Tax Refund = Down Payment?

April 15, 2016

By Brian Short, CMC, CRMS, GMA

In my 18 years as a “Dream Maker, Problem Solver” mortgage professional, I have observed that one of the most disappointing set-backs for a new home buyer is the lack of down payment.  Often times, the prospective home buyer is already in the habit of using some of his or her monthly income for housing by paying rent to a landlord or a roommate, but rounding up several thousand dollars for a down payment can keep many from being qualified to buy a house.

With this being said, there are many loan programs which allow a buyer to buy a house with as little as 3% of the sales price for down payment and some where the down payment can be a gift from a close family member.  There are other loans where a buyer can buy a house with $0 down payment if the buy is a veteran or is buy a house in a rural area or in a city with less than 35,000 population with certain income restrictions.  Even with these very generous federal government home loan options, the lack of a down payment can be the hurdle which will keep a new home buyer from moving forward, especially if they are not currently home owners who are selling a home prior to buying their next home.

tax_refundMY APRIL 15th SOLUTION?   Use this year’s Federal Income Tax Refund for a down payment or for “seed money” to begin a down payment saving account to which a prospective home buy can add a portion each pay period.  It is timely that on this 2016 Tax Day we are reminded that many US workers will receive refunds of anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars in the next few weeks and this money can be used to help BUILD WEALTH rather than buy things which are quickly consumed or used up.

Many financial advisers still consider Real Estate to be a very secure and cost effective way to build wealth and invest for the future.  Who do you know who needs to contact me for help on how to find their down payment solutions for their home purchase?  I can show those you know who dream of home ownership or of buying their NEXT dream home how to move forward in this current maze of home loan options!

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“All You Want to do is Ride Around Sally!”

March 9, 2016

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Wilson Pickett released his R & B chart-topping hit “Mustang Sally” in 1966 which includes a very catchy chorus where the Alabama born singer and songwriter sings:

“All you want to do is ride around Sally, ride, Sally, ride.
All you want to do is ride around Sally, ride, Sally, ride.
All you want to do is ride around Sally, ride, Sally, ride.”

When it comes to home buying, many buyers will spend the first several days simply “riding around” looking at houses and neighborhoods to determine where they might want to live or what houses are selling for in different areas of town.  This is not a bad strategy especially if a buyer is not familiar with the possible inventory available to be purchased.  However, this plan can lead to a very frustrating home buying process if Real Estate agents and sellers are contacted BEFORE the buyer knows their home financing options and requirements.

As fun as it can be to see floor plans, master-suites, kitchen layouts and back yards, this information can tempt a prospective buyer to begin to forge ahead with unkeepable promises and a unreasonable timetables for a closing date with no regard for what might be required from a home lender who is loaning them the money to buy this dream home.  Income and down payment requirements,  employment and credit history, and loan program guidelines may all impact the timeline for if and when any buyer may be in a position to buy any house they may find.

Although many home buyers feel that contacting a Realtor or stopping by to talk to a seller is the first step in determining if buying a house is possible, in reality, the first step for most home buyers is to consult with a full-service home lender who can do a thorough evaluation of the buyer and match them with possible home loan programs to make this a stress-free home buying process with no last minute surprises.

Step 1 in buying a house is to get a pre-approval from a Nationally Certified, State Licensed home loan professional.  As Wilson “The Wicked” Pickett sings:

“Slow your mustang down…[and] …put your flat feet on the ground.”

Who do you know who is spending all of their time “riding around” rather than actually talking to a Dream-Maker and Problem Solver who can help them know when and where they should be “riding around”?  Contact me.  I can help.

 


The 5 Steps You Must Take in the Next 2 Months if You Plan to Buy a House This Year!

January 21, 2016

We are now three weeks into the new year.  Energy levels depleted by the holidays have begun to return.  You may have already blown most of your New Year’s Resolutions.  The college football bowls are finished up.  You’re back into your work and family routine.  Downton Abbey is back on PBS and in between “snow days” you’re beginning to make your Super Bowl plans.  What better time to begin to think about your needs and desires for a new home in 2016?!?

I have worked with hundreds of home buyers over the past 18 years as a nationally certified, state licensed mortgage professional and I have found some who have made great preparations to enter into the largest single purchase they will ever make in their lives and I have also met some who are woefully unprepared.  Those who prepare well generally experience a much smoother process and avoid being hit with additional fees for extensions and delays.  If the right steps are taken BEFORE you actually go out to look for a house the new home buyer will find the process manageable, systematic and successful.  Those who rush into a home purchase contract with a seller and Realtors without taking these steps will generally experience an immense amount of stress, confusion and unnecessary pressure from everyone involved in the process – and will be tempted to give up after spending $1,000 – $2,000 of their hard earned and saved money.

plan-ahead-pic

Follow these 5 simple steps to ensure that your home buying process is a success in 2016 and in the future.

What can a prospective home buyer do now to prepare for their upcoming home purchase later this year?  Here are the steps I would recommend:

  1. Get your tax returns for the past 2 years finished and get copies ready to pass off.  Your mortgage professional will be required to submit your completed tax returns and W-2’s for the past 2 years to the underwriter who will approve your loan.  Borrowers who have not completed their taxes or can’t find their returns will delay the underwriting process.  The Loan Processor who will take your file from your mortgage originator and prepare it for underwriting will need to verify the tax returns you submit as the same as what was submitted to the IRS.  This takes a few days and will cause additional delays if your tax returns are not prepared correctly and available to be submitted when you have an accepted offer to buy a house.
  2. Locate and provide your pay stubs for the past 30 days.  It is required for any loan to show that the buyer has the ability to repay the new loan.  You must show a consistent and reliable income stream from somewhere.  Most borrowers can do this with pay stubs from a company where they work.  If the buyer is self-employed it is still possible to do this with tax returns and a year-to-date Profit and Loss statement.  Find your pay stubs if they are on a HR website with your company and begin downloading them each pay period so you have them available to pass off to your originator or his assistant.  Again, this information will be verified by the Processor to make sure that the employer agrees with the information that is found on the pay stub.
  3. Locate and provide your bank statements and all retirement account statements for the past 2 months.  I find is amazing when I hear a borrower tell me that their bank “doesn’t do bank statements any more” when in reality they just don’t know how to navigate within the online banking website of the bank where they have been a customer for many years.  Take the time, now, too find, print or download bank statements every month and save them to a folder on your computer or in your home office cabinet so you will have the bank statements required to get your loan approved.  You will need at least 2 months of statements and in some cases you might need 12 months of statements to show rent payment or the receipt of child support or some other income source you desire to use to help you qualify for your new loan.
  4. Talk to a licensed mortgage professional to help you explore you loan options early.  There aren’t as many loan programs available to a home buyer as there were back before the Credit Crash of 2008 but there still are many options and most mortgage companies will be able to offer many of the same programs.  Banks will generally have fewer options but they also can offer many options to a prospective home buyer.  Your licensed mortgage professional will evaluate the documents we listed above and help you explore which home loan option would be best suited for you.  Some programs are only available for first-time home buyers.  Some programs are only available for those wishing to buy a house outside the city limits or in certain counties.  An experienced, licensed professional will keep up with the ongoing changes in the program requirements and be able to help the new home buyer know what needs to be done in preparation for approval for best loan fit and where the buyer should be looking to find their next home to purchase.
  5. Prepare your down payment and cash required to close your loan.  After talking to your licensed mortgage professional the prospective home buyer will have a good feel for how much cash and down payment will be required – if any.  Some loans allow for the seller to pay for the buyer’s closing costs and require NO DOWN PAYMENT!  Even if no down payment is required, many programs will require the buyer to show that they have 2-3 months of house payments in the bank – just in case the bottom falls out regarding a job or extended health issue.  It is important for the borrower to demonstrate to the underwriter that they know how to manage a checking and savings account and that there are no recent overdrafts on their bank statements.  Get control of your banking accounts and manage your cash flow so it will be easy to prove to the mortgage underwriter that you are now ready to take on a new house payment for the next 30 years and that you can make this payment on time, every time.

This year can be a year of amazing new beginnings and one where life-time accomplishments can be made.  However, without making the necessary preparations in advance, it could also be one of set-backs, disappointments, frustrations and failures.  Follow these steps above to make this year an unimaginable milestone for  well-deserved successes!

Brian Short is a nationally certified, state licensed, dream maker and problem solver who helps provide home loans with LeaderOne Financial Corp.  He can be reached HERE or by calling 615-302-0809.


Where Do I Go From Here?

January 12, 2016

You may be aware that I am the father of five very amazing daughters!  My wife and I often joke about what we missed during the 80’s and 90’s because for nearly 20 years, beginning in 1984, we were very busy with little girls. Part of living in a very active, colorful and energetic household of little girls was watching, singing, playing, dressing up like and reading Disney princess musicals.  The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Cinderella, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Mulan and Pocahontas were all danced to, dreamed about, reenacted and sung with vigor around the Short house during those memorable years.

One of the songs which comes out of those years is a song sung in Pocahontas II by the daughter of the Indian chief entitled “Where Do I Go From Here?”  This song is sung in the movie as Pocahontas encounters a crossroads and she is reflecting on what she has heard from many in her life as she contemplates her next move.  The chorus in this song is this:SIGNPOST_3-253

“But where do I go from here?
So many voices ringing in my ear.
Which is the voice that I was meant to hear?
How will I know?
Where do I go from here?”

Many who are contemplating an upcoming home purchase must feel the same way!  Radio and TV Ads, direct mail, social media, neighbors, brothers-in-law – they ALL freely offer their advice, even when NOT asked!  They are sure, from their experience,  who should be called, what should be required, where one should look, and how long it should take!  However, their experiences are generally very limited to their own few transactions and in light of their own unique circumstances.

What many “would-be, well-intentioned” advisers don’t tell you is that they have a very limited experience in the process of buying (or refinancing) a house.  The TRUTH is that many of the national loan program guidelines are changing often and individual companies often have their own overlaying restrictions which are added to the federal government-mandated qualifying guidelines.

Most honest Realtors, Real Estate Attorneys, insurance agents, home builders, financial planners and CPA’s will admit that keeping up with home loan requirements is not part of their daily or weekly routine and therefore the borrower should wisely start their home buying (or refinancing) process by contacting a nationally certified, state licensed, experienced mortgage professional who has the information and attention to keep the unique needs of the borrower at the forefront of the available financing options being considered.

In answering the wanna-be, home buyer (or homeowner who desires to refinance their home loan) when asking, “Where Do I Go From Here?”,  I recommend contacting a local, experienced mortgage professional who can be reached and trusted to help the borrower reach their goals.  How can I help you?


Revisiting FHA – Increased Loan Limits for 2016

December 10, 2015

2000px-US-FederalHousingAdmin-Logo.svgYesterday, FHA announced the increase of their loan limits beginning on January 1, 2016 to $437,000 for single family residences in the following Tennessee counties: Cannon, Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Hickman, Macon, Maury, Robertson, Rutherford, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, Williamson, and Wilson.  The increase of the FHA loan limits will likely enable increased home-ownership opportunities in these 14 Tennessee counties for many reasons – some of which might be overlooked by the casual observer.

The obvious additional opportunities for those desiring to buy or refinance houses is possibly obvious.  Now home buyers wanting to buy a house up to $452,000 can do so with only a 3.5% down payment!  Buying a $452,000 anywhere in these counties with only a $15,800 down payment is an amazing option for many to consider.  This down payment can come as a gift from a family member and all of the closing costs for this purchase can be paid by the seller or the lender.  This arrangement can be a life-changing opportunity for many who have desire to live in an area where the safety, convenience or educational benefits could reap returns for many generations to come.

Happy Family

Many growing families may find the increased FHA Loan Limits in 2016 to be a lifesaver when considering their need for additional space, improved local schools or safer neighborhoods.

Others many need to refinance their homes or consolidate 1st and 2nd mortgages or other overwhelming debts and need the benefit of refinancing their home with an FHA loan up to 85% of the appraised value.  A borrower using an FHA loan to refinance their home is allowed to draw out this cash with no questions asked for paying off these high payment debt accounts or for making home improvements to their existing house.  The $11,500 increase in the FHA loan limit on January 1 might give those in need the extra breathing room to cause this new refinance loan to make sense for them to accomplish these financial goals to set them up for success for decades to come.

And finally, what many may not be aware of, the uniqueness of FHA underwriting guidelines may allow many who desire to buy or refinance to move forward with their new loan for any of these reasons:

  1. FHA allows for a “non-occupying, co-borrower” to be added to the loan where those who are planning to live in the house might not qualify on their own merits.  Lenders can add a parent, sibling, child, grandparent, aunt, uncle or cousin to the loan application and include their income, assets and credit profile to strengthen the quality of the loan to increase the possibility of loan approval.
  2. FHA allows for financing of mixed-use properties with residential interest rates and guidelines.  This would give a buyer the opportunity to purchase a property designed for use as a business AND a residence to purchase the entire property using FHA qualifying guidelines and still use part of the house for business use.
  3. FHA allows for property owners and home buyers to buy or refinance their homes setting aside additional money for repairs, upgrades, remodeling and rebuilding of the house – all in one loan.  This renovation loan called the FHA 203K is an amazing loan which enables home buyers to buy a distressed house and make it a dream house with all of the features that the new home buyer needs to make this home an investment they will enjoy for decades to come and to improve the entire neighborhood.

FHA loan increases on January 1, 2016 may seem like something that only mortgage geeks like this author might get excited about when really other industry partners and home owners and future home buyers should also welcome as we ring in the New Year!

(Please contact this author for additional details about any of the uses of the FHA Mortgage and how it might be of help to you or those you know.)


Winning the Heart of Your Special Woman!

February 13, 2015

I heart my houseOK, gentlemen. The pressure is on!  What to buy your special woman this Valentine’s Day? Flowers die in a week. Chocolates are eaten up in a day or two. Jewelry can only be worn occasionally. This year, why not buy her the HOUSE you both have wanted for years! Great interest rates and new $0 down or low down-payment programs are available for almost any home buyer. Contact me and let me help you know your home financing options. I’m local, licensed, certified and have 17 years of lending experience – Ready to go to work for you or those you know.


Renovation Loans that You can Finally Understand!

January 28, 2015

203K Guide coverHave you every wondered if you could make improvements on your current house in such a way as to bring the value of your house up, “BUT” didn’t have the cash or the equity in your house currently to make this happen?

Have you considering buying a “fixer-upper” to move into, “BUT” knew that 2-3 years of weekend projects would not be realistic with your work or family responsibilities and you didn’t want to pour all of your extra cash into the improvements on the house?

Have you found a house that would be perfect for your family “BUT” the kitchen….., or the master bedroom…., or the exterior (siding, roofing, windows)…., or the bathrooms…., or the heating and air conditioner……..,or the flooring…. need some changes?

Finally, any of these “BUTS” can be alleviated from the mix of your consideration by using the FHA 203K Renovation Loan to finance your desired improvements with OUR MONEY!  You keep your cash and let us roll the costs of the qualifying improvements into your new loan.  You close on your house loan (and transfer ownership into your name if its a purchase loan) and then we’ll pay the contractors as they finish up the work on your house!

This is one of the best WIN-WIN-WIN mortgage loans available in the industry today.  Want to know more? CLICK HERE to download the New 203K Guide: “Building the Bridge to Home Ownership”

Need to learn more about the FHA 203K Renovation Loan?  Try this: http://www.ReBuildTennessee.com