a raise, your income will be based on your most recent raise.

For incentive pay like commission, bonus, overtime – you will need a 2 year history of receiving that income in order to be able to demonstrate consistency/stability.

What if you are self-employed? See full article on how your income is considered.

The way the lender decides if you’re eligible for a loan is by calculating your income and measuring that against your monthly liabilities (including all items shown on credit, alimony/child support, and all real estate obligations). The underwriter divides your debt into your income (or debt to income ratio).

So if your debt is 4,000/month and your income is 8,000/month, you have a 50% debt-to-income (DTI) ratio.

Most lenders to not like to see debt-to-income ratio above 45%, but in some cases 50% DTI is accepted with strong compensating factors (high asset reserves, low loan to value ratio, etc.).

Does my credit meet mortgage requirements?

Credit = credibility of previous payment history.

You have 1 score from each bureau:

  • Transunion
  • Equifax
  • Experian

For a standard conventional loan, 620 middle credit score is needed. [For other loan types, there are cases where you can go as low as 500 credit score. Just ask.

So if you have scores of 650, 675, 690 – the 675 score is what is used.

Important Note: The scores that the credit bureaus report to mortgage lenders are different than what is reported to consumers who pull consumer reports. The scores that lenders see are almost always lower than what you might pull on CreditKarma.com.

CreditKarma.com is still a great site, and gives you something to start with when trying to get an idea of where you stand.

Aside from actual credit score, here are the things lenders look for on your credit report:

  • On time payment history (or lack thereof – aka late payments)
  • Length of credit established
  • Derogatory marks like collections, charge-offs, judgments, tax liens
  • Major credit events like bankruptcy, foreclosure, short sale

Payment History

It’s crucial to be able to show minimal late payments in the most recent 24 months, especially on housing payment history. Most traditional loans only allow one 30 day late payment in the last 12 months.

But there are alternative loan options for unique credit circumstances.

Length of Established Credit

In many cases there will be a need to show at least 12 months of established credit. However, there are exceptions.

If you have 10-20% down payment, >2 years on the job, and can prove rent history, it may be possible to get approved with less than 12 months credit history.

No Credit Score | No credit Historydo i qualify for a home loan credit

Some people just like to pay cash. Plain and simple. I get it.

For those who have no credit established, and no credit score, you may still qualify for a mortgage by using non-traditional credit approach.

A non-traditional credit report would consist of 3 accounts you pay toward that do NOT show on your traditional credit report.

Examples of non-traditional credit:

  • Rental payments
  • Utility payments (gas, electric, water, landline, home phone, cable)
  • Netflix/HULU
  • Child care
  • School tuition
  • Proof of 12 months savings
  • Gym membership
  • And more

If you have a legitimate (and consistent) 12 month payment history on an account there is a chance it may be considered by the lender in the overall decision to lend.

Derogatory Marks

For minor collections, there are cases where they do not need to be paid off prior to closing on your home loan. Medical collections are given some flexibility as well.

But if you have more than $1,000 in outstanding collections, they will most likely need to be paid prior to closing.

Judgments and tax liens must be paid prior to closing. The lender does not want to have to deal with those obligations potentially becoming a lien on the property/collateral.

These derogatory marks do not necessarily need to be removed from the credit report. Most of the time, the lender just wants legitimate proof or paper trail to confirm the obligation has been paid/satisfied/settled.

Disputed Accounts

When you dispute an account on your credit report because you disagree with the way it is being reported, the credit bureaus immediately disregard that account when calculating your scores.

The result of disputing an account is the credit scores go up. This is because the negative account that is being disputed is not being included in the overall scoring calculation.

For that reason, lenders will typically not allow a loan to proceed until the dispute has been removed, and new credit has been pulled. The logic is: if there is a disputed account, the credit scores are artificially high.

Major Credit Events

On most mortgage loans there is a waiting period between when a person has gone through a major credit event, and when they are eligible for new home financing. Below is a basic summary of what to typically expect as far as waiting periods are concerned. [there are portfolio loans where no waiting period is required]

  • Bankruptcy – Chapter 7
    • FHA – 2 year waiting period
    • Conventional – 4 year waiting period
    • VA – 2 year waiting period
    • USDA – 3 year waiting period
    • Portfolio Loan – No waiting period with 20% down payment if home was included in foreclosure.
  • Bankruptcy – Chapter 13
    • FHA – Must have 12 months on time payments and permission from trustee to enter new mortgage. Must be manually underwritten if less than 2 years.
    • Conventional – 2 year waiting period
    • VA – 1 year waiting period
    • USDA – 1 year waiting period
    • Portfolio Loan – No waiting period with 20% down payment
  • Foreclosure
    • FHA – 3 year waiting period
    • Conventional – 7 year waiting period (Unless property that foreclosed was included in bankruptcy. If home was included in BK, waiting period is based on bankruptcy discharge date)
    • VA – 3 year waiting period
    • USDA – 3 year waiting period
    • Portfolio Loan – No waiting period with 20% down payment
  • Short Sale or Deed-in-lieu
    • FHA – 3 year waiting period
    • Conventional – 4 year waiting period
    • VA – 3 year waiting period
    • USDA – 3 year waiting period
    • Portfolio Loan – No waiting period with 20% down payment

Keep in mind, guidelines change constantly. It would appear a portfolio loan is a good option if you’re back on your feet and don’t yet meet traditional waiting period requirements. More on portfolio loans here.

Do my assets meet home loan requirements?

When evaluating assets the underwriter is reviewing available funds for:

  • Down payment – The amount that you’re coming out of pocket to secure the home.
  • Closing costs – The fees associated with acquiring the home (appraisal, origination, title, closing, recording, etc.)
  • Escrows/prepaids (for taxes and insurance) – The amount set aside to account for taxes and insurance on the property
  • Reserves – The amount of left over available funds

The funds used to qualify must be “seasoned” in your account for 60 days to be eligible funds. Any large deposits that are not seasoned must be explained and sourced. Cash deposits are unacceptable because the source cannot be verified/confirmed.

If you have a property that you are simultaneously selling during the process of buying the new home, the proceeds of the sale of that previous home do not need to be seasoned. You will need to provide proof of sale of the home (purchase and sale agreement) as well as the closing statement prior to closing on the new home.

Reservesdo i qualify for a home loan assets

The logic of reviewing reserves is: if the borrower should unexpectedly fall on hard times, there is enough set aside to cover the mortgage payment for X number of months.

Showing adequate reserves helps strengthen the overall file.

Reserves can be from your traditional bank account, brokerage account, retirement account, etc. You cannot use a non-borrower’s account to show reserves.

Gift Funds 

For most loan types gift funds from family are acceptable. There are scenarios where a non-family member can gift the funds, but every lender is going to have a different interpretation of who is acceptable. For best results, just ask.

Non-Liquid Assets

Cars, RV’s, heavy equipment, beanie babies… are not liquid assets.

Vehicles and other items that can be easily valued, can be considered if sold and properly documented.

If you sell a car in order to qualify for a mortgage be sure to have kelly blue book value on hand, bill of sale, and copy of the check you received when you sold the vehicle. Having a full paper trail helps tremendously.

 

Does the property being financed meet lending guidelines?

There are an infinite number of reasons the property might not meet lender requirements.

I am going to cover some of the most common reasons the property can be the cause of denial with the lender.

Non-Warrantable Condo

When buying a condominium, not only does the borrower’s finances get evaluated, but the homeowners association is also closely reviewed.

The lender will order a “condo questionnaire” in order to evaluate the health of the association.

They’ll look for things like: completion status, investor concentration, pending litigation, and so much more.

More on non-warrantable condos here.

Repairs Neededdo i qualify for a home loan house

If the property is in disrepair, the lender will require completion of repairs prior to closing in most cases. Repairs needed will be determined based on appraiser’s comments in the appraisal report.

The repairs need to be completed by the seller, and a final inspection will be needed prior to closing to confirm completion.

If the repairs are fairly minor, there are many landers that will allow a “repair escrow”.

A repair escrow is where funds are set aside at closing to cover the cost of the repairs needed. Then the loan closes, and repairs are done after closing. A final inspection is completed when ready.

Typically this only allowed when repairs are no more than $5,000. With a repair escrow, 150% of the estimated repair costs are collected in case of unexpected cost overages.

Example: if the repairs needed are estimated to be $3,000, the actual amount collected for the repair escrow will be $4,500.

If the excess funds aren’t used, the difference will be refunded to the borrower or applied toward the principal balance.

For properties in need of major repair. There are renovation mortgages available on both FHA and conventional.

Unique Property Type

One of the most crucial parts of the appraisal report has to do with the appraiser being able to find recently sold homes that are comparable in size/condition/use that have sold within a reasonable distance.

If there are unique features to the property, the appraiser may have a challenge that cannot be resolved due to market conditions.

Even if there are comparables, some lenders simply do not allow unique property types.

Unique features that could be a challenge:

  • Berm homes
  • Properties that are not suitable for year round occupancy regardless of location
  • Agricultural zoned property
  • Condo hotels
  • More than 20 acres
  • Hobby farms
  • Leaseholds
  • Rustic log cabins
  • Working farms, ranches, or orchards

For unique property type financing, a portfolio loan may be a solution.

In Summary

There are four major pieces of the scenario to consider when asking the question “do I qualify for a home loan”?

Those pieces are: income, credit, assets, and property.

If any of your questions were left unanswered I strongly encourage you to reach out to me below and ask.

If I cannot help, I should be able to point you in the right direction at the very least.

self employed home loans

 

 

What is a Gift of Equity?

Sometimes it’s nice to be able to pay your rent to family because there is a mutual trust that already exists between tenant and landlord. It’s even better when you can buy your home from a family member. This is one of the cases where you can buy a home with zero down payment with use of a gift of equity.

In this article we’ll go over everything you need to know about how to buy a home from family with a gift of equity and zero down payment.

What is a gift of equity?

A gift of equity refers to the gift provided by the seller to the buyer in the form of existing home equity. In this type of scenario there is no exchange of funds. The seller simply agrees to take less net proceeds at closing, which allows the buyer to have instant equity while providing no down payment.

These types of transactions are common with parents who are selling their home to their child.

 

what is a gift of equity

 

Here is a basic example:

Jimmy has been renting from his parents for 2 years. Paying rent on time faithfully every month.

Instead of putting their home on the market, they agree to sell their home to Jimmy.

The home is worth $200,000 and his parents are looking to sell their home. They are only looking to net $150,000 out of the sale, which means they are willing to provide a gift of equity of $50,000. When the transaction gets to the closing table, instead of little Jimmy coming out of pocket 50K for down payment, the gift of equity is done. This means that he now owns a home that already has 25% equity.

What about closing costs?

Right, so being able to do zero down payment with a gift of equity is nice, but what about closing costs and escrows for taxes and insurance? Good question, glad you asked.

The nice thing about dealing with family is that you can talk things out and get a clear understanding of what the proceeds need to be. In other words, the parent and child can clearly communicate how much funds the parent needs to get at closing for this to make sense for them.

Once that is clearly understood, the sale of the home can be structured in a way to benefit all parties involved with complete transparency.

The way to get closing costs paid for without the buyer having to cover the costs is by adding seller concessions (or seller contributions) to the formal purchase agreement. This is where the seller gives a credit toward the buyer’s closing costs and escrows.

In many cases the seller credits can be up to 6% of the purchase price of the home. Which means that if the sale price is $200,000, the allowable seller concessions can be as high as $12,000. That amount should be more than sufficient to cover costs and escrows (depending on how much real estate taxes are in your area).

So let’s take a look at how that would apply to the case with Jimmy…

Same price as above, at $200,000. Instead of giving a gift of equity of 50K, the parents give a gift of equity of 40K. But now, on the purchase agreement they agree to provide $10,000 in seller concessions.

In this case the loan amount would be $160,000. The sellers still get net proceeds of $150,000, AND the buyer didn’t have to come out of packet to make it happen. It’s a win/win. The loan amount is $10,000 higher (roughly a $50/month difference in monthly payment), but the buyer didn’t have to deplete is assets to make it happen.

It’s basically a way to finance the costs, really just a matter of structuring the purchase agreement properly to meet everyone’s goals.

Important things to keep in mind.

Appraisal – The only way a gift of equity works is if there is actual equity that already exists. The lender is going to order an appraisal to get an opinion of fair market value. If you’re trying to sell your home for $200,000, but it only appraises for $150,000 then the gift of equity amount needs to be revisited, and the purchase agreement needs to be restructured accordingly. [more on appraisals here]

Documentation – The lender is going to need to verify everything (just like a normal purchase of a home). If the child has been renting, there needs to be legitimate proof of rent. If the child gave a deposit of any amount at the beginning of the lease, there is going to need to be a paper trail.

Acceptable Donor – When dealing with a gift of equity scenario, the seller an buyer need to be related. Here is the definition of an acceptable donor with regard to a gift:

“A relative, defined as the borrower’s spouse, child, or other dependent, or by any other individual who is related by blood, marriage, adoption, or legal guardianship; or a fiance, or domestic partner.”

As you can see, there is a little bit of room for discussion on that. There is a grey area. There are endless “what ifs” on this topic of “related”. Bottom line, don’t try to pull a fast one on the underwriter.  If you’re trying to do a gift of equity, it needs to involve a clear relationship like parent/child for example. Otherwise, there is a chance an underwriter could shoot it down.

Conclusion

Buying or selling a home with the use of a gift of equity can be a very advantageous route to take for a buyer and seller. The buyer doesn’t have to provide a down payment, and the seller gets the piece of mind of helping their family achieve the dream of home ownership while getting the proceeds they are seeking.

As always, transparency and communication is key to make the process as smooth and painless as possible.

I invite you to reach out.

mortgage loan officerIf you’re running into any challenges with getting this type of scenario put together, or the buyer doesn’t quite meet normal lending guidelines, you’re welcome to reach out to me with your specific questions.

You won’t be connected with an intern or someone in a call center, you will be connected with me directly.

If I cannot help, I should be able to point you in the right direction at the very least.

 

 

real estate investment loans

 

5 Reasons Your Home Appraisal Matters

If you have gotten to the point in the home buying process where an appraisal has been ordered, you’re now moving forward full steam ahead.

Pre-approved. Check.

Found the house. Check.non-warrantable condo

Offer accepted. Check.

Inspection passed with flying colors. Check.

Condo meets requirements. Check.

Time to order appraisal.

Congratulations!

It’s no secret that when buying a home an appraisal plays a significant role in completing the process successfully.

For the most part, the biggest anxiety for all parties is “did the home appraise for the contract price?” While the value is indeed extremely important, there is more that an appraisal brings to the table.

The truth is there are several crucial ways that an appraisal contributes to the approval process other than a highly detailed opinion of fair market value of the property.

Let’s look at those truths with a bit of detail and perhaps provide some clarity to the impact an appraisal has on the home buying process.

5 Reasons Your Real Estate Appraisal Matters

mortgage homeTiming

Getting an appraisal back within a reasonable time frame can make or break a deal. If you’re in a rural area or in an area where the real estate market is booming, you could wait up to 3 weeks or more just to get the appraisal results. This can be even more frustrating if the appraised value comes in low or repairs are needed.

Right now there are even some areas in the country where appraisers are flat out declining appraisal orders because they know they do not have the capacity to turn the appraisal report around in a timely manner.

When the purchase contract states that the deal needs to close within 45 days, and it takes 40 days to get appraisal results, expect an extension to the purchase agreement.

2-real-estate-appraisalCondition

If you’re getting a mortgage, the property needs to meet some basic standards for the lender to give the thumbs up on acceptable property condition.

Common property condition issues that pop up on appraisals and cause issues: mold in the attic or basement, peeling paint on the outside of the home or garage, trip hazards, broken windows, and missing fixtures.

Anything noticeably wrong with the property is likely to be pointed out on the appraisal report including photos. When there are repairs noted on the appraisal the seller will need to complete those repairs prior to closing, and the property needs to be reinspected by the same appraiser to confirm the requested repairs have been made.

home mortgageComparables

When coming up with an opinion of value, the appraiser selects recently sold homes within the market that are similar in size/condition/location/amenities.

The appraiser then compares those homes with the subject property and makes adjustments based on differences and similarities between the homes.

For example: if the subject property is a 3 bed, 2 bath ranch on .5 acre, the appraiser would look to include 3 bed, 2 bath ranches that sit on a .5 acre lot. The appraiser would not be including a 3 bed, 2 bath condominium.

It doesn’t have to be identical and size and condition, but it does need to be the same property type. Unique properties can be very difficult to finance. If there are no similar properties sold within a reasonable distance and time frame (underwriter discretion) the deal could be dead. There is also a limit to how much an appraiser can make adjustments on value based on the differences in homes.

If the adjustments made are too high, the comparable property used could be considered irrelevant or unacceptable and would need to be replaced by a better comparable if possible.

home mortgageConfidence

For some buyers the appraised value can have an impact on their ego.

Let’s say you get under contract on a house for $300,000 and it appraises for $380,000. There might be an increased warm and fuzzy feeling knowing you got a good deal. Another confidence booster in a case like this is that if you’re going to be paying private mortgage insurance (PMI) due to a low down payment, you may be able to refinance in a year and then use the new appraised value to drop your PMI (which could save you hundreds of dollars a month).

Knowing that you have instant equity in the home that you already loved to begin with can really add a nice cherry on top.

house home loanCompliance

The collateral (the house) used to secure the mortgage must comply with lender guidelines.

One of the biggest issues when talking about compliance has to do with finding out if the home is a non-warrantable condo (does not apply to single family homes). If the property is a condominium the appraiser will reveal information pertaining to the number of units that are owned by 1 entity, number of units that are not complete, and other important information about the condo that could cause issues. [more on non-warrantable condos here]

Another fairly common issue that can come up as a compliance issue is number of acres the property sits on. Depending on what type of loan program you’re seeking, there may be an issue with giving any value to acreage beyond 10-20 acres. For someone buying a 50 acre property, this can be a deal breaker if most of the value is in the land.

If the appraisal states subject property was recently was sold, there could also be flipping restrictions depending on what type of loan you’re seeking.

The appraisal can clearly make or break the deal in several unique ways other than home value.

mortgage loan officerIf you have run into an appraisal issue that you seem to not be able to get around, you may want to consider looking into getting a portfolio loan. Portfolio loans are mortgages designed to help with unique property scenarios. Portfolio loans are also a great option if there are unique income or credit circumstances. More on portfolio loans here.

In addition, if you have run into a challenge on obtaining a mortgage that you can’t seem to get around, I invite you to reach out to me for a possible solution. If I cannot help, I should be able to point you in the right direction at the very least.

 

real estate investment loans

5 Awesome Advantages of Owning Real Estate

Buying a house isn’t for everyone.

The truth is, it’s kind of a pain in the you-know-what to be a homeowner sometimes. If the power goes out, it’s on you bro, better get a generator. If a window breaks, sorry dude, figure it out.

Even though there are some big responsibilities that come with owning a home, there are some excellent advantages worth mentioning!

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Your payment goes toward something.

Yup, it’s called a mortgage. Every month you pay that sucker, the balance of that home loan goes down (just a bit at first). The only time that isn’t true is if you have an interest only mortgage (not a ton of those still out there), where your payment only goes toward interest for the first X number of years. But for the majority of people, their house payment goes toward building equity and paying that bad-boy down.

The alternative? Pay rent (aka pay someone else’s mortgage for them). This leaves you with a lease agreement that you have to stick with, in a house you really can’t change to your liking. The result? You despise writing that rent check every month because you know that even if you did stay there for 30 years, you would still have next month’s payment due on the 1st. Keep in mind, rent typically increases every year. So not only achievement-18134_640would you be paying someone’s mortgage for them, but when it’s all said and done you’ll be paying a higher payment on something that has no liability attached to it. I know, I know, most people don’t rent in the same house or apartment for 30 years. But whether it’s 30 years or 3 years, do you really want your hard-earned money going into someones pocket and have nothing to show for it after 3 years?

I hear the chirping already… “Adam, not all homeowners have equity after a few years of owning. Heck, some were underwater on their homes in 2009 and they made mortgage payments for 10 years before that.”

Yes, you’re right. I am aware of that. Don’t forget, many people put themselves in that place because they used their home like an ATM. Taking cash out of their home to buy a shiny car, or to keep up with the Joneses. I agree with you… if you continue to cash in your equity, you won’t have any equity to speak of. Yes there were other factors that played into the housing crisis like people getting approved for loans they can’t afford, appraisers trying to meet the needs of lenders, and straight-up fraud. But the mid-to-late 2000’s housing bubble was an exception to the rule. Historically, housing prices move steadily (but reasonably) upward.

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Increased sense of pride.

Yes, too much pride can be a bad thing, but being a homeowner is confidence builder. The thought and preparation it takes to buy a home figure-25590_640requires a lot of guts and strategy.

Think about it… You are sitting in your apartment. Channel surfing. You “accidentally” leave it on HGTV while you reply to a few text messages. “Property Virgins” is on, and buying a house looks fun. You suddenly decide that you are capable of buying a home. You Google: How to buy a home. You find a blog that talks about home ownership, and now you’re feeling super geeked. You call a local Realtor, and she asks you if you’re pre-approved for a mortgage. “Pre-approved?. Umm not yet.” Your Realtor insists that you get pre-approved first, and get your ducks in a row.

You ask your friends and family who to call for a mortgage. The next thing you know you’re gathering up your financial identity and giving it to your mortgage guy. You find out there are a couple of things to work on, and it’s probably going to be about 6 months until it’s time to start looking for a home.

You spend the next six months getting your finances squared away, and following your loan officer’s guidance to a T.

  • Paying down your credit cards.
  • Making no large (unverifiable) deposits into your bank account.
  • Get a couple small collections deleted from your credit report.
  • Now you’re ready.

Your Realtor finds you a sick deal, and you make an offer. You negotiate a price that is a win/win for everyone as long as the seller is willing to do a few repairs that the inspector noted. You give your earnest money deposit. It’s game on. Appraisal is ordered. Thirty-ish days later you bring a crisp cashier’s check to closing for the rest of the funds needed. This was pretty much all of your savings, but you saved for this exact moment! To own your home! Now you have the keys, and you feel like you can sit at the big kids table at Thanksgiving this year.

It all started with a little channel surfing mixed with a dose of inspiration.

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Get more for your money.

dollar-499481_640In Brighton, MI and most of Michigan (if not all) you get more bang for your buck by owning your home instead of renting. Let’s look at a quick example. Here is an actual “for rent” listing on Craigslist right now:

$750 / 2br – 775ft22 BR Condo (Brighton)

Great Location. Beautiful updated 2 BR Condo in Hidden Harbour Condominiums opposite Meijer store in downtown Brighton. Central A/C, appliances, washer dryer in the building. No pets please. Water, hot water, trash pick up, Snow removal included in the rent. Available Dec. 1, 2014. Walk to shopping and near x-ways.

Here is an example “for sale” listing on Craigslist right now:

$59900 / 2br – 950ft2TOWNHOUSE for Sale in Brighton

2 Bedroom, 1.5 bath END unit offers extra windows and light, along with added outdoor living space. New Pergo flooring in kitchen and dining areas, also includes newer stove and frig. Newer windows throughout. Large Master Bedroom (16 x 12), and 2nd bedroom (11.5 x 10) both have mirrored closet doors, ceiling fans and lots of light. Finished basement with new glass block windows has built-in storage areas, along with a large separate laundry room. Neutral colors throughout home. Back door leads to private covered patio area, surrounded by green space & trees. Outside area is large enough to entertain and garden.

Running rough numbers on the second one, it looks like $596 including principal/interest/taxes/insurance/mortgage insurance/homeowners association dues

So for 125 more square feet of living space, you pay $154 less per month.

I pulled that up with a few mouse clicks, there are never-ending examples of this.

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Ability to make a house a home.

Take the above for rent listing for example. “No pets please.” It didn’t say no dogs over 30 lbs. It didn’t say no pit bulls. It didn’t say no snakes. Itpuppy-345334_640 said NO PETS.

Why are there so many restrictions on renting? Well, consider this for a moment. If you owned a home, and rented it out, would you want to give the tenant (renter) the ability to do whatever they wish with the property? No? Why? Because you never know how bad they will trash the home. Resulting in you (the owner) having to renovate the property once the tenant moves out. Who knows how much that will cost? Who knows how bad their 1-year-old boxer tear up the carpet? Well ultimately the owner will have to deal with it. So it’s in the owners best interest to be selective on what will be considered when renting out their property.

When you own your home… you decide. You decide on upgrades, pets, colors, etc. You get to make it yours.

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Tax deduction.

The tax deduction that you get from paying mortgage interest is in many cases the largest tax deduction for many homeowners. Unlike credit card and car loan interest that you pay, the mortgage interest that you pay is tax-deductible. Even wealthy borrowers who could pay off their calculator-158109_640mortgage 3 times over with their assets keep their mortgage because of the tax deduction that it brings.

This is a huge benefit for people who look to consolidate some credit card debt because not only does their overall monthly budget improve, but the interest that they pay results in a larger tax deduction. As I mentioned in the first advantage at the beginning, it’s not wise to use your home like an ATM, and take cash out multiple times just to buy stuff. But if you look at it from a common sense standpoint, many times consolidating debt into your mortgage makes good financial sense. If you find yourself refinancing every couple of years in order to consolidate your credit card debt, there is an issue. Might want to chop those cards up so that you don’t find yourself in the same position over and over.

This might be a helpful resource to answer some questions surrounding your possible tax deduction.

What do you think?

Across the United States it is more cost-effective to own than rent in suburban areas. Do you agree? Leave a comment below and tell share your thoughts.

Adam Lesner | Brighton, MI | Mortgage Loan Officer – NMLS 198818

The Secret to Spending Money Extremely Efficiently

Connecting with Matthew Love has been a great experience. He has brought a fresh perspective to light on the subject of money, and is an all around genuine guy. He was kind enough to share some perspective with me regarding his take on the most effective way to leverage credit, and pay down debt efficiently. Here is what he had to say:

The Power of Collateralization

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How to Spend Money Efficiently

Have you ever wondered if there is a more efficient way of making purchases? How can it be that we work so hard and never seem to get ahead?  What is it that people do differently to set themselves apart?  How can I get there?  While I don’t believe there is one answer, technique, or product that will create financial success, I do believe there is a process we can follow that will influence our decision-making at a young age to set us apart as we get older and (hopefully) wealthier.

Let’s look at a typical way purchasing a car, or even a student loan, using financing.

I find compoundthe car of my dreams and head to a lending institution, such as a bank, and ask for money.  I realize this might not be the best way to make the purchase, but the smell of a brand new car is un-beatable.  I talk with a banker and they will let me have the money to make the purchase, but in order to use their money, I have to qualify.  After a rigorous background check, housing check, employment check, etc., I finally qualify, but there is a catch.  I have to pay an interest rate THEY determine.  Either way, I want the car, so I make the purchase.  I have a new car by spending other peoples’ money at a cost, and I’m in debt.

Let’s look at what happens when I buy the car with cash.  Instead of buying the car today, I save the monthly payment I would have made to the bank.  Over the course of a few years I have accumulated enough money in an account which is compounding interest.  By paying cash I save paying interest, but it prevents me from earning any interest on the money I just spent.  An economist would say I lost opportunity to earn more because I spent on a depreciating asset.  I killed the forward momentum of the money by spending it!  I never got a chance to realize the full effects of compounding interest.

However, there is a third way. I can use collateral.  If I were to put my savings account up as collateral, I can borrow money at a negotiated interest rate and allow my money to continue the compounding curve! By doing this my full account value can continue to compound, while I pay an interest rate on a smaller amount used to pay off the car; I will have more control, use, and liquidity of my money during my lifetime!  The sooner we can understand how money works, the sooner we can let it work for our advantage.  So, what is your collateral capacity?

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Matthew Love is a member of Financial Architect Inc.  His work focuses on building wealth for young families.  Working with Matthew, his clients understand the principles of how money really works.

Reach Matthew directly: 847-767-5067 or Matthew@FinancialArch.com

Matthew Love - Financial Architects

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The Mortgage Collateral

The Property Piece of the Mortgage Puzzle

It’ game time. You have the steady job. Your down payment is sitting safely in your bank account. Your credit expert helped you get things cleaned up. You’re now ready to buy a home! It’s time to put together the last piece of the mortgage puzzle, the property. This is where the fun begins. The factors to consider when figuring out what home fits you the best are endless. This should help you gain an understanding, and a snapshot on how the process works when you find the home of your dreams.
 
Collateral
 
The home you are purchasing is the collateral being used to secure the financing you’re getting. If you expect a lender to give the green light to finance a home for you, be prepared for them to perform due diligence as well. Your lender will have certain standards that the property needs to meet. 
 
Inspection
 
Once your Realtor has helped you negotiate an amazing price, it’s time to order the inspection. Although lenders mortgage collateraldon’t typically require a general inspection to be completed by a licensed inspector, it’s highly recommended that you get one yourself. Your Realtor usually will have a couple recommendations of credible inspectors in your area. An inspection can cost anywhere from $300 to $800 depending on the scope of work and the property size. Your inspector will examine each component of the house in order to give an opinion on what meets code (electrical, HVAC), what doesn’t meet code, and what the estimated remaining life of items might be (water heater, roof, furnace). The cost that you pay for an inspection pales in comparison to the value you receive by knowing exactly what you’re “getting yourself into” with a potential home purchase.

Appraisal

Your lender will require an appraisal to be completed, and will submit an order through a third party. There is no need to order your own appraisal because privately ordered appraisals cannot be used or considered by a lender. The cost can vary depending on scope of work and property size. Typically $400-$750. The purpose of an appraisal is to get an opinion of fair market value of a home, and to find out if there are any serious issues with the home (peeling paint, broken windows, mold…). The appraiser will physically go out to the property to do an general inspection, take pictures, and take measurements. The appraiser will pull records of recent sale history for similar properties that have sold within the area of the home you’re buying. He/she will take into consideration the square footage, amenities, condition, age, and other important factors that contribute to value. The appraiser will make specific adjustments to value based on how those factors compare to the actual property being sold. By doing that, the appraiser can make an educated decision of what people are willing to pay for a home that is similar to the one you’re buying. This is called the sales comparison approach. This approach gives the best indication of what the fair market value is because it’s based on what people are actually willing to pay in that given market. If any repairs needed are noted by the appraiser, there is a strong likelihood that those repairs will need to be completed. You don’t necessarily want to make any repairs, nor will you be authorized in most cases, because you don’t own the home yet. What if you spend $100, and a Saturday afternoon installing a rail on a porch, just to find out you can’t close on the home for other reasons? Doesn’t make much sense.

Property Type

  • Single family home – This is your typical stick built, built from the ground up, free standing home. You’ll be required to maintain your own landscaping, snow shoveling, and exterior maintenance. You may or may not have an organized homeowners association (HOA) in your neighborhood. The HOA will help with general street maintenance and neighborhood needs. Be mindful of what the HOA fees are because it can have an impact on your debt-to-income ratio. In some areas you may think you’re buying a single family home, but find out too late that it’s a “site-condominium”. Depending on your loan program, your lender may have to do a more extensive review of the property and HOA if the home is found to be a site-condo.
  • Condominium – This can be a home in a community of 1 or 2 story homes that are attached, or a building of many stories containing units stacked on top of one another (like an apartment building). You own the interiorcollateral mortgage of the home. The exterior is typically maintained by the HOA, so the HOA fees are typically more costly on a condo. There are usually amenities like a pool and exercise facility among other things. Condos are popular for people who want to enjoy the benefits of homeownership, but pass on the headache of maintaining anything outside the home. Condos require a more thorough review than any property type. The lender will examine the financials of the HOA in detail. They’ll look for things like reserves, delinquent owners in the community, and insurance coverage. If you are getting an FHA loan or a VA loan, you can find out what condos are already approved in your area. For FHA approved condos in your area click hereFor VA approved condos in your area click here
  • Townhome – A townhome can be a very similar setup as the condo that’s in a community with 1 or 2 story homes that are attached. With a townhome you do own the land outside but the HOA will cover day to day maintenance usually. Your lender will contact the HOA, but typically will not be as strict on guidelines as they would be on condos.
  • Manufactured home – These are homes that are built in a factory and placed on a piece of property. It can be a challenge to find a lender for manufactured home financing. One of the reasons many lenders do not offer financing on manufactured homes is because manufactured homes typically depreciate in value. In other words, the value of the home will likely decrease over time. Whereas the value in a single family home, condo, or townhome, will typically increase (appreciate). Of course the housing meltdown in recent years has made many people question that fact. But historically, real estate is a great investment, and will appreciate in value.  
  • Multi-unit – any property that is being sold as piece that has several functional dwellings (units). These are duplex (2 unit home), triplex (3 unit home), and fourplex or quadplex (4 unit home). You can obtain a residential mortgage on multi-unit homes as long as they are 4 or less units. Anything with 5 or greater units will require a commercial loan. Multi-unit homes are a great way to supplement your income and have your mortgage paid for by the tenants.

Escrow Account

  • General – Your escrow account is a cushion set aside so that you have adequate funds available to pay your taxes and insurance when they are due. At closing you’ll pay for your full year of homeowners insurance, and several month’s worth of your taxes (depending on the time of year and frequency of taxes due). In your mortgage payments moving forward you’ll pay a fraction of your annual homeowners insurance and taxes. Each payment will contribute to your escrow account so that enough is accumulated when the next tax or insurance bill is due. Your lender will manage your escrow account for you. This keeps things simple for you because you do not have to worry about having to pay a large bill for taxes and insurance two or more times per year. It’s all included in your payment so you have less responsibility to manage. If you have a FHA loan, VA loan, or put less than 10% down, you’ll be required to have an escrow account with your lender.
  • Insurance – You’ll need to obtain an insurance policy to cover unexpected, significant damage on the home. Each property type will have different requirements, and needs that will be covered. Your Realtor and your lender can give you insight on what type of coverage to get. Certainly the insurance agent you choose will be the expert in that field on what coverage you need.
  • Real Estate (property) Taxes – Be mindful of how much the taxes on your property are. This can make a significant difference on your budget and your debt-to-income ratio. Your taxes are likely to fluctuate, which can cause an adjustment in your monthly escrow payment.

Congratulations! 

With the information you’ve been able to acquire by skimming through the “keeping your home loan process simple” series, you’re now more prepared than the vast majority of home buyers. Use this as a reference. Use it as a tool to come back to as you get closer to being ready to take the next step into the American dream. Subscribe by email to stay in the loop on the latest and greatest info on homeownership, and balanced living.  

A few closing tips…

From Livingston County, Michigan expert, and licensed inspector, Dominic Vagnetti of Inspections on Demand. 517-540-0800

 

-Roof conditions and foundations are the two most worrisome items for buyers. Roofs are a disposable product and we want to start paying extra attention as they reach their 20th birthday. We are seeing longer lifespans from dimensional (or architectural) designs, however exceptions are always present. Curling, granule loss, missing shingles are things a buyer can see driving up to the property.

-Foundation cracks can be problematic but are most commonly superficial. Look for signs of water leakage that would require injection sealant, gaps larger than 1/4 inch, or horizontal cracks which can be signs of significant movement.

-Foundation waterproofing and drainage are mostly typical of 1970s and newer homes. Prior to that, sump crocks and foundation drain lines were either not present or poorly designed. Signs of water damage or flooding can be found by examining homeowner belongings on the floor or looking for stains on wood walls or shelving. It can be important to differentiate between ongoing flood issues and a single water event like a water heater failure or leak in a pipe.