The Lending Coach

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Category: Refinance (page 2 of 4)

Cash Out Refinances for Student Loans

Mortgage giant Fannie Mae has once again re-tooled some of their guidelines. This time it is regarding student loans and how they are treated in debt-to-income ratios for qualifying for a mortgage. This really is fantastic news.

It gets even better for homeowners who have student loans, as Fannie Mae is offering improved pricing on cash out refinances for paying off student loans.

The Big News

Effective immediately, Fannie Mae will waive the “loan level price adjustments” (LLPA), or rate increase adjustment, on cash-out refinances when student loan are being paid off. LLPA’s are intended to adjust for the “risk based” pricing and they directly impact mortgage rates.

Here’s a practical example: a cash out refinance with a loan to value of 80% and credit scores of 740 or higher, has a price adjustment of 0.875 points! This is typically factored into the cost of the rate. (you can click here for Fannie Mae’s LLPA matrix).

The lower your credit score, the higher the adjustment is because of the anticipated higher risk for the loan.  Get this….if student loans are being paid off, the extra cost of the LLPA is waived!

The Specifics

In order to qualify for the new special student loan cash-out refinance, the following must take place:

  • at least one student loan must be paid off;
  • loan proceeds must be paid directly to the student loan servicers at closing;
  • only student loans that the borrower (home owner) is personally obligated are eligible;
  • student loan must be paid off in full with the proceeds from the refi. No partial payments are allowed;
  • property may not be listed for sale at the time of the transaction.

Homes in the California and Arizona area have appreciated at a solid rate over the last few years. Now may be a great opportunity to eliminate student loan debts…especially with the preferred lower mortgage rate!  Please do contact me for more regarding this program.

How Much Do Extra Mortgage Payments Save You?

Paying extra on your home loan can make good financial sense.

It really means a guaranteed return on investment, which isn’t the case for other investments like stocks or mutual funds.

If your current mortgage interest rate is, say, at five percent, you are guaranteed to “earn” five percent — by saving interest — on any amount of principal you pay off.

Borrower Options

Most conventional, FHA, and VA loans allow the borrower to make extra payments (known in the industry as prepayments), without any penalty or fee.

To be clear, making extra mortgage payments might not be the right strategy for everyone, however.

Homeowners often refinance instead, into a 15- or even ten-year mortgage. This drastically cuts their interest rate and slices years off their mortgage.

For shorter-term loans, sometime is the 3% range, make refinancing a very attractive proposition.

Deciding to refinance or make additional payments takes some examination, but the right choice could help you save thousands in interest and get you closer to a mortgage-free life.

Find out more here, from The Mortgage Reports

Big Savings

By making extra principal only payments, the savings could be huge.

For example, a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 4% and $200,000 borrowed would require about $140,000 in interest over the life of the loan.

But if you were to prepay just an additional $100 a month toward principal, you would save about $30,000 in interest, and pay off that loan five years quicker.

Here’s another prepayment benefit: unlike the capital gains and dividends earned on other types of investments like stocks and bonds, the savings earned from prepayments are not taxable.

In many cases, taking a longer-term loan at 30-years might be a great option – especially if you pay off the principal faster. You get the flexibility of a smaller monthly payment, but can pay the mortgage down quicker, if you choose.

I’d be more than happy to sit down and talk with you about mortgage term related options. Contact me here for more!

New Fannie Program to Solve Student Loan Debt Qualification Issues

A truly groundbreaking mortgage solution is now being offered by Fannie Mae, as the country’s biggest mortgage agency is making getting approved for a mortgage much, much easier.

Fannie Mae announced three new features that will help those burdened with student loans to qualify to buy a house, or pay off their student loans via a refinance.

“We understand the significant role that a monthly student loan payment plays in a potential home buyer’s consideration to take on a mortgage, and we want to be a part of the solution,” said Jonathan Lawless, Vice President of Customer Solutions, Fannie Mae.

The new program is called Student Loan Solutions, and represents a huge shift by Fannie Mae.

Source: The Mortgage Reports and Tim Lucas

Change #1: Student Loan Payment Calculation

Fannie Mae has changed how lenders calculate student loan payments.

Lenders may use the student loan payment as it appears on the credit report for qualification. Period. That may seem like common sense, but it’s not how things have been done in the past.

Change #2: Student Debt Paid By Others

Just because a payment shows up on a mortgage applicant’s credit report does not mean he or she pays it.

Often, that obligation is taken care of by a parent or another party.

In these cases, Fannie Mae is disregarding the payment altogether. That applies not only to student loans, but payments for all debts.

Change #3: The New Student Loan Cash-Out Program: Pay Off Education Loans With A Refi

Perhaps the biggest shift of all is Fannie Mae’s rework of cash-out rules regarding student loans.

Typically, cash-out refinances come with higher rates. They are considered higher risk by lenders and Fannie Mae.

So, according to Fannie Mae’s loan level price adjustment matrix, a lender must charge an extra 1%-2% of the loan amount in fees or more, just because the loan is deemed “cash-out”.

Now, Fannie Mae does not consider the loan a cash-out transaction if loan proceeds completely pay off at least one student loan.

This loan classification has never been seen before — a kind of hybrid between no-cash-out and cash-out financing. Fannie Mae simply calls it the Student Loan Cash-Out Refinance.

Please do reach out to me to discuss these significant changes to see how I might be able to help you either purchase or refinance!

Is A Jumbo Mortgage Better Than A Conforming Home Loan?

What Is A “Jumbo” Mortgage?

A “jumbo” mortgage is a loan that larger than the current conforming  guidelines established by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Today, a mortgage that exceeds $424,100 is considered “non-conforming.”

So, when you finance expensive property, you need a jumbo mortgage. Interestingly, the borrower has to play by different rules, because mortgages for high-priced homes are not necessarily standardized.

Jumbo Mortgages: They Are Back

During the mortgage crisis a number of years ago, jumbo loans all but vanished. The ones that remained came with guidelines that were nearly impossible for homeowners to meet.

Jumbo loans generally meant high down payments, higher interest rates, and high credit standards – which made these loans essentially obsolete.

But as the real estate market steadily recovered, jumbo loans have been re-entering the lending landscape.

In fact, homebuyers in the market for a larger loan may be pleasantly surprised to know that jumbo mortgage rates are nearly as low as conforming rates.

Source: The Mortgage Reports

Conforming Rates vs. Jumbo Mortgage Rates

Years ago, the difference between conforming mortgage rates and jumbo rates ranged between half a point to two full points.

These days, however, the spread between jumbo rates and conforming rates is minimal – sometimes as little as 1/10th of a percent, according to a number of surveys out in the marketplace.

Look At Jumbo ARMs

Adjustable rate mortgages can be over one percent lower than fixed-rate jumbo loans. For borrowers with larger loans, ARMs are popular alternatives.

That’s because with bigger balances, the effect of a lower interest rate on what you pay each month is more pronounced.

In addition, jumbo ARM rates can sometimes be lower than their conforming counterparts.

Many jumbo ARMS are not sold to investors, but are instead held by lenders on their own books. These “portfolio” mortgages can be made according to whatever guidelines and pricing the lenders establish.

The market is much less homogeneous, and the smart shopper can often find a bargain with a lender trying to expand its market share or build up its pipeline.

Jumbo ARMs come with introductory periods in which their rates are fixed. You can find loans fixed for three, five, seven, or ten years.

If you don’t keep your mortgage for more than the introductory period, you’ll never even have to deal with rate adjustments. And interestingly, most borrowers don’t hold on to those mortgages for more than 7 years.

Compare and Shop Jumbo Mortgage Rates

Unlike conforming mortgage rates, which typically differ by .25 to .5 percent between competitors, jumbo mortgage rates can vary largely from one lender to the next.

Jumbo lenders can serve different markets — alternative documentation, non-prime, unorthodox properties, or borrowers with big down payments and perfect credit — and that affects the rates charged.

This means that when conforming mortgage rates are higher, jumbo rates don’t necessarily follow that the same path.

It definitely pays to shop and compare.

Unlike smaller mortgage loans, a half percent difference in the interest rate on a $700,000 loan amount can add up over time.

  • $700,000 at 4.375% = $3,495
  • $700,000 at 4.875% = $3,704

The difference between these two scenarios adds up fast. Over five years, $209 per month saves over $12,500.

Let’s Talk

If you are interested, please do reach out to talk in further detail about jumbo mortgage products.  It would be my pleasure to help!

The views expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of American Financial Network, Inc.


5 Ways to Raise Your Credit Score Today


I receive questions all the time regarding the credit scoring system, the FICO score, and how to improve those scores.

Not only can improving your FICO credit score improve your chances of obtaining a mortgage, but it could improve your auto insurance premiums and, possibly, make you a more attractive employment candidate.

FICO scores range from 300 to 850 – and mortgage applicants get the best mortgage rates and terms when their FICO scores are 720 or higher.

For borrowers of all FICO scores, the best way to improve your credit rating is to understand the factors that make up your FICO score, and to take the right actions that can make a positive impact on your score.

Find out more here from The Mortgage Reports and Britt Scearce

What’s Included In Your FICO Score

The FICO credit score takes into account a combination of all of the information found in your credit report.washingtonpostwordle

Your FICO score is made up of the following:

  • Payment History: 35% of your overall FICO
  • Total Amounts Owed: 30% of your overall FICO
  • Length of Credit History: 15% of your overall FICO
  • New Credit: 10% of your overall FICO
  • Type of Credit in Use: 10% of your overall FICO

To find out what is impacting your FICO score you will want to review your credit reports.  You can obtain a free copy of your credit report from each of the three main credit reporting agencies — Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian — at

Your scores are generated based on a snapshot of the information on your credit report as of the particular moment that the report is pulled. Correcting errors is crucial, therefore, to ensure the highest possible FICO score.

Here are things you can do in the short term to improve your score:

1. Verify your accounts are current

“Payment History” makes the largest impact on your FICO score at 35% of your overall score. It is vital, therefore, that you keep current on all of the accounts reporting to your credit report.

When reviewing your credit report, should you find any accounts that are past due, catch them up as soon as possible and pay at least the minimum payment required by the due date.

2. Dispute your inaccuracies

Should you detect any errors on your credit report, you will want to request a correction as quickly as possible.  In order to make a correction, use the information on your report to contact the credit bureaus, and also the creditors which provided the erroneous data to the bureaus.  Getting even one late payment removed from your credit report can improve your FICO score dramatically.

piggybank-house3. Ask for a little grace

Sometimes, a creditor may be willing to “help you out”.  In cases where you make a relatively small slip-up, with a creditor you’ve never been late with, you can sometimes get a late-payment waived.  It’s always a good idea to make a phone call and to ask for a little grace.  This works best if you catch the delinquency early and bring the account current right away.

There are many examples of creditors removing a late payment from your credit report if there’s a legitimate story behind what happened, and if you can explain what steps you’ve taken to avoid a repeat occurrence.

4. Settle up collections, charge-offs, judgments and liens

Old collection items, credit card charge-offs, and judgments and liens can hurt your FICO score, too. If you’ve got any of these on your credit report, it’s time to contact your creditors and collection agencies and to settle up one-at-a-time.

In many cases, you can negotiate with your creditors to remove a trade line completely in exchange for settling an account for its full balance. You need to call your credits first, however, to find out.

5. Improve your debt utilization ratio

Another way to improve your FICO is to improve your “amounts owed”, or debt utilization ratio.  Debt utilization makes up 30% of your FICO credit score.  This is a measure of how much you money you owe to creditors as compared to how much credit is available to you.  The FICO scoring model takes into account the utilization of each individual credit account; and the utilization of all of your credit accounts combined.Cool bulbs

For example, if you have five credit cards, each with a $2,000 limit, you have a total $10,000 available credit over all five accounts. If you carry a $1,000 balance on one of the five accounts, you would have a 50% utilization on one card and a 10% utilization over all of your credit.

In general, debt utilization of 30% of less is good for FICO scores. Utilization over 30% is often bad.

Now that you are armed with this – get to work and see what you can accomplish to improve that score.  Give me a call, as I’d be more than happy to coach you through this process, as well!

Mortgage Approval After One Year of Self-Employment?


Self-employed mortgage applicants must prove stability of employment and income, usually going back two years.  This is a bit tougher than it is for regular salaried employees.

Traditionally, mortgage lenders have required two years federal income tax returns in securing a mortgage for purchasing or refinancing real estate.  There’s been changes to the way mortgage lenders underwrite mortgage loans.

Fortunately, there is a way to use just one year of tax returns to qualify for a mortgage.  This can help newer business owners, as well as those who experienced a down year in the past.

Key ExchangeWhether you are looking to buy a home or refinance one, you may be able to qualify by showing only your most recent year of income.  Check out this article by The Mortgage Report’s Adam Lesner for more.

Getting Approved As A Self-Employed Applicant

Generally, a self-employed borrower is any individual who has 25% or greater ownership interest in a business.

According to conventional mortgage guidelines published by Fannie Mae, underwriters consider the following factors to approve a self-employed borrower.

  • The stability of the borrower’s income
  • The location and nature of the borrower’s business
  • The demand for the product or service
  • The financial strength of the business
  • The future outlook of the business

Two points stand out here when getting approved as a business owner: stability and consistency.

The way underwriters measure stability is by looking at length of history in that business specifically, and in that field.

They typically want to see a two-year history in the respective industry. This is where you may be granted an exception if you haven’t been self-employed the whole two years in that line of work.

Ask The Lender To Use Different Approval Software

In some cases, the underwriter won’t ask you to provide a full two years’ worth of tax returns.

Most applicants’ files are run through computerized underwriting systems, then verified by real person. The underwriting software, in some cases, will ask for the most recent year of tax returns only.

Freelancer-Finances-810x552The one-year requirement typically comes from “Loan Prospector,” which is Freddie Mac’s loan approval software. Fannie Mae’s version of the software is less likely to give you a one-year requirement. Most lenders can approve loans via Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.

If you have been self-employed less than two years, ask your lender to try running your scenario through Loan Prospector. There’s a chance this system will require you to document less self-employment than would another system.

If you receive the reduced, one-year requirement, it’s important to understand that your tax return must reflect a full year of self-employment income.

For example, if you became self-employed in April 2017, that year’s tax returns are not going to reflect a full year.  If you started your business in November 2016, then your 2017 tax returns will demonstrate a full year of experience running your business.

Give your me a call to find out more – as there are multiple alternatives that we can examine!

Use Assets as Income in Loan Qualification


A little-known change in Freddie Mac’s rules could be a big help to qualifying retiring Baby Boomers and other savvy homebuyers who have limited incomes, but substantial financial assets, for a low-rate conforming, conventional mortgage.

Without a steady income, how do they qualify for a loan?  By utilizing assets as income, that’s how!

Loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — which means most loans issued these days — can use assets such as IRAs and 401(k)s to help applicants meet income requirements. The provision “lets you takeblue-roof-and-calc advantage of your holdings to a greater degree,” says Keith Gumbinger, vice-president of HSH Associates, which publishes mortgage information and rates.

How Does It Work?

Assets that can be counted under these rules include retirement accounts such as IRAs and 401(k)s, lump-sum retirement account distributions and annuities.

“The borrower must be fully vested, and the retirement assets must be in a retirement account that is immediately accessible,” says Brad German, a spokesman for Freddie Mac.  That means the money cannot be subject to an early-withdrawal penalty and cannot currently be used for income.

The formula takes 70% of qualifying assets, subtracts what will be needed for down payment and closing costs and divides the remainder by 360, the number of months in a standard loan, to arrive at a monthly income used to determine the applicants’ maximum payment and loan amount.

stick figure on says, for example, that a borrower with $1 million in assets could count $700,000.  After taking out $10,000 for closing costs and dividing by 360, the borrower could show $1,917 in monthly income.

That, of course, is not enough for a gigantic loan.  But it could be very helpful if the borrower needed a relatively modest loan for the gap between the cost of a new home and the proceeds from selling an older one.  And Social Security, pension and other income sources could help the borrower get a bigger loan.

There are some catches, however.  To be counted, the assets, including interest earnings and dividends, cannot be used for current income, HSH says.

If you would like to find out more about utilizing your assets as income for your next home purchase or refinance, reach out to your mortgage lender for more details.


The views expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of American Financial Network, Inc.

Cancel Your Mortgage Insurance – Right Now!

Home Mortgage Refinance

If you bought a house with a down payment of less than 20%, your lender required you to buy mortgage insurance. The same goes if you refinanced with less than 20% equity.

Private mortgage insurance is expensive, and you can remove it after you have met some conditions.

How to get rid of PMI

To remove PMI, or private mortgage insurance, you must have at least 20% equity in the home. You may ask the lender to cancel PMI when you have paid down the mortgage balance to 80% of the home’s original appraised value.

The process to do so is straightforward.  Get an estimate of value from a local real estate agent or loan officer.  Online home valuation websites can be inaccurate, so be careful with those.palmgraph

See if you have around 20% equity based on your home’s estimated value.  Be sure to add closing costs onto your existing loan balance if you do not wish to pay them out of pocket.

Then, reach out to your lender and begin the refinance process!

Refinancing to get out of PMI

When mortgage rates are near record lows, as they are now, refinancing can allow you not only to get rid of PMI, but you can reduce your monthly interest payments. It’s a double-whammy of savings.

RefinanceThe refinancing tactic works if your home has gained substantial value since the last time you got a mortgage. Let’s say you bought your house 3 years ago for $100,000, and you borrowed $90,000. That means you have a loan-to-value ratio of 90%, and you pay for PMI.

Three years later, you’ve made all your payments and you have chipped away at the loan balance. Now you owe $85,000. And your home’s value has gone up — now it can be appraised at $112,000. Its value has grown 4% a year.

At this point, you owe $85,000 on a $112,000 house. This means you owe 76% of the home’s value — well under the 80% loan to value that triggers the need for mortgage insurance. Under these circumstances, you can refinance intfha-mipo a new loan without having to pay for PMI.

Here’s a great piece from Craig Berry at the Mortgage Reports for those who have FHA loans and are paying mortgage insurance (MIP). He outlines the benefits of the FHA loan – and examines why right now is a great time to move to a conventional loan.

Now is the time

With rates near historic lows and home values rising consistently, now is a fantastic time to look at refinancing away that PMI.  I’d be happy to sit down with you and talk about alternatives and programs that could fit you needs!


The views expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of American Financial Network, Inc.

Closing Timeframes Continue to Lengthen


Since the implementation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures rule last October, continuing evidence shows the impact of TRID in lengthening the time to close real estate transactions.  Both purchase and refinances have been severely impacted by these new regulations.

Now, a report from Ellie Mae shows more statistical evidence on how deeply the impact of TRID is being felt, with the time to close a mortgage loan climbing yet again.  Additionally, 2016’s average time to close a loan is 10 days longer than just one year ago in 2015, when the average time to close a loan was 40 days.

If you find 50 day closes unacceptable (as I do), please reach out to me so we can get your customer in their new home sooner rather than later!  Take advantage of Equity Prime’s 30-day On-Time Closing Guarantee.

The gist of TRID is that mortgage lenders must send particular paperwork to mortgage borrowers 72 houRealtor Guarantee 3-1-2016 (2)rs prior to closing, and that changes to any of the documents require a re-disclosure of said terms and another 72-hour waiting period.

Since October 2015, then, closings have had an additional 3 days tacked on; a government-mandated delay affecting all closed loans.  But Equity Prime is still holding to it’s 30 day on-time closing guarantee!

The faster you can close on a mortgage, the lower the mortgage interest rate can be and the faster your client gets into their new home! Know the steps in a mortgage approval, and where you cut time and corners to get to closing quicker.

Source: The Mortgage Reports

The Bank Statement Mortgage – A Great Option

Borrowers that have incomes that are less documented have a much more difficult time qualifying for a traditional home loan.  In general, self-employed borrowers or those who write off 2106 un-reimbursed expenses will be the most likely to benefit from the bank statement program.  These programs can be used for a primary residence, a second home or an investment property.

“Bank Statement loans are designed specifically for the self-employed and others whose tax returns and employment history may not adequately express their financial viability”

As its name would suggest, the concept is predicated on providing evidence of future payment ability, in the form of bank statements from the past 12 to 24 months. These can serve as the means for a down payment, in addition to taking the place of a traditional employment history for the years of W -2 forms typically required of buyers during the application process. Freelancer-Finances-810x552

The bank statement program is designed to alleviate this shortfall of standard documentation.  We will determine an applicant’s ability to repay based on a more pragmatic, case-by-case approach.

Bank Statement Program Verification

Lenders may allow the use of personal or business bank statements to support a self-employed borrower’s income for qualification purposes. The documentation provided needs to document that the income is stable, likely to continue and sufficient to enable the borrower to repay the debt.

The income presented must be reasonable for the profession or type of business.  In addition, when using business bank statements to support the borrower’s income, the nature and structure of business must be evaluated to determine if the applied expense assumptions are reasonable.

The borrower’s business may be a sole proprietorship, a partnership (general or limited), or a corporation. They may also receive income documented by Form 1099, or filed on a Schedule C.

Borrower must have been in the same line of work or own the same business for two years. Self-employed borrowers must be able to document by a neutral third-party that the business has been in operation for the last two years and that they have had ownership for that period of time. Third-party verification generally includes:

  • A letter from a certified public accountant (CPA)
  • A letter from a regulatory agency or professional organization
  • Copy of business license

stick figure on cashBorrowers that are employed by the seller, property seller, realtor, or receive foreign income are ineligible.

Income Documentation Requirements

The Borrower’s application must include all sources and amounts of income. The bank statements must support income listed on the application.  Deposits from income sources that are not reflected on the 1003 or those not needed to qualify will not be included in the qualifying income calculation.

Income sources separate from self-employment must be verified. Examples of verification include social security letter, employment verification, or divorce decree. If tax returns are provided for the borrower using bank statements to support their income, the loan must be fully documented.

Income may be documented by either personal or business bank statements. However, the co-mingling of personal and business or multiple business accounts is prohibited. If multiple accounts are used to show income and reserves, documentation must be provided to show evidence that the funds are separate and distinct.

Here are a few of the key features of this type of loan:

  • Up to 45 percent debt-to-income ratio
  • 5/1 & 7/1 adjustable-rate mortgage options
  • Loan-to-value ratios of up to 75 percent
  • Cash-out options of up to $350,000 for a primary residence
  • Loan amounts of up to $2 million

While the bank statement program is truly unique, there are signs the rest of the mortgage market is catching up to the evolution. These types of transactions are becoming more and more common – and for good reason!


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