Fannie Mae no longer requires revolving debts to be closed

MortgageThis week, Fannie Mae issued new underwriting guidelines for conforming loans approved through DU (Fannie Mae’s automated underwriting system). One of the new guidelines that is catching a lot of attention is that Fannie Mae will no longer require that revolving debts that are paid off in order to reduce a borrowers debt to income ratios and help them qualify, to also be closed.  The new guidelines will allow a revolving debts that are paid down to zero balance to no longer be factored for qualifying purposes.

If I can help you with your purchase or refi mortgage needs for your home located anywhere in Washington state, please contact me.


What are Debt to Income Ratios?

seesawLet’s begin by addressing what a debt to income ratio is.  It’s pretty much like it sounds.  It’s factoring in your monthly payments plus the proposed mortgage payment (PITI = principal, interest, taxes and insurance) and home owners dues, if any.   Your monthly gross income that is used for qualifying is divided into the monthly debt which produces your DTI (debt to income ratio).

[Read more…]

Determining Rental Income for a Conforming Mortgage

iStock-000018668640XSmallRecently Fannie Mae updated their guidelines for rental income, including the addition of Rental Income Worksheets for the lender to complete to help make sure the rental income is calculated correctly. How much rental income may be used and how it is calculated will depend on when the borrower obtained the rental property, when rents were collected and what how many units there are with the subject property. Underwriters are looking the likelihood that the rental income will continue as well as the losses too. If your rental is producing a net loss, that will factored into your qualifying ratios.

[Read more…]

Freddie Mac loosening up on Large Deposits

mortgageporterraiseDocumenting large deposits on bank statements has been a royal pain in the behind for many borrowers going through the mortgage process.  I am very pleased to share with you that Freddie Mac has updated guidelines that lenders, including Mortgage Master, are embracing.

[Read more…]

Fannie Mae to increase minimum down payment in November

Fannie Mae is scheduled to update their automated underwriting system (aus) Desktop Underwriter (DU) to DU Version 9.1 on November 16, 2013.  In their release notes from August 20, 2013, Fannie Mae reveals that for they will increase the minimum down payment from 3% to 5% for Fannie Mae conventional loans.

[Read more…]

How does a Loan Mod impact buying your next home?

Many home owners who were unable to refinance and did not qualify for special programs like HARP opted for a loan modification (or loan mod). A loan mod is when the existing mortgage terms are adjusted or modified, in most often cases to reduce the mortgage payment.

To be clear, I am not in the “loan mod” part of the mortgage industry. My focus is on helping Washington home buyers and home owners with mortgages for purchasing a home or refinancing their mortgage.  With my mortgage practice, I do come across home owners who have had a loan mod and they are often surprised to learn how it may impact their odds buying a home. 

Many lenders view a loan modification, if done for reasons of financial distress, as a “pre-foreclosure” or short sale.

A lot will weigh on the borrowers credit report. Lenders will look to see how the loan mod was reported to the bureaus. For example, some lenders may have added language to the credit report such as “PAYING UNDER PARTIAL AGREEMENT” or “LOAN MODIFIED…” which indicates a loan modification has taken place. Lenders will weigh if the borrower had late mortgage payments, how late the payments were and how recent the last late payment took place. 

It’s also possible that the loan mod may not prevent you from buying your next home depending on your circumstances and how the loan mod was reported to the bureaus.

If you’ve had a loan modification in the past few years and are considering buying your next home, you will want to connect with a mortgage professional as soon as possible to see what your options are. 

If you are considering a loan mod, please review this information from Washington State DFI. Another great website for you to check out if you are a Washington state homeowner in distress is

If you are considering buying a home located in Washington state, I’m happy to help you. Worse case, if you are not able to “buy now” we can work on a plan together so that you’ll be in a better position in the future.

Reader Question: Do underwriting guidelines vary between lenders?

I recently received this email from a Mortgage Porter subscriber:

Do different banks need different underwriting documents? I am talking to two lenders now, and one will give me a lower rate but asks for the bank statement from my family which wires me money; the other one has a higher rate but only needs a gift letter. Is it because some banks are more strict because of their lower rate? Thanks.

[Read more…]

The biggest issue with buying a home today in Seattle

Yesterday I met for coffee with one of my clients who is hoping to buy a home in a Seattle area neighborhood for around $600,000. They have already taken one of the most important steps in the home buying process by getting preapproved for a mortgage.

The preapproval process required they complete a loan application and provide me with documentation that supports the information provided on the loan application (such as W2s, paystubs and bank statements). After having a complete application, I am able to run their credit reports and run the scenario through automated underwriting, which provides us with an approval and conditions to that approval.

Here’s a bit from our conversation with a few of their questions.

Is it challenging to qualify for a home in Seattle?

It’s really not that hard to qualify. Presently our underwriting guidelines will allow:

  • a low-mid credit score of 640 for FHA
  • a minimum down payment of 3.5%, which can be gifted by a family member. NOTE: FHA Jumbo’s will soon have a minimum down payment of 5%. In the greater Seattle area, FHA Jumbo’s are loan amounts from $417,001 to $567,500
  • VA home buyers can have a low-mid credit score of 620 with zero down payment up to $500,000. A $600,000 sales price would have a down payment of $25,000 with a VA Jumbo.
  • Home buyers need a two year employment history (sometimes your college education may count as an employment history)
  • Income must be documented and consistent. NOTE: if your self-employed, paid commission or hourly (vs. salary), you will need a two year history and income will be averaged.  NOTE: If you are planning on using your 2012 income, you may want to consider filing your income taxes as soon as possible.
  • Down payment and funds for closing must be documented with complete asset account statements. 

What are the biggest “hiccups” in a transaction?

  • borrowers need to continue providing paystubs and bank statements. Do not toss or shred anything that has to do with your assets or income.
  • large deposits (typically this is anything over $1000) must be documented…so if your Great Aunt Nelly is giving a wad a cash or a check for a birthday present at the time you’re getting ready to buy a home, keep documentation or proof of where the cash came from.
  • if you are planning on using 2012 income for qualifying, you need to file your 2012 tax returns as soon as possible. Lenders re-verify income (beyond W2s or 1040 – tax returns) with tax transcripts from the IRS via Form 4506. As we near “tax season” it takes the IRS longer to process and provide this information.
  • days prior to closing, employment is re-verified. If there are changes to employment or the employer is difficult to reach, this may cause a delay.
  • a “soft” credit pull is done prior to closing as well to make sure no new debts have been acquired by the buyer. If there are new debts, the buyer will need to be re-approved factoring in the debt payments.
  • If the credit report is getting ready to expire prior to closing, a new credit report will be obtained. This may have additional impacts to the transaction if there are changes to debts or credit scores. 

What is the BIGGEST issue with buying a home today in Seattle?  INVENTORY!  

This probably comes to no surprise to Seattle area home buyers in the $300,000 – $700,000 price range hoping to find a non-distressed home to make an offer on. 

If you have been considering selling your home, NOW could be an excellent time to consult with a real estate agent…and I’m happy to recommend one to you! 

As always, if you’re looking to buy a home or refinance your mortgage on a home located anywhere in Washington state, please contact me. I have been originating mortgages at Mortgage Master Service Corporation since April 2000 and I’m happy to help you!