Could spot condo approval return for FHA?

 Owner-occupied, Regulations, Residential Mortgage  Comments Off on Could spot condo approval return for FHA?
Oct 242016
 

For more information, please contact me at (512) 261-1542 or steve@LoneStarLending.com.

By G. Steven Bray

We talked a couple weeks ago about the changes FHA adopted to make it easier to get FHA financing for condos. Unfortunately, the changes are temporary, but FHA is trying to rectify that by proposing new regulations that take these changes a step further and make them permanent.

The biggest news is FHA is proposing the reinstate spot approvals for condos. Typically, a condo project must be FHA-certified for its units to be eligible for FHA financing. A spot approval allows a lender to seek approval for a single unit in an otherwise uncertified project.

Another proposed change that’s receiving mixed reviews would establish a range within which FHA could set the minimum percentage of units that must be owner-occupied. Currently, the minimum is 50%. The proposed range is 25% to 75%. FHA says this would give it flexibility to respond to market conditions. Congress has suggested 35% is appropriate, and the housing industry would prefer the certainty of the fixed, lower number.

FHA also is proposing to establish a range for the maximum commercial space within a mixed-use development. The current maximum is 50%. The proposed range is 25% to 60%.

You can find the proposed rule on HUD’s Web site, hud.gov, and FHA invites your comments.

FHA makes it easier to get a condo loan

 Loan Guidelines, Owner-occupied, Residential Mortgage  Comments Off on FHA makes it easier to get a condo loan
Oct 032016
 

For more information, please contact me at (512) 261-1542 or steve@LoneStarLending.com.

By G. Steven Bray

The FHA loan program once was a major source of financing for condo purchases, but due to regulatory changes, its volume dropped by almost 75%. The changes disqualified thousands of condo projects, and in turn limited the housing choices for first-time homebuyers and others with limited credit, a target market for the FHA program, and limited the pool of potential buyers for condo owners in those disqualified projects.

Well, it seems FHA may have seen the light. New rules FHA adopted this summer loosen up some of the more onerous restrictions. The two biggest changes affecting TX condos are:

– FHA agreed to include second homes that are not rentals in its calculation for owner-occupied units. A condo project qualifies for FHA financing only if at least 50% of the units are owner-occupied. This change could make a huge difference for projects in vacation areas.

– FHA also has simplified the recertification process that condos must go through every two years to remain approved. Some condo associations allowed their FHA approvals to lapse because the old process was so burdensome. Lenders often pursued the recertification process for the project because of a buyer’s interest in a condo, but imagine the number of potential buyers who didn’t apply because the project wasn’t already approved.

The new rules are only good for a year, but that gives FHA time to listen to feedback and enact permanent rules that don’t unfairly restrict lending for condos.

USDA to make its loans more affordable

 Loan Programs, Owner-occupied, Residential Mortgage  Comments Off on USDA to make its loans more affordable
May 072016
 

For more information, please contact me at (512) 261-1542 or steve@LoneStarLending.com.

By G. Steven Bray

The USDA recently announced that for fiscal year 2017 (which begins on Oct 1st) it’s dropping the fees it charges for its guaranteed rural housing loans. Currently, USDA charges an upfront guarantee fee of 2.75% of the loan amount and an annual fee, or monthly mortgage insurance (MI), of 0.5%. On Oct 1st, those rates drop to 1% and 0.35%. That really is a huge change.

So, how would that affect a potential homebuyer? Let’s say you’re trying to buy a $180k home. Remember the USDA program doesn’t require a down payment, and most folks roll the upfront guarantee fee into the loan, so we have a roughly $185k mortgage. Using today’s fees, the monthly principal, interest, and MI payment would be about $908.

Okay, what if the fees are at 2017 levels? The monthly payment drops to $869. Over the life of the 30-year loan, that $39/m adds up to more than $14k in savings.

I find the timing of the announcement interesting. Based on our experience, USDA has lost of lot of market share to FHA, which lowered its mortgage insurance rates last year. While I suspect the announcement will shut down use of the program for the summer, maybe it will build some anticipation for it again in the fall.

USDA makes qualifying for a mortgage a little easier

 Loan Guidelines, Owner-occupied, Residential Mortgage  Comments Off on USDA makes qualifying for a mortgage a little easier
Feb 202016
 

For more information, please contact me at (512) 261-1542 or steve@LoneStarLending.com.

By G. Steven Bray

USDA offers one of the few no-money-down loans, but its credit restrictions have disqualified some first-time homebuyers who don’t have established credit histories. USDA required a loan applicant to have at least 3 credit accounts with a 12 month or longer payment history.

That changed last week. USDA dropped the number of required accounts to 2, which makes it a little easier.

For homebuyers who don’t use traditional credit that appears on a credit report, USDA still allows the use of non-traditional credit accounts to achieve the required 2. Non-traditional credit includes rent, utility, and insurance payments.

However, good payment histories on non-traditional accounts cannot be used to replace accounts that appears on your credit report. In other words, if your credit score is low because of negative items on your credit report, USDA won’t ignore these items just because you have good payment history for rent and utilities.

Minimum credit score for mortgage falling

 Loan Guidelines, Owner-occupied, Residential Mortgage  Comments Off on Minimum credit score for mortgage falling
Jan 292015
 

For more information, please contact me at (512) 261-1542 or steve@LoneStarLending.com.

By G. Steven Bray

It’s nice to be able to report some good news. Credit standards are relaxing just a bit. Our minimum credit score for using an FHA loan to purchase a home is now 600. This minimum applies to single-family homes and duplexes, assuming you plan to live in one of the units. The minimum score for 3- and 4-unit homes remains 620.

Even better, if you want to refinance an FHA loan, we can accept a credit score as low as 580. In some cases we’ll be able to use FHA’s streamline process, which means you can qualify regardless of your current income and debts. However, if your credit report shows a foreclosure, your credit score needs to be at least 600.

The minimum credit score for conventional loans remains 620.

Act quickly if using USDA home loan

 Loan Programs, Owner-occupied, Residential Mortgage  Comments Off on Act quickly if using USDA home loan
Nov 122014
 

For more information, please contact me at (512) 261-1542 or steve@LoneStarLending.com.

By G. Steven Bray

If you’re using a USDA RD loan to purchase a home this fall, Fri, Nov 21st is a very important date. At the close of business that day, USDA will stop accepting applications for the remainder of Nov. If your loan has not been approved by USDA, you will need to sign new application documents, and the effect could add a week or two to your loan processing time.

USDA has adopted new regulations for its RD program, and it doesn’t want to maintain two processing systems. Thus, it will stop taking applications after next Fri and clear out its queue. This may not be a trivial task given the backlog of applications in some areas. On Dec 1st, USDA will start accepting applications under the new regulations.

If you have a pending application, check with your lender on its status. If your lender needs any documentation from you, act on that request urgently. The new regulations aren’t likely to harm your chances for approval, but if you have an early Dec contract date, the delay in processing could bust your closing.

Payoff your FHA loan on the first of the month

 Loan Programs, Owner-occupied, Residential Mortgage  Comments Off on Payoff your FHA loan on the first of the month
Oct 222014
 

For more information, please contact me at (512) 261-1542 or steve@LoneStarLending.com.

By G. Steven Bray

For those with an FHA mortgage, an unpleasant surprise may await when you sell your home. FHA charges interest one month at a time. That means even if the sale closes on the 15th of the month, FHA calculates the mortgage payoff through the end of the month. For a $200,000 loan balance, Uncle Sam is going to dip his hand into your pocket for another $400.

This practice runs contrary to that for VA and USDA loans and for conventional mortgages. When the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released its Qualified Mortgage rule, it labeled the practice a pre-payment penalty and instructed FHA to do away with it. FHA finally is going to end the practice next year. For all loans closed after Jan 21st, the payoff will include only interest through the funding date.

USDA delays new rural maps

 Loan Programs, Owner-occupied, Residential Mortgage  Comments Off on USDA delays new rural maps
Sep 262014
 

For more information, please contact me at (512) 261-1542 or steve@LoneStarLending.com.

By G. Steven Bray

The federal government’s fiscal year ends on 9/30, and as is typical in recent years, Washington passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) rather than pass the various spending bills necessary to fund the government. In that CR is a provision that extends the use of the current USDA maps that define property eligibility for its housing programs. So, if a home is eligible today, it will remain eligible until the CR expires. And it’s entirely possible that when Congress finally passes a USDA spending bill, some legislator will slip in a provision to extend the current maps again. That said, if you’re eyeing a property that would have been ineligible on 10/1, I wouldn’t wait. Start the homebuying process now so you can take advantage of the benefits of a USDA mortgage.

USDA mortgage maps changing Oct 1st

 Loan Programs, Owner-occupied, Residential Mortgage  Comments Off on USDA mortgage maps changing Oct 1st
Sep 102014
 

For more information, please contact me at (512) 261-1542 or steve@LoneStarLending.com.

By G. Steven Bray

The USDA Rural Development loan is a great option for homebuyers in rural locations. It requires no down payment and has lower monthly mortgage insurance than an FHA loan.

The USDA’s definition of rural may surprise you as it includes many of the exurbs of the major TX cities. As of Oct 1st, that definition narrows a little as USDA is releasing new eligibility maps based on recent census data.

The main changes I noticed were the expansion of ineligible areas in Pflugerville, Round Rock, and San Marcos in the Austin area and Denton and McKinney in the DFW area. In addition, the ineligible area on the west side of Ft. Worth expanded significantly. However, you’re still going to find some subdivisions on the outskirts of these cities are eligible. The maps changed little in the San Antonio and Houston metros. I included a link at the end of my blog to the USDA eligibility Web site where you can compare the old and new maps for yourself.

USDA bases property eligibility on the date it receives your loan file. For most lenders, this will be a couple weeks after loan application. So, if you’re buying a home using the old maps, you need to act soon to beat the changes.

USDA mortgage eligibility Web site.

USDA raising monthly mortgage insurance rate

 Loan Programs, Owner-occupied, Residential Mortgage  Comments Off on USDA raising monthly mortgage insurance rate
Sep 042014
 

For more information, please contact me at (512) 261-1542 or steve@LoneStarLending.com.

By G. Steven Bray

The USDA RD loan is a great option for homebuyers in more rural locations. The loan requires no down payment and has much lower monthly mortgage insurance than an FHA loan.

Unfortunately, the gap between the two will close a little this year. For all loan commitments after 9/30, the USDA is increasing its monthly MI rate from 0.4% to 0.5%.

That still makes it a bargain compared to FHA. While USDA does have a higher up-front fee, 2% vs. 1.75% for FHA, look at the difference in monthly payment between the two. For a $150k FHA loan, the monthly payment including mortgage insurance would be about $863. For a USDA loan, the payment would be about $757, more than $100 less.

If you’re thinking about using a USDA loan, be aware that USDA bases the fee increase on the date it commits to the loan, not the date you apply. You probably should make your loan application no later than next week if you want to beat the deadline.