Low down payment, no down payment loan options for 2017

Minneapolis, MN:  Just 10-years ago, 30-year fixed rates were 6.125%, and the real estate market was hot. With rising interest rates, 2017 may be a bit more challenging for home buyers. But the biggest challenge for most people who wish to buy a home is down payment.

You do not need 20% down payment to buy a home! I repeat, you do not need 20%. This large down payment myth has been around forever, but it simply isn’t true for the vast majority of people buying their first primary residence. There are many program that allow for no down payment, or low down payment. Some jumbo loans buyers (loans over $424,100 in most parts of the county), as will people buying investment properties will usually need a large down payment. But for the rest of us, there are many low down payment, no down payment loan options for 2017.

First Time home buyers, Down Payment Assistance

First Time Home Buyer programs:

The term first time home buyer program covers a wide net of potential programs and options. To be a first time home buyer, you simply must not have owned a home in the past three-years. If you owned a home in the past, but it has been longer than three-years, you are a first time home buyer again. Some options allow for lower rates, cheaper mortgage insurance, and even down payment assistance. Most come with additional strings attached, like household income requirements, lower debt to income requirements, and that you must take first time home buyer education classes.

FHA Loans:

FHA backed loans are very popular, and only require a small 3.50% down payment. The down payment can be your own money (checking/savings/retirement), a gift from a family member, or can come from a down payment assistance program. FHA loans are more forgiving than other loans, for example allowing just a two-year waiting period if you have a previous bankruptcy, and a three-year waiting period after a previous foreclosure. Maximum loan limits apply based on the medium income of the county the property will be located.  Check FHA Loan Limits

Conventional 97 Loans:

Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac offer a 3% down payment program.  The down payment can be your own money (checking/savings/retirement), or a gift from a family member. This is a great program, especially for those with higher credit scores, or homes that need a little TLC that might not pass FHA loan inspections.

Conventional HomeReady™ Loans:

Fannie Mae offers an additional 3% down loan called HomeReady for first time home buyers. You need to take a home buyer education class, but you’ll be rewarded with lower interest rates, and lower mortgage insurance than the standard 3% down conventional loan.

Conventional 95 Loans:

Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac offer a basic 5% down payment program.  This is your everyday, plain vanilla mortgage loan available to everyone.

VA Loans (100% financing):

Available for active or retired U.S. Military personal, the VA loan is truly one of the best benefits this country offers for your service. The VA loan is a no down payment program, and also has no mortgage insurance whatsoever. This is a huge savings per month over any other low or no down payment loan. Closing costs can be rolled into the loan, making for a home purchase, that for most people, is about as close to zero money out of pocket to buy a home as you’ll ever get.

USDA Rural Housing (100% financing):

Available to those wishing to buy in more rural areas of the country, the USDA Rural Development loan does not require a down payment. While the loan does have mortgage insurance, the cost is very low compared to other loans.  You need to meet household income, and property location requirements.

Down Payment Assistance:

Down payment assistance comes in many different flavors from neighbors, city, county, and even state programs. Welcome first time home buyers. Apply onlineGenerally these are in the form of a loan that needs to eventually be paid back, but there are a very small number that are actually forgiven if you live in the home a set period (like 9-years or longer). The assistance loan can be combined with a standard loan, like an FHA loan, to be used for down payment. Household income, and property location are common requirements.

The Bottom Line:

If want to own your own home, you have OK or better credit, a stable income, and at least a little money in the bank, by all means, you should apply for a home loan. Your Loan Officer will review your loan application, then go over the various program to see what programs you qualify for, how much house you can buy, what the payments might look like, and finally, how much cash you may, or may not need to put it all together.

Best case, you’ll be in your own home sooner than you thought.  Worse case, your Loan Officer will go over what you need to do to be in position to buy a home in the near future.  Either way, a win win for you.


5 low down payment home loans

5 Low Down Payment Home Loans

Minneapolis, Minnesota:  Face it, for most people, the biggest obstacle to buying a home is a lack of down payment.  Here are 5 low down payment home loan options to help you get into your own home.

Zero Down Payment

  1. VA Loans: Available for U.S. Military personal, both current and former is a no down payment loan with no mortgage insurance. By far the most amazing home loan available.  Get VA Loan information
  2. USDA Rural Development Loans: Available for those wishing to buy in rural areas. This program is no down payment required. Income limits apply. Get USDA loan information.

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Low Down Payment

  1. Conventional 3% down. This low down payment loan for first time home buyers just recently came back into the market from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Good credit or better required, and must take first time home buyer education classes. Get 3% down HomeReady loan information
  2. FHA Loans: This program only requires 3.50% down payment, and is probably the most popular loan. Very flexible underwriting guidelines compared to other programs for everything from weak credit, to higher debt-to-income ratios, and shorter waiting periods than other loans for past bankruptcy and foreclosure.  Get more FHA LOAN information
  3. Down payment assistance programs: Combine one of the standard loans with a down payment assistance program to ease your out-of-pocket expenses to get into a home. Most of these programs are loans that need to be paid back, require you to be a first time home buyer, and to take home buyer education classes. Program vary greatly by city, county, state, or community programs. Talk to a Loan Officer in your area for local program information.  Learn more about down payment assistance programs in MN.

 


Tips for a Smooth Mortgage Application

Tips for a Smooth Mortgage Application

Shopping for a new home can be fun.  Looking at new homes, seeing different style homes, see how others decorate and starting to imagine what the home would look like when you moved it.

Getting a home mortgage loan – not so fun. But you can make it a much easier and smoother process if you start by working with a good Minnesota, Wisconsin, or South Dakota mortgage professional. Quickly followed by being realistic, cooperative and responsive to the paperwork requirements of the loan process.

First step, be realistic. Are you ready to buy a home?  Is your credit OK?  Do you have stable employment?  Do you have some money for down payment?  Assuming YES, the first step is to complete a loan application.

How to Pick A Lender / Loan Officer

Always use a local lender.  There is nothing better online than you can down the street. More often than not, it is actually the other way around. For example, no big internet lender can offers your “local” down payment assistance programs.

Always work with an experienced and fully licensed Loan Officer (read my previous article on learning how to tell the difference).

Mortgage Application Documents

images98725The mortgage application process is cumbersome and paperwork intensive.  Everyone needs to supply basic documents, but depending on your individual situation, you may need more – sometimes a lot more.

Gather and have your basic document ready as listed below. Please do not argue with your Loan Officer. When they call asking for something, it is not them picking on you, it is required. Arguing will get you no place except denied if you don’t supply what is being asked for

Checklist:

  • Photo ID
  • Two most recent pay stubs for each person signing the loan.
  • Last two months bank statements (real statements, not printout or screen shots, all pages)
  • Your most recent 401(k) or other retirement account statement.
  • W2’s (all jobs, last two years)
  • Most recently filed Federal Tax Return (all schedules) State return NOT needed

Common Additional Items

  • Documentation to verify additional income, such as child support, alimony or a pension (recent award letters, and divorce decrees)
  • Last TWO years business and personal federal tax returns if self-employed or own rental property
  • Full copy of bankruptcy papers, including the discharge notice
  • Old Foreclosure? – Need the Sheriff Certificate of Sale (available from the county)
  • Old Short-sale?  Copy of HUD1 Settlement Statement from the actual sale


Home ownership IS cheaper than Renting

Owning is cheaper than renting

Minneapolis, MN:  The debate continues.  Is owning a home more affordable than renting.  New data is in showing that for most people, yes, owning appears to be cheaper than renting.

A survey by the big online company that starts with a Z and rhymes with Willow (I’m not a fan, so I don’t like to use their name) found on average, Americans spend about 15% of their income on a home mortgage loan, while renters that live in the nation’s largest cities spend around  30% of their income on just their rent.

Conventional wisdom says housing debt of 30% of your income or less is deemed affordable.

The report also looked at other issues effecting homeownership, and found that, just like in the past, coming up with down payment is a challenge for many, and that 13% of home buyers in 2014 got their down payment as a gift from relatives.

Many people are not aware that most home buyers DO NOT need a 20% down payment.  Conventional loan programs allow for as little as 3% down payment, and the popular FHA home loan only requires 3.5% down payment. If you are US Military, a VA loan is a no down payment loan. If you are looking to buy in rural areas of the country, the USDA Rural Development loan is also a no down payment loan.

Only if you live in a “high cost” are of the county where even the most modest home costs over $417,000 will you maybe need a larger down payment.

Many areas and potential home buyers also qualify for First Time Home Buyer programs, like the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency Start Up program, here in Minnesota where I am, that will typically loan the new homeowner a big chunk of their down payment money. The program here only requires the buyer to have $1,000 of their own money to buy a home.

Sadly, many renters THINK they can’t afford a home, when statistics tend to prove otherwise. Between small down payment requirements, gifts from relatives, down payment assistance programs, and even taking money from your 401k program for down payment, most people CAN make home ownership work.

Another challenge is debt.  Many talk about student loan debt killing home buying for millennials.  As a Loan Officer, I simply don’t see it.  What I DO see is first time home buyers needing to get back to reality in their home purchase. The term starter home needs to return to the lexicon of home buyers.

Your first home needs to fit into the reality of your income and debts. Therefore, your first home may not be your dream home.

Credit is the final challenge.  If you pay your bills on time, you should be just fine.  If you don’t, you need to get that corrected first. Realistically, you need to have a middle credit score of 620 or higher. If you have poor credit, you will need to work on improving your credit first. There are NO bad credit loans available.

 

ARE YOU READY TO BECOME A HOMEOWNER

All mortgage loan applicants need to meet some basic requirements:

– OK or better credit history.
– Stable employment
– Buy a home you can safely afford (known as debt ratios)
– Have some money in the bank

If you are realy, contact a local mortgage broker in your area.  Give them a complete mortgage application, and let them zero in on what programs you qualify for, how much house you can afford, what the payments will look like, and how much money you will need to pull it all together.

If it all looks good, you’ll be put in contact with a local expert Real Estate Agent, who will help you select that perfect home.


Danger of automated mortgage pre-approval sites

It’s 2015.  I understand the daily advancements on computers, technology, and convenience. Popping up all over are sites that that claim the ability to “allows home shoppers to get pre-approved quickly and easily.” Instant pre-approval sounds cool.

But when it comes to home buying, potential home owners should be extremely wary of trusting any web site offering automated mortgage pre-approval tools.

The Traditional Mortgage Loan Process

The traditional process is you complete a loan application. ffA real live person reviews the information, talks to you about your situation, uses knowledge and expertise to explore all avenues and issues.  Then your file is run through one of the major AUS (automated underwriting system) of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, etc.

This AUS process only takes a few minutes, and the lender is provided with an answer to your loan application.  So if the computer says YES, you are good right?  NO, not even close.  This is just the first step.

The first major issue is simple. Garbage in equals garbage out.

Next, just because the AUS indicates ACCEPT (yes), there are still pages of information and requested items that need to be received and reviewed for accuracy. Common items are W2’s, pay stubs, bank statements, tax returns. Depending on your situation, you may need further items, like bankruptcy papers, divorce decrees, and more.

But it is the little nuances that even trip up less experienced Loan Officers, who unknowingly issue worthless pre-approval letters.

I was recently contacted by a client who had one of these instant pre-approval letters.  They had bought a home, and there application was now being fully underwritten by the lender. Just days before closing, underwriting was denying the file. The buyers big question, is “How can that be?  I was Pre-Approved?”

The issue in this case, was the income number the buyer input into the system was 100% correct. But the buyer was a 1099 contractor, not aW2 employee, who had only been with this company about 6 months. In the mortgage world, short-term contractor income is not allowed as qualifying income.

Did you know this? This is just one example. Could you be running around with an invalid pre-approval letter based off of income not allowed? You you make an offer, give notice on your apartment, and then possibly be homeless?

Your largest financial transaction of your life is too important to trust to just anyone, let alone a computer, without wisdom and input from a licensed, experienced, and professional Loan Officer.

Zillows New Pre-Approval Tool

Zillow recently announced a semi automated tool where potential home buyers enter very basic information. If they like the results, you continue by entering your name, email, and phone number. Your information is then sent immediately to the lenders in Zillows Mortgage Marketplace, who will get your information, pull your credit, and send you a pre-approval letter.

I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do is have my information shared with 5, 10, 20 lenders, who all pull my credit, and have my personal information. I don’t want that floating around with a bunch of unknown people.  I also don’t want to be contacted by a bunch of meal time calling aggressive lenders who just paid money for my “hot lead.” And I haven’t even started about potential identity theft.

The Best Move When Getting Mortgage Pre-Approved?

When buying a home, your best move is to always work with a local lender the traditional way. The guy located in your geographic area, with a local reputation to protect. There is nothing anyone on the internet on the other side of the country can offer that you can’t get down the street.  More often than not, it is just the opposite… Especially when it comes to down payment assistance programs for first time buyers. These programs are always only available from the local lender.

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 Joe Metzler is a Senior Mortgage Loan Officer for Minneapolis Minnesota based Mortgages Unlimited. He was named the 2014 Minnesota Loan Officer of the Year by the MN Mortgage Association, and was ranked #98 of the Top 100 Loan Officers in the Nation in 2015 by Origination News. He provides Home Mortgage Loans in MN, WI, and SD. He can be reached at (651) 552-3681


Minneapolis Down Payment Assistance

Minneapolis Down Payment Assistance

Own Your own Home!

The City of Minneapolis, in partnership with Minnesota Housing,  the Minnesota Homeownership Center, and Mortgage lenders like us here at Mortgages Unlimited are getting together to provide access to down payment assistance, quality, affordable mortgages and free, non-biased housing experts that can help you become a successful home owner!

Maybe you’ve thought homeownership wasn’t possible, or you didn’t know where to start. Maybe you thought your credit wasn’t good enough or you haven’t saved enough for a down payment. We can help!

Down Payment Assistance – Homeownership Opportunity Minneapolis

The City of Minneapolis wants to make affordable homeownership a reality for you. The City is providing up to $7,500 to qualified buyers to cover down payment and closing costs when purchasing a home anywhere within Minneapolis city limits. To qualify for this program, you must meet the following income eligibility requirements:

  • Homebuyers with household income up to 115% of the area median income (currently $99,500) are eligible for up to $5,000
  • Homebuyers with household income up to 80% of the area median income (currently $69,280) are eligible for up to $7,500.

Quality, Affordable Mortgages

Minnesota Housing, the State’s Housing Finance Agency, offers mortgage loans for first-time homebuyers with affordable interest rates. Our Minnesota Housing loans work seamlessly with down payment assistance products like those offered by the City of Minneapolis.

How To Get Started

Your first step is to apply for the mortgage loan itself. Your Mortgages Unlimited Loan Officer will review the application, your credit, etc.  They will discuss with you if you qualify, how much house you can afford, what the payments might look like, and what assistance you may qualify to receive. Click HERE to apply online (easiest) or call (651) 552-3681.

If that all looks good, you will need to submit standard loan documentation, which includes photo id, last two pay stubs, last two bank statements, and the last three years of W2’s and federal tax returns.

If that still looks good, you will be issued a Pre-Approval Letter, put in touch with a high quality Real estate Agent agent, and sent out to find your dream home.

In between the initial approval and closing on your new home, you will need to take the homebuyer education class listed next.

You do not have to have perfect credit, but you can NOT have BAD credit. All applicants must have a middle credit score of at least 640.  Next, while you are receiving assistance, you can’t buy a home with no money.  You must have at least $1,000 of your own money to put into buying the home.

Homebuyer Education

If you are a first time home buyer, this program from the City of Minneapolis, just like all first time home buyer programs requires all first time homebuyers to attend home buyer education.

There are two options:  Attend a physical 8-hour class (Home Stretch) or take an online class (Framework Classes). Click the links below for more information of the required training.

Sign up for HOME STRETCH: In-person workshop  Your first time homebuyer class can be taken in person in multiple locations throughout the state. The cost of this class is typically $25.

Sign up for FRAMEWORK: Online Education An online homebuyer education class can be started and stopped, and finished at your leisure. The cost of this training is $75. Most people take the online training.

When Your Class Is Completed: Print your Certificate of Completion and give  a copy to your Loan Officer

More Information

Contact:

Joe Metzler, Senior Loan Officer. NMLS 274132

(651) 552-3681

www.MNHomesAndLoans.com

 


Don’t believe the hype – Millennials can still buy homes

Millennials can, and still want to buy homes.

While it is true the American dream of home ownership is harder to achieve than in the past, it isn’t impossible. Young adults, more than ever in the past may be delaying home ownership because of student loan debt, and fear of the stability of their young careers. But they are still buying homes, just a few years later in life than in the past.

real1According to data from Zillow, in the 1970’s, first time home buyers on average had rented for just 2.6 years prior to buying a home, and was about 30-years old.  Today, the average first time home buyer has rented for 6-years prior to buying a home, and is three years older (33-years old).

The same data shows that in the early 1970’s, the average first time home buyer bought a home with a price 1.7 times their household income.  Today, that first home costs 2.6 times their yearly income.

Clearly this data shows that it is tougher for first time buyers to save for down payment, and to afford a home. At the same time, this lines up with other delayed aspects of adulthood from years past, including getting married later in life, starting families later in life, and having fewer children.

Just like generations past, once people start having kids, they start looking for homes to raise those kids, especially if they feel secure in their young job careers. But things have changed, many people years ago could count on right out of high school having a job they could start and stay until retirement with good benefits.  That just isn’t the case today. Another survey showed the average new buyer spent 4.5 years in their job field, and were at their current job for 3-years.

Most new home buyers still save their own money for down payment, which has become a bit harder with rising home prices, and high rents making it harder to save for a down payment, but the long held tradition of down payment help from Mom and Dad is still alive and well – and a very popular option.

Apply Online

Low mortgage rates, low down payment loans like the 3.50% down payment FHA loan, and the 3% down payment conventional loan, combined with down payment assistance programs significantly close the gap needed to buy a home.

The bottom line is there is a continued strong desire to buy among millennials.  It is just that the timelines to buy that home appear to have been pushed back a few years from generations past.

If you feel you are ready to buy in MN, WI, or SD – we can help.  Just click here to apply online.

MN first time home buyer programs