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Category Archive : Mortgage

Some Answers to Credit Score Mysteries

One of the most common things said when I am talking to a potential client on the phone is “I don’t want you to run my credit because it will drop my score”.

This is one of the most annoying statements made when you are trying to qualify a client for a mortgage. You simply can’t give them proper information without reviewing their credit report. So, I decided since how credit scores are calculated are somewhat of a mystery to everyone that I would elaborate some on this topic.

Each time a consumer applies for a loan, credit card or auto loan, they are having their credit checked. These credit checks are used by lenders to determine if the consumer is able to obtain financing. Every time a lender checks a consumers credit history, it shows up on the consumers credit bureau (Experian, Trans Union and Equifax) as an inquiry. These inquires can drop the consumers credit scores if too many inquiries are made in a certain period of time.

Many lenders rely on the FICO scores they pull when running a consumers credit history. These scores are tabulated by software from Fair, Isaac and Company Inc, along with what information is on the consumers history. Due to increasing pressure on Fair, Issac and Company to release how their software works, they have released information on how their scoring model calculates a FICO score for the consumer.

Inquires on a credit report are an indicator of risk and according to Fair Isaac and Company, the more inquires made means the more likely the consumer will not be able to pay his bills. When consumers want to buy or refinance a home, they usually contact more then one mortgage company for information. In order for the consumer to get accurate information from several mortgages companies, they need to have their credit checked by each mortgage company which in turn leads to many inquiries (especially if using an online site which shops various lenders). Since too many inquiries lead to lower scores, eventually the consumer could lose out on decent financing because their scores are too low.

Now for some good news and a way to combat that dreaded statement in the beginning of the article.

There is a new policy at Fair Isaac and Company, the software will ignore all auto and mortgage related inquiries that occur in the previous 30 day period from the time the credit is checked by the lender.

These inquiries will not be used to tabulate the credit score for the consumer. For each 14 day period prior to the 30 day period, only 1 inquiry will be counted no matter how many inquires where made during a particular 2 week period.

Inquiries on a credit report carry the lowest impact on scores. Things like high balances in relation to credit limit, recent late payments, judgments, and bankruptcy carry much more weight in tabulating a score. This information should be very usual to combat the consumers resistance to pulling credit because it will effect their scores.

Real-estate agents and mortgage professionals need to remind their clients that it is critical to sit down and review credit in order to provide options on the mortgages that they qualify for. This is the only way to provide the client with accurate information.

Las Vegas Called ‘Mortgage Fraud Ground Zero’?

According to FBI Special Agent, Scott Hunter Las Vegas is called mortgage fraud ground zero.

This problem is becoming so wide spread that special task forces have been created to combat the problem.  Every week you read in the paper or view the news about another real estate industry professional being arrested for some type of real estate or mortgage fraud.  Just this month, Cindy Birkland was arrested for alleged mortgage fraud.

According to the FBI, mortgage fraud is becoming one of the fastest growing white collar crimes in the United States.

Mortgage Fraud is usually committed by several individuals who all have a certain role within the scheme.  Usually a loan officer, borrower, real estate agent and/or an appraiser.  The most common type of mortgage fraud is a “straw buyer”.  This is where the bank lends hundreds of thousands on a home that is way over inflated due to an appraiser setting an unrealistic value.  The group splits the money and never has any intention on making any payments on the home.

More to follow…

The Mortgage Application: Getting Prepared Ahead of Time

The dreaded mortgage application process isn’t so scary if you know what to expect. Here is a quick breakdown of a few questions that I address during the initial  phone or office interview and mortgage application:

1.  Have you spoken with any other loan officers regarding this transaction?

I like to know what a borrower has been going through prior to speaking with me.  If there have been several credit reports pulled by other banks, I don’t want to contribute to possibly lowering their score by pulling another report.  I also ask this question because I want to know why the borrower is talking with other loan officers.  Is it a rate and closing cost thing, or did the previous banks not fulfill a certain need or expectation?  It just makes more sense to find out what people want up front, so that I can focus the rest of my time serving their specific need.

2.  Will this be a primary residence, second home, or investment property, and how long do you plan on keeping it?

These two questions usually start a conversation about the borrower’s intentions and real estate investment goals.  Buying rates down, ARMs vs. 30 yr. fixed, FHA, conventional, seller paid closing costs…..  There are several mortgage opotions to consider for each individual circumstance.  It is nearly impossible to have a productive discussion about rates, programs, and closing costs until you have clearly articulated your real estate investment goals with your loan officer.  It is absolutely acceptable to ask a loan officer what their rates are, however, be prepared to supply a little more information so that your loan officer can apply the best rate that fits your scenario.

3.  Total monthly payment and down payment you have budgeted for?

Again, back to the needs and goals of the client.  It is common for a borrower to ask a loan officer what they are approved for.  However, you may be approved for more than you actually want.

Here are a couple of easy formulas that you can apply  when calculating a monthly payment, down payment, and total purchase price:

Banks look at a borrower’s Debt to Income Ratio (DTI) as a factor for mortgage loan approval.  40% is a safe DTI to pay attention to for figuring out what you might be approved for.  This means that your total monthly minimum payments, including the new mortgage, cannot be above 40% of your total verifiable gross monthly earnings.  Credit score, down payment, and assets are compensating factors that a bank will consider for approval if your DTI is above 40%.

EX:  Total monthly gross income – $2,000

%40 DTI = $800 a month in total allowable payments

A good rule of thumb for determining a total mortgage payment is by multiplying $70 for every $10,000 loan amount.  I’ve found that this is a safe calculation which also includes taxes, insurance, and mortgage insurance.

So, for this scenario, the borrower would be approved for a loan amount of around $114,000.  If this borrower had a $200 a month car payment, then the the loan amount would drop to $85,000.

$800 a month total @ 40% DTI

– $200 a month car payment, leaving room for a $600 a month mortgage payment.

$600 divided by 70 = 85

85 x $10,000 = $85,000 total loan amount.

*Remember, that 40% is just a good starting point.  I’ve had borrowers approved up to a 65% DTI who had great credit, a significant down payment, and plenty of assets in the bank.

So, why do I ask a client what type of mortgage payment they want?  Simple, if they are approved up to $900,000, but only want a $1500 a month payment with zero down, I’m going to let their agent know to stay around the $200,000 – $230,000 purchase price range.

4.  Employment, residence history, income, and assets.

Just remember the number 2. A bank will need two year’s employment and residence history.  As far as conditions, be prepared to bring provide the most recent two bank statements, W2s, Tax Returns, and pay stubs.

If you have all of this stuff prepared ahead of time, the application should be smooth and painless.

Las Vegas Man Sues Countrywide After Adjustable Rate Mortgage Doubles

Your adjustable rate mortgage that you signed for a few years ago has just doubled, what do you do?  Well one Las Vegas man decided to sue his lender because his mortgage payment doubled when his adjustable rate mortgage adjusted.

The lawsuit claims he was talked into an adjustable rate mortgage that he could not afford and that documents were falsified by those that were involved in the transaction.

The mans attorney is claiming that Countrywide “took advantage of his lack of education, training, skill and ability”.

So let me get this straight; you sign for a loan, your payment goes up and then you sue and claim “they took advantage of your lack of education, training, skill and ability?” 

Now if loan documents were falsified in order for him to get approved then absolutely he was taking advantage of.  But if after all facts come out and there is no proof that loan documents were falsified then I just don’t see how he can sue because someone else is more educated than him.