Tag Archives: foreclosure

You ARE Worthy!

Life is hard, and at times, just not fair!  Things happen – whether it’s a job loss, divorce, decline in home values, medical emergency or death in the family.  These things wreak havoc with our financial well-being.

The above reasons, and I am sure many more, played a large role in people filing bankruptcy, losing their home to foreclosure, or for some, having to sell their homes as a short sale just to get out from under.  It’s tough, and for those of you who experienced these major set-backs, I am truly sorry you had to deal with such devastation!

ID-100142021You might be thinking your chances of owning a home for the first time, or ever again, will never happen after these experiences.  I am here to tell you that we all have second chances and you are worthy of being a homeowner!  But how?

First, it helps to know the general guidelines for loan qualification after a short sale, foreclosure or bankruptcy.  The guidelines vary by the type of loan you take out.  FHA, the Federal Housing Administration, will be more lenient than Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, which offer conventional loans.  Sometimes, there are extenuating circumstances that could lessen the wait period, but those are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Bankruptcy – home financing eligibility date is taken from the date the bankruptcy was discharged from the courts.  It is also dependent on the type of bankruptcy – Chapter 7 or 13.  I will advise for Chapter 7 bankruptcies, but the wait period may be less with a Chapter 13 if certain requirements are met.

  • FHA & VA:              2 years
  • Conventional:   4 years

Foreclosure – eligibility date is taken from the latter of the sheriff’s sale date or the date the claim was paid to FHA.  The claim date is only applicable if the loan foreclosed upon was FHA financing.  This date is usually 3-6 months after the sheriff’s sale.  Conventional financing could have a shorter waiting period depending on circumstances and other criteria.

  • FHA:                          3 years
  • VA:                             2 years
  • Conventional:    7 years

Short Sale – eligibility date is the date the sale of the home took place.  The waiting periods are the same as a foreclosure, except with conventional, where the waiting period can vary depending on the circumstances, as well as the amount of money you have down.

Once you’re over that waiting period, then what?  As lenders, we certainly want to see that you’ve re-established credit.  We understand that your credit and finances took a beating during that time – it happens!  But, we want to see that you came out in a better place.  We’re looking for on-time payments and a lack of derogatory credit, such as collections or charge offs.

Long and short of it – you ARE worthy, and after having a bankruptcy, short sale or foreclosure in your past, there is hope of becoming a homeowner!  We’d love to help!

*Image compliments of Stuart Miles — freedigitalphotos.net


You … from the Underwriter’s Perspective – The First “C”

Do you cringe or shudder when you hear the word “underwriter?”   Do they seem like an untouchable person?  Almost like the Wizard of Oz?  It’s not a bad word and certainly not someone to fear.  As a matter of fact, good underwriters are actually our allies.  They want to help people buy homes.  But how do they do that?

In the mortgage world, we have something called the 4 C’s.  These are the things that an riskunderwriter reviews to determine your credit worthiness and ability to get a loan.  The first “C,” and I would say the most important “C,” is Credit.

The first step is looking at your score.  Score requirements differ based on the loan type you’re doing.  In general, a 620 middle score is required for FHA financing and usually we need 680 for conventional financing.  Some programs,  including first time buyer programs, require a 640 score.  Scores aren’t created equal — in general, the more history and on-time paid accounts you have, the better.  This isn’t a suggestion to go open accounts to get more credit; that could actually bring your scores down. And so you know, scores can range from about 300-900.  The higher the better, of course!

This is just part of what the underwriter looks at.  It should go without saying that your payment history is key, so making payments on time is incredibly important.  The underwriter is primarily concerned with the last 12 months.  Consistent lates are a problem, but sometimes, if they are confined to window of time, you may be able to write an explanation to tell the underwriter the “why” it happened and the “why” it won’t happen again.

What about that collection account that was put on your report years ago?  This depends on the size of the collection and what it was from.  Medical collections are something we can ignore, but a collection that was in the last 12 months or so, may require that you pay it off.  Lots of collections are a cause of concern for an underwriter. There are items called profit and loss accounts too — which means the creditor wrote off the past due amount.  Next step is for this to go to collection.  These typically need to be paid.

How about disputes?  Most people aren’t aware they have disputes.  You may have one if you disagreed with a bad mark on your report or disagreed with anything that the creditor reported.  Disputes  stop the account from affecting your score – positively or negatively.  This is why lenders don’t want to see them on the report and will require, that with your lender’s help, the verbiage is removed from the respective accounts.  While in the loan process, make sure you don’t dispute anything.

Are you an authorized user on an account?  This means that someone, usually your parents, may have added you to an account to help you with credit, like a gas card.  You’re not responsible for this account or this balance, so it’s not actually helping or hurting you.  It doesn’t affect your scores, but is something lenders remove from their reports or we will have to count the monthly debt against you.

And last, what about major derogatory items — bankruptcies, foreclosures, short sales or judgments?  These can absolutely be deal breakers.  Judgments will actually need to be paid and typically prior to closing on the house.  Regarding the other items, each loan type has different waiting periods from the date the event occurred.  Not only that, the underwriter will look for a good letter of explanation as to why the it occurred and you must have re-established good credit.

This isn’t an all-inclusive list of what the underwriter is looking for, but it’s a good start.  Knowing and understanding your credit is the first step to homeownership.  I am happy to help you prepare for meeting today’s credit guidelines.  And come back to read about the next “C” — Capacity. 

An Unseen Hazard with Buying a Foreclosure … the Deal that didn’t Close

With so many foreclosures in the marketplace, you are bound to purchase one.  Thing about foreclosures is the process can be a little trying.  There are a few reasons for this.  First, you’re dealing with a bank, so timeliness is not always a priority on their part.  You may not get a decision on your offer as quickly as you’d like.  Sometimes, banks will set a date purchase agreements are due requesting the “highest and best” offers.  This means they’re looking for multiple offers and in this instance, they may have originally priced the home lower than market to create this frenzy.  It is what it is and if it’s a home you want, you have to play by their rules.

Another thing you can expect with a foreclosure is an “as-is” addendum.  This means that you are buying the house without a seller’s disclosure and in most instances, the bank won’t fix anything if there are any issues with your inspection or appraisal.  Oh, and speaking of inspections … just because it’s sold as-is does not mean you can’t get one or make your offer contingent on one.  It’s still highly recommended.  Let me give credit to some banks out there.  Some WILL do repairs which can be beneficial to you.  Also, just because it’s bank-owned doesn’t mean you can’t ask the bank to cover some or all of your costs.  A good Realtor will be able to advise you on this aspect of your purchase agreement.

guy with houseThe reason a bank completes an as-is addendum, is they have no knowledge of the home.  They’ve never lived there and I’d be shocked if anyone from the bank has even been to the house.  So, if there was previous water damage, storm damage or anything that may negatively affect the home, they won’t know about it.  Typically, there is no personal property offered in these deals.  For instance, if the kitchen still has the appliances, they cannot guarantee they will be in the home when it transfers to you.  If they happen to be there when you move in — woohoo — extra bonus!

When working with the banks on these foreclosures, you can expect, in most cases, that the bank will require you to close with a title company they have chosen.  The bank will run all their transactions through this title company for ease and for familiarity.  Typically, the bank will offer to pay your owner’s title policy.  So you know, the bank may require you to close with their chosen company, though by law, you technically CAN choose your own company.  I would highly recommend you get a solid recommendation from your agent or lender.  Many title companies will adjust their fees to compete with the bank’s company.  I deal with title companies all the time and I know who performs and who could use a little work.  Those that can use a little work are not all bad.  There may be delays in getting paperwork or closing scheduled, but it eventually gets done.

Sometimes, it doesn’t.  Here’s what happened that should have never happened.  A recent transaction I had didn’t close on it’s desired close date and then didn’t close a week later.  It wasn’t the client’s fault.  It wasn’t due to financing — package and funds were there.  It wasn’t due to the Realtors not doing their job — they did all they could.  It ALL had to do with the title company.  This “title company” had no presence in MN.  The people were slow to answer emails and rarely answered phones.  They didn’t meet with clients, but sent a notary — very impersonal.  Not only that, the title work was “outsourced” which made matters worse.

Needless to say, we needed some paperwork, which took a few weeks to get after persistent emails and calls.  We needed the closing to be scheduled so we knew when to date the closing paperwork and the buyers knew when to be available — never was set.  Since we finally had the necessary paperwork, the agents and client set a date; we sent the package and wired funds.  It’s typical for the title company to provide a HUD to the lender for approval.  The HUD is the itemization of the settlement charges.  We spent the morning of the “rescheduled” closing date burning the phones up to the closer, as well as emailing.  Nothing.  Right after lunch, we requested the wire be sent back since there was no response or HUD.  Low and behold … a response with a request to give them some time as they are working on the HUD.  That was it, the last communication.  I am not sure why an extra week wasn’t enough time.  Come Monday we still didn’t have the wire back.

Seems pretty bad, huh?  It is unacceptable to have such poor communication.  In the 16 helpyears I have originated loans, I have NEVER experienced such disregard to all the people involved.  If you think the above is bad … the following is worse.  The family moved from their apartment, had their lives in a truck, their kids hours away with family and no place to go expecting to close on the date set in the purchase agreement.   So, that week the buyers had to pay to store their stuff and live in a hotel, with many days of frustration and uncertainty.  Who wants to go through this?  They didn’t deserve this.  The day the funds were at the title company, we waited … and waited … and the return calls never happened nor did the HUD arrive.  The buyers moved on and are now renting month to month.  They had to, had to provide a home for their children and stop waiting for a closing that wasn’t happening.  Why?  Because a title company couldn’t get their ducks in a row, didn’t have the same customer-focus as the others involved and didn’t have the desire to make it happen.

How could this have been prevented?  Bucking the system with the bank and choosing their own title company.  Does this mean everything would have been rosy?  Not necessarily, but it would have meant familiarity by those who matter — the buyers, agents and mortgage company.  It would  have meant the personal touch of having a person to talk to, someone to depend on and someone to sit across from who knows the programs and can explain the paperwork — not just a notary to stamp after each signature — which is how they planned to handle the signing.  These people could have saved hundreds, not to mention all the time lost in work, on the phone and away from their children.  How do they get that back?  How can they be compensated for what they lost?  They can’t and that is a shame.

Working with the right people doesn’t just mean your Realtor and loan officer.  EVERYONE involved in the transaction needs to have the same goals in mind … YOUR goals in mind.  This obviously includes the title company.  As you can see, they can make or break a transaction — a preventable situation.  I am hopeful that this family can get their lives back in order and I truly hope they can trust again to take that magical step of owning their first home.  They actually gave the title company one more shot and … of course, they still didn’t close.   I pray homeownership happens, as everyone deserves to own a home and more importantly, everyone deserves to be treated fairly, like they matter and be given the common courtesy of great communication.