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Mortgage rates are so low, why is it so hard to get one?

 

Mortgage interest rates are so crazy low that it seems like lenders are practically begging you to come and take their money to buy a home. Interest rates are hovering at levels that rival the lowest rates over the past 50 years. All indications from the powers that be (the Federal Reserve) indicate that rates probably won’t be jumping anytime too soon either? If this is the case then, why is the housing market still so lousy?

 

It is true that mortgage lenders really do want to loan you their money for a new home, they are just being really picky about it! The housing crash shed light on bad lending practices that brought down behemoth Wall Street banks and now the few left standing are being really careful. So how can you actually qualify for these fantastically low rates? Review this quick checklist:

 

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So you need to refinance a Conventional Mortgage?

You’re not alone. I’ve heard from hundreds of people about their interest rates coming up for adjustment on their 3, 5, 7 or 15 year interest only loans. The lower mortgage payments on these loans made them oh so tempting back when you were signing the note and deed on your home, but now the payment is about to, or already has, get or gotten really ugly. If you’ve tried to refinance in the past couple of years you’ve probably come across a problem or two, which leaves you unqualified for a much-needed refinance.

I’m sure a short sale or strategic foreclosure has crossed your mind but these should be done at an absolutely last resort. You may want to see if you can qualify for protection under the Housing and Mortgage Protection Act (HAMP). It’s a bit of a long shot but worth the try. If you qualify you could have a principle reduction or temporary lower mortgage payment applied to your mortgage. More than likely you are facing a lack of equity in your home or an ugly credit score.

Most of the recent legislation offering help to homeowners has applied to those with FHA home loans. With a conventional loan you are left out in the cold and facing a harder time qualifying for a refinance. You’re credit score as well as your credit history is two of the top few requirements to qualifying you for a refinance. Lenders are bumping their requirements on minimum credit scores thanks to incredibly low interest rates. It’s time to do everything you can to boost that score in the realm of the 700’s.

What to do:

1. Make all of your monthly mortgage payments on time - These types of late payments will not be received well by prospective lenders and are weighted more heavily than other types of late payments. If you are considering a short sale or foreclosure, WAIT! Let’s exhaust all other options first.

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So you need to refinance an FHA Mortgage?

Let’s look at the positives; at least you’re not trying to refinance a conventional mortgage! FHA loans have been made more easy to qualify for than they were a few years ago thanks to recent legislation. Typically one of the largest disqualifying factors is the homeowners credit score. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) requires a minimum credit score of 620 but good luck finding a lender willing to extend you a loan. Currently you’ll need a score anywhere north of 640.

In the past a low credit score plainly meant that you’d need to pay a higher interest rate, but these days it could mean facing the possibility of losing your home. If you find yourself struggling or unable to make your monthly mortgage, there is help out there. There are a handful of programs for struggling FHA homeowners. Check out www.HUD.gov for a comprehensive list as well as pertinent information.

By improving your credit rating you could qualify for a streamline refinance of your home. Yes, it is called a streamline because it is way more simplistic than a conventional refinance. It would be in your best interest to speak with a licensed mortgage professional to have your credit analyzed within the framework of the mortgage world. One piece of advice, avoid missing your mortgage payments if at all possible.

When refinancing, consider the various loan options available:

Fixed Rate Mortgages – The interest rate will never changed no matter what

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Considering being a first time homeowner - Consider all the factors

 

Imagining grassy lawns, picket fences and friendly neighbors? Dreaming of good schools for your kids and a comfortable home to retire in and pass on to your family? Homeownership is the hallmark of the American dream. Owning your own home can act as a 30-year savings investment plan and provide financial stability for your monthly budget and the foundation for your retirement plan. There really are a myriad of reasons why homeownership massively outweighs renting year to year.

Homeownership does also come with a few realities that dreamers like you don’t consider; which is fair! You don’t know what you don’t know quite yet. Owning your own home comes with a new list of responsibilities that you need to consider before purchasing that home and the maximum end of the amount your lender has approved you for. There are a bunch of new expenses to factor in both monthly and yearly that renters simply don’t have to deal with.

As the ink is still drying on your purchase contract you may be faced with a bunch of expenses you’ll have to dump right away into your new home. Consider the cost of having to replace a dishwasher, a leaky toilet or a bad showerhead. Don’t forget you may need to purchase your own appliances such as a refrigerator, washer, dryer or stove. For bigger repairs like a new air conditioner or a burst water heater you may want to consider purchasing a home warranty policy either through your title company at closing or through another company of your choosing.

That new home have a beautifully sparkling pool and the green lawn you were dreaming of? Well both take consistent effort to keep them as pristine as sale condition! Either plan on spending your weekends out doors or setting aside a couple hundred a month for landscapers and pool maintenance, not to mention higher monthly water bills for both.

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