Carol George's Blog
A jumbo mortgage refers to a high-priced loan, usually meant for a luxury property. And while this loan may have once been reserved for the millionaire investors of the world, it may not be as exclusive as you think. If you're interested in what it takes to apply, it helps to understand how they work and who the best candidates are.
A Moving Target
To be considered for a jumbo loan, it must be above a certain minimum. However, this amount will differ based on where you purchase your home. The minimum for a jumbo loan in Beverly Hills will be much higher than the minimum in Kansas City due to the discrepancies between median home prices. These values will rise and fall depending on the local economy and average property appraisals, so buyers will need to do a little research into their city's criteria.
Jumbo mortgages are available in a variety of options, similar to a conventional loan. Unsurprisingly, lenders tend to be a little pickier when it comes to who they approve and who they reject. A single application may go through several underwriters to arrive at the final answer. They're looking for exceptionally high credit scores and equally low debt-to-income ratios.
It's the lender who dictates the exact terms of the loan, though historically, jumbo loans have had higher interest rates. However, it should be noted that this is not a hard-and-fast rule. Interest rates have been known to come down based on the caliber of people who apply. The more qualified applicants, the less overall risk the lender assumes.
In addition, the jumbo mortgage minimum down payment has been relaxed to just 5% to allow a more level playing field (especially for people in high-priced markets). Despite this though, most lenders are still looking for at least 15% on a jumbo loan. Shopping around can make it easier to find a lender with reasonable terms for a jumbo loan.
Structuring the Loan
Adjustable-rate jumbo loans are available, but they are not the ideal choice for homeowners unless they know they'll be selling in the very near future. To avoid paying more interest than necessary, experts recommend a fixed-rate over 15 years.
There may be a lot of fine print to a jumbo loan, but lenders are largely ensuring that the homeowner has enough in stable assets (e.g., property, savings, etc.) to cover their mortgage even if they fall on hard times. Knowing the terms can make it easier to prepare, apply, and be approved for the home of your dreams.
You may have wanted to apply for a mortgage at some point but were put off by something negative someone said about this type of loan. Similarly, you may have been encouraged to apply for one based on some false information but met with a quick rejection. Some of the information that bred these misconceptions may not be false but has merely become outdated. Below are some of those misconceived ideas and the truth behind them:
1. You cannot get a loan with a bad credit score
While it is true that most traditional banks will consider you too risky if your score is below 620, other non-traditional lenders will listen to you. Those offering house loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) can approve borrowers with a minimum score of 580. Remember, though, that lenders will cover the risk of lending to folks with a low credit score by fixing a higher interest rate. So you might want to clean up your debt before looking for a mortgage.
2. You have to raise 20% as a down payment
In the past, this was true. You had to stump up at least 20% of the value of the property before you approached a lender. Some would require up to 30%. These days you can find lenders who will only ask for 6% to get closing on your mortgage deal. FHA-backed loans will accept even 3.5%.
3. Being pre-approved and pre-qualified are the same thing
Being pre-approved is as almost as good as having the cash to buy a property. Before you get pre-approval, you have to have submitted all required documentation to the lender. Based on your financials, the lender will arrive at a maximum amount they can advance you for the purchase of the property. Your real estate agent can, therefore, use that pre-approval to go house hunting. Getting pre-qualified doesn’t carry this much weight- it only means you have engaged a lender and that you’re ready to begin the application process.
4. The interest rate quoted is what you’ll close with
The rate quoted is subject to change unless you lock it in. Interest rates fluctuate daily, changing severally even on the same day depending on how mortgage bonds trade. From the time you get the initial quote when beginning the pre-approval process to the time you settle on a property and want to close, the rate could have changed by a few points. You can only lock the rate once you've identified a home to which you want to commit.
Ask your mortgage officer all the questions you can think of before you close your deal.
If you are thinking of buying a home, you probably have been getting your finances for some time. First-time homebuyers need the right information to avoid making big mistakes when they purchase their homes. The leap into home ownership is a big one, and you’ll want as much information with you along for the ride. Below, you’ll find a crash course on mortgages for first-time homebuyers.
Every homebuyer needs to prepare ahead of time for the process to be smooth. Research different lenders in your area and see what their rates are. If you talk to your lender about your goals and what type of loans you’re looking for, you’ll understand all of the costs that you’ll face ahead of time. You don’t want any surprises when it comes to signing a contract for a home.
Every Mortgage Is Different
It’s easy to think that all home loans are created equal, but they aren’t. The diversity in types of home loans is why you need to research and meet with a lender ahead of time. Talk to your real estate agent and see who they suggest. Your agent is a useful resource because they want your entire transaction to go smoothly for everyone involved. There are many different kinds of mortgages, and you need to make sure you’re getting the loan that’s right for you. Be sure you understand the specifics of each loan before you sign on.
What You Need In Order
Before you even head into the home buying process, there are a few things that you’ll need including:
- Cash for a downpayment
- A budget
- Knowledge of all of your finances
- Where you’d like to look for a home
- An idea of how much you can spend on a home
- Information to get pre-approved including tax returns, proof of income, and bank statements
Once you have saved up cash for a downpayment, it’s time to take a look at your budget. Can you afford a monthly mortgage payment in the price range that you hope to buy? How much money will you have left over each month? Should you adjust your expectations?
You’ll need to save up a bit of cash before you know that you’re ready to buy a home. It’s recommended that you have at least 20 percent of the purchase price of a home to put down towards your loan. The more you put down, the lower your monthly payments will be on the mortgage. So saving is the next big step in securing a mortgage in the smoothest possible way.
Securing a mortgage can take years of planning and saving. Depending on credit score and financial history, it can be difficult for some people to secure a mortgage with a reasonable interest rate and down payment.
As a result, the U.S. government--at both the federal and state level--has created several programs to make the goal of homeownership more achievable for more Americans.
These programs are designed to help a number of people, including first-time homebuyers, low-income families, people living in rural areas, Native Americans, and veterans and servicemembers of the United States military.
In today’s article, we’re going to be talking about “VA loans,” or loans guaranteed by the United States Department f Veterans Affairs.
What is a VA Loan?
When a bank chooses to approve someone for a mortgage, they have weighed the risks of that person’s ability to pay back the loan. The less certain a bank is that they will see a return on their investment with a borrower, the higher the down payment and interest rate they will require.
One incentive that the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs offers its service members and veterans is the ability to receive a loan that is, in part, guaranteed by U.S. Government. That means that lenders can safely approve you for lower interest rates and down payments knowing that the money they are lending you is insured.
Who is eligible for a loan?
Loans guaranteed by Veterans Affairs aren’t strictly for veterans. Active duty service members, including National Guard and Reserve Members may also be eligible. In addition to service members, people who are or were spouses of veterans or service members might also be eligible for a VA loan.
Specific eligibility requirements can be somewhat complicated, so it’s a good idea to visit the eligibility page or contact your local Veterans Affairs office.
What are the perks of a VA Loan?
If you’ve spent a significant portion of your time serving in the military, there’s a good chance that saving for a home has been placed on the back burner. Shopping around for a loan with an affordable down payment can be daunting or impossible for many.
Fortunately, with a VA loan eligible recipients are able to receive a loan with a low down payment or even no down payment.
In a time when down payments can average 20% of the mortgage, that can mean a lot of money you won’t have to spend up from. For example, a home that costs $275,000 would have a 20% down payment of $55,000.
What are the fees?
This great deal does come with one catch. As with many loan assistance programs, there is a fee charged for the services. On top of the funding fee charged by the VA, there are other costs associated with buying a home.
These may include appraisals, inspections, credit reports, and more. Additionally, lenders may charge a 1% flat fee for those using a VA loan.
For those who want to acquire a house, it helps to get your finances in order. That way, you can quickly and effortlessly navigate the homebuying journey without having to worry about how you'll afford your dream house.
There are many quick, easy ways to straighten out your finances before you embark on the homebuying journey, such as:
1. Assess Your Credit Score
Your credit score ultimately can play a major role in your ability to secure a great mortgage. If you understand your credit score, you may be able to find ways to improve it prior to conducting a home search.
It is important to remember that you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Request a free copy of your credit report today, and you can take the first step to evaluate your credit score.
If you find that your credit score is low, there is no need to worry. You can always pay off outstanding debt to improve your credit score over time.
Also, if you identify any errors on your credit report, you'll want to address these mistakes immediately. In this scenario, you should contact the agency that provided the report to ensure any necessary corrections can be made.
2. Look Closely at Your Monthly Expenses
When it comes to buying a house, it generally helps to have sufficient funds for a down payment. The down payment on a house may fall between 5 and 20 percent of a home's sale price, so you'll want to have enough money available to cover this total for your dream residence.
If you evaluate your monthly expenses, you may be able to find ways to save money for a down payment on a house.
For example, it may be beneficial to cut out cable TV for the time being and use the money that you save toward a home down payment. Or, if your dine out frequently, cooking at home may prove to be a substantial money-saver that could help you speed up the process of saving for a down payment.
3. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
With pre-approval for a mortgage, you can enter the housing market with a budget in hand. Then, you'll be better equipped than ever before to narrow your search to houses that fall within your price range.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you'll want to meet with banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach you about different mortgage options and help you assess all of the options at your disposal.
Furthermore, don't hesitate to ask banks and credit unions about how different types of mortgages work. This will enable you to gain the insights that you need to make an informed decision about a mortgage based on your financial situation.
If you need extra help as you prepare to pursue a house, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. In fact, a real estate agent can help you find a high-quality house at a budget-friendly price in no time at all.