Before the housing crisis of 2008 to 2009, anyone could easily get a mortgage. Lenders were not as strict with credit scores back then. The recession also caused interest rates to rise; many people were suddenly unable to for their loans.
Many homeowners lost their homes or got stuck underwater. As a result, the mortgage underwriting process became stricter and more complicated. Today, obtaining a mortgage—let alone buying a home—is far easier said than done.
However, it is still possible. You just need to prove to your lender that you are financially capable and prepared to pay off your loan. Here are some of the things you need to know before getting a mortgage:
Know your monthly income
The first step in applying for a mortgage is obtaining a document of your monthly income and debt payments. Remember, lenders want to know if you can meet and pay the monthly payments for the loan. Provide them at least two weeks of pay stubs.
If you’re self-employed or have variable income, you may have to submit copies of your past one or two tax returns. The lender will then calculate your income for the past two years. If you have large debt payments, such as auto loans, your mortgage may be lower than what you expect. It’s best to pay off your existing loans to get a better offer on your mortgage.
Submit your credit score and credit history report
These documents will be reviewed by the lender along with your monthly income. They want to know if you are consistent in making payments. Do you have any past dues with other loans?
Your credit score should also be at least 680 and preferably above 700. Anything less might necessitate a highly qualified cosigner to share the loan. It’s best to improve your credit score first before getting a mortgage. The lower your credit score, the higher the mortgage rate you’ll pay.
You can try an FHA loan if you have a credit score of under 680. These government-insured loans can allow you to pay lower monthly payments.
Also, don’t get a credit card during the months leading to your mortgage application. Banks may be suspicious of why you are piling on the new credit card.
Know how much you can afford and live within your means. A good rule is your total housing payment (including fees, taxes, and insurance) should be no more than 35% of your gross (pre-tax) income. Your monthly payment may be subjected to numerous variables. What you can do is create an estimate.
Also, figure out how much you can save for a downpayment. You can consider putting down 20 percent of the down payment. This protects your mortgage lender and avoids private mortgage insurance (PMI). Only commit to the amount you can take.
Getting a mortgage has been a lot stricter than before, but it is possible. Submit all the documents your lender will need and ensure that you have a good credit score. Remember to only commit to the amount you can pay every month.
ABC Mortgage Solutions is a brokerage firm for residential (Conventional Loans, FHA, VA, USDA, Jumbo, and Renovation loans) and business investor clients (Non-QM, Investor Cash Flow, Alternative Doc/No Tax Return and Commercial Loan Products). If you need any help with your housing loans, we can help you. Connect with us today!