|In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes outnumbers the number of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, understanding your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if your dream home is within your reach.
Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the ‘My Home’ section of their website:
One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with local lenders who will be able to help you through this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.” Aside from the application information it is very important to obtain some upfront expectations on price point, payment amount and cash to close.
Freddie Mac describes the ‘4 Cs’ that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:
Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.
Many potential homebuyers either underestimate or overestimate the down payment and credit scores necessary to qualify for a mortgage today. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so. Ask us about our Home Express Mortgage Plan and how this can save you time and money in the home buying process.
- The average down payment for first-time homebuyers is only 6%!
- Despite mortgage interest rates being over 4%, rates are still below historic numbers.
- 88% of property managers raised their rents in the last 12 months!
- The credit score requirements for mortgage approval continue to fall.
The Aspiring Home Buyers Profile from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that the American public is still somewhat confused about what is required to qualify for a home mortgage loan in today’s housing market. The results of the survey show that non-homeowners cite the main reason for not currently owning a home, as not being able to afford one.
This brings us to two major misconceptions that we want to address today.
1. Down Payment
NAR’s survey revealed that consumers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the report, 39% of non-homeowners say they believe they need more than 20% for a down payment on a home purchase. In actuality, there are many loans written with a down payment of 3% or less.
Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with new programs that have emerged allowing less cash out of pocket.
2. FICO® Scores
An Ipson survey revealed that 62% of respondents believe they need excellent credit to buy a home, with 43% thinking a “good credit score” is over 780. In actuality, the average FICO® scores of approved conventional and FHA mortgages are much lower.
The average conventional loan closed in August had a credit score of 752, while FHA mortgages closed with a score of 683. The average across all loans closed in August was 724. The chart below shows the distribution of FICO® Scores for all loans approved in August.
If you are a prospective buyer who is ‘ready’ and ‘willing’ to act now, but are not sure if you are ‘able’ to, let’s sit down to help you understand your true options.
- Many buyers are purchasing a home with a down payment as little as 3%.
- You may already qualify for a loan, even if you don’t have perfect credit.
- Take advantage of the knowledge of your local professionals who are there to help you determine how much you can afford.
We previously informed you about a study conducted by TransUnion titled, “The Bubble, the Burst and Now – What Happened to the Consumer?” The study revealed that 1.5 million homeowners who were negatively impacted by the housing crisis could re-enter the housing market between 2016-2019.
Recently, HousingWire analyzed data from the US Bankruptcy Courts and revealed that 6 million Americans will have their bankruptcies disappear off their credit reports over the next five years and that this could “possibly send a flood of more homebuyers into the housing market.”
The chart below shows the total number of bankruptcies filed by year in the US over the last 10 years. The light blue bars represent over 3.3 million people who have already waited the 7 years necessary for their reports to no longer include their bankruptcies.
How would this “send a flood of more homebuyers into the housing market”?
As the article mentioned, in 2010 the number of chapter 7 bankruptcies increased to nearly 1.14 million. Now, 7 years later, they will begin to fade from credit histories, enabling prospective buyers to become homeowners again once their credit scores improve.
As we can see from both reports, the homeownership rate has the opportunity to increase drastically over the next few years with all of these boomerang buyers returning to the market.
If your family was negatively impacted by the housing bust, here is the light at the end of the tunnel! You may be able to purchase your dream home faster than you think!
- Interest rates are still below historic numbers.
- 88% of property managers raised their rent in the last 12 months!
- The credit score requirements for mortgage approval continue to fall.
In Realtor.com’s recent article, “Home Buyers’ Top Mortgage Fears: Which One Scares You?” they mention that “46% of potential home buyers fear they won’t qualify for a mortgage to the point that they don’t even try.”
Myth #1: “I Need a 20% Down Payment”
Buyers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the First Quarter 2017 Homeownership Program Index (HPI) from Down Payment Resource, saving for a down payment was the barrier that kept 70% of renters from buying.
Rob Chrane, CEO of Down Payment Resource had this to say,
“There are many mortgage-ready renters today, but they don’t know it. Often, homebuyers remain sidelined for years due to the down payment.”
Many believe that they need at least 20% down to buy their dream home, but programs are available that allow buyers put down as little as 3%. Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with new programs that have emerged allowing less cash out of pocket.
Myth #2: “I Need a 780 FICO® Score or Higher to Buy”
The survey revealed that 59% of Americans either don’t know (54%) or are misinformed (5%) about what FICO® score is necessary to qualify.
Many Americans believe a ‘good’ credit score is 780 or higher.
To help debunk this myth, let’s take a look at Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insight Report, which focuses on recently closed (approved) loans.
As you can see in the chart above, 53.2% of approved mortgages had a credit score of 600-749.
Whether buying your first home or moving up to your dream home, knowing your options will make the mortgage process easier. Your dream home may already be within your reach.