Mortgage and Portfolio Loan Guide

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.

 

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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?

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. This obviously can vary 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.

Seller concessions are basically a way to finance the costs. They’re 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. 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.

Get your questions answered.

If 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.

 

 

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Embrace the Z

“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it.”

-Michael J. Fox

When you have a powerhouse website, consisting of a wealth of information, that serves as a resource for millions of people, there are going to be some naysayers. I hear real estate professionals and mortgage pros bad mouthing Zillow as if their negativity will somehow alter the house-hunters buying habits.

Here’s the bottom line: When people think about buying a house, they are likely to use Zillow as a resource at some point in the game.

Why fight it? Why discredit a top resource for buyers, sellers, homeowners, etc? Here are a couple of reasons there is some general push-back:

Home Value

Oh boy, here we go. A potential seller takes a look at the estimate Zillow gives them and they are blown away by the equity they have gained in the last couple years. They are so excited and feel they could make a great profit. There is a feeling of anticipation that they will finally have the opportunity to upgrade to the home of their dreams with the proceeds of the sale of their home. They contact their Realtor to list the home.Stop crying about zillow

Now the Realtor (the real-life expert) has an opportunity to showcase their expertise in the market. There is a bit of a let down because of a difference in opinion of home value between the Realtor and the Zillow estimate. But that’s okay. This is where the opportunity lies. The Realtor is able to tactfully explain how homes in the area that are similar to the seller’s home have sold. This is where the Realtor gets to roll their sleeves up and use the facts.

Fair market value is an opinion. Zillow uses formulas to come up with values which are beyond my pay grade, but that doesn’t mean they are going to be accurate. Let’s be real here. If Zillow was right, there would be no need for an appraiser. And even if a buyer is willing to pay a certain price for a home, the appraiser may still come back and give a different opinion of fair market value. Even more interesting, a different appraiser can come up with a different value than the original appraiser.

Why? Value is an opinion! An opinion of how different factors like age, amenities, condition, location, and size can impact the value of a home. Another huge factor is which comparables (recent sales of similar homes within a reasonable distance from the subject property) to use on the appraisal report. When selecting the comps the appraiser is responsible for finding and using the sales of properties that are most similar to the subject property (the home that is being sold). If the appraisal comes in lower than the agreed upon purchase price the buyer will either have to put more down (depending on the loan program, and how much they were originally putting down) or the purchase price will need to be renegotiated between the buyer and seller.

The estimate of value on Zillow is simply a starting point. It’s on the local experts to be effective communicators on their market, not Zillow-bashers.

Pre-approval

A hopeful home buyer can get a pre-approval in minutes on Zillow. The system will ask for general info and pop out a thumbs up or thumbs down so that the consumer can get an idea of where they stand.

The only problem is that there are so many factors that go into a mortgage approval which require an in-depth evaluation of a borrower, and their current circumstances. These instant pre-approvals go against everything I stand for when it comes to setting proper expectations for a home buyer. However, it does give them a place to start. Yes there are disclosures below it that pretty much state nothing is for sure until you talk to your lender, but that is likely to be overlooked because they already see they’re “good-to-go”.

Again, it’s just a starting point. For a true understanding of where you stand, contact your local loan officer. If you did happen to get a thumbs down, and don’t meet typical mortgage standards, here is a great solution.

So why do people use it?

Well first of all, have you seen the Zillow commercials?

The emotion involved in the home buying process is beautifully expressed in their marketing efforts. Their app is easy to use. Not happy home love only can you find upcoming open houses, but also previous tax info, neighborhood trends, estimated payment, etc. You can save the properties you like, and keep browsing. It’s very user-friendly. Are there other websites that offer the same or similar features? Sure, but I promise you they do not have the online visibility and recognition that Zillow has.

There is an advice section on the website where anyone can ask any question pertaining to home ownership. Consumers ask, experts answer. This is awesome because people are able to discuss private matters without having to give out their personal information. This is a huge win for consumers because they can protect their pride, get their questions answered, and not have to deal with a pushy salesperson. It’s a win/win for everyone.

There are some “experts” on these advice forums that really have no business giving advice, but that’s okay too! The consumer is able to weed through the responses, and decide for themselves who is the most credible resource for their particular situation. At that point they can contact the expert through their Zillow profile. Voila, the referral process begins. Best part? It’s free! Now you have two people connecting who may otherwise would not have crossed paths.

The beauty of this is that the consumer is able to do so much research in one place. Is all the information they find going to be spot on? Probably not, but they are able to connect with an expert who will help them connect the dots, and get answers to the questions that were previously a mystery. All this, done from their couch, while sipping eggnog.

Zillow Testimonials

Last but not least, let’s talk about testimonials. Genuine testimonials. They’re huge. You know it, I know it. So wouldn’t testimonialsit make sense to at least ask for a review on the site that everyone goes to when they research home buying?

People want to know what it’s like working with you before they call you. It’s one thing for you to have testimonials on your personal website or your Facebook page. It’s another thing to have reviews posted on a top website with millions of unique visitors on a daily basis. Alexa.com (a resource for web analytics) tells me that Zillow is the 62nd most popular website in the United States, and ranks 235th in the entire world. Not the 62nd most popular real estate website, but the 62nd most popular website regardless of industry or subject matter. Not only that, but average daily page views per visitor are sitting at about 7.9. That’s an insanely high number of average page views in case you were wondering. Hmm, I wonder if having your stuff on there might be a good idea? Just a thought. Either that or you can keep crying to your friends and family about why it’s such a pile of garbage. Up to you I guess.

Here’s the thing, nothing will ever substitute the special interaction between the homeowner and the real estate pro. Don’t be afraid of the world-wide web robots taking control of the planet. The human connection will always be the irreplaceable element in anything we do. As experts we might as well embrace these tools and leverage them to our advantage. There is enough to go around 🙂

Do you agree? What other advantages do you love about Zillow? What are some other disadvantages that you’re not a big fan of?

Adam Lesner | Mortgage Loan Officer NMLS 198818 | Brighton, Michigan

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

4 Things to Stop Doing as Soon as You’re Pre-Approved

Isn’t it fun getting a mortgage pre-approval?

You get your credit pulled by the nice guy in a tie at the bank. You tell him about all the glorious money you have to put down on your home. You drink coffee and explain how you make a clean salary, and you hardly ever use your credit cards…

Of course he is happy to print off your crisp, clean pre-approval letter. He connects you with the local real estate genius, and the house hunting begins.

All of the sudden your dog gets sick and you have to pay $900 to keep it alive. “Well sorry ole’ Sparky but I can’t dip into the family savings, let’s use the AMEX to keep the ticker ticking.”

A week later you finally sell your BMX racing bike on craigslist and you’re feeling good with a nice $1,500 deposit into the rainy day fund.

Jimmy from high school gives you a ring and asks you to be a partner in his new business venture, and you accept the offer. C’mon, YOLO.

There was a sweet deal going on at Buy Here, Pay Here, and you finally got the Bronco 4×4 you’ve always wanted.

Uh oh, why is my mortgage guy asking for a paper trail for this stuff? Any why has my credit score tanked? This new business is gonna kill it. What, do they want a blood sample too?

  • Don’t use your credit cards past 30% of you available balance. It’ll change your scores in a way you and your lender won’t like. Sometimes (depending on how long it takes to find a house) your credit may need to be pulled again.
  • No large deposits in your bank account that can’t be easily sourced. (anything other than salary income). Large deposits raise red flags and need to be sourced. What the lender wants to know: “where did it come from?”  “do you have mysterious liabilities we don’t know about that you’re paying back?”
  • Don’t change jobs. Can that wait while you make one of the biggest investments of your life? Consistent income helps strengthen the likelihood of your file being approved.
  • Stop buying stuff. When your lender pulls your credit they are taking into account all of your liabilities, and taking into account what your income is in order to calculate what you’re approved for. If your liabilities increase, there is a chance your pre-approval will decrease. Make sure to ask how tight your ratios are.

Remember, the lender is on your side (believe it or not). We WANT to earn your business. But if you decide to change your financial circumstances after you get pre-approved for a mortgage, just understand that there is going to be some leg work involved to put the pieces of the puzzle together.


E005: 4 Things to STOP After Pre Approval


Tip of the day: When you get pre-approved, provide all your stuff up-front. Tax returns, W-2s, pay stubs, bank statements. This will minimize room for error or misunderstanding.

portfolio mortgage lendersNeed a mortgage pre-approval?

I invite you to reach out to me.

Get the pre-approval you’re looking for from me. You won’t be talking with some newbie. You’ll be talking directly with me, Adam Lesner. If it turns out I can’t help, I’ll usually be able to point you in the right direction at the very least.

pre approved home loan

What “crazy” item did your lender ask you for that seemed absolutely ridiculous?

Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel to get all the best mortgage stuff on a weekly basis. 


How to Get Pre-Approved to Buy a House with Ease!


 

Zero Down Mortgage – USDA Home Loans

RD loan

Zero Down Mortgage

Did you know that even if you’re not a veteran you can buy a home with a zero down mortgage in many areas? And it’s not too good to be true. There are, however, some restrictions regarding location and income.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development guaranteed loan usdalogoprogram is a government loan designed to help low-moderate income earners purchase a home in “rural” areas. However, you may be surprised to see what the government considers to be rural and low-moderate income.

Income

The income restrictions will vary across the country and even across each state. Here is an example for my local market in Livingston County, Michigan. For a guaranteed RD loan the annual household income must be at $93,450 or below. Even if the spouse is not a borrower on the loan, their income will be used as a factor in the household income. USDA looks at the whole picture, not just the applicant. You can use this tool to help you get an idea if your family qualifies for an RD loan in regards to income. Remember when using that tool, you’re looking for qualifying on the guaranteed loan, which will maximize your buying power from in income standpoint.

Location

Many folks are shocked when they take a look to see that their neighborhood is in an area that is considered to be a “rural area” which allows them to get a zero down mortgage. Just outside the metro Detroit area and not far from many major cities Rural Development financing is available. Although the mapping tool on the USDA website is not 100% accurate, you can use this tool to give you an idea of what areas are eligible. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that you don’t have be living “out in the sticks” to be eligible for Rural Development financing.

What is also exciting about RD loans is that you can buy a condo with this program as long as it’s within the eligible geographic limits. Crazy right? Some people call RD loans “farm loans” and you can buy a condo with them. How awesome is that?!

What to Expect

  • Make sure you have your ducks in a row in respect to credit. You don’t need to have perfect credit, but it needs to be reasonable.
  • The process may take a little bit longer than other loans because it needs to get final approval by USDA after the lender approves it. However, right now in my particular market in Michigan, the RD turn time is 2-3 days. So not a significant delay currently.
  • Mortgage insurance is significantly less than FHA on a monthly basis, about 1/3 of what it costs on FHA.

There are so many expenses to consider when buying a home. So if you have an opportunity to buy with a zero down mortgage, and you qualify, why not take advantage of that opportunity?

Watch Video:

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:

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.