AL and FL Mortgage News

For nearly 17 years now I have originated somewhere over $450,000,000 in mortgages on everything from $75,000 starter homes to over $1 million estates from California to Miami.  While every day is a new day I believe I have seen the best and worst situations imaginable.  Over the years I have taken all of these experiences and use that to inform each customer that calls me even if I never close their loan.  I have been blessed with so many incredible relationships and opportunities I feel that it is only right to share that same information with you and maybe help make your transaction the best it can possibly be.  I could do a Top 50 but here is my opinion of the Top 10 that come to mind.

  1. Nobody likes surprises so get pre-approved in advance and get your documents to your lender as soon as possible.  Even if you don’t use that lender have your credit, income, and assets verified first.  Ask about the experience of your originator once you get to know them.
  2. Ask the lender to provide you with a copy of your tri-merge credit report even if you must pay for it.  Typical cost is $40-50 just pay.  Know your middle score(s).  Credit Karma is nice and pulling your own scores is fine but more times than not, those are not accurate when it comes to mortgage financing.
  3. Know exactly the name of loan types you qualify for, what other options are out there, and why those other options don’t make sense. A natural discussion of rates, payment, and closing costs will ensue ask if not.
    1. Example 1: If you qualify for a conventional loan, it is a Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae loan
    2. Example 2: Why shouldn’t I get an FHA or USDA loan?
  4. Inquire about sub-programs or other options available
    1. Example 1: Home Ready and Home Possible are loan programs within conventional offerings that apply to people who do not own other properties
  5. Ask about what property types you can do other than a stick-built single-family home?
    1. Example 1: condos vs. duplexes vs. modular
  6. Hire an agent with rock-solid experience who really knows several markets within the area and one who listens to your needs first.  Once you narrow a few places down, witness what goes on in those areas for yourself.  Get in your car, get stuck in rush-hour traffic on purpose to see a worst case scenario.  Go walk the neighborhood and talk to your future neighbors.  See what they like/dislike about the area.
  7. Know the maximum seller concessions and seriously consider an offer with seller concessions.   Nine times out of ten, sellers are often more likely to give concessions over a price cut and this advantage gives you the options to keep savings in your pocket or put that additional money down.
  8. Ask your lender if they offer Custom Rate Locking, Lock-and-Shop Pricing, and To Be Determined Approvals.  All of these are highly customized mortgage features that will save your time and money and make your experience top notch.     
  9. Own your due diligence, do not let it own you.  When you make an offer, inspection contingencies are important but be realistic and know what to focus on. Be thinking about the roof, foundation, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical in that order and consider these major systems if you can get a showing before the offer is made. Usually sellers try to point out anything that has been recently updated.  Many home inspectors write up as many issues as they can find but that sometimes creates more confusion on something that can divert attention away from an much larger issue.  
  10. Set-up bi-weekly payments after closing.  If bi-weekly isn’t allowed ask your LO how to fix this with equivalent extra monthly principal contributions.  It is not top secret information but one extra payment each year can shave years off a 30 year note.


Get pre-approved

How a to find a good realtor

Custom Rate Lock

Lock and Shop Mortgage Pricing

Mortgage Loan Approvals on a To Be Determined property

Bi-weekly payments

Maximum seller concessions

Maximum seller paid closing costs and pre-paid items  

maximum third-party contributions

Posted by Devin Murray on December 14th, 2021 10:55 AM
View Comments (1)

Last week we received a call from a young professional who is gearing up to make his first home purchase.   He had good credit, steady annual income, and enough money saved for a small down payment on a new home for the family.   During the call, he voiced concern about the pre-approval amount he qualified for because of his student loans.  He had basically no debt other than a little over $130k in student loans all in deferment for the next 11 months and was of the mindset that this debt would not count against him as a result.  His credit report showed a $0/mo payment and he was a little confused as to why when he spoke to different lenders local, regional, and national each offered very different opinions on the purchase amount he could qualify for.

In the universe of mortgage financing student loans are analyzed by credit underwriters according to three main data points that normally appear on your credit report in order of importance: Repayment status, monthly payment, and current balance.

While monthly payment and balance don’t need further elaboration, knowing your repayment status and how it impacts how your payment is viewed by creditors is a little confusing.  For anyone seeking a mortgage your student loan is considered to be in a Regular Repayment status if the monthly payment is fixed and is fully amortized over full term (i.e. 5,10, 15 or 20 years) of the loan.  The best case scenario here is when the fully amortized monthly payment amount(s) appear on the credit report along with your balance(s).   In some cases you can be at the start (or restart) of regular repayment status, but the payment amount does not show on the credit report and you can clear this up with documentation from your student loan servicer showing what the payment should be.

If your student loan is not in a regular repayment status you are most likely in Deferment, Forbearance, Graduated Payment plan, or an Income Drive Repayment (IDR) plan.  No matter what your scenario, having one of these status means you are paying an amount less than the fully amortized payment or you aren't paying anything at all.   When applying for a mortgage your credit report will show one of the following:  no monthly payment (as in no number appears in the payment field), a $0/month payment is listed, or a payment significantly smaller monthly payment with respect to the balance of the student loan(s).  None of this disqualifies you from getting a loan but the debt will most likely be counted toward your debt ratio using several different methods which will impact what you can and cannot finance.  

FHA: FHA underwriting is the most inflexible next to USDA with respect to student loans.  If you are not in regular repayment status, FHA will use the greater of 1% of the outstanding principal balance or the monthly payment on the credit report.    While highly unlikely, if documenting the fully amortized payment over the life of the loan proves to be less than the 1% or payment showing on the credit the fully amortized payment can be used.

  • So if our borrower from the above example wanted to go with an FHA mortgage an underwriter would likely calculate $1,300/mo in future payments since his credit report showed $0/mo for each of the deferred loans.  FHA isn’t evil because of this nor should you avoid FHA loans if you have student loans.   FHA allows for many other things with debt ratios and credit scores that conventional cannot, so FHA loans are still great financial tools in many circumstances.

USDA (Rural): USDA underwriting always defaults to 1% of student loan balance monthly payment calculation method or the payment that appears on the credit report, whichever is more, no exceptions.  Combined with the most conservative debt ratio across the board the USDA loan can be very difficult for any borrower(s) with student loans.  Other restrictions like family household income limits and property eligibility also apply to USDA loans.  Just as with FHA, USDA loans have great offerings too.

Conventional:  If you are talking to a lender, regardless if you have student loans, ask if they offer both conventional loans underwritten by both Fannie and Freddie Mac.  If they don’t and you are buying/refinancing in Alabama or Florida call us at 888-269-8335.  We say this because not all conventional loans are the same and this advice will be true even if you have no student loan debt.

  • As a general rule conventional loans afford borrowers breaks that FHA and USDA do not.   According to Fannie Mae if a monthly student loan payment is on credit, as long as it is not zero dollars, can be used.   This means borrowers in both Graduated Payment and IDR plans can potentially catch a huge break with Fannie Mae if a payment greater than $0 is reporting.  For those in deferment or forbearance status the lower of the 1% of the loan balance OR documented fully amortized payment can be used.   
  • In better news Freddie Mac is easier and more flexible than Fannie Mae.  The same break applies with Graduated Payment and IDR plans as with Fannie Mae but those in deferment or forbearance status can use the lower of the 0.5% of the loan balance OR documented fully amortized payment can be used.  Also unlike Fannie, Freddie will actually allow $0 payments to be counted in some unique instances where deferment extends 12 months beyond the closing date.

So for our example above using a conventional loan underwritten by Freddie Mac versus Fannie Mae, Freddie is twice as flexible with the student loan debt in that it would calculate our borrower’s projected student loan payments at $650/mo versus $1,300/mo.  

VA: For eligible veterans it is no surprise that the VA is likely the most flexible with student loans.  VA underwriters will use the greater of the student loan payment listed on credit report or 0.42% of the balance (that is 5% divided by 12 months).  If the 0.42% is greater the actual payments can be used with a letter from the servicer.  IDR plans resulting in a monthly payment greater than $0/mo can be used, and IDR plans resulting in a $0/mo payment can be used if they continue 12 months beyond the loan funding date.  Also loans deferred loans beyond 12 months of the loan funding date can be calculated at $0.

If our borrower would have been eligible for a VA loan, the payment calculated by underwriting would be $546/mo versus $650 (Freddie) or $1,300 (Fannie Mae).

Jumbo:  Other than to state our own, there is no industry-wide standard for student loan requirements on jumbo loans (amounts over $484,500 as of Oct 2019 in AL and FL (exclude Monroe Co)).   Loans in repayment can use the payment on the credit report or documentation of actual.  Any loans showing a $0 payment will use the 1% of balance monthly payment calculation.  We have other info available on this blog for Jumbo Loans and Jumbo Construction Loans.

If the numerical differences between how these student loans are calculated from program to program doesn’t seem important, know that for this buyer it meant being able to afford the $325,000 home in a much better neighborhood with better schools over a $210,000 property.  For some it might mean the ability to buy versus not being able to buy at all.  For others it might mean being unable to refinance their existing loan.   

Other than Google (j/k Google) there is no evil company preventing people from getting the most truthful information.  With loan guidelines that are updated several times a year and lenders enacting their own overlays on top of those rules will only result in growing public confusion on this and many other topics related to mortgages.   Missing just a little information about how debt impacts you can lead to all kinds of financial decisions that can impact you and your family today and for many years to come.  We believe that empowering yourself with solid information and picking a lender with the highest level of expertise in the marketplace are your keys to success with home buying and refinancing.

If you have student loans and are buying, refinancing, or building a home in Alabama or Florida we urge you to seek out information like this and contact us with questions. No two scenarios are ever the same and we’d love the chance to get to know you and help you plan your future.  

If you want to find out how much you can qualify for today, complete our online application 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Can I buy a house if I have student loans?

Can deferred student loans keep me from getting a mortgage?

Do deferred student loans count when applying for a mortgage?

Will student loans in forbearance keep me from getting a mortgage?

Can I afford more house if my student loans are in a graduated re-payment plan?

Does student loan forgiveness in the future allow me to buy a house now?

Posted by Devin Murray on September 30th, 2019 8:15 PM
Congratulations to our latest first time buyers in Chelsea, Alabama.  We are blessed to have your business and thank you for your trust!




Posted in:FHA Purchase and tagged: AL; FHA Purchase
Posted by Devin Murray on August 25th, 2015 1:45 PM

Archives:

Categories:

My Favorite Blogs:

Sites That Link to This Blog:


English French German Portuguese Spanish