Is It Possible to Get a Mortgage With Less-than-Perfect Credit? Yes – and Here’s How

Is It Possible to Get a Mortgage With Less-than-Perfect Credit? Yes – and Here's HowAre you thinking about buying a new house? Whether you’re a first-time or experienced buyer, if your credit score isn’t looking too hot it can affect how much mortgage financing you receive – or whether you’re approved at all! But don’t fret. It’s still possible to get a mortgage approved, even with credit issues. Below we’ll share a few ways that you can get a mortgage loan even if your credit is less than perfect.

Consider An FHA-Guaranteed Mortgage

For many individuals with credit issues, the Federal Housing Administration’s guaranteed loan programs are a good choice. In essence, the FHA guarantees your mortgage with select lenders, which allows them to worry less about the risk of lending to someone with past credit problems. It’s worth noting that FHA programs do come with some additional costs attached. Mortgage insurance may be assessed, which helps to protect the mortgage lender in case you default. And there may or may not be an additional monthly premium cost as well.

Do Everything You Can To Improve Your Credit Score

Before taking the next step and applying for a mortgage, you’ll want to ensure your FICO credit score is as high as possible. Call or visit the website of one of the major credit reporting agencies to get a copy of your credit report. You’ll want to review any outstanding issues on the report and eliminate anything that shouldn’t be there. For example, in the past, you may have had a credit card or small loan that went into collections yet is still in the report even though you paid it. Contact the credit agency to challenge anything that shouldn’t be on your report.

Don’t Stretch Beyond Your Means

If and when you’re approved for a mortgage, it’s critical to remember not to reach beyond your ability to pay the mortgage payments each month. Yes, it might seem like an excellent idea to get a larger or more luxurious house if a larger mortgage is offered to you. However, don’t forget that you’ll need to manage payments each month for many years and it’s tough to predict the future.

Try not to worry if you have a low credit or FICO score and you’re interested in buying a home. A great first step would be to contact your professional mortgage advisor. We’re here to help navigate the mortgage application process and can explain how your credit score will impact your chances.

The Quick and Easy Guide to Determining How Big of a Mortgage Your Family Can Afford

The Quick and Easy Guide to Determining How Big of a Mortgage Your Family Can AffordAre you shopping around for a new house or apartment? One of the key considerations you will need to make is figuring out how much you want to invest in your new home. Below you’ll find our quick and easy guide to determining just how much “house” you can afford. Let’s get started!

Start By Making A Proper Budget

The first thing you’ll want to do is sit down and get a full budget put together. The easiest way to get the process started is to begin with two lists: income and expenses. For the income list, write down the amount of money your family brings in each month after taxes. If you have side income sources or extra income that tends to fluctuate over time, use the average amount for the past six months.

For the expenses list, write down all the spending that you do each month. Start with the major, stable items like rent, utilities and the like. Then work your way through to discretionary spending like dining out and other sources of entertainment. If it helps, go through your bank and credit card statements to ensure that you are not missing anything.

Once you have an accurate budget, you’ll know exactly how much you can afford to pay toward your mortgage payments each month.

Figure Out How Much You Can Put Down

Next, you’ll need to think about how much cash you want to pay as a down payment on your home. The larger the down payment you can afford, the smaller amount of mortgage financing you’ll need. While it might seem like a good idea to put as much as you can down, there are some things to consider. Any money you put against your down payment is going to be unavailable to you, which reduces your financial options. You’ll also lose the opportunity to invest it, which means missing out on potential returns over time.

Determine How Much House You Actually Need

Finally, give some thought as to how large or luxurious a home you want to buy. For example, if you have a small family and don’t need a large four- or five-bedroom house, you can instead opt for a smaller but more luxurious home. Conversely, if space is a priority, you may want to forego the high-end options to ensure you have enough room.

When you’re ready to explore your mortgage options, we’re ready to help. Contact your trusted mortgage professional at your convenience. We’re committed to helping you purchase the home of your dreams.

Understanding Your FICO Score and Why Small Credit Mistakes Can Cause Huge Headaches

Understanding Your FICO Score and Why Small Credit Mistakes Can Cause Huge HeadachesMany people all over the world are dealing with issues involving debt or poor credit history, but most aren’t necessarily aware of what exactly makes up their credit score. Unfortunately, it might seem like it’s the big stuff that counts when it comes to credit, but little things can have a significant impact on your financial health. If you’re looking to improve your understanding and your finances, here’s what you need to know about small mistakes and your FICO score.

Making Late Payments

The due date on your bills might seem like an advisory, but whether we’re talking about a student loan, a credit card payment or your telephone bill, late payments can add up. Your payment history constitutes 35% of your total FICO score, which means that even a couple of late payments can have a marked impact on your overall credit. Instead of leaving this to chance, set aside a day each month before your bills are due to ensure they’re all paid off.

Applying For New Credit

It’s often the case that a store will offer special deals if you sign up for their own in-house credit card, but this can cost you big since the amounts you owe make up 30% of your credit score. Also, because lenders will often assume that you’ve run out of credit if you apply for a new card, applying for new credit can be a red mark against your FICO score. It’s also important to realize that closing off an old, unused credit card can actually bump up your balance so you may want to keep them active temporarily.

Forgetting Credit Altogether

It might seem like the best possible option for avoiding credit issues is to avoid using credit altogether, but your credit history constitutes 15% of your FICO score. This means that you should have at least one credit card in your possession so that you can use it to build a history of lending success. While you won’t want to use more than 30% of your credit limit, it’s important to show proven experience in paying back your lenders.

Many people think that bad credit is the result of overspending and huge debt amounts, but your FICO score is largely determined by your payment history and your available credit. If you’re trying to improve your financial outlook in preparation for buying a home, contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

Want a Quick Mortgage Approval? Come Prepared With These 5 Key Items

Want a Quick Mortgage Approval? Come Prepared With These 5 Key ItemsWhether you’re finally prepared to get into the real estate market or you want to know how you can make a deal quick, there are a few necessary documents you’ll need to prove your reliability to a mortgage lender. If you’re wondering what will be involved in getting the application approval you’re looking for, here are the documents you’ll want to have on hand when the time comes.

Previous Tax Returns

In order to ensure the earnings information you’ve provided to the lender, you’ll have to have your tax returns for the two years prior to your mortgage application. In addition, you may also be required to provide your W-2s as backup documentation.

Bank Statements

To make sure you’re a solid bet who will be able to make your down payment, you’ll need to present bank statements to ensure you have a cushion in the case that interest rates increase. If you do get money gifted to you for your down payment, you’ll need a letter to prove you’re not indebted to the provider.

Recent Paystubs

It can be much more difficult to get approved for a mortgage if you have a patchy work history or happen to be self-employed, so you’ll need 2 months of recent pay stubs to prove consistent employment. The paystubs provided should also be an accurate reflection of the salary you’ve provided on your application to ensure no discrepancies.

Investment Statements

It’s certainly a good sign to the lender if you have a healthy balance in your checking and savings accounts, but you’ll also need to provide any statements for mutual funds and other investments. While they may not be necessary to prove financial soundness, they will help with approval if you have a lot of money squirreled away.

A Listing Of Debts

While it may be the least popular of the pile, a lender will also want to know about any outstanding debts like auto loans, credit card payments or student loans. It may be tempting to forego these documents, but it will give the lender a good sense of your honesty and your ability to manage your mortgage.

Mortgage approval may seem like a time-consuming process with no certain end, but by having the appropriate documentation and being upfront about your debts, you may be able to speed up the timeframe. If you’re currently perusing your mortgage options, contact one of our mortgage professionals for the inside scoop.

Thinking About Investing in Real Estate? Here’s What You’ll Need to Get a Second Mortgage

Thinking About Investing in Real Estate? Here's What You'll Need to Get a Second MortgageThe decision to invest in a home is a big one for many people, but if you’re making the foray into real estate the second time around, it’s even more important to be financially aware and prepared. If you’re wondering what you’ll need in order to get approved for an investment property, here are some things that you’ll want to consider before deciding a second property is in your future.

A Larger Down Payment

Due to the risk factor involved in taking on more than one loan, acquiring a second mortgage for an investment property will likely require you to put more money down up front. Because you’re already paying into your home and are taking on an additional loan, you’ll have to prove to the mortgage lender that you’re a viable choice and have the financial wherewithal to stick to your payment schedule.

Knowledge Of The Market

It’s well and good to want to invest in a property so that you can find renters and turn a profit, but you’ll need to have a good place at the right price to make the investment worthwhile. Before you decide on a place, make sure that you research the neighborhood and the type of home you’re looking to buy so you can ensure there’s a viable market. A rental property is good, but you’ll need to have reliable renters in order to make it profitable.

A Property Manager

If you’re planning on being the landlord and doing all the little fix-its, you may not need to worry about a property manager. However, it’s important to weigh the decision carefully beforehand and ensure what will work best for you. If you’re not prepared to do emergency work or basic property maintenance, you’ll need to look for a property manager you can trust.

A Mortgage Pre-Approval

Without a doubt, a second mortgage will require you to take on more risk, so it’s important to speak with a lender about pre-approval before getting too involved. If you’ve crunched the numbers, you may already have an idea of what you can and can’t afford, but a lender will be able to give you a price range that suits your financial position and income set.

Investing in a second property can be a financially lucrative decision, but it’s important to be knowledgeable about your investment and your finances before diving in. If you’re currently getting prepared to invest in a home, contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

Can I Qualify for a Mortgage After Declaring Bankruptcy? Yes — and Here’s How

Can I Qualify for a Mortgage After Declaring Bankruptcy? Yes -- and Here's HowIt may feel like a very daunting task to consider buying a home after you’ve declared bankruptcy, and there’s no doubt that it’s an uphill battle. Fortunately, while you’ll have hard work ahead, there are things you can do in order to make your dream of home ownership a possibility. Whether you’ve just declared bankruptcy or some time has passed, here are some things you should consider before getting into the market.

Wait It Out

It might not be what you want to hear, but it’s, unfortunately, the case that you’ll have to wait at least two years before you purchase a home following bankruptcy. Since lenders will not want to take the risk on someone that has proven to have poor financial habits, they will require a waiting period in order for the credit risk you pose to improve. While this may seem like a long time, take the opportunity to improve your financial habits so you can be amply prepared when the time comes.

Build Up Your Credit

In order to own a home, you’ll need to develop some solid financial habits, and that means getting on top of your finances even in times when it feels like you have no leverage. Ensure you get a copy of your credit report and, if you notice any errors, reach out to the credit bureau for corrections. It’s also a good idea to consider applying for a secured credit card and ensure that you pay all of your bills on time. While it might feel like a lengthy task, developing good habits will have a positive impact on your credit over time.

Prepare For Your Payment

When it comes to a poor credit history, you’ll need to pull out every stop you can to that convince lenders that you’re a solid financial bet. Instead of wasting the time, write up a budget for yourself and save a sizeable sum for your down payment each month. It’s possible that 10 or 15% down will do, but a 20% payment will help you avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI) and will go further in convincing lenders of your reliability.

It’s more than a little disheartening to have to deal with bankruptcy, but by waiting it out and developing good financial habits in the interim, you’ll be well on your way to buying a home. If you’re currently preparing to purchase, contact your trusted mortgage professional for more information.

Yes, It’s Getting Easier to Get a Mortgage. Here’s How You Can Take Advantage

Yes, It's Getting Easier to Get a Mortgage. Here's How You Can Take AdvantageIt can be hard to stay on top of a changing real estate market from day-to-day, but it’s a matter of fact that there are more available mortgage products out there than ever before for many different kinds of homebuyers. If you’re wondering how you can take advantage of easier lending opportunities and strike while the iron is hot, here are some things to consider.

Take Care Of Your Credit

While many regulations on mortgage applications may have been loosened in recent years, it goes without saying that having a better credit score will still enable you to qualify for a mortgage more readily. Instead of risking it, ensure that you’ve obtained a copy of your credit score and are aware of where you stand as a financial risk. By working on your credit and correcting any errors on your report, it will be that much more likely to have your mortgage application approved.

Saving For A Down Payment

It’s often said that 20% is the ideal amount to put down in order to avoid private mortgage insurance, but it’s not the required amount in order to invest in a home. While it may save money, in the long run, to put more money down, for those who want to get into the housing market, there are many opportunities for putting a lot less down and still being able to purchase. It’s possible you may want to hold off until you can save up for your down payment, but possibilities exist for mortgages with as little as 3.5% down.

Dealing With Closing Costs

Saving up for a down payment and deciding to invest in a monthly mortgage payment is a significant commitment, but adding mortgage closing costs to that can be a bridge too far for many potential homebuyers. Fortunately, many lenders nowadays are offering the opportunity for closing costs like origination and attorney fees to be included in the total cost of the loan. While this will bump up the amount of your monthly payment, it can make a mortgage more feasible from the start.

For many people, there’s a lot of stress that goes along with applying for a mortgage, but with lower down payments required and closing costs included in the total price, getting approved has become a lot easier in recent years. If you’re currently in the market for a new home, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

Understanding What a “Piggyback” Mortgage Loan Is and How It Works

Understanding What a As a potential homebuyer who is new to the market, many of the terms and mortgage products available to you can be more than a little confusing. Piggyback loans might be a little less familiar than many other options, but if you’re ready to jump into the housing market this type of mortgage can be useful for you. If you’re hoping to invest in a home sooner rather than later, here are the details on this type of loan.

What’s A Piggyback Loan?

While most mortgage loans require one loan and one lender, a piggyback loan is used for homebuyers who don’t have 20% to put down but want to avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI). Because a mortgage with less than 20% down will require the homebuyer to pay PMI, a piggyback loan can assist in avoiding this. For example, in the event that the homebuyer is putting down 10%, their primary mortgage will cover 80% of the purchase price while the piggyback loan will cover the remaining 10%.

What Are The Requirements?

Since there have been many issues with piggyback loans in the past, there are more requirements for this type of loan than there used to be. While it varies from lender to lender, most homebuyers will be expected to put down at least 10% in order to qualify for this loan. In addition, they will be required to have a good credit score to ensure they are a good risk. While the debt-to-income ratio will fluctuate from lender to lender, potential homebuyers will have to prove that they can make their monthly payments.

Is This Loan Right For You?

It’s important before deciding on a piggyback loan that it’s the right choice for you. Since a piggyback loan will require you to pay down two different loans, it means that you will not be able to tap into your home equity in the event that you want to free up funds. It can also put home ownership in harm’s way if there are any financial setbacks. As well, while PMI can be canceled after the equity in your home is at 20%, a piggyback loan does not provide this option.

A piggyback mortgage can be a good option for homeowners who want to get into the market, but it’s important to determine if it’s a financially solid choice before wading in. If you’re currently getting prepared to buy, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

Honesty Is the Best Policy: Why You Need to Be Truthful on Your Mortgage Application

Honesty Is the Best Policy: Why You Need to Be Truthful on Your Mortgage ApplicationThere are few things better than finding your dream home and being able to afford it, but simply because you’ve found the perfect place doesn’t mean you should stretch the truth. It might seem tempting to polish your mortgage application a little in the hopes of making a better impression, but here are a few reasons why you should stick to the truth when signing off on your home.

Your Credit History Tells All

It can be tempting to bump up your salary or make some hefty deposits into your savings account. However, lenders will be taking a look at your financial history by way of your bank statements, credit report and paystubs so they’re likely to discover any erroneous details. If you’re not honest about your financial situation, the lender may suspect that you’re not a reliable buyer. Not only that, making false statements about your finances may give you more home than you can really afford, which can cause setbacks down the road.

Mortgage Fraud Is Still Fraud

A little white lie on your mortgage application might not seem like such a big deal, but because you are painting a picture of yourself that is not true, this can actually be considered mortgage fraud. While there are mistakes that can be made on any mortgage application given all the details required, it’s very important not to mislead the lender or home seller on purpose. It may not be common, but mortgage fraud can be punished with hefty fines or even prison time.

A Bad Way To Begin

There’s nothing like the feeling of moving into your newly-purchased home and feeling enthusiasm for all the things it entails, but being dishonest about your financial situation can sully that. A lie may just be a small detail, but mortgage lenders look at a variety of factors to ensure you’re a good fit for a loan that will stay manageable month after month. While a minor mistruth may seem insignificant, it disables lenders from being able to assess if your financial situation is right for the home you want to purchase.

It may be enticing to fudge a few details on your mortgage application, but there can be serious implications involved in not being honest about the information on your application. If you’re currently in the market for a home, contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

Are You ‘Mortgage Pre-approval Worthy’? Learn How to Assess Your Finances in 10 Minutes

Are You 'Mortgage Pre-approval Worthy'? Learn How to Assess Your Finances in 10 MinutesFinding the right home and the right mortgage can take a lot of time and energy, so it’s important to consider whether you’ll be prepared for approval before diving into the process. Whether you’ve had some financial setbacks or you just want to have an idea ahead of time, here are some ways to quickly determine if you’ll be pre-approved for a mortgage.

Do You Have A Down Payment?

You may have heard that the ideal down payment amount is 20% of the cost of the home, but this doesn’t mean you have to have this amount. However, it is important that you have a significant chunk of change put away so that it can signal to the lender that you’re financially sound and will be able to come up with your monthly payment. A down payment will not only minimize the amount of money you owe the lender each month, it will also show that you know how to save and can be trusted with a significant financial investment.

Determine Your Credit History

Many potential homebuyers have financial hiccups in their history, but it’s how they’re dealt with that determines the future. While you may have considerable issues getting a mortgage approved if you’re not paying your minimum payments on time and have debt, by making this change, you can have a positive impact on your credit history in a matter of months. You may also want to get a copy of your credit report to ensure there are no errors that have adversely impacted your score.

Do You Have A Solid Employment History?

It’s very important to have a solid work history in the event that you’re applying for a mortgage, as this will signal to the lender that you have the funds to make your monthly payment. Keep in mind that it’s good to have at least 2 years of solid employment under your belt, and you’ll need to provide paystubs. If you’re self-employed or your recent job opportunities have been sporadic, this can cause issues with getting pre-approved.

It can take a lot of time to find the right house and the right lender, but if you have a solid history of employment and a sizeable down payment you’re well on your way to pre-approval. If you’re preparing for purchasing a home and would like to learn more, your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.