4 Things Required for a KY Mortgage Loan Approval

Kentucky Mortgage Underwriting Guidelines


There are 4 basic things that a borrower needs to show a lender in order to get approved for a mortgage. Each category has so many what ifs and sub plots that each box can read as it’s own novel. In other words, each category has so many variables that can affect what it takes to get approved, but without further adieu here are the four categories in no particular order as each without any of these items, you're pretty much dead in the water:


1. Income

You need income. You need to be able to afford the home.  But what is acceptable income? Let’s just say that there are two ratios mortgage underwriters look at to qualify you for mortgage payment:

First Ratio – The first ratio, top ratio or housing ratio. Basically that means out of all the gross monthly income you make, that no more that X percent of it can go to your housing payment. The housing payment consists of Principle, Interest, Taxes and Insurance. Whether you escrow or not every one of these items are factored into your ratio. There are a lot of exceptions to how high you can go, but let’s just say that if your ratio is 33% or less, generally, across the board, you’re safe. 

Second Ratio- The second ratio, bottom ratio or debt ratio includes the housing payment, but also adds all of the monthly debts that the borrower has. So, it includes housing payment as well as every other debt that a borrower may have. This would include, Auto loans, credit cards, student loans, personal loans, child support, alimony….basically any consistent outgoing debt that you’re paying on. Again, if you’re paying less than 45% of your gross monthly income to all of the debts, plus your proposed housing payment, then……generally, you’re safe. You can go a lot higher in this area, but there are a lot of caveats when increasing your back ratio. 

What qualifies as income? Basically, it’s income that has at least a proven, two year history of being received and pretty high assurances that the income is likely to continue for at least three years. What’s not acceptable? Unverifiable cash income, short term income and income that’s not likely to continue like unemployment income, student loan aid,  VA education benefits,or short term disability are not allowed for a  mortgage loan.

2. Assets

What the mortgage underwriter is looking for here is how much can you put down and secondly, how much will you have in reserves after the loan is made to help offset any financial emergencies in the future.

Do you have enough assets to put the money forth to qualify for the down payment that the particular program asks for. The only 100% financing or no money down loans still available in Kentucky for  home buyers are available through USDA, VA, and KHC or Kentucky Housing Loans. Most other home buyers that don't qualify for the no money down home loans mentioned above, will turn to the FHA program. FHA loans currently requires a 3.5% down payment and Fannie Mae or Conventional loans require a 3%  to 5% down payment. The more you put down, the better your rate and terms usually and your chances of qualifying.

Kentucky Home buyers that have access to putting down at least 5% or more, will usually  turn to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage programs  so they can get better pricing when it comes to mortgage insurance.

These assets need to be validated through bank accounts, 401k or retirements account and sometimes gifts from relatives or employer.. Can you borrower the down payment? Sometimes. Generally if you’re borrowing a secured loan against a secured asset you can use that. But rarely can cash be used as an asset. FHA will allow for gifts from relatives  for down payments with little as 3.5% down but Fannie Mae will require a 20% down payment when a gift is being used for the down payment on the home.

The down payment scenarios listed above are for Kentucky Primary Residences only. There are stricter  down payment requirements for investment homes made in Kentucky.

 3. Credit

 620 is the bottom score (again with few exceptions) that lenders will permit. Below a 620, then you have to look at doing a FHA loan or VA loan if you are a veteran. Even at 620, people consider you a higher risk that other folks and are going to penalize you or your borrower with a more expensive loan. 720 is when you really start to get in the “as a lender we love you” credit score. 740 is even better. Watch your credit scores carefully. You have three credit scores and the lender will take your middle score. For example lets say you have a 590 on Transunion, 679 on Experian, and a 618 on Equifax. Then your middle qualifying credit score will be 618 credits score.

If you absolutely cannot get your credit scores up to 620, then FHA will be a good option for you. FHA states that if your fico credit score is 580 or above they will allow for a 3.5% down payment, and if below 580, you will need 10% down payment.

There are a lot of mortgage lenders that will not go below 620, so keep that in mind when you are shopping for a mortgage lender, because they create credit overlays.

Kentucky  FHA Mortgage Loans currently requires 3 years removal from a foreclosure or short sale  and 2 years on a bankruptcy with good re established credit.

Kentucky Fannie Mae Mortgage Loans currently requires 4 years removal from a bankruptcy, and 7 years on a foreclosure.

Kentucky VA Mortgage Loans currently requires 2 years removal from a bankruptcy or foreclosure with good reestablished credit.

Kentucky USDA loans require 3 years removal from bankruptcy and foreclosure with good reestablished credit.



4. Appraisal

Generally, there’s nothing you can do to affect this. Bottom line here is…..”is the value of the house at least the value of what you’re paying for it?” If not, then not good things start to happen. Generally you’ll find less issues with values on purchase transactions, because, in theory, the realtor has done an accurate job of valuing the house prior to taking the listing. The big issue comes in refinancing. In purchase transactions, the value is determined as the

Lower of the value or the contract price!!!

That means that if you buy a $1,000,000 home for $100,000, the value is established at $100,000. Conversely, if you buy a $200,000 home and the value comes in at $180,000 during the appraisal, then the value is established at $180,000. Big issues….Talk to your loan officer.


For each one of these boxes, there are over 1,000 things that can effect if a borrower has reached the threshold to complete that box. Soooooooooooo…..talk to a great loan officer. There are so many loan officers that don’t know what they’re doing. But, conversely, there’s a lot of great ones as well. Your loan is so important! Get a great lender so that you know, for sure, that the loan you want, can be closed on!


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Popular Kentucky Home Loan Programs below:


• At least 3%-5% down

 Closing costs will vary on which rate you choose and the lender. Typically the higher the rate, the lesser closing costs due to the lender giving you a lender credit back at closing for over par pricing. Also, called a no-closing costs option. You have to weigh the pros and cons to see if it makes sense to forgo the lower rate and lower monthly payment for the higher rate and less closing costs.

Fico scores needed start at 620, but most conventional lenders will want a higher score to qualify for the 3-5% minimum down payment requirements Most buyers using this loan have high credit scores (over 720) and at least 5% down.
The rates are a little higher compared to FHA, VA, or USDA loan but the mortgage insurance is not for life of loan and can be rolled off when you reach 80% equity position in home.
Conventional loans require 4-7 years removed from Bankruptcy and foreclosure.
Max Conventional loan limits are set at $484, 350 for 2019 in Kentucky
If you meet income eligibility requirements and are looking to settle in a rural area, you might qualify for the KY USDA Rural Housing program. The program guarantees qualifying loans, reducing lenders’ risk and encouraging them to offer buyers 100% loans. That means Kentucky home buyers don’t have to put any money down, and even the “upfront fee” (a closing cost for this type of loan) can be rolled into the financing.
Fico scores usually wanted for this program center around 620 range, with most lenders wanting a 640 score so they can obtain an automated approval through GUS. GUS stands for the Guaranteed Underwriting system, and it will dictate your max loan pre-approval based on your income, credit scores, debt to income ratio and assets.
They also allow for a manual underwrite, which states that the max house payment ratios are set at 29% and 41% respectively of your income.
They loan requires no down payment, and the current mortgage insurance is 1% upfront, called a funding fee, and .35% annually for the monthly mi payment. Since they recently reduced their mi requirements, USDA is one of the best options out there for home buyers looking to buy in an rural area.
A rural area typically will be any area outside the major cities of Louisville, Lexington, Paducah, Bowling Green, Richmond, Frankfort, and parts of Northern  Kentucky .
There is a map link below to see the qualifying areas.
There is also a max household income limits with most cutoff starting at $76,000 for a family of four, and up to $98,000 for a family of five or more.
USDA requires 3 years removed from bankruptcy and foreclosure.
There is no max USDA loan limit.
FHA loans are good for home buyers with lower credit scores and no much down, or with down payment assistance grants. FHA will allow for grants, gifts, for their 3.5% minimum investment and will go down to a 580 credit score.
The current mortgage insurance requirements are kinda steep when compared to USDA, VA , but the rates are usually good so it can counteracts the high mi premiums.
 As I tell borrowers, you will not have the loan for 30 years, so don’t worry too much about the mi premiums.
THe mi premiums are for life of loan like USDA.
FHA requires 2 years removed from bankruptcy and 3 years removed from foreclosure.
Maximum FHA loan limits in Kentucky are set around $304,000 and below for 2019 FHA 
VA loans are for veterans and active duty military personnel. The loan requires no down payment and no monthly mi premiums, saving you on the monthly payment. It does have an funding fee like USDA, but it is higher starting at 2% for first time use, and 3% for second time use. The funding fee is financed into the loan, so it is not something you have to pay upfront out of pocket.
VA loans can be made anywhere, unlike the USDA restrictions, and there is no income household limit and the max loan is $453,000 in Kentucky
Most VA lenders I work with will want a 580 credit score even though on paper, VA says they don't have a minimum credit score.
VA requires 2 years removed from bankruptcy or foreclosure.
This type of loan is administered  by KHC in the state of Kentucky. They typically have $4500 to $6000 down payment assistance year around, that is in the form of a second mortgage that you pay back over 10 years at a interest rate of 1% or 5.5% depending on your income in the household.
Sometimes they will come to market with other down payment assistance and lower market rates to benefit lower income households with not a lot of money for down payment.
KHC offers FHA, VA, USDA, and Conventional loans with their minimum credit scores being set at 620 for all programs.

The conventional loan requirements at KHC requires 660 credit score.
The max debt to income ratios are set at 40% an 50% respectively.

























∘ What kind of credit score do I need to qualify for different first time home buyer loans in Kentucky?
Answer. Most lenders will wants a middle credit score of 620 to 640 for KY First Time Home Buyers looking to go no money down. The two most used no money down home loans in Kentucky being USDA Rural Housing and KHC with their down payment assistance will want a 620 to 640 middle score on their programs.
If you have access to 3.5% down payment, you can go FHA and secure a 30 year fixed rate mortgage with some lenders with a 580 credit score. Even though FHA on paper says they will go down to 500 credit score with at least 10% down payment, you will find it hard to get the loan approved because lenders will create overlays to protect their interest and maintain a good standing with FHA and HUD.
Another popular no money down loan is VA. Most VA lenders will want a 620 middle credit score but like FHA, VA on paper says they will go down to a 500 score, but good luck finding a lender for that scenario.
A lot of times if your scores are in the high 500’s or low 600’s range, we can do a rapid rescore and get your scores improved within 30 days.

 Does it costs anything to get pre-approved for a mortgage loan?

Answer: Most lenders will not charge you a fee to get pre-approved, but some lenders may want you to pay for the credit report fee upfront. Typically costs for a tri-merge credit report for a single borrower runs about $50 or less. Maybe higher if more borrowers are included on the loan application.

∘ How long does it take to get approved for a mortgage loan in Kentucky?
Answer: Typically if you have all your income and asset documents together and submit to the lender, they typically can get you a pre-approval through the Automated Underwriting Systems within 24 hours. They will review credit, income and assets and run it through the different AUS (Automated Underwriting Systems) for the template for your loan pre-approval. Fannie Mae uses DU, or Desktop Underwriting, FHA and VA also use DU, and USDA uses a automated system called GUS. GUS stands for the Guaranteed Underwriting System.
If you get an Automated Approval, loan officers will use this for your pre-approval. If you have a bad credit history, high debt to income ratios,  or lack of down payment,  the AUS will sometimes refer the loan to a manual underwrite, which could result in a longer turn time for your loan pre-approval answer

 Are there any special programs in Kentucky that help with down payment or no money down loans for KY First Time Home Buyers?

Answer: There are some programs available to KY First Time Home Buyers that offer zero down financing: KHC, USDA, VA, Fannie Mae Home Possible and HomePath, HUD $100 down and City Grants are all available to Kentucky First Time Home buyers if you qualify for them. Ask your loan officer about these programs

∘ When can I lock in my interest rate to protect it from going up when I buy my first home?

Answer: You typically can lock in your mortgage rate and protect it from going up once you have a home picked-out and under contract. You can usually lock in your mortgage rate for free for 90 days, and if you need more time, you can extend the lock in rate for a fee to the lender in case the home buying process is taking a longer time. The longer the term you lock the rate in the future, the higher the costs because the lender is taking a risk on rates in the future.
Interest rates are kinda like gas prices, they change daily, and the general trend is that they have been going up since the Presidential election in November 2016.

∘ How much money do I need to pay to close the loan?

Answer: Depending on which loan program you choose, the outlay to close the loan can vary. Typically you will need to budget for the following to buy a home: Good faith deposit, usually less than $500 which holds the home for you while you close the loan. You get this back at closing; Appraisal fee is required to be paid to lender before closing. Typical costs run around $400-$450 for an appraisal fee; home inspection fees. Even though the lender’s programs don’t require a home inspection, a lot of buyers do get one done. The costs for a home inspection runs around $300-$400. Lastly, termite report. They are very cheap, usually $50 or less, and VA requires one on their loan programs. FHA, KHC, USDAS, Fannie Mae does not require a termite report, but most borrowers get one done.
There are also lender costs for title insurance, title exam, closing fee, and underwriting fees that will be incurred at closing too. You can negotiated the seller to pay for these fees in the contract, or sometimes the lender can pay for this with a lender credit.
The lender has to issue a breakdown of the fees you will incur on your loan pre-approval.

How long is my pre-approval good for on a Kentucky Mortgage Loan?
Answer: Most lenders will honor your loan pre-approval for 60 days. After that, they will have to re-run your credit report and ask for updated pay stubs, bank statements, to make sure your credit quality and income and assets has not changed from the initial loan pre-approval.

How much money do I have to make to qualify for a mortgage loan in Kentucky?

Answer: The general rule for most FHA, VA, KHC, USDA and Fannie MAe loans is that we run your loan application through the Automated Underwriting systems, and it will tell us your max loan qualifying ratios.
There are two ratios that matter when you qualify for a mortgage loan. The front-end ratio, is the new house payment divided by your gross monthly income.  The back-end ratio, is the new house payment added to your current monthly bills on the credit report, to include child support obligations and 401k loans.
Car insurance, cell phone bills, utilities bills does not factor into your qualifying rations.
If the loan gets a refer on the initial desktop underwriting findings, then most programs will default to a front end ratio of 31% and a back-end ratio of 43% for most government agency loans that get a refer. You then take the lowest payment to qualify based on the front-end and back-end ratio.
So for example, let’s say you make $3000 a month and you have $400 in monthly bills you pay on the credit report. What would be your maximum qualifying house payment for a new loan?
Take the $3000 x .43%= $1290 maximum back-end ratio house payment. So take the $1290-$400= $890 max house payment you qualify for on the back-end ratio.
Then take the $3000 x .31%=$930 maximum qualifying house payment on front-end ratio.
So now your know! The max house payment you would qualify would be the $890, because it is the lowest payment of the two ratios.

WHAT ARE KENTUCKY FIRST TIME HOME BUYER REQUIREMENTS FOR MORTGAGE LOAN APPROVAL?

These 10 mortgage facts will give you an advantage when shopping for a home or refinancing an existing loan.

1. Mortgage Rates Change

Just like the stock market, mortgage rates change throughout the day. Mortgage rates you see today may not be available tomorrow. If you are in the market for a mortgage loan, be sure to check the current rates being offered by lenders. If you have already done your research and have found your dream home consider locking in your rate as soon as possible.

2. Different Lenders Charge Different Fees

Don’t expect every lender to charge the same fees for a mortgage loan. Every lender structures their fees differently, which is why it is important to shop with at least 3 lenders to compare. Next time you apply for a mortgage loan pay attention to the rates, points being charged and closing costs.

3. Lenders Can Sell Your Loan to Another Bank

Many borrowers have experience getting a mortgage loan with a certain lender only to find out that the loan has been sold to another bank. This occurs because lenders need to free up their liabilities in order to make room to give out more loans. This does not affect your mortgage whatsoever, but it’s important to pay close attention to your mortgage statement and any correspondence you receive in the mail to make sure you do not make payments to the wrong bank.

4. Your Middle Credit Score Matters

When you apply for a mortgage loan, the lender will pull your credit scores from three credit bureaus (Transunion, Equifax and Experian) to help them determined if you are credit worthy. Your middle score of the three is what lenders will use for loan qualification. However, the underwriter will review all three scores as part of the loan underwriting process. If you pull your own credit score through a website online, the credit scores displayed to you may be different than what lenders use because they use different reporting systems.

5. A Low Down Payment for a Mortgage is Possible

You don’t have to come up with a 20% down payment to obtain a mortgage loan. You can get a FHA mortgage loan with a down payment of 3.5%. The VA and USDA loans required no money down. VA loans are reserved for military veterans and their families. USDA loan are typically used for rural or farming properties. A Conventional 97 Loan Program has a down payment requirement of only 3%.Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae also have loan programs that allow for a 3% down payment.
Take note that many lenders will require some type of mortgage insurance for loans that have less than a 20% down payment on a purchase loan, or less than 20% equity available on a refinance.

6. You Can Refinance Your Home Loan Anytime

You can refinance your mortgage anytime, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Think about why you want to refinance. Is because you want to lower your monthly payments, to change the type of loan you are in or to take cash out from your equity? Whatever the reason is, make sure that it makes financial sense.

7. You Can Get a Mortgage Loan After a Foreclosure

Many homeowners have experienced a foreclosure after the recent mortgage crisis. There is good news for these borrowers because they can get a mortgage loan after foreclosure. There are waiting periods involved, for example, to apply for an FHA loan you must wait three years after foreclosure to apply. If you want to get a conventional loan the waiting period is seven years from foreclosure. For those seeking a VA loan, the waiting period is two-years.
There are exceptions to the waiting periods, but you have to show the lender that your foreclosure was caused by an event outside your control, such as losing your job or being seriously ill.

8. Good Credit Allows you to Get Better Mortgage Rates

Good credit scores mean a better rate in any type of loan, especially a mortgage loan. Your credit heavily impacts the type mortgage loan you will qualify for. To maintain a good credit report, make sure you monitored it closely. One of the advantages to good credit is that more banks will want to compete for your business, therefore giving you leverage to negotiate the closing costs.

9. Know Your Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

Knowing your APR will allow you see the true cost of your loan. While the interest rate shows the annual cost of your loan, the APR includes other fees such as origination points, admin fees, loan processing fees, underwriting fees, documentation fees, private mortgage insurance and escrow fees.
There may be more or less fees included in the ARP from what we mentioned. To be sure what fees are included in the APR, ask your lender to give you a breakdown of the closing costsincluded.

10. You Can Always Reduce Closing Costs

One way to reduce closing costs is to have the sellers contribute towards the closing costs when purchasing your home. This can be negotiated between the buyer and the sellers in the purchase contract. The amount the seller can contribute will depend on the type of loan. Another way to save on closing costs is to have the lender give you a credit to cover out of pocket loan costs.














Understanding  Mortgage mortgage underwriting guidelines will help you understand your loan options when purchasing or refinancing a home. Now that you have found your dream house, you are going to need to apply for a Louisville Mortgage mortgage loan. Your Realtor will either recommend a banking institution or you may already have one in mind. You will be dealing with a loan officer who will be compiling all the data on you to see if you qualify for a loan to pay for this house. All lending institutions have different Underwriting Guidelines set in place when reviewing a borrower's financial history to determine the likelihood of receiving on-time payments. The primary items reviewed are the following 5 areas below:



1. Income

2. Debt

3. Credit History

4. Savings

5. Debt vs Income Ratio



1.Income

Income is one of the most important variables a lender will examine because it is used to repay the loan. Income is reviewed for the type of work, length of employment, educational training required, and opportunity for advancement. An underwriter will look at the source of income and the likelihood of its continuance to arrive at a gross monthly figure.



Salary and Hourly Wages - Calculated on a gross monthly basis, prior to income tax deductions.



Part-time and Second Job Income - Not usually considered unless it is in place for 12 to 24 straight months. Lenders view part-time income as a strong compensating factor.



Commission, Bonus and Overtime Income - Can only be used if received for two previous years. Further, an employer must verify that it is likely to continue. A 24-month average figure is used.



Retirement and Social Security Income - Must continue for at least three years into the future to be considered. If it is tax free, it can be grossed up to an equivalent gross monthly figure. Multiply the net amount by 1.20%.



Alimony and Child Support Income - Must be received for the 12 previous months and continue for the next 36 months. Lenders will require a divorce decree and a court printout to verify on-time payments.



Notes Receivable, Interest, Dividend and Trust Income - Proof of receiving funds for 12 previous months is required. Documentation showing income due for 3 more years is also necessary.Rental Income - Cannot come from a Primary Residence roommate. The only acceptable source is from an investment property. A lender will use 75% of the monthly rent and subtract ownership expenses. The Schedule E of a tax return is used to verify the figures. If a home rented recently, a copy of a current month-to-month lease is acceptable.



Automobile Allowance and Expense Account Reimbursements - Verified with 2 years tax returns and reduced by actual expenses listed on the income tax return Schedule C.



Education Expense Reimbursements - Not considered income. Only viewed as slight compensating factor.



Self Employment Income - Lenders are very careful in reviewing self-employed borrowers. Two years minimum ownership is necessary because two years is considered a representative sample. Lenders use a 2-year average monthly income figure from the Adjusted Gross Income on the tax returns. A lender may also add back additional income for depreciation and one-time capital expenses. Self-employed borrowers often have difficulty qualifying for a mortgage due to large expense write offs. A good solution to this challenge used to be the No Income Verification Loan, but there are very few of these available any more given the tightened lending standards in the current economy. NIV loan programs can be studied in the Mortgage Program section of the library.



2. Debt

An applicant's liabilities are reviewed for cash flow. Lenders need to make sure there is enough income for the proposed mortgage payment, after other revolving and installment debts are paid.



All loans, leases, and credit cards are factored into the debt calculation. Utilities, insurance, food, clothing, schooling, etc. are not.

If a loan has less than 10 months remaining, a lender will usually disregard it.

The minimum monthly payment listed on a credit card bill is the figure used, not the payment made.

An applicant who co-borrowed for a friend or relative is accountable for the payment. If the applicant can show 12 months of on-time cancelled checks from the co-borrowee, the debt will not count.

Loans can be paid off to qualify for a mortgage, but credit cards sometimes cannot (varies by lender). The reasoning is that if the credit card is paid off, the credit line still exists and the borrower can run up debt after the loan is closed.

A borrower with fewer liabilities is thought to demonstrate superior cash management skills.

3. Credit History

Most lenders require a residential merged credit report (RMCR) from the 3 main credit bureaus: Trans Union, Equifax, and Experian. They will order one report which is a blending of all three credit bureaus and is easier to read than the individual reports. This "blended" credit report also searches public records for liens, judgments, bankruptcies and foreclosures. See our credit report index.



Credit report in hand, an underwriter studies the applicant's credit to determine the likelihood of receiving an on-time mortgage payment. Many studies have shown that past performance is a reflection of future expectations. Hence, most lenders now use a national credit scoring system, typically the FICO score, to evaluate credit risk. If you're worried about credit scoring see our articles on it.



The mortgage lending process, once very forgiving, has tightened lending standards considerably. A person with excellent credit, good stability, and sufficient documentable income to make the payments comfortably will usually qualify for an "A" paper loan. "A Paper", or conforming loans, make up the majority of loans in the U.S. and are loans that must conform to the guidelines set by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac in order to be saleable by the lender. Such loans must meet established and strict requirements regarding maximum loan amount, downpayment amount, borrower income and credit requirements and suitable properties. Loans that do not meet the credit and/or income requirements of conforming "A-paper" loans are known as non-conforming loans and are often referred to as "B", "C" and "D" paper loans depending on the borrower’s credit history and financial capacity.



Here are some rules of thumb most lenders follow:



12 plus months positive credit will usually equal an A paperloan program, depending on the overall credit. FHA loans usually follow this guideline more often than conventional loans.

Unpaidcollections, judgments and charge offs must be paid prior to closing an A paper loan. The only exception is if the debt was due to the death of a primary wage earner, or the bill was a medical expense.

If a borrower has negotiated an acceptable payment plan, and has made on time payments for 6 to 12 months, a lender may not require a debt to be paid off prior to closing.

Credit items usually are reported for 7 years. Bankruptcies expire after 10 years.

Foreclosure - 5 years from the completion date. From the fifth to seventh year following the foreclosure completion date, the purchase of a principal residence is permitted with a minimum 10% down and 680 FICO score. The purchase of a second or investment property is not permitted for 7 years. Limited cash out refinances are permitted for all occupancy types.

Pre-foreclosure (Short Sale) - 2 years from the completion date (no exceptions or extenuating circumstances).

Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure - 4 year period from the date the deed-in-lieu is executed. From the fifth to the seventh year following the execution date the borrower may purchase a property secured by a principal residence, second home or investment property with the greater of 10 percent minimum down payment or the minimum down payment required for the transaction. Limited cash out and cash out refinance transactions secured by a principal residence, second home or investment property are permitted pursuant to the eligibility requirements in effect at that time.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy - A borrower is eligible for an A paper loan program 4 years after discharge or dismissal, provided they have reestablished credit and have maintained perfect credit after the bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy - 2 years from the discharge date or 4 years from the dismissal date.

Multiple Bankruptcies- 5 years from the most recent dismissal or discharge date for borrowers with more than one filing in the past 7 years.

The good credit of a co-borrowerdoes not offset the bad credit of a borrower.

Credit scores usually range from 400 to 800. Changes to lending standards are occurring on a daily basis as a result of tightening lending standards, and can vary from lender-to-lender-- so this information should be considered simply a guideline. For conforming loans, most lenders will lend down to a FICO of 620, with additional rate hits for the lower-end credit scores and loan-to-values. When you are borrowing more than 80%, they typically will not lend if you have a FICO below 680. The FHA/VA program just changed their minimum required FICO to 620, unless you are qualifying a borrower with non-traditional credit. The few non-conforming loan programs that are still available typically require 30% down payment with a minimum FICO of 700 for self-employed and 650 for W-2 employees, and the loan-to-value will change with the loan amount.



4. Savings

Lenders evaluate savings for three reasons.


The more money a borrower has after closing, the greater the probability of on-time payments.

Most loan programs require a minimum borrower contribution.

Lenders want to know that people have invested their own into the house, making it less likely that they will walk away from their life's savings. They analyze savings documents to insure the applicant did not borrow the funds or receive a gift.

Lenders look at the following types of accounts and assets for down payment funds:



Checking and Savings - 90 days seasoning in a bank account is required for these funds.Gifts and Grants - After a borrower's minimum contribution, a gifts or grant is permitted.


Sale of Assets - Personal property can be sold for the required contribution. The property should be appraised and a bill of sale is required. Also, a copy of the received check and a deposit slip are needed.


Secured Loans - A loan secured by property is also an acceptable source of closing funds.

IRA, 401K, Keogh & SEP - Any amount that can be accessed is an acceptable source of funds.
Sweat Equity and Cash On Hand - Generally not acceptable. FHA programsallow it in special circumstances.
Sale Of Previous Home - Must close prior to new home for the funds to be used. A lender will ask for a listing contract, sales contract, or HUD 1 closing statement.


5. Debt vs Income Ratio

The percentage of one's debt to income is one of the most important factors when underwriting a loan. Lenders have determined that a house payment should not exceed approximately 30% of Gross Monthly Income. Gross Monthly Income is income before taxes are taken out. Furthermore, a house payment plus minimum monthly revolving and installment debt should be less than 40% of Gross Monthly Income (this figure varies from 35%-41% contingent on the source of financing).


Example

An applicant has $4,500 gross monthly income. The maximum mortgage payment is:

$4500 X .30 = $1350

Their total debts come to:

$500 Car

$20 Visa

$30 Sears

$75 Master Card

----------------

$625 per month.



Remember, their total debts (mortgage plus other debts) must be less than or equal to 40% of their gross monthly income.

$2,800 X .40 = $1800

$1800 is the maximum debt the borrower can have, debts and mortgage payments combined. Can the borrower keep all their debts and have the maximum mortgage payment allowed? NO!

In this case, the borrower, since they have high debts, must adjust the maximum mortgage payment downward, because:

$625 debts

$1350 mortgage
-------------

$1975 - which is more than the $1800 (40% of gross debt) we calculated above.

The maximum mortgage payment is therefore:

$1800 - $625 (monthly debt) = $1175.













When your down payment is less than 20% you usually have to pay for Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). This protects the lender in case you don't make your house payments. This doesn't mean you can blow off making your house payments -- if you fail to pay, the bank will still repossess your house. The insurance company will pay the bank the difference between 20% and the amount you actually put down. If you put down 5% and default, the insurance company pays the bank the other 15% that you didn't pay.
So the bank gets protected and you get to pay for their protection.What's in it for you? What's in it for you is that you get to buy a home for less than 20% down! Used to be that banks wouldn't give you a loan under any circumstances unless you made a large down payment because they felt it was too risky. But now with PMI, banks will take loans with very low down payments, sometimes even 0% down. That makes it much easier for you to get into a home.
There's no PMI on VA (veterans) loans, which is a nice bonus if you qualify for one of these.
You don't shop for PMI.  If your lender requires it, they'll choose it and add it automatically.
The PMI premium is paid monthly as part of your mortgage payment.  The smaller your down payment, the more expensive the PMI is.  My PMI Calculator will give you a good estimate.
PMI Calculator  (for 30-year loan)
Sale price
$
Down Payment
Interest Rate
%
Monthly payment (without PMI, taxes, or ins.)$
Monthly PMI cost (est.)
$
Total PMI costs over the life of the loan
$

Another way to do it is to divide the loan amount by 1300, 1500, 2300, or 3700 for loans with down payments of 3%, 5%, 10%, or 15% respectively. For example, let's say you buy a $200,000 home and put 5% down. Your down payment is $10,000 and the morgtage is $190,000. Divide the $190,000 mortgage by 1500 and you get your monthly PMI cost, $127.

Canceling PMI

PMI is usually (but not always) canceled automatically once you own 22% of your home. It used to be that the insurance company would keep happily charging you the premium forever, since many homeowners didn't know they could cancel. This was obviously taking advantage of the uninformed homeowner, so now insurance companies are required by law to automatically cancel your PMI as soon as you own at least 22% of your home, based on the original purchase price, although in some cases they're not required to automatically cancel (which we'll cover in a minute). Assuming you qualify for automatic cancellation, here's how long it will take to reach 22% equity, depending on the length of the loan and the interest rate, ignoring any possible appreciation:
Time it takes to own 22% of your home
(for 5% / 10% and 15% down payments)
Interest Rate
15-year Mortgage
30-year Mortgage
6%
4 / 3 / 2 years
10.5 / 8.5 / 5.5 years
7%
4 / 3.5 / 2 years
11.5 / 9.0 / 6.5 years
8%
4.5 / 3.5 / 2.5 years
12.0 / 10.0 / 7.0 years
9%
4.5 / 3.5 / 2.5 years
13.5 / 11.0 / 8.0 years
10%
5 / 3.5 / 2.5 years
14.5 / 12.0 / 9.0 years
From this table you might think "Wait a minute -- on a 30-year loan I should own about half of my house after about 15 years, but with a 10% interest rate and a 5% down payment you're saying I'd own only 22%?! What gives?"
The answer is that because of how mortgage interest works, most of your payments in the early years goes to interest, not paying down your loan. On a 30-year loan of $100k at 7%, the payment is $665/mo., but when you make the first payment, a whopping $583 goes to interest, and a mere $82 goes towards owning the home. On 15-year loans a much higher percentage goes towards the home itself, which is why 15-year mortgages are a better deal if you can get them -- and why you should try to pay off your loan in 15 years anyway if you can't. There's more on this in our section about paying off a loan early.
But let's get back to PMI and canceling it. Of course, you don't have to wait for the automatic cancellation at 22%. You can write to the insurance company and ask them to cancel your PMI coverage as soon as you hit 20% equity.
And here's one more thing you can do: If your house has increased in value then you suddenly own a lot more of it, and you can cancel your PMI even earlier. For example, let's say you put $5,000 down on a $100,000 home, and in a couple of years the value shoots up to $119,000 because it's a hot real estate market. You own the $5000 you put into the house, plus the $19,000 it increased, for a total of $24,000. (You also own the equity you built from making mortgage payments, but because of how mortgage interest works, most of your payments for the first few years goes to interest and not principal, so we'll ignore paid equity for our example.) So the $24,000 you own divided by the $119,000 value of the home means you own over 20% of your home. So you don't need PMI any more. But to cancel the PMI you'll need to convince the lender that your home is really worth $119,000 now, so you'll have to pay for an appraisal which might run $400 or so. You'll have to weigh the cost of the appraisal against the amount you'll save by canceling PMI early to see if it's a good deal for you.

When PMI is canceled automatically and when it isn't

Don't assume your PMI will be canceled automatically. Check this table.
Canceled Automaticallyif ALL are trueNot Canceled Automaticallyif ANY are true
Conventional loansFHA loans
Loan signed on or after July 29, 1999Loan signed earlier than that
All mortgage payments have been made on time in the year prior to PMI cancellationAny mortgage payments have been late
Buyer is not considered high riskBuyer is considered high risk
References
  • Article examining the overall advantage of PMI to homeowners, Auburn University, 1997









-- 

Joel Lobb
Senior  Loan Officer
(NMLS#57916)

American Mortgage Solutions, Inc.
800 Stone Creek Pkwy, Ste 7,
Louisville, KY 40223

 phone: (502) 905-3708
 Fax:     (502) 327-9119

 Company ID #1364 | MB73346