Tag Archive Lending

Use Your VA Loan – YOU EARNED IT!!!

Broad Requirements
• The applicant must be an eligible veteran who has available entitlement.
• The loan must be for an eligible purpose.
• The veteran must occupy or intend to occupy the property as a home within a reasonable period of time after closing the loan. There are exceptions and workarounds in some cases. Talk with a lender about your particular occupancy situation.
• The veteran must be a satisfactory credit risk.
• The income of the veteran and spouse, if any, must be shown to be stable and sufficient to meet the mortgage payments, cover the costs of owning a home, take care of other obligations and expenses, and have enough left over for family support.

Credit & DTI Ratio
The VA doesn’t require a specific credit score for veterans and military members who want to use this benefit. But VA lender typically will, and it’s often around a 620. Credit score requirements can be different among lenders. Similarly, lenders will compute debt-to-income (DTI) ratios. This measure is a snapshot of a borrower’s monthly debts and payments compared to his or her gross monthly income. Despite the VA’s preference for borrowers to have a 41 percent DTI ratio or lower, lenders will often allow for higher DTI ratios. That, too, can be different depending on the lender.

Residual income

VA also has a requirement for residual income, or monthly income remaining after all major debts and obligations are paid. Residual income is measured to ensure borrowers and their families will have enough money to cover basic living costs (e.g. food, transportation), and amounts vary based on family size and part of the country. The VA loan program’s success in terms of low foreclosure rate is due in part to these residual income requirements.

VA Appraisal

Once the buyer gets under contract on a home, a VA appraisal is conducted to assess the market value and condition of the property. The VA appraisal is a required step in the process and isn’t the same as home inspection, which is more thorough but not required. A home inspection is usually a good investment and can be done before the lender orders the independent appraisal.
The VA appraisal provides an estimate of the value of the property compared to the price of comparable homes. The appraiser will also check the property’s condition against the VA’s Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs). The VA wants to help ensure veterans buy homes that are safe and sound. Being familiar with MPRs will curtail frustrations if any red flags while you’re home shopping. Properties that are valued below what you agree to pay present an issue. Generally, veterans can seek a Reconsideration of Value, make up the difference themselves or walk away from the purchase and look for another home. Some property condition issues will need to get fixed before the loan can close.

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What Loan is Right For You?

CONVENTIONAL / FIXED RATE MORTGAGE
Conventional fixed rate loans are a safe bet because of their consistency — the monthly payments won’t change over the life of your loan. This is your standard, plain-vanilla mortgage. Typical in 15 and 30 year terms there are options for as low as 3% down payment with mortgage insurance. A standard 20% down conventional loan is without mortgage insurance.

FHA LOANS
These are mortgages guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration. They come with built-in mortgage insurance to protect against the possibility of not being able to repay the loan. The required down payments are currently a minimum of 3.5% with these loans.

VA LOANS
These loans make it easier for veterans of the U.S. armed forces, and sometimes their spouses, to buy homes. They don’t require a down payment and are guaranteed by the Department of Veteran Affairs. There is a VA funding fee which is rolled into the loan.

INTEREST-ONLY MORTGAGE
Interest-only mortgages give you the option, during the first five or 10 years, to pay only the interest portion of your monthly payment instead of the full payment. You aren’t required do this. This slows down your repayment time but can be useful in a pinch. Afterward, the rest of the mortgage is paid off in full like a conventional mortgage.

ADJUSTABLE RATE MORTGAGE (ARM)
There are many different ARMs. The basic idea is that their interest rate changes over time throughout the life of the loan. The rate changes reflect changes in the economy and the cost of borrowing money. A common ARM is called the 5/1 loan — the interest rate stays the same for the first five years and then is free to change for the remaining 25 years.

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