Posts Tagged ‘credit score’

Out with the old…

December 31, 2009

… and in with new FHA guidelines. Given the time of year, it seems almost appropriate.  Regarding the new change…

FHA loans now require borrowers to not only have a minimum qualifying credit score to be approved for a loan, borrowers also need to have at least three trade lines (accounts) in their credit history.  The three trade lines must:

  • Trade lines can be a credit card(s), student loan, car loan, mortgage
  • Have at least 12 months of history (current or closed account)
  • If an account is closed, it cannot be closed more than 24 months ago or it will not be counted toward the required three trade lines

Because of this new change, even if a borrower has the minimum down payment (3.5%) and a qualifying credit score (620+), they would still not qualify if the new trade line requirement is not met.

Why would FHA require this? There has not been an official statement, but they could be thinking “if there are only one or two trade lines, is the credit score an accurate score based on the limited history.” Regardless of the reason, this is just one more item to keep in mind when looking to buy a home.

I’ve said this before and I will say it again, planning ahead is key.  Knowing where you stand, how much you can afford, and when it the best time to move forward is essential in this ever changing market.

Holding onto the past

October 29, 2009

The past can hold a lot of great memories… birthdays, wedding day, graduation, one’s favorite TV show that was cancelled by FOX… OK, that last one was a personal example, but you get the idea.

Some people I talk to still reminisce about the “good old days” of buying a home when it was easy to get financing. By fixating on that thought, one may begin to believe that no one can get financing now. That is simply not true!

Banks are still lending money, but they now prefer “safer and more predictable” loans (in other words, fixed financing) instead of the no doc, stated income/stated asset, subprime, etc. programs that helped usher in the current financial crisis we are all struggling through.

Borrowers can still qualify to buy homes with little money down, less than average credit, and can choose from a variety of loan programs. Some examples:

  • Borrowers only need 620 credit score to qualify for an FHA loan
  • A down payment as little as 3.5% can get someone into a home with an FHA loan (5% for a conventional loan)
  • Some foreclosed homes are eligible to be bought with only $100 down, and still others are available with no money down
  • Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) are also available with as little as 5% down
  • Interest Only ARMs do exist, but the down payment requirement is now 20%

If you are looking to buy or refinance your current home, get in contact with me. We can discuss “how things were” vs. “how things are” and make sure you are ready to move forward with your next loan.

Sometimes it is just best to let go of the past no matter how tough it may be… If we stay in the past, we might miss out on the best buyers market (low rates and lower home values) in years.

One might also miss out watching an actor from their favorite TV show star in his new show on ABC.  If that were true for me, I would have missed this great Halloween episode moment when he paid tribute to his character from the cult TV show FOX cancelled 5 years ago – Malcolm Reynolds from “Firefly”. Enjoy!

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