How Long Is Mortgage Pre-Approval Good For?

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If you want to show sellers you’re seriously interested in buying their home, getting mortgage pre-approval is a critical first step. It proves that, after digging through your financials, a lender is willing to give you money to buy a house.

“Getting pre-approved is a great way to differentiate yourself when making an offer,” says Linda Walters, a Realtor® in Wayne, PA.

Unfortunately, a pre-approval isn’t a one-and-done process. In fact, if your home search drags on for several months, there’s a chance your pre-approval won’t be valid after a certain point. Let’s explore how long a pre-approval letter remains valid and what to do if yours expires before you find a house.

Pre-approval vs. pre-qualification

It’s important to understand that pre-approval is different from pre-qualification.

To get pre-approval, the lender will review your financial information such as bank statements, pay stubs, W-2s or 1099s, a year or two of your tax returns, and your credit report. Once the numbers are crunched, the lender will provide you with a pre-approval letter certifying you are qualified to borrow a certain amount of money at a certain interest rate. Pre-approval does not lock you into a deal with a lender; in fact, it’s wise to speak to a couple of lenders before signing a mortgage.

On the flip side, getting pre-qualified for a loan is much less of a financial deep-dive. The lender simply estimates what you’d probably qualify for based on information you provide about your income, debts, and assets. It’s good information to have if you’re not sure you can get a mortgage, but it doesn’t mean as much to sellers as pre-approval does.

mortgage tilesWhy mortgage pre-approval matters

“If you want to purchase a home, you will have to demonstrate that you are financially able to buy it,” says Cathy Baumbusch, a Realtor in Alexandria, VA. “It doesn’t make sense to look for properties to purchase without first knowing what price range you qualify for and are able to purchase,” she says.

If you are in a competitive market, a pre-approval letter is often needed for your offer to be taken seriously.

How long does your mortgage pre-approval last?

It varies from lender to lender, but mortgage pre-approval is typically valid for about 90 days, according to Baumbusch. Your letter will have a date on it, after which it is no longer valid.

The reason pre-approval letters “expire” is because banks need the most up-to-date information about your salary, assets, and debts. Three months is long enough that you could have left a job, taken on new debts, or spent what was previously in your bank account.

In fact, even if you’re pre-approved, most lenders will want an updated set of pay stubs and bank statements around the time of closing. Hey, nobody ever said getting a mortgage was easy!

mortgage house keyring

What do you do if your mortgage pre-approval has expired?

If you’re still house hunting past the expiration date on your pre-approval letter, you just need to get another one. If you go to the same lender, it “can be updated by reverification of your financial documents,” says Sheree Landerman, a Realtor in Farmington, CT.

You will need to provide updated pay stubs and bank statements, but if nothing major has changed in your financial world, it should be no problem to get a fresh pre-approval letter from your lender.

shared from realtor .com, written by By Audrey Ference

3 Questions To Ask Before You Buy Your Dream Home

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If you are debating purchasing a home right now, you are probably getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family will have your best interests at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in the real estate market.

Ask yourself the following 3 questions to help determine if now is a good time for you to buy in today’s market.

1. Why am I buying a home in the first place? 

This is truly the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with money.

For example, a survey by Braun showed that over 75% of parents say, “their child’s education is an important part of the search for a new home.”

This survey supports a study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University which revealed that the top four reasons Americans buy a home have nothing to do with money. They are:

  • A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education
  • A place where you and your family feel safe
  • More space for you and your family
  • Control of that space

What does owning a home mean to you? What non-financial benefits will you and your family gain from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.

2. Where are home values headed?

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median price of homes sold in May (the latest data available) was $252,800, which is up 5.8% from last year. This increase also marks the 63rd consecutive month with year-over-year gains.

If we look at home prices year over year, CoreLogic is forecasting an increase of 5.3% over the next twelve months. In other words, a home that costs you $250,000 today will cost you an additional $13,250 if you wait until next year to buy it.

What does that mean to you?

Simply put, with prices increasing each month, it might cost you more if you wait until next year to buy. Your down payment will also need to be higher in order to account for the higher price of the home you wish to buy. 

3. Where are mortgage interest rates headed?

A buyer must be concerned about more than just prices. The ‘long-term cost’ of a home can be dramatically impacted by even a small increase in mortgage rates.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), NAR, and Fannie Mae have all projected that mortgage interest rates will increase over the next twelve months, as you can see in the chart below:

3 Questions to Ask Before You Buy Your Dream Home | Keeping Current Matters

What does this mean to you and your family?

Only you and your family will know for certain if now is the right time to purchase a home. Answering these questions will help you make that decision.

5 Reasons Why You Should Not For Sale By Owner!

In today’s market, with home prices rising and a lack of inventory, some homeowners may consider trying to sell their homes on their own, known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). There are several reasons why this might not be a good idea for the vast majority of sellers.

no to FSBO

Here are the top five reasons:

1. Exposure to Prospective Buyers 

Recent studies have shown that 94% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 16% looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?

2. Results Come from the Internet

Where did buyers find the homes they actually purchased?

  • 51% on the internet
  • 34% from a Real Estate Agent
  • 8% from a yard sign
  • 1% from newspapers

The days of selling your house by just putting up a sign and putting it in the paper are long gone. Having a strong internet strategy is crucial.

3. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With 

Here is a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to For Sale by Owner:

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
  • The appraiser if there is a question of value

4. FSBOing Has Become More And More Difficult

The paperwork involved in selling and buying a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons that the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years. 

The 8% share represents the lowest recorded figure since NAR began collecting data in 1981.

Garry-Headshot

5. You Net More Money When Using an Agent 

Many homeowners believe that they will save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.

Studies have shown that the typical house sold by the homeowner sells for $185,000, while the typical house sold by an agent sells for $245,000. This doesn’t mean that an agent can get $60,000 more for your home, as studies have shown that people are more likely to FSBO in markets with lower price points. However, it does show that selling on your own might not make sense.

What does this mean to you?

Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, sit with a real estate professional in your marketplace and see what they have to offer.

176 Sand Cherry Street – Brighton, CO

Welcome to 176 Sand Cherry Street in Brighton, Colorado!  A lovely 3 bedroom and 4 bath home in over 3500 square feet!

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This home boasts fwo full size master bedrooms- one on main, one on the upper level- both w/large walk-in closets & luxurious 5-piece master en suites.

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Each level has own laundry rooms!

Open & vaulted kitchen, dining, family room area. Granite counters, upgraded stainless appliance package, dbl ovens, large island, walk-in pantry.

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Wood floors on entire main level.

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Some features to mention are upgraded lighting & plumbing fixtures, doors & trim. The home has a high efficiency furnace, electronic air cleaner, water softener.

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An added bonus is the custom deck with lighted hot tub.  (MLS#827282, asking #399,900)

 

16201 Ginger Avenue, Mead, CO

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Welcome to 16201 Ginger Avenue in Mead.  This home features 3 bedrooms and 3 baths  in Mead’s popular neighborhood of Western Meadows.

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You will agree this home is spotless and shows as such with it’s clean and tidy set up.

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On the main level you will find wood flooring, vaulted ceiling and an oversized master bedroom suite with large walk-in closet.  The laundry room, complete with folding table, is also located on this level.

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The lower level features a generous family room that walks out to a large patio.  Enjoy the beautiful Colorado mountain views that we love so much, from the patio.

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Additional features include a spacious 3-car garage and an unfinished basement ready for you to put your own touches on.

This home has fantastic curb appeal, beautifully manicured landscaping and a private fire-pit area – perfect for year around use!

 

 

 

7 Key Things That Help You Qualify For A Mortgage

A SHARED ARTICLE WRITTEN BY MICHELE LERNER

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In an environment where lenders are highly regulated and risk-averse, borrowers are rightfully a little nervous when they apply for a mortgage. But with the right preparation, qualifying for a home loan can be a rewarding experience in your journey toward homeownership.

“In a lot of ways, lenders have gone back to the basics, looking at fundamental personal finance criteria to decide who qualifies for a loan,” says Rick Sharga, chief marketing officer of Ten-X, an online real estate marketplace in Irvine, California.

At the same time, Sharga says lenders have been more risk-averse than ever since the housing bust.

A.W. Pickel, III, Midwest division president of AmCap Mortgage in Kansas City, Missouri, recommends finding a loan officer you can trust and sticking with that person during your entire homebuying process.

“A good loan officer is like a pilot flying you and your loan from Kansas City to Hawaii,” Pickel says. “There are several ways to get there and several things that can happen on the way. A good loan officer has seen the turbulence and knows where the smooth air is.”

7 steps toward a loan approval

The back-to-basics approach by lenders means that borrowers can take steps that increase their chances of a mortgage approval.

Improving your credit, reducing your debt and gathering your documentation are among the many things you can do long before a loan application to increase the likelihood of getting a “yes” from a lender.

1. Maintain a high credit score. The average FICO score for an approved borrower is around 720 for a conventional loan and close to 700 for an FHA-insured loan, says Sharga. He says borrowers should find out their FICO score before applying for a loan, make sure their credit report is correct and take steps to improve their score if necessary. Pickel says he recently reviewed a loan file with a high debt-to-income ratio of 49 percent but a credit score over 800, which resulted in a loan approval.

Keep a vigilant eye on your credit profile while you wait for your loan to close, too.

“Once the application process has begun, borrowers shouldn’t do anything that might negatively impact their credit rating — no new accounts, no late or missed payments,” says Sharga.

2. Save for a bigger down payment. One way to minimize risk for a lender is to make a higher-than-minimum down payment. “The average down payment today is around 10 percent; historically the standard has been 20 percent,” says Sharga. “Anything above that lowers the loan-to-value ratio, which is viewed positively.”

3. Choose the right loan. If you have less money for a down payment but have good credit, you may qualify for a conventional loan with private mortgage insurance and a down payment requirement of 3 to 5 percent.

You may want to look for a lender who issues FHA loans, which are often available to borrowers with less cash or a lower credit score and require a down payment of 3.5 percent. Keep in mind these loans require a monthly mortgage insurance payment in addition to principal and interest, Sharga says.

4. Manage your debt. Lenders are reluctant to issue loans that fall outside qualified mortgage rules established by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB), says Sharga. These loans have a strict cap of a 43 percent debt-to-income ratio, which is the percentage of your gross monthly income that goes toward the minimum payment on all your debt, including your mortgage.

Paying off credit card balances or at least reducing debt before applying for a home loan is helpful.

5. Buy within your means. “Be realistic with your monthly income,” Pickel says. “Buy a house with a monthly payment you can afford. Buying a house that needs the income from two or three future raises will only cause stress.”

It matters that you can afford your payments and have remaining income after those payments are made, he says.

6. Demonstrate stability. Lenders look for signs of personal and financial stability, such as whether you’ve saved three to six months’ worth of expenses in the bank, whether you have a steady employment record and how often you’ve moved over the past few years, Sharga says. Your good credit score and a pattern of saving money are both indicators of financial strength.

7. Respond fast to lender requests. The CFPB’s ability-to-repay rule requires lenders to verify whether a borrower has the means to handle loan payments, says Sharga. This requires you to have all your financial records in order, including pay stubs, bank records, tax returns and more. Sharga says incomplete documentation is a common reason for loans being declined.

“If the loan officer asks for it, then bring it,” says Pickel. “Sometimes people don’t want to say they can’t find something or they don’t want to look for it, but it really helps to have all the information that the loan officer requests. This will help expedite the process.”

While it should go without saying, honesty is an essential component of a loan approval.

“No one likes surprises, especially loan underwriters,” says Pickel. “Tell the truth, even if it hurts. It will help even if it means that you don’t qualify today.”

Michele Lerner has been writing about real estate, personal finance and business topics for more than two decades and contributes articles about mortgages at MoneyGeek.com. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post and online at Fox Business News, Forbes BrandVoices, NewHomeSource.com, MSN.com, and Yahoo.com.

Garry’s Thoughts

If you are renting now you are very familiar with the high cost of rental rates in this sizzling real estate market.  This article will help with laying the ground work for qualifying for a mortgage to purchasing your own home plus the mortgage payment will most likely be less than what you are paying in rent right now.

Millions of Owners Are Missing Out on Savings

Nearly 4.5 million borrowers are eligible to refinance and could lock in savings on their monthly mortgage payments but have not taken advantage, according to a new report from Black Knight Financial Services.

The average borrower stands to save $260 a month. Nearly 700,000 borrowers could save $400 or more per month, the report shows.

“The recent pause in the upward movement of interest rates continues to encourage late-to-the-game borrowers to refinance,” says Lynn Fisher, the Mortgage Banker Association’s vice president of research and economics.

But many owners are not refinancing, despite the potential savings.

“Our data doesn’t tell us about motivation,” says Ben Graboske, senior vice president of data and analytics at Black Knight Financial Services. “It leaves us to surmise that the reason is apathy, lack of awareness, and education.”

Some homeowners may still be underwater on their home loans, owing more than what the home is currently worth. Other owners may have a low credit score that is blocking them from taking advantage of lower rates.

Still, owners likely will have more time to take advantage. “I don’t think this will be the last opportunity [to refinance into a low rate], but I don’t have a crystal ball,” says Graboske. “There are enough pressures in the market—lenders getting more efficient—that we’re going to have competitive rates around for awhile.”

Source: “Reason to Refinance: 4 Million Homeowners Are Leaving $1 Billion on the Table,” CNBC (June 22, 2017)

Garry Thoughts

Whether you are a first time home buyer or a seasoned homeowner these suggestions make sense and we can all hear this information from time  to time.

Home Security Tips for the Summer

An increase in burglaries during the summer months means it’s time to help safeguard your clients’ homes while they’re away for the season or absent while selling. Ooma, a smart home phone and security company, offers six tips for preventing break-ins.

  1. Front door surveillance. Because 34 percent of break-ins happen through the front door of a home, recommend that your clients install a smart doorbell that routes to their phone. Other security options Ooma mentions include two-way speakers that will give visitors the impression the owner is home, or video cameras so your clients can see who’s at the door from their phone.
  2. Secured windows. The second most common break-in location is a first floor window, the access point of 23 percent of burglars. Ooma recommends installing sash locks and wireless motion sensors that will alert the homeowner if a window is opened or broken.
  3. Don’t forget the AC unit. Pushing in a window air conditioning unit is another common break-in method. Suggest motion sensors near the AC unit, or tell your clients to remove the unit while they’re away, Ooma says.
  4. Barring patio and sliding glass doors. Sliding doors should not only be locked, but should also have a barrier bar in the tracks. Ooma suggests homeowners place motion detectors in this area as well.
  5. Leave the lights on. The goal is to make the home appear lived in, even if your clients are vacationing or have already moved out. Ooma recommends smart lights that homeowners can control from their phone, or at the very least, light timers.
  6. Call 911 from afar. A homeowner trying to reach the police from a remote location can take valuable minutes. Home security companies, including Ooma, offer remote 911 calling.

Source: Ooma Home Security

Shared from DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS

Garry Thoughts

With summer upon us and many taking vacations, it’s important that you keep your home secure, especially while your home is listed on the market.  This list is a good start to a safe home.  Remember to always verify with your Listing Company who is showing your home!

Americans Want to Hear More on Affordability

“In many ways, housing is an invisible crisis,” says Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “There are still too many families without access to safe, secure, and affordable housing. This survey highlights the value all of us place on a decent place to call home and underscores the critical need to increase access to affordable housing.”

According to the survey, nine out of 10 Americans say owning a home is one of their greatest achievements in life. Also, 68 percent of U.S. renters say owning a home is one of their chief goals, according to the survey. PSB, on behalf of Habitat for Humanity, surveyed 1,000 people in the U.S. and Canada to gauge their perceptions of and challenges to affordable housing.

Ninety-one percent of American homeowners credited owning a home with making them more responsible, and 44 percent said it helped them build a nest egg. Forty-one percent say homeownership has given them stability.

But homeownership remains out of reach for many. Nine out of 10 Americans and Canadians say it’s important to find solutions to the lack of affordable housing. At 59 percent, concerns regarding U.S. affordability in particular easily topped other housing issues like safety (16%) and quality (11%).

One major barrier to homeownership cited among survey respondents: the high costs of rent. Eighty-four percent of survey respondents said the high cost of rent was preventing them from buying, followed by 75 percent who said obtaining a mortgage was proving to be a big barrier.

Many of the survey respondents said they’ve struggled to pay housing costs at some point in their life. Among U.S. respondents, 27 percent of respondents said they struggled to pay housing costs in their 20s; 22 percent in their 30s; 11 percent in their 40s; and 9 percent in their 50s.

Source: “Nine Out of 10 Americans and Canadians Call for Affordable Housing Solutions,” Habitat for Humanity (June 20, 2017)

Shared from DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS

Garry’s Thoughts

It seems hard to believe in our market here in Colorado and how housing prices have been increasing over the past 3 years but here is a short list of areas in the country where housing prices are actually dropping.

First-Time Buyers Face New Competition

Investors are scouring real estate markets looking for low-priced homes, and they’re increasingly stepping on the toes of first-time buyers, who are hunting in the same price range. “The investor is starting to gobble up pretty much anything under $200,000,” Dennis Cisterna, chief revenue officer for Investability Real Estate, which markets rental homes, told The Dallas Morning News. “We are not adding any new supply to the market to serve that first-time home buyer.”

Housing inventories are at the lowest level in 30 years, and the shortages are most pronounced in the low and middle price ranges. “We are losing inventory at a record pace and in the segment of the market with the most demand,” says Javier Vivas, a realtor.com® analyst.

Investors comprised 33 percent of all single-family and condo sales in 2016, the highest percentage ever recorded by real estate data firm ATTOM Data Solutions. “This is setting the stage for a boom in single-family rentals,” says Daren Blomquist, an economist at ATTOM.

But while institutional investors dominated the rental housing market after the housing crash, they’re increasingly being priced out of markets such as Denver and Dallas. Smaller mom-and-pop investors are now stepping in to take their place. “The investors are competing for those starter homes,” Blomquist says, adding that 61 percent of investor purchases are for homes between 1,000 and 2,000 square feet.

Investors also tend to pay cash, which is making it difficult for first-time buyers who need financing to compete. About 19 million single-family homes in the U.S. are now owned by investors, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.

Source: “First-Time Buyers Hunting Affordable Housing are up Against Property Investors … and Losing,” The Dallas Morning News (June 16, 2017)

Shared from: DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS

Garry’s Thoughts

This article is great as it describes the fact that First Time Homebuyers are being forced out of the market.  This is due largely because housing values are increasing so significantly and buyer’s aren’t able to qualify for the average sale price of homes in the Front Range area. We are finding that an FHA loan or even a low down-payment conventional financed loan cannot compete against an investor cash offer who will use the home as a rental property. I am seeing a large percentage of investors taking their money out of their stock market investment portfolios and reinvesting in real estate.