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.

W-2 employee of a company your income will be based on the gross amount on your pay stub. When 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 your repairs are fairly minor, there are many lenders 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

 

 

How to Get Pre-Approved with Ease

The 4 Pieces of the Mortgage Puzzle

Buying a home is easy. Well…if you take a minute to skim through this it might be a little easier for you on the qualifying end of things. Getting a mortgage is a matter of helping the lender put together the pieces of your financial puzzle. Many times it can get what feels like overly complicated in this world of increased government regulation and lending guidelines. But it can be a lot less complicated if you do a little preparation and have realistic expectations.

So what are the pieces of the mortgage puzzle? Credit, income, assets, and property. If one piece doesn’t fit, your puzzle isn’t complete and you probably won’t get approved. Let’s take a look at those items one piece at a time.

Credit 

Your credit scores and credit history are looked at thoroughly. Each score will be verified from the three credit bureaus (experian, transunion, and equifax). If you only have 2 scores that show up that’s okay, but your lower score of the two will be used to qualify. If you have 3 scores, ideally you want to have a middle score in the mid to high 700 range. Anything below 680 can make things more complicated than what you may be looking for. The other factor that your credit report helps with is determining your monthly debt in comparison to your monthly income (debt to income ratio).

Again, the goal is to keep things simple.

When considering the history shown on your report it’s best to have 3-4 established tradelines that you have been paying on for 24 or more months. A tradeline is any obligation you’re required to pay on a monthly basis that is reported to the credit bureaus. Things like credits cards, student loans (that are not deferred), car loans, personal bank loans, and simple mortgage approvalmortgages would be simple tradelines to verify and use. Cell phone bills or car insurance payments are an example of debts that are not typically on a credit report, and generally would not be used as traditional credit. For derogatory credit tips and more credit preparation see my credit page.

Income

Having a 2 year consecutive and verifiable income stream will help keep things simple for you. You want to have 2 year’s tax returns, W-2’s, and 30 day’s worth of recent pay stubs from your current employer. These items are asked for so that you have the opportunity to show stability and consistency in your income.

If you’re on a base salary or hourly (full time) that will definitely help minimize bumps in the road. Keep in mind that if you receive overtime, bonus, or commission pay it needs to be verifiable to show history and consistency. If you changed employers in the same line of work within the last 24 months, be prepared to provide proof of that employment. If you’re self employed or receive other types of income be prepared to show a consistent history (24 months) and likelihood to continue. For more in depth income tips see my income page.

Assets

There are many options when considering how much you should be putting down to buy your home. Everyone’s situation is unique. You’ll need funds for down payment, property taxes, homeowners insurance, and closing costs. Having at least 2 full months bank statements (all pages) would be something to expect to provide. If you have retirement funds or other liquid assets in a brokerage account that you’ll be using then you’ll need to provide a most recent quarterly statement, and recent activity statement on that account to show proof of funds available. You’ll need to show proof that you have transferred those funds to your bank account prior to closing.

Be prepared to provide a paper trail for everything. If there are any deposits in your accounts that you don’t have a legitimate paper trail for then you will find yourself in a difficult position as far as approval is concerned. Selling your favorite baseball card collection for cash to someone you met on craigslist might be tough to prove. For gift, grant, and other asset info see my assets page.

Property 

The home you are purchasing is the collateral that is being used to secure the financing. Your lender will get an appraisal done to get an opinion of what the fair market value is in relation to the agreed upon purchase price that you and the seller came to terms with. If the appraised value comes in high, congratulations! You technically have instant equity, but the lender will still use the purchase price as the value for qualifying purposes. If the appraisal comes in low you and the seller will need to renegotiate price or you’ll need to bring the difference to the table. The lender will also ask for any repairs noted by the appraiser to be fixed and re-inspected prior to closing. In most cases you’d insist that the current owner completes those howell mi real estaterepairs because you don’t own the home yet.
The lender doesn’t require a general inspection to be completed but it’s usually recommended. This would be a licensed inspector you would hire to tell you what you’re getting yourself into regarding condition. They will put together a detailed report including foundation issues, ventilation problems, and other things that the appraiser wouldn’t necessarily notate. For information on property types and helpful links see my property page.

 

Simple enough right? Look, even if you’re not a first time home buyer, it can be a bit overwhelming. The market and the guidelines are constantly changing. You will save yourself a lot of heartache and pain if you take the time to get your ducks in a row several months before you intend to buy.

A few tips to end with…

Your willingness to provide all items asked for by your lender in a timely manner is helpful to minimize the length of time it takes to close on the home.

Use a Realtor when buying or selling a home. He/she will save you time and money.

Remember that all the pieces to the puzzle have to fit. Even if you make $100k/year, buying a $50k home, and have no debt. You still need to have acceptable credit to obtain financing.

Watch Video:

Do you have to prove your savings to buy a home?

The Asset Piece of the Mortgage Puzzle

There you are, Mr. Hotshot at the blackjack table. You sat down with a hundred bucks, now you’re up two grand. You’re feeling good, top of the world really, and decide maybe it’s time to call it a night. You cash in your chips with a smile on your assets gamblingface thinking how proud your wife is going to be for the first time in years. Things have been a bit rocky since back in ’06 when you bought her that vacuum for Christmas. But not this time. Today you’re a winner. With these winnings in hand, you finally have enough money saved to move out of mom and dad’s basement and buy a house! Monday morning comes around, and you’re devastated. Your buddy at Easy Peazy Funding has to break it to you that the $2,000 deposit that you made into your bank account needs to be sourced if you want a mortgage. There needs to be a paper trail proving where that cash came from. You’re confused because there is no way to prove you made that money from using mind power, and pure skill. When the denial letter comes in the mail your wife kindly throws your clothes into the front yard. She leaves a note saying something about California, and heading west. The rest is history.

Depressing right? Let’s try to make sure you’re doing all the right things to prepare for buying a home. In this portion of the “keeping your home loan process simple” series, the asset piece of the mortgage puzzle is given to you in a gift basket.

When you’re purchasing a home, get all of your financials in one place so they are easily accessible. You’ll need funds for down payment, escrow account (for taxes and insurance), closing costs, and general reserves. Along with all of your pay information, you’ll need bank statements, retirement statements, brokerage account statements, and proof of any other account you’re using to qualify.

Bank statement

  •  Be ready to provide 2 months consecutive bank statements, including all pages. If it says page 2 of 6 anywhere on the assets for mortgagepage, provide all 6 pages.
  • Make sure that your statement shows your name, address, bank name/logo, account number, balances, and activity on the account. If any of those items are missing you’ll need to provide more information. Many times an online print-off will show your account number, but not your name.
  • Non-sufficient fund (NSF) fees will be evaluated. If you show a habit of having NSFs, your lender may decide that pattern is an indication that you’re not ready to buy a home.
  • If the statement you provide is a shared account (someone other than you is also on the account), the individual you share the account with will need to provide a letter confirming you have full access to the funds.
  • Large deposits need to be sourced. If there are any deposits on your bank statement other than your normal income; you will need to provide a paper trail proving where those funds came from. All jokes aside, you may actually be able to use gambling winnings if the casino provided a slip or coupon confirming the amount won. If you sold a vehicle or jewelry you’ll need a bill of sale. Don’t accept cash from the buyer, ask for a check. Additionally, you’ll need to provide a 3rd party opinion (kelley blue book for example) of value in order to confirm the sale price was not unreasonably higher than fair market value. This is to prevent fraud. So Johnny can’t sell his ford escort to his “neighbor” for $10,000. There might be something fishy going on there in the eyes of your lender.

Retirement and Brokerage Accounts

  • If you’re liquidating retirement funds you should be able to print off a most recent quarterly statement. If you are taking out a loan against your 401k your lender will factor that liability into your debt-to-income ratio. In some cases you may have an additional tax penalty if you withdraw retirement funds prior the being 59 1/2.
  • Above and beyond a recent statement, you’ll need to provide proof the funds needed for closing have been liquidated. You’ll also need to show where those same funds were deposited into. It’s wise to deposit those funds into the same bank account that you’ve already provided statements for. The goal is to keep it simple, so putting those funds into a different account could open a new can of worms.

Gift Funds

It’s acceptable to receive gift funds to help with down payment. Each loan program has it’s own guidelines pertaining to gift funds, but here are a few general points to keep in mind:gift from family
  • The person “gifting” the funds needs to be a family member, or someone with an obvious close personal relationship (like a fiance).
  • You both will need to sign a letter confirming the amount and purpose of the gift funds. The letter will also need to confirm there is no expectation of repayment to the donor (the person gifting the funds). They will also need to show their ability to gift the funds by providing 2 months bank statements.

  Grants

Some states and communities offer grants to assist homebuyers with down payment. As long as the entity providing the grant is credible, the lender should accept the grant as an asset because typically a grant does not require repayment. Some grants require a homebuyer course to be completed by the borrower prior to being eligible for the grant. This is to ensure the individual is aware of the pros and cons of homeownership.
There are many unexpected expenses when buying a home. Cash is king, have your assets in place. Aside from lender requirements there are so many things to consider. Carpet, fence, paint, new locks, blinds, and so much more. If you feel like every penny is being scrutinized by your lender, you’re probably right, and it’s truly for your protection. If you feel like things are getting a bit too tight, it might be best to reconsider your price range.


A couple closing tips… 

Bank statements are valid for 60 days. If you’re house hunting for 5 months, send your lender new bank statements as they become available.

Do not overextend yourself. There will always be something that comes up that never crossed your mind. Leave yourself a cushion for those expenses so you can sleep at night.

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