Monday, February 2, 2009

Just How Hard Is It to Get a Loan These Days?

By Kristin Abouelata, Home Loan Specialist

Every where you turn you read or see some bit of information about tightening guidelines for mortgage lenders? It makes you wonder if you would qualify for a loan today that you easily qualified for two years ago. Hmmm, would you?

I see or hear it everywhere. On the television news, in the paper. People at parties ask me about it. Clients discuss it. Everyone is curious to know just how difficult it is to get a loan these days. I guess I would answer that by asking just what type of loan are you considering? From what I understand through the media, if you need a car loan, yes- it’s more difficult. And I really have no idea if it is exceptionally more difficult to obtain car financing. I’d be curious to hear from a car financing loan officer on that matter. But a home loan? It just depends.

You see, here’s the thing. Most lenders in our area never did the really, funky loans that have caused this mortgage crisis and only a small slice of the market was committed to subprime loans. Yes, we did stated income. But that was only because Joe Borrower had been on the job forever and had an 8 bazillion credit score. And he was buying a house he intended to call home. You see, the automated underwriting engines assign risk factors to certain aspects of the loan. These risks are based on statistics and mathematical data regarding loan performance. Stuff way over most of our heads. But you see if everyone’s cards were on the table, these old estimates of risk worked for the most part.

But they didn’t work when people lied about the intended use of the property or about how much income they made. Or they didn’t work if they had an unscrupulous lender who assisted them in committing fraud, oftentimes unwittingly. You see, if you didn’t plan to live in the property, you would have had to put more money down and proven your income or your assets. Mathematically, the statistics showed that if you could not substantiate or meet these requirements, you were at risk for default. Oops, false data equals bad results. And ta-da, mass foreclosures.

But around here, most folks did traditional conventional loans for primary residences or obtained FHA mortgages where you had to prove all that stuff anyway. These loans performed well, and continue to do so. And these people still can get loans easily. Not much has changed for them, except if they are getting a conventional loan, they have to bring in a few more pieces of paper to show their income that they didn’t before. And the lender is typically going to collect some type of down payment from you, even it’s marginal or from a grant.

What has changed, credit wise, is if you are an individual who is buying rental property. You have to put more money down, have higher credit, and can only own so many and still qualify. People who scooped up homes, expecting to turn them quickly but couldn’t, are part of the problem we all now face. People who had very little invested into the property when they purchased it. People who could walk away easily when they realized they had no renters and couldn’t sell the home anymore because the house prices dropped. People who didn’t have to prove their income to obtain the loan. Or they agreed to a extremely low interest adjustable rate mortgage where they never thought they would see the adjustment happen. Lots of people in Nevada, California and Florida where individuals invested heavily in the mortgage industry for profit – not necessarily for homeownership and the American Dream.

So, yes, it’s much more difficult for this latter group of individuals to secure financing on the secondary market. But for your typical hardworking family, there are loans out there for you. If you earn good income, have a sensible budget and work history, you should be ok. Some guidelines have tightened up, but these shrinking nets being cast make good sense. However, considering what a beating our pocketbooks have taken lately, good sense is a good thing. But don’t be afraid that you won’t qualify. If you do what your mama and daddy raised you to do, chances are you will.

Let My Experience Work For You!
Email your home loan financing questions to Kristin Abouelata, Home Loan Specialist with Mortgage Investors Group, at question@kristinmortgage.com or call direct: (865) 567-0113 Toll Free: 1-800-489-8910. For more information visit her website at www.kristinmortgage.com Home Loans Plain Talk.

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