FHA Trims Waiting Period for Borrowers Who Experienced Foreclosure

 

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is allowing borrowers who went through a bankruptcy, foreclosure, deed-in-lieu, or short sale to reenter the market in as little as 12 months, according to a mortgage letter released Friday.

 

Borrowers who experienced a foreclosure must wait at least three years before getting a chance to get approved for an FHA loan, but with the new guideline, certain borrowers who lost their home as a result of an economic hardship may be considered even earlier.

 

For borrowers who went through a recession-related financial event, FHA stated it realizes “their credit histories may not fully reflect their true ability or propensity to repay a mortgage.”

 

In order to be eligible for the more lenient approval process, provided documents must show “certain credit impairments” were from loss of employment or loss of income that was beyond the borrower’s control. The lender also needs to verify the income loss was at least 20 percent for a period lasting for at least six months.

 

Additionally, borrowers must demonstrate they have fully recovered from the event that caused the hardship and complete housing counseling.

 

According to the letter, recovery from an economic event involves reestablishing “satisfactory credit” for at least 12 months. Criteria for satisfactory credit include 12 months of good payment history on payments such as a mortgage, rent, or credit account.

 

The new guidance is for case numbers assigned on or after August 15, 2013, and is effective through September 30

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Article Posted on Zillow – 1 in 3 homeowner’s underwater

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Great Article posted on www.zillow.com that I wanted to share.

One in three mortgage holders still underwater

By John W. Schoen, Senior Producer

Got that sinking feeling? Amid signs that the U.S. housing market is finally rising from a long slumber, real estate Web site Zillow reports that homeowners are still under water.

Nearly 16 million homeowners owed more on their mortgages than their home was worth in the first quarter, or nearly one-third of U.S. homeowners with mortgages. That’s a $1.2 trillion hole in the collective home equity of American households.

Despite the temptation to just walk away and mail back the keys, nine of 10 underwater borrowers are making their mortgage and home loan payments on time. Only 10 percent are more than 90 days delinquent.

Still, “negative equity” will continue to weigh on the housing market – and the broader economy – because it sidelines so many potential home buyers. It also puts millions of owners at greater risk of losing their home if the economic recovery stalls, according to Zillow’s chief economist, Stan Humphries.

“If economic growth slows and unemployment rises, more homeowners will be unable to make timely mortgage payments, increasing delinquency rates and eventually foreclosures,” he said.

For now, the recent bottoming out in home prices seems to be stabilizing the impact of negative equity; the number of underwater homeowners held steady from the fourth quarter of last year and fell slightly from a year ago.

Zillow map: Where homes are underwater

Real estate market conditions vary widely across the country, as does the depth of trouble homeowners find themselves in. Nearly 40 percent of homeowners with a mortgage owe between 1 and 20 percent more than their home is worth. But 15 percent – approximately 2.4 million – owe more than double their home’s market value.

Nevada homeowners have been hardest hit, where two-thirds of all homeowners with a mortgage are underwater. Arizona, with 52 percent, Georgia (46.8 percent), Florida (46.3 percent) and Michigan (41.7 percent) also have high percentages of homeowners with negative equity.

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Credit Scoring to Change!

CoreLogic and Fair Isaac Corp known as FICO, recently announced a collaboration that will result in a separate score that will be available to mortgage lenders and incorporates information that will include payday loans, evictions and child support payments.  In the future, information on the status of utility, rent and cell phone payments may also be included. 

Separately, last month, the Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, began providing estimates of consumer income as a credit report option.  And, earlier this year, Experian began including data on on-time rental payments in its reporting. 

This new information could either help some potential homeowner’s to obtain a loan or could be detrimental to those who are on the board of qualifying for a loan. 

The CoreLogic – FICO partnership won’t result in a credit score that will rule out a borrower for a mortgage backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or the FHA, which together own or guarantee at least 90 percent of the mortgages being written.    That’s because the Experian, Equifax and TransUnion “tri-merge” report required for such a loan does not rely on CoreLogic data.  But it could mean either more or fewer mortgage fees or a higher or lower interest rate charged by lenders that in today’s cautionary lending environment have heartily adopted risk-based pricing.

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Homeownership Purchasing Hurdles

We.Are.Homeowners.
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Harris Interactive, a market research firm’s bi-annual survey on purchasing a home found the following from a recent online survey

Among renters, 59% said they aspired to own a home, but of those, 51% said saving enough for a down payment was their biggest obstacle. 

Those in the 18-34 age group cited the following concerns:   62% saving down payment, 36% qualifying for a mortgage, 34% having poor credit, 31% in ability to pay off existing debt, 29% not having a stable job and 13% declining home values.  

Both the 18-34 and over 55+ age groups expressed preferences that indicate they prefer to live in urban centers:  The younger group preferred short commutes to work and the older group preferred the proximity to restaurants and shops. 

The majority, 70% of respondents said owing a home is part of their American dream.  This attitude toward homeownership rose with age, from 65% of 18-34 year olds to 76% of those 55 +. 

Among current homeowners, 80% said they plan to buy another home in the future and 57% said owning a home is among the best long term investments.

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Most American’s Opposed to Homeowners Walking Away from Mortgages

A recent survey conducted by FindLaw.com a legal information website found that 60% of Americans believe that it is “never OK” for homeowners to simply stop making payments on their mortgages.  34% say it’s OK for homeowners to walk away from mortgages, but only if they aren’t able to make the monthly payments.  Only 3% believe that homeowners should be able to walk away from their mortgage anytime they want. 

Before making any major decisions, homeowners should consult with financial and legal professionals, including accountants, real estate attorneys and financial advisors.  Any major change to a mortgage situation could lead to serious and unanticipated consequences involving taxes, contract law, credit scores, ability to borrow in the future, potential for lawsuits and much more.

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Homeownership Tax Benefits

There are some tax benefits in purchasing a home vs. renting.  You should speak with a bona fide tax professional and have a tax professional run the numbers to find out what benefits you may qualify for. 

Purchasing a Home: 

Home Mortgage Interest Deduction:  At this time, the interest paid on a mortgage or mortgage of up to $1 million for a principal resident and/or second home is deductible as an itemized deduction.   

Home Equity Loan Deduction:  Homeowners can borrow up to $100,000 against the equity in their home and deduct the interest as an itemized deduction.  The money can be used for any purpose, such as paying off high-interest credit card debt.  Credit card interest is not deductible. 

Property Tax Deduction:  Homeowners also get to deduct from their federal income taxes the state and local property taxes they pay on their home. 

Deductible home buying expenses:  Various closing costs ordinarily involved in a home purchase are also deductible as itemized deductions, including points, prorated interest and taxes. 

$250,000/$500,000 home-sale exclusion:  Perhaps the greatest tax benefit of owning a home comes when a person sells it at a profit.  Homeowners who lived in their home for two of the prior five years prior to its sale need pay no income tax on a substantial amount of their profit – $250,000 for single homeowner’s and $500,000 for married homeowners who file jointly.  This exclusion can be used once every 24 months. 

14 days of free rental income:  Another little known tax benefit of owning a home is that the owner can rent it out for up to 14 days during the year and pay no tax at all on the rental income.   

Renting a home: 

Home Office deduction:  The only tax benefit that a renter can qualify for by virtue of being a renter is the home office deduction.  This is a business deduction available to renters who own a business and have a home office they use regularly and exclusively for business purposes. 

Of course, the value of the tax benefits of buying a home depends on the state the buyer live in and their tax bracket.  Buyers who live in high tax states like New York or California get the most benefit.  

Source:  Inman News and Stephen Fishman

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Cheaper to buy than to rent in 72% of largest U.S. cities

Despite the rising number of renters in the U.S., it is cheaper to buy a home rather than rent one in 72% of the 50 largest cities according to an index released by Trulia.com. 

Trulia’s rent vs. buy index compares the median list price with the median rent on two bedroom apartments, town homes & condominiums listed on Trulia.com as of 1/10/11. 

In 36 out of 50 of the country’s most populous cities, buying a two-bedroom home is less expensive than renting one.  These cities also include many areas that have been hit hard by foreclosures, such as Sacramento.

A price-to-rent ratio of 1 to 15 means that it’s much cheaper to buy than to rent in a particular city.  A ratio between 16 and 20 means that it’s more expenseive to rent than to buy, but depending on the family’s situation, buying could “make financial sense” the side siad.  Any ratio above 20 indicates that owning is much more costly than renting in a city.

Top 10 cities to buy vs. rent:

Rank City State Price to Rent Ratio
1. Miami Fla. 6
2. Las Vegas Nev. 6
3. Arlington Texas 7
4. Mesa Ariz. 8
5. Phoenix Ariz. 8
6. Jacksonville Fla. 8
7. Sacramento Calif. 10
8. San Antonio Texas 11
9. Fresno Calif. 11
10. El Paso Texas 11

Source: Trulia

In 10 cities, renting is cheaper, but buying might make more financial sense, according to Trulia. These cities include Los Angeles, Boston, and Fort Worth, Texas.

The index considers the total cost of homeownership compared to the total cost of renting. Calculations for the total cost of homeownership include mortgage principal and interest, property taxes, hazard insurance, closing costs at time of purchase, homeowners association dues, and private mortgage insurance. The homeownership cost calculation also includes tax advantages from mortgage interest, property tax and closing-cost deductions.

Calculations for total rental cost include rent and renters insurance.

The total cost of homeownership was highest, compared to the cost to rent, in New York; Seattle; Kansas City, Mo.; and San Francisco.

Top 10 cities to rent vs. buy:

Rank City State Price:Rent Ratio
1. New York N.Y. 31
2. Seattle Wash. 24
3. Kansas City Mo. 21
4. San Francisco Calif. 21
5. Memphis Tenn. 20
6. Los Angeles Calif. 20
7. Fort Worth Texas 19
8. Oakland Calif. 18
9. Portland Ore. 18
10. Albuquerque N.M. 18

Source: Trulia

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WHY ARE MY CREDIT SCORES DIFFERENT?

Factors contributing to someone's credit score...
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Your credit score is a three-digit number that helps lending institutions assess their risk associated with lending you money.  They are used for loans, credit cards, renting, insurance and background checks on employment.

People with lower credit scores may pay higher interest rates or may not be approved at all.  Those with higher, less-risky credit scores often qualify for lower interest rates and special options.  Credit scores are calculated based on computer “predictability” models that analyze credit information and patters from your credit report against those of other consumers.

There are trillions of score combinations used in the calculations.  Most scores are calculated and provided individually by each credit bureau, including the three major ones in the United States, which are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.  Additionally, many lenders use third-party credit scoring systems, such as FICO, NextGen, CE Score and VantageScore.  For consumers, the variations in scoring models and score ranges can create some confusion.

In 2006, the three major bureaus joined forces to create a single credit scoring system called the VantageScore.  The VantageScore and FICO model lead the industry as competitive rivals in credit-scoring systems.

Your VantageScore may not be exactly the same if your lender only orders a credit report from one of the bureaus.  This is because the data each bureau receives may be slightly different.  If your lender does not report your payment history to Equifax but does report to Experian and TransUnion, it will create a difference in scores.  The VantageScore should be more consistent across all three bureaus since the mathematical formula is the same.

Unlike FICOs traditional 300-850 credit score range, the VantageScore ranges from 501-990.  There is no way to compare the results of the VantageScore to a FICO score especially when the formulas are constantly changing.  However, to put some perspective in place a 650 FICO score approximately compares to a low, 800-range VantageScore.

The one constant for both scoring systems is that paying your debts on time will typically be the primary factor that positively impacts your credit score.

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How does a Foreclosure, Deed-In-Lieu of Foreclosure & Short Sale Seller’s Credit Affected?

Fair Isaac released a report that says credit scores are affected about the same, whether a seller does a short sale or foreclosure. Fair Isaac says the average points lost on a FICO score are as follows:

  • 30 days late: 40 to 110 points
  • 90 days late: 70 to 135 points
  • Foreclosure, short sale or deed-in-lieu: 85 to 160
  • Bankruptcy: 130 to 240

Foreclosure or Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure
Both of these solutions affect credit the same, says David Steep of Vitek Mortgage. Sellers will take a hit of 200 to 300 points, depending on overall condition of credit. This means if a seller’s FICO score before foreclosure was 680, it could dip as low as 380.

Short Sale
Steep maintains that the effect of a short sale (providing the sellers are more than 59 days late) on a seller’s credit report is identical to that of a foreclosure. The ding on credit will show up as a pre-foreclosure in redemption status, Steep says, which will result in a loss of 200 to 300 points. This means a short sale seller with a previous FICO of 720 could see it fall from 520 to 420.   If your loan stays current during a short sale, your credit will not be effected as much as not making your payments and your chances of purchasing another home sooner than two years is possible.

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What your FICO Credit Report Score Consists of

It seems today that everything revolves around your FICO score (i.e.  Insurance, Auto Loans, Mortgages, Employment).

Your FICO Score consists of five different categories:

 35% – Payment History
30% – Amounts Owed
15% – Length of Credit History
                                                          10% – New Credit
                                                          10% – Types of Credit

Payment History
– This is the most important category, it gives the overall picture of how well a person handled loans, credit cards and other types of accounts in the past.  Are the payments made on time versus payments that are delinquent.  Time does play an important factor.  If you have a history of past due amounts, the amount of time should play an important role in how a FICO score will be affected in addition to the number of occurrences.  On the other hand, good payments on your past accounts and the number of accounts that were paid on time will be reflected positively on a person’s credit score.

Amounts Owed –
This portion consists of how much you owe, or have a balance on, what types of accounts the amounts owed are a part of as well as the capacity of unused credit a person currently has available to them.  Each type of account is weighted according to the type of loan per se a retail store account versus a mortgage.  This is all taken into consideration when calculating your score.  The amounts owed on card balances and other accounts or loans are totaled and expressed a s a ratio of what you currently owe versus what your currently have avaialbe to you.

Length of Credit History – This portion looks at the length of your overall credit history.  It is calculated by gathering up data on all previous and current accounts and analyzing how long you have had the accounts as well as the time of your most recent activity on the accounts.  Also taken into consideration is the types of accounts that you have been using or have not been making payments on, such as mortgage versus payments on new purchases on your credit card.

New Credit – This section reviews the number of new credit inquiries or new credit that has been obtained and/or applied for, such as new credit cards, car loans, mortgages, etc., as well as any repaired credit or re-established credit for those who have made an improvement on their credit score after their credit score had dropped due to past delinquent account activity. 

Types of Credit – The types of credit has a lot to do with how much of an influence it will have on the actual credit score.  Credit cards or other revolving debt, installment loans, consumer financing and mortgages are all considered when observing the types of credit a borrower has established and/or is currently making payments on.

 Even with the breakdown of categories and the percentages each category bears on your FICO score, it is nearly impossible to figure out on your own.  You can obtain a free credit report online and for an additional fee, you can obtain your FICO score at several sites.

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