Relaxed student loan guidelines makes qualifying easier

Minneapolis, MN: Student loan debt is at an all time high, and has been well noted as a major contributing factor to why may people have been unable to purchase a home, especially first time home buyers.

Recent changes to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guidelines have made it easier for some, but not all with student loan debt to still qualify for home mortgage loans.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not do home loans. Rather they buy loans from lenders after that fact. Both Fannie and Freddie have set underwriting guidelines that if lenders follow, makes the selling of loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac much easier.  While the number moves, at any given time, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac control +/- about 60% of all home loans.

Student Loans. How do lenders calculate?

Student loans can be in active repayment, some sort of reduced repayment (which is typically an income based repayment), or completely deferred.  While a student loan may be deferred for the next year or two, your mortgage loan is typically a 30-year loan. It only makes sense that lenders take current or future student loan payments into consideration when calculating debt ratios and affordability.
To avoid confusion, I’ll just talk about current guidelines for how lenders currently deal with your student loan debt for debt-to-income ratio purposes.
These guidelines are current as of this article (Oct 5, 2017).

FHA Loans:

FHA loans must use the greater of 1% of the outstanding balance, or the payment listed on the credit report, unless you can document the payment is a fully amortizing payment. No income based repayment, graduated payments, or interest only payments allowed.

Fannie Mae Loans:

For deferred loans, must use 1% of the outstanding balance. For loans currently in repayment, use the payment listed on the credit report. If payment is listed as $0.00, but $0.00 is an active income based repayment, we must verify with the student loan company that $0.00 is the income based repayment.

Freddie Mac Loans:

For deferred loans, must use 1% of the outstanding balance of the loan, or the estimated payment supplied directly from the student loan company. For loans in repayment, use the amount listed on the credit report.

USDA Rural Housing Loans:

For USDA loans, if the loan is deferred, income based payment, graduated payment, or interest only payment, must use the greater of 1% of the outstanding balance, or the amount listed on the credit report.

VA Home Loans:

For VA loans, if payment is deferred at least 12 months past the loan closing date, no payment need be listed.
If payment will begin within 12 months of closing, use the payment calculated based on:
  a) 5% of the outstanding balance divided by 12
  b) The payment listed on the credit report if the payment is higher than calculated under (a).
  or
If payment on credit report is less than (a), a letter, dated within the last 60-days directly from the student loan company that reflects the actual loan terms and payment information is required to use the smaller payment.

More people with student loans now qualify

These updated guidelines primarily help those currently in repayment, but with income based, graduated payment, and interest only payment student loans obtain conventional loans.
 Regardless of your student loan status, I always suggest that people never assume you can’t buy a home.  Always talk with a professional licensed Mortgage Loan Officer to get the facts regarding any financing options.  I offer all this loan option and more for properties in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and South Dakota and can be reached at (651) 552-3681, or www.MortgagesUnlimited.biz


Millennials are not buying homes. Is this true or myth?

There has been a lot of talk that millennials are not buying homes. Is this true or myth?

First, while the purchase numbers for millennials are down, millions of people buy homes every year, including millennials.

Most of the talk about millennials centers around the inability to purchase a home because of student loan debt. Studies after study does show that tuition costs are up, and that student loan debt has roughly doubled in the past 10-years. There is also a noticeable decline in homeownership rates among millennials the past decade.

Too much debt reduces the maximum amount of home lenders will allow someone to purchase. This is known as debt-to-income ratios.  Less that 30% of your income spend on just the home is considered as a safe house payment, while under 45% of income should be spent on the house, plus car loans, credit cards, student loans, etc.

But is is all really student loan debt, or are there other factors involved.

Estimates suggest that around 35% of the decline in homeownership in the past 10-years is simply due to student loan debt. That leaves  whopping 65% to other factors.

Assuming these numbers are accurate, and many suggest the student loan blame is not nearly as high as believed, I as an actual Mortgage Loan Officer, can attest that yes, student loan debt is a factor in some cases. But I see many other factors on a daily basis, the biggest being simply a low desire to own. This primarily resulting from observing their parents, friends, neighbors, and relatives suffer through the housing bust that started in 2007.

Other items I see include very poor credit, and a lack of knowledge on how credit and credit score work. Lack of down payment, and a lack of willingness to purchase a starter home. Many of the millennials believe they should jump right into a big, beautiful, white picket fence dream home as their first home.

Lack of Starter Homes?

I, like many people started with an old small home, in a not so perfect neighborhood.  As I got older, got married, and increased our family income, I moved up into bigger and nicer homes, until now currently being in my existing “big beautiful home” for 19-years.

The me me me, now now now, pay for it later attitude really crept into society over the past 20-years.  Having champagne taste for homes on a beer budget has held back more potential first time buyers from purchasing a home than most other items I see everyday. They simply refuse to buy a starter home.

Granted, a starter home today tends to have a heftier price then years back.  As a percentage of income, low end starter homes suck up more of the owners paycheck than ever before. This too has a huge effect on first time home buyers, regardless if they have a college degree, and student loan debt or not.

Poor Credit

Another major issue I see is simply poor credit. As the days go by, it would appear to me that the population has become dumber and dumber about simple concepts, like paying your bills on time. It is very common for me to see potential home buyers in the 25 to 30-year old range have horrible credit. Then when they realize the poor credit prevents them from buying a home, it may take them a few years to improve their credit.

More than just student loan debt

The New York Fed recently reported that an estimated 360,000 people would have bought a in 2015 had tuition costs remained the same as they were in 2001. There is no doubt student loan debt has been a factor.

As an actual Loan Officer, active in the business currently, and having been so for more than 20-years, I am simply saying there are a multitude of reasons why people don’t buy homes.

The constant banter of it being student loan debt preventing ownership is heard by potential home buyers who have student loan debt. Many clients I speak to start out the conversation saying the don’t think they can buy a home because of student loan debt, and are very pleasantly surprised when I issue them a Pre-Approval Letter.

Of course every person and every situation is different.

Don’t Assume

If you want to buy a home, regardless of age, income, or student loan debt. DO NOT ASSUME. Contact a local mortgage broker in your area (I lend in MN, WI, and SD). Give them a full mortgage loan application so they can zero in on your individual situation.  You too may be pleasantly surprised, and enjoying the benefits of home ownership next month.