Many homeowners feel that renting a home no longer feels like a feasible option; instead, it seems like you are throwing money down the drain. With all the financing options available, maybe it is the time that you start thinking of buying a home for yourself. When buying a home for the first time, buyers might feel overwhelmed by the process of applying for a home loan. However, in reality, there are only a few steps that you need to take to ensure your eligibility for a home loan. In this article, we will explain all the necessary steps included in the loan application process for a home.
1. Assessing Your Financial Condition
The first step to getting a loan is to ensure your ability to pay it off. Most of the buyers are found to overestimate their ability to pay back and thus end up applying for a mortgage that they cannot afford. You do not need to be able to pay the mortgage payment only but the down payment as well.A copy of your credit score will be required to find out if you are eligible for a loan hence your credit score will have a great impact on your application.
A high credit score will enable you to get a loan at a lower interest rate; hence, if you wish to get your hands on a good deal you need to pay attention to your credit score. In case you do not have good credit, you should wait before applying for a loan and should pay off all your other liabilities on time to get a better score. You can also take help of online mortgage calculators that will help you determine the monthly mortgage amount that you will be able to afford.
2. Pre-Qualification and Pre-Approval
The main purpose of getting a pre-qualification or pre-approval done is to find out if you are eligible to apply for a home loan under the current financial situation. The main difference between pre-qualification and pre-approval is the difference in the level of formality.Pre-qualification is an informal process during which a lender will take into consideration your investments, income, and savings in order to determine your eligibility.
The lender, in this case, does not verify all the information provided whereas, in the case of a pre-approval, the lender will check your credit score and will verify all the financial documents that you provide to them. Real estate agents are more likely to approve your offer if you are pre-qualified and pre-approved. Additionally, getting these both processes done will help you understand how much you will be able to pay for your loan.
3. Gathering your Financial Documents
Before you apply for a home loan, it is vital that you prepare yourself for the complete process. Gathering your financial documents requires a lot of time and should hence be taken care of as soon as possible.
-The first document that will be required from you during the process is adequate proof of income which can be presented in the form of last year’s W-2, your recent pay stubs, and the tax returns. In case, you have not been employed anywhere and are working on your own; you will need to show a profit and loss statement for your business or 1099 in case you work on a contractual basis.
– Once your earning documents have been gathered, you should move on to gathering all the necessary documents for your debts. If you find yourself to be under a lot of debt, it makes sense first to pay them off and then start the application for the home loan. For your debt documents, you will need to have a list that shows all your debt in one place.
Student loans, Credit Card Loans, Car Lease, Child Support and Alimony, all of these loans need to be added to your debts list. These are essential because your earning alone does not reflect your ability to pay off. Your debt to income ratio is a true picture of your ability to pay off the loan.
– Any assets that are owned by you should be included in the evidence. Assets in the form of retirement accounts, real estate, bank statements and the like should be presented to the lender through documents. This will help you get a better deal by assuring the lender of your finances to pay the loan.
4. Choosing the Right Offer
With so many lenders available to you, it can become extremely difficult to decide on the right offer. The options are presented to you in the form of bank loans, loans from brokers or vendors. Banks are considered to be the traditional sources of the mortgage. However, you need to pay attention the kind of interest being offered to you and then decide accordingly. Otherwise, mortgage brokers are also seen as a viable option for people who do not have a good credit score and do not want to go through the lengthy process of documentation.
These brokers might charge you a higher fee but in the end, will bring up a deal that will be best for all your needs. Mortgage brokers can significantly reduce the time taken to look for the ideal deal. Online vendors might be seen as a convenient option but in reality, expose you to some risks that you could bring upon yourself. Shopping for different vendors online can lead to a credit check under your name more than a few times which could, in turn, hurt your credit score. Moreover, the security and safety of the whole process is another issue that might arise when choosing online vendors.
Applying for a home loan can be an overwhelming process; however, if you plan and take care of the steps mentioned above, you will be in a better position to make a decision that is best suited for all your home financing needs.
PITI – What Is It and How to Estimate It Yourself
PITI, or “Pity”, is a sum of mortgage payments that include the principal amount, Interest on the loan, property tax, and insurance premiums. PITI helps lenders calculate a loan applicant’s ability to pay their mortgage payments based on the income level. Using PITI, lending institutions, such as banks, decide on how much loan amount they can offer to an applicant. Lenders also use PITI to create a reserve requirement as well. This is a multiple of PITI, which the lender keeps as a deposit. They use it to cover any shortages, if the borrower faces financial hardship and defaults on their monthly payment.
Breaking It Down
Breaking PITI down into its individual components helps us understand the term better and realize why each element is important in a mortgage payment calculation.
This is the base amount that you borrow from your bank to finance the new property you require. Your monthly payment doesn’t depend only on the principal amount. Principal will only make part of it while other portions will include interest, taxes, and insurance premiums.
When a lender such as a bank or any other financial institution offers you a loan, they are losing out on an opportunity to invest that amount somewhere else. To cater to this opportunity cost, the bank will charge you an interest on your loan amount. Most banks want to recover maximum interest during the beginning of the loan tenure. Hence, interest amount forms a major chunk of initial mortgage payments.
The amount of PITI can vary based on the tax rate and assessed value of the property being financed. Some of the elements that determine your property tax include:
- The state in which your property is located
- Local tax assessor who comes to assess the value of property being financed
- Market value of the property and its surrounding areas
The property tax is calculated by applying your local county tax rate on the assessed value of the property. After the principal and interest amount, property tax is the major contributor to the PITI amount.
Just like property tax, home insurance is another variable that plays an important role in raising or lowering your PITI. The type and amount of home insurance you have to pay for depends on two factors:
- The area you would like to live in
- How much down payment you are willing to make
The most common types of insurances include:
- Homeowners Insurance – This type of insurance protects you against vandalism, theft or other hazards such as a fire.
- Flood Insurance – Depending on the area you are willing to move to, your lender may require flood insurance as well. This will be in the interest of both the parties in case of a natural disaster such as flood or hurricane, which can completely destroy the financed property.
- PMI or Private Mortgage Insurance – According to 20% down payment rule, if a borrower makes a down payment of less than 20%, they are liable to purchase PMI as well.
Various elements can increase or decrease the amount of insurance premium on a property. Hence, borrowers need to be mindful while choosing a locality and making down payment to minimize their monthly mortgage payments.
Estimating Your PITI
It is always good to do a little homework and get a rough estimate about your monthly mortgage expense before you finance a property. This will help you maintain your monthly budget once you start making your loan payments. Your interest rates and principal amount are determined by your bank, but having a good grip on variable expenses such as taxes and insurance premiums can help reduce your mortgage payments. Some useful steps to determine your PITI value include:
1. Looking For a PITI Calculator Online
An online PITI calculator will help you identify your monthly payments by amortizing your interest rate over the loan period. It will also take into consideration your property tax and home insurance by dividing the yearly payment in to 12 equal installments. It then adds all these elements together to form your monthly payment schedule.
2. How Much You Need
PITI is calculated based on the amount you are financing from the lending institution rather than the property value itself. Before entering the loan amount in PITI calculator, you need to subtract your down payment from it as well. It is important to note that there are some closing costs associated with the mortgage loan. It would be wise if you allocate some of your savings to these charges to avoid any surprises after you have paid your mortgage in full.
3. Tax and Insurance Variables
Almost any PITI calculator you choose will ask you for the tax and insurance amount. Banks usually include these variables in their monthly payment to protect themselves from property damage or tax liens.
- Estimating Insurance Premium – A general rule of thumb is to set aside $35 for every $100,000 of your loan amount. If your bank requires you to acquire flood insurance, then your insurance premium may rise accordingly.
- Tax Estimate – Check your local state regulations to figure out the tax rate and multiply it by market value of your property to get a rough tax estimate on your property.
Putting all these variables along with the loan tenure in the calculator will give you a rough idea of how much your PITI would come around to. You can then use this figure to manage your monthly budget accordingly.
Having an understanding of PITI is an essential part of taking out a mortgage. Lenders use the ratio of PITI to your gross income to determine your repayment capacity on a mortgage loan. For most lenders to offer you a mortgage loan, this ratio should be above 25%. Hence, doing your own PITI calculation beforehand will help you choose property that will provide you with best value for money.
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Financing a House Boat
If you are a water lover and wish to enjoy the nautical feel of living a relaxed life on the water, a houseboat should be one of your options. A houseboat is not only for millionaires. In fact, if you meet certain requirements, you can also own a house on the water. However, a visit to the grocery store might become more complicated than ever once you start living on the water.
The overall cost of your houseboat will vary depending on different factors such as the size of the boat and its location. However, the trend of owning a houseboat has increased over the years and there are many first-time buyers that are investing in owning a houseboat rather than a traditional home.
Understanding the Difference between a House Boat and a Floating Home
When it comes to living on the water, not all options are the same. Primarily, there are two living options, a House Boat and a Floating Home. Now, if you have thought they both refer to the same setting, this section will give clarify the differences for you. A House Boat, as the name suggests, is considered to be a house that can move around, which means that it can also be seen as a vehicle, whereas, a Floating Home is one that is attached to the dock and hence cannot move around.
Therefore, a floating home can be seen as a fixed house located on the water. The total cost of your water-based home will vary depending on the size of it. However, you should be expecting to pay a higher amount than usual owing to the peculiar nature of the lifestyle. Fortunately, you have the option to finance your lifestyle with the help of a lender.
How to Finance Living on Water
1. House Boat
The first challenge that you should be ready for when looking for financing options for your houseboat is to find the right lender. It is no surprise that there are not many lenders in the community that help to attain such loans considering the unique nature of such a living condition. However, the basic way in which the financing of both, a houseboat and a floating home will vary lies in how the lender treats them.
A House Boat, due to of its ability to move, is considered to be more of a vehicle than a home and therefore the term of the loan will be much shorter as compared to one in the case of a traditional home. Also, another reason why the lender prefers to keep the term short is that of the amount of maintenance required in owning a House Boat. When financing a House Boat, you should know that there is a massive amount of maintenance that will be needed to make sure that it can function in an ideal manner.
Therefore, you should not expect the mortgage’s term to be more than 20 years. In fact, you might also get a term that is considerably shorter than 20 years as well. The interest rate paid is also expected to be 3-4 percent higher than in the case of a traditional home. There will also be a yearly inspection that you will have to pay for and will be carried out to ensure that the House Boat can function well. The inspection costs around $300-500. The down payment will also be higher than in the case of a traditional home and hence you should be ready to pay around 35%in down payment.
2. Floating Home
In the case of a floating home, the loan terms are more similar to that of a traditional home. A floating home is connected to the utilities of the city and is therefore considered to be property rather than a vehicle. As the owner of a floating home, you will be required to pay taxes and depreciation will play an important role in determining the value of the home.
The price of a floating home, however, is higher than that of a traditional one. The interest rate that you will be paying on the loan for your floating home will be 1-2% higher than for a traditional home. The term of a loan taken on a floating home will be around 15 years and a minimum down payment of 20% will be required. Also, to be eligible for a loan on your floating home, you should have a credit score of at least 680.
Apart from the costs associated with financing the loan, there are also other costs that you will incur when you decide to choose a water-based lifestyle. Maintenance is generally costly when it comes to houses such as floating homes and houseboats. That is because when the house will be situated on the water, there will be more damages over the years. Also, you are also required to pay a monthly fee that is somewhat like a home owner’s association fee which is approximately $700.
Even though living on the water has its various advantages, the high costs associated with this kind of living can discourage people from choosing this route. Also, it is not uncommon for buyers to face difficulty in locating a lender that can help them finance their dream home. Because of their rarity in the market, the lenders have the power to charge higher rates than usual. Therefore, carefully considering all your options is a must when looking for financing options for your water-based home.
Understanding Subprime Mortgages
When seeking for financial assistance in the form of a Mortgage loan, it is imperative that the intended borrower has a good credit score to secure the ideal loan. In addition to a good credit score, a debt to income ratio of less than 35 percent is also required. Unfortunately, not all borrowers can meet such requirements because of their credit history and low income.
In such cases, borrowers can apply for a subprime mortgage which is specifically designed to offer assistance to people with low credit scores and other financial issues. In this article, we will explain what a subprime mortgage is, when you might need it and how to apply for it.
What is a Subprime Mortgage?
Many times borrowers with low income face difficulties while applying for a loan. A conventional mortgage requires the borrowers to have a good credit score and a steady income. However, a subprime mortgage is offered to people who have a credit score of 600 or below.
One would expect such a loan to be at a greater risk of default since the borrowers already have a bad history when it comes to the repayment of loans. This risk is compensated for at the beginning of the process by offering higher interest rates as compared to the conventional loans. In some cases, banks may also charge the borrowers in some other way, such as a greater down payment or a higher closing cost.
Types of Subprime Mortgage
Within the category of Subprime Mortgage, there are other subtypes to choose from. These are:
The main advantage of choosing this type of subprime mortgage is the longer term of repayment. Instead of the traditional 30 year period for the repayment, a fixed-interest mortgage allows the borrower to have a longer repayment period of 40 to 50 years.
This longer-term translates into reduced monthly payments for the buyer, however, since the lender has to compensate for the risk associated with the greater inability of the borrower to pay off the total amount, a higher interest rate is added. While choosing such a mortgage, it is important to find out the amount of interest rate that is being offered by different lenders and choose the one that offers the lowest.
2. Interest-Only Mortgage
An interest-only mortgage allows the borrower to have a period of 5, 7 or 10 years in which they are required to pay only the interest payments that are charged. Under such type of payment, the principal payment can be delayed and the borrower, if wishes, can regularly make payments towards the principal.
At the end of the term, the borrower is expected to pay off the mortgage or can refinance the mortgage. Such a mortgage is considered ideal for borrowers that are expecting to witness an increase in their income or an improvement in their financial condition over the years.
3. Dignity Mortgage
This kind of mortgage is considered to be relatively new and gives the borrower ease in paying off the principal amount. In the beginning, the borrower is required to pay about 10% of the principal amount. After this, if the borrower is found to be diligent in paying the regular interest payments for five years, the amount that has been paid in the form of a higher interest rate is compensated to pay off the principal amount by reducing the interest rate to the prime rate. This gives the borrower an opportunity to prove their ability to pay off the loan which is why the term “dignity’ is used.
4. Adjustable-Rate Mortgage
An Adjustable-Rate mortgage (ARM) uses a fixed interest rate at the beginning of the loan’s term after which the payment keeps changing and resetting according to an index. At the beginning of the repayment schedule, the borrower might be paying off a reduced amount. However, the unpredictable nature of such a mortgage does not give the borrower any guarantee about how the change might affect the payment schedule. There is a lot of unpredictability associated with such a mortgage due to its high dependence on the economic conditions and the index.
How to Get a Subprime Mortgage
When applying for a subprime mortgage, you will find the process to be extremely similar to the process that is followed when applying for a conventional mortgage. However, we have summarized the complete process of getting a subprime mortgage in the following steps:
- At the beginning of the process, it is important to consider your options by making a list of all the lenders that offer subprime mortgages. By looking at the interest rates offered by each lender, choose one that best meets your needs.
- Even though the documentation required in the case of subprime mortgage is not as complex as in the traditional mortgage, the lender will ask you for a steady proof of income, bank statements, and documents that reflect your monthly expenses.
- Read the contracts thoroughly and sign them.
- You might need to offer additional documents if the lender requires. Hence, you should not expect all the documents mentioned above to be sufficient and should be ready to gather and present any additional documents.
Pros and Cons of Subprime Mortgage
The biggest advantage of a subprime mortgage is the ability of borrowers with poor credit scores to get a loan and the less complex nature of the overall process as compared to that of a conventional one. Whereas, the disadvantages of subprime mortgage include, the higher interest rates and the requirement to show a steady income for borrowers who are presently unemployed.
Even though getting a subprime mortgage might be risky, as a borrower it allows you to have a more versatile mortgage option that you can use to buy a home for yourself without having to worry about your credit history or debt responsibilities. In case you expect your financial condition to improve shortly and are in need of temporary financial assistance getting a subprime mortgage is your best option.
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