Seven Things Your Agent Should Know About Your Mortgage Approval

While many experienced real estate agents have a general understanding of the mortgage approval process, there are a few important details that frequently get overlooked which may cause a purchase to be delayed or denied.

New regulation, updated disclosures, appraisal guidelines, mortgage rate pricing premiums, credit score, secondary approval layering, rescission deadlines, property type, HOA insurance requirements, title and property flip rules are just a few of the daily changes that can have a serious impact on a borrower’s home loan financing.

With today’s volatile lending environment, it’s obviously important for home buyers to get a full loan approval which clearly defines all contingencies that pertain to each unique home buyer’s scenario prior to spending any time looking at new homes with an agent.

Either way, we’ve listed a few of the top things your agent should keep in mind while showing you new properties:

Caution – Agents Beware:

Property Type –

High-Rise, Condo, Town House, Single Family Residence, Dome Home or Shoe House… all have specific lending guidelines that can influence down payment, credit score and mortgage insurance requirements.

Residence Type

Need to sell one home before moving into another? Is a property considered a second home if it’s in the same city?  What if I’m buying a home for my children to live in, it is still considered an investment property?

These are just a few of several possible residence related questions that should be addressed by your agent and loan officer at the initial loan application.

Rates / Locks

Mortgage Rates are typically locked for a 30 day period, and one of the only ways to get a new rate is to switch mortgage lenders.  Rates also have certain adjustments for property / residence type, credit score and down payment which could have a big impact on monthly payments and therefore approvals.

A 1% increase in rate could literally mean the difference between an approval or denial.

Headline News / Employment

Underwriters watch the news as well.  Borrowers who work in a volatile industry during hard economic times may have to jump through a few extra hoops to prove that their employment and income is secure.

Job changes, periods of unemployment or property location in relation to the subject property are other things to consider that may cause a speed bump in the approval process.

Title / Property Flip –

A Flip is considered a property that has been purchased by an investor and quickly sold to a new buyer within a 30-90 day period.  Generally, an investor will do a little rehab work, fresh paint, landscaping…. and try to re-sell the property for a significant profit margin.

While it seems like a perfectly fair transaction, many lenders have strict guidelines in place that prevent borrowers from obtaining financing on properties that have a previous owner with less than 90 days of documented ownership.

These rules change frequently, and are specific to particular property types, so make sure your agent is aware of all the boundaries associated with your approval letter.

Homeowner’s Association Insurance

Some lenders require Condos and Town House communities to have sufficient insurance and reserves coverage pertaining to specific ratios on units that are owner occupied vs rented.

It may also take a few weeks and cost up to $300 to receive an HOA Certification, so make sure your Due-Diligence period is set accordingly in the purchase contract.

Appraisal Ordering Procedures

Appraisal ordering guidelines are changing quite frequently as regulators implement many new consumer protection laws created to prevent future foreclosure epidemics.

Unfortunately, some of the new appraisal regulations have proven to slow the home buying process down, as well as confuse lenders about the true estimate of neighborhood values.

VA, FHA and Conventional loan programs all have separate appraisal ordering policies, so make sure your agent is aware of which loan you’re approved for so that they document any anticipated delays in the purchase contract.

For example, if an appraisal takes three weeks and the average time for an approval is two weeks, then it probably isn’t smart to write a purchase contract with a four week close of escrow.


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April 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment

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About Allen

Allen is President and Founder of First Trust Mortgage, a family owned, 15 year old, mortgage planning firm in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. First Trust Mortgage was founded in 1996 and provides residential mortgages in Florida. Allen's vision for First Trust Mortgage was based on two principles. First was to help his clients make informed decisions regarding residential mortgages. Second was to build long lasting relationships with his clients and referral partners. Over the past 5 years Allen has concentrated his education and efforts in the area of managing Real Estate equity through mortgage planning. Allen was one of the first certified mortgage planning specialists in the State of Florida and is a regular guest of Steve Pomegranate's "On The Money" radio program on NPR and Ray West's "Talk About Money" radio program on WAFG. Allen also teaches continuing education classes to certified financial planners and insurance professionals around the subject of managing equity in real estate. Allen graduated from the Pennsylvania State University in 1983. Allen has been lending in Florida since 1985 when he joined Great Western Bank (Washington Mutual) managing the company's Florida Commercial Real Estate Mortgage operation. In 1996 /1997 Great Western Bank was sold to Washington Mutual and Allen formed First Trust Mortgage Corporation. In 2003 Allen focused his practice on Strategic Real Estate Equity Management and is considered to be an expert on that topic. Allen practices personally the concepts he shares with the clients, peers and financial service providers. Allen exclusively participates in the residential mortgage industry and has purposely chosen to hold no other licenses even though he has participated and passed the class requirement for the Florida Real Estate Commission, Florida Mortgage Broker, Health, Life & Variable annuities license. Specialties Helping Consumers, Realtors and Financial Service Professionals Keep Current On Mortgage Trends and Provide Mortgage Solutions As Needed. In Addition I Love To Educate Seniors On The Use of Reverse Mortgages and First Time Homebuyers On How Much Payment Is Enough.

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