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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

How To Win In A Bidding War

It's practically an epidemic in our current housing market.  A buyer finds a house they really like - one that's only been on the market for a couple of days many times - and they make an offer only to find out that there are other offers on the table and theirs isn't the winning one.

It's a rotten situation.  It's even worse when it happens multiple times, which has been the case for a lot of potential home buyers in Michiana.

What if I told you there was a mortgage loan option that would make your offer better and help you to win in this tight market?  There is, and it's called the Ruoff 3 for 1 Program.

What is the Ruoff 3 for 1 Program?

You're going to love this loan option.  The Ruoff 3 for 1 Program is a conventional mortgage that eligible buyers can use and only put 1% down on the purchase of their home.  That's right.  Just 1% of the price is needed for the down payment.




Tell me more.  But first, what do you mean by 'Conventional Mortgage'?

Before I break down the details of the 3 for 1 and how it will make your offer better, let me clarify what I mean by 'conventional mortgage'. In a nutshell, there are two basic types of mortgage loans, government insured loans and conventional loans.  Government insured loans typically offer extra flexibility so they're a good fit for some people but that flexibility comes at a cost of higher fees and/or mortgage insurance being charged for the life of the loan.

If you don't need the flexibility they offer, it's better to skip the extra costs and just go with the plain-vanilla conventional loan.  To learn more about why I prefer conventional for most buyers, click here - Why I (almost) Always Recommend Conventional.

So Who Can Buy With 1% Down?

Conventional loans typically require 5% down but we've had an increase in 3% down options coming on the market lately.  The Ruoff 3 for 1 Program technically is a 3% down option too.  In this case, though, 2% of that 3% down payment is paid by Ruoff, leaving only 1% to be paid by the home buyer.

Let's take a minute to hit the high points on what is needed to qualify:

  1. Credit score - A 680 minimum credit score is needed.
  2. No first time buyer requirement - You do NOT need to be first time buyers (yes!). However, you can't own another house at the time of the loan closing and you will need to take an online home buyer education class.  Don't worry.  It's not hard.  
  3. Purchases only - This is for a purchase only (not a refinance of an existing loan) and that purchase has to be of a single family home.  No rental properties, duplexes or manufactured homes are allowed.
  4. No minimum personal investment or savings required - While you need 1% down, it can be a gift from a family member if needed. This loan also doesn't require any level of additional savings like some loans do, making it even easier to qualify.
  5. Some maximum income limits - Some areas have a maximum income limit meaning that you can't make more than the HUD median Income for that area or you won't qualify.  About 1/3 of our market has no income cap while the rest has a current cap of $52,900.  To see if a cap applies to the house you like, go here - Property Lookup.  

One key thing to know about the income cap - it only applies to the borrower on the mortgage and not to the household.  If there are two people buying a home together and combined they make too much money but alone one of them makes less than the cap, we can look to see if that person qualifies alone so they can use the program.  Both people could still be on the deed to the house in this situation.

So How Does This Make My Offer Better?

I'm happy to explain!  First, the fact that this is a conventional loan makes a difference.  All things being equal, most sellers feel more comfortable with a conventional buyer.  The general impression is that a conventional buyer has a stronger financial picture and will be more likely to close.  Also, conventional loans have lighter property requirements which make sellers more comfortable.

The best way to use this program, though, relates to seller concessions.  It's a common thing for buyers to ask a seller to help cover closing costs on a purchase.  Buyers typically ask for this because they are using their savings to cover the down payment and can't cover both.  If you only need 1% of the price for your down payment though, you can likely cover your own closing costs instead of asking the seller to cover them.  This makes your offer look better when compared to another buyer who is asking for seller help.

Interested?

Of course you're interested!  While Ruoff's 3 for 1 Program isn't a fit for everyone, it's a fit for a whoooole lot of people who are ready to buy now and quit playing the 'someone beat us out' game.  If you'd like to dig deeper to see if this program could help make your offer the winning offer, drop me a line at lori.hiscock@ruoff.com or give me a call at 574-234-5201.


To learn more about low down payment options or any other aspects of home financing, contact Lori Hiscock at lori.hiscock@ruoff.com.  


Lori Hiscock is a Sr. Loan Officer at Ruoff Home Mortgage‘s South Bend office.  One of Michiana’s top mortgage loan officers, Lori started her lending career in 1995 after obtaining her bachelor’s degree in Finance from Western Michigan University.  You can connect with Lori Hiscock or apply online here. NMLS#404320.
Ruoff Mortgage Company, Inc. is an Indiana corporation licensed by the Indiana Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) and operates with the following licenses:

Indiana-DFI First Lien Mortgage Lending License #10994;
IL Residential Mortgage Licensee #MB.6760734;
Michigan 1st Mortgage Broker/Lender License #FL0017496.
Ohio Mortgage Broker Act License #MBMB.850220.000

The Florida Office of Financial Regulation License #MLD1182


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Can I Buy A House With My Income Tax Refund?

If you're anything like me, you probably start thinking about what you could do with your tax refund months before tax time even hits. Should I pay something off? Take a family trip? Save it for a rainy day?

There are lots of uses for that tax refund money, most of which you'd forget about soon after it was spent.

But...hey, what if you could do something with that money that would change your life?  Is it possible that you could buy a HOUSE with your tax refund?

Yes, you likely could get into a house of your own with your tax refund.

Let's talk about how.

3% Down Conventional

First let me say, there is no 'one size fits all' mortgage type. Some buyers get the most benefit from USDA financing, some from VA, some from FHA and some from conventional. For the majority of my home buyers, though, a conventional mortgage offers the most financial benefits. 

(To learn more about why conventional financing rocks,

In 2016, the requirements for getting a conventional loan lightened with the minimum down payment dropping from 5% of the price to 3% for many buyers, making it an even better option than it was before.  Suddenly a buyer could get all the benefits of a conventional loan (no financed fee, removable PMI, easier home buying process) without having to invest too much upfront.


(To learn about my favorite 3% down conventional option, 

Conventional loans have one unique thing that needs to be considered when trying to buy a house with less money needed upfront, though - the seller concessions cap.

Maximum Seller Concessions

When you're buying a house, you are allowed to ask the seller to help pay for the costs you incur with getting the loan. They can also pay for the items that need covered upfront with a home purchase, like your first year of home insurance and your insurance and tax escrows. Together, these items are typically referred to as 'closing costs and prepaids.'

The seller can't always pay for all of these for you, though. It depends on the price of the home you are buying and the type of loan you are getting. The amount the seller can give is capped as a percentage of the sales price and the percentage allowed is different for different types of loans.

For conventional loans, the most the seller can give is 3% of the price. On lower priced homes (houses under $110,000ish), this will likely not cover all of the costs so you, the buyer, will have to pay for the rest.

Show Me The Numbers Please...

Are you a numbers nerd like me who loves a good chart?  If so, I've got your back!  Here's a table showing how much the buyer would need for the down payment and closing costs/prepaids assuming the seller agreed to pay the maximum that is allowed towards the buyer's cost.  As you can see, the amount the buyer needs stays the same even if the price is lower simply because the seller can't cover all the closing costs on a lower priced home.

Home Price 3% Down Payment  Typical Closing Costs/Prepaids  Max Seller Can Contribute (3%) Amount Needed By Buyer
                            75,000                               2,250                               3,300                               2,250                               3,300
                         100,000                            3,000                               3,300                               3,000                               3,300
                         125,000                            3,750                               3,300                               3,300                               3,750
                         150,000                            4,500                               3,300                               3,300                               4,500

3.5% Down FHA

If you're wanting to buy a lower priced house but can't spend as much upfront as the conventional loan needs, a FHA mortgage might be the better fit.

FHA financing only needs 3.5% down, so not much more than the conventional option, and the seller is allowed to give up to 6% of the price towards your closing costs and prepaids. The seller being able to give more can keep the upfront amount needed on the lower priced house to a more affordable range for many buyers:
Home Price 3.5% Down Payment  Typical Closing Costs/Prepaids  Max Seller Can Contribute (6%) Amount Needed By Buyer
                            75,000                               2,625                               3,300                               3,300                               2,625
                         100,000                            3,500                               3,300                               3,300                               3,500
                         125,000                            4,375                               3,300                               3,300                               4,375
                         150,000                            5,250                               3,300                               3,300                               5,250

IHCDA Next Home

If your tax refund still isn't going to cover the amount needed, you aren't out of the home buying game yet. At that point, we'd see if you could qualify for down payment assistance from IHCDA.

IHCDA stands for Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. It is a department of the Indiana state government that provides eligible home buyers with down payment assistance. Because of the help provided by IHCDA, many buyers can purchase a home needing only $500-$1,000 to cover the upfront earnest money. They often get that earnest money back at closing too, making this a truly zero down home buying option.   


(To learn about the downsides to this down payment assistance program.

Bottom Line

If none of the options above are a fit for you, there still might be other ways to cover your down payment. Gifts from relatives are often allowable sources as are loans against something you own like a 401(k) or a vehicle.  

Bottom line, there's likely a way to cover your down payment at any time of the year. This time of year with that tax refund money flowing in, though, it might be easier than most.

So...are you wondering if this might be the right time for YOU to buy a house?  I'd be happy to help you figure that out!  Just give me a call or drop me a line at lori.hiscock@ruoff.com.  Together, we'll see if 2017 might be your year to own a home of your own.


To learn more about low down payment options or any other aspects of home financing, contact Lori Hiscock at lori.hiscock@ruoff.com.  


Lori Hiscock is a Sr. Loan Officer at Ruoff Home Mortgage‘s South Bend office.  One of Michiana’s top mortgage loan officers, Lori started her lending career in 1995 after obtaining her bachelor’s degree in Finance from Western Michigan University.  You can connect with Lori Hiscock or apply online here. NMLS#404320.
Ruoff Mortgage Company, Inc. is an Indiana corporation licensed by the Indiana Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) and operates with the following licenses:

Indiana-DFI First Lien Mortgage Lending License #10994;
IL Residential Mortgage Licensee #MB.6760734;
Michigan 1st Mortgage Broker/Lender License #FL0017496.
Ohio Mortgage Broker Act License #MBMB.850220.000

The Florida Office of Financial Regulation License #MLD1182




Monday, December 12, 2016

The Student Loan Problem (And The Fix)

We all know that student loans are a big problem for many Americans.  You may not realize, though, that they became a big problem for many home buyers in 2016 as well.

Why is that, you ask?  I'm happy to explain!

In 2016, the rules for how student loan payments are counted when someone is buying a house got a whole lot tighter.  Previously a lender could work off of the payment showing on the credit report.  If the buyer was on an income based repayment (IBR) plan and the payment was lower because of that, great!  If the student loan was deferred and wasn't going to start repayment for 12 months or more, all the better.

In those cases, a lender was able to count that lower IBR payment or possibly even that zero deferred payment and, because of that, allow the buyer to qualify for a more expensive home than they would otherwise.

In 2016 though, that changed.  Both FHA and Fannie Mae changed their requirements to read that a lender now should count 1% of the student loan's balance in their payments when determining how much they qualify for.

OUCH!  Let me share some math on how much that can hurt a home buyer.  Let's say a buyer works full time making $12.50 an hour which is $2,166 per month pre-tax.  A lender will target them having monthly bills of no more than 45% of this pre-tax income and that number needs to include the new mortgage payment they are requesting.

So...$2,166 x 45% gives you $974 of monthly bills allowed.  Now, if this buyer has $40,000 in student loans that are deferred but the lender has to count 1% of the balance as a payment, that's a $400 payment that needs to come out of that $974, leaving just $574 for everything else.  Let's say they have a $250 car payment and $60 per month in minimum credit card bills, and suddenly you're down to $224 left for the new mortgage payment.

Even in a lower priced market like mine, $224 isn't going to be enough to get a house for most buyers.  So...what's the fix?

There are two possible ways to work around this. First, if there is a payment showing on the credit report and we can show that it is a fully amortizing payment, we can use it even if it's under 1%.  It's going to take some extra legwork to prove this though.  A lender would need to get a copy of the original note from the borrower containing the interest rate and loan term to confirm that the payment on the credit report will pay it off on time.

If the payment will not pay it off in the original term, there is one more option.  Instead of using Fannie Mae or FHA for the loan approval, the lender can run the loan through Freddie Mac.  Freddie and Fannie are the  two government sponsored enterprises that basically drive the mortgage industry and Freddie is currently offering a bit more flexibility on this issue.  Freddie alone will allow a lender to use the lower IBR payment showing on the credit report when approving a buyer.

So why doesn't everyone with student loans just use Freddie for their loan approval then? There are two main reasons.  One, they may not qualify.  Some people need to use FHA financing because of newer or bruised credit or tighter debt/income.  If that's the case, they will have to use that 1% or fully-amortizing rule which may rule them out for a home purchase.

Also, some lenders don't offer Freddie for their buyers.  They're strictly a Fannie lender, so their clients will have to abide by the 1% or fully amortizing rule as well.

So what does this mean for home buyers today?  It means that, while it is harder to get approved for a mortgage when they have student loan balances, there may be options. If you have been told you don't qualify because of your student loans, ask your lender if they looked into documenting that your loans were fully amortizing.  Ask them if they looked into running your approval through Freddie Mac. If they're unable or unwilling to take these extra steps, feel free to contact me for a second opinion (lori.hiscock@ruoff.com). Or, hey, just come to me first! Whether we can do it now or we need to create a plan to get you there in time, student loans don't have to stop you from owning a house of your own.


To learn more about the products covered here or any other aspects of home financing, contact Lori Hiscock at lori.hiscock@ruoff.com.  
Lori Hiscock is a Sr. Loan Officer at Ruoff Home Mortgage‘s South Bend office.  One of Michiana’s top mortgage loan officers, Lori started her lending career in 1995 after obtaining her bachelor’s degree in Finance from Western Michigan University.  You can connect with Lori Hiscock or apply online here. NMLS#404320.
Ruoff Mortgage Company, Inc. is an Indiana corporation licensed by the Indiana Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) and operates with the following licenses:

Indiana-DFI First Lien Mortgage Lending License #10994;
IL Residential Mortgage Licensee #MB.6760734;
Michigan 1st Mortgage Broker/Lender License #FL0017496.
Ohio Mortgage Broker Act License #MBMB.850220.000

The Florida Office of Financial Regulation License #MLD1182

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Loan I would ABSOLUTELY Pick Today

When I'm reviewing mortgage options with prospective home buyers, they often ask me which one I would choose. Typically the answer isn't obvious because the different options have different strengths and weaknesses. The final decision really depends on what matters most to each person and that will vary buyer to buyer.

There is currently a mortgage loan available that blows most of the other options out of the water, though. 

It is Fannie Mae's Home Ready Mortgage.

Why Home Ready ROCKS

There are multiple reasons why this program is exceptional.  They include:
  • Conventional loan - Home Ready is a conventional loan with all of the positive features of a conventional loan including no upfront mortgage insurance/funding fees, more flexible property standards, and the ability to eventually get the private mortgage insurance (PMI) dropped from the payment.
  • Only 3% down needed - This program only requires a 3% down payment and that down payment can be gifted from a family member if needed.
  • Not limited to first-time homebuyer - You used to have to be a first-time buyer to use this loan but they changed that in July. This is a BIG win. Huge.
  • Can own another property - If a person owns a house already and wants to buy another one that they'll live in, they can do that with this loan without having to sell the current house first.
  • Cheaper PMI - The private mortgage insurance rate is cheaper on this loan than on the typical 3% down mortgage.  
  • Better interest rates for lower credit scores - this loan program doesn't charge a higher interest rate for 680-740 credit scores like most conventional mortgages do. This lack of a credit score adjustment is a big win that can save a buyer thousands of dollars over the life of their loan.  

See what I mean?  This mortgage loan has some major benefits for a broad range of buyers.

The One Potential Snag 


There's got to be a downside though, right? Well, there is one but it's not nearly as big of a snag as it used to be.


This program was created to help low to moderate income borrowers and they enforced that by having income limits. In July they rezoned the map for this and a significant chunk of our market now has no income limit at all. That means a person could make a bazillion dollars per year and still only put 3% down and get the cheaper PMI if they were buying in one of these newly-expanded areas (although, with a bazillion dollar income, they really should just pay cash).

Some areas still have an income limit though. It's determined by census tract and the map can be easily accessed here - Home Ready Map.  For those areas with a limit, it's currently $52,900.

This is the maximum income for the borrower, not the household. This is significant because it gives us a workaround when someone wants to buy in an area with this cap. If there are multiple borrowers, we often can do the loan in just one of their names to stay under the limit while putting them both on the deed to the house.

It's SO Worth It

A first time home buyer will also have to take an online home buyer education class but that and the income limit in some areas are really the only negatives. If a person can work around those, it is SO worth it to get the lower down payment, lower PMI costs and lower interest rate.

So are you interested?  Do you want to learn more?  Just email me at lori.hiscock@ruoff.com to see if this program is a fit for you.

To learn more about the products covered here or any other aspects of home financing, contact Lori Hiscock at lori.hiscock@ruoff.com.  
Lori Hiscock is a Sr. Loan Officer at Ruoff Home Mortgage‘s South Bend office.  One of Michiana’s top mortgage loan officers, Lori started her lending career in 1995 after obtaining her bachelor’s degree in Finance from Western Michigan University.  You can connect with Lori Hiscock or apply online here. NMLS#404320.
Ruoff Mortgage Company, Inc. is an Indiana corporation licensed by the Indiana Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) and operates with the following licenses:

Indiana-DFI First Lien Mortgage Lending License #10994;
IL Residential Mortgage Licensee #MB.6760734;
Michigan 1st Mortgage Broker/Lender License #FL0017496.
Ohio Mortgage Broker Act License #MBMB.850220.000

The Florida Office of Financial Regulation License #MLD1182

Monday, August 22, 2016

Why Flipping is so Flipping Hard

A past client emailed me this weekend asking for my help with a new property she wants to purchase. I love working with previous clients and was initially delighted by her message. As I read on though, that delight faded a bit.

She was wanting to buy a house to flip it. Now please don't get me wrong. I have nothing against people flipping homes. I've flipped a few myself (with the hugely important help of my contractor husband that is). I truly love when people take a home that is neglected and improve it. The whole community benefits from better houses so I'm a big fan.

That being said, flipping a house is just so flippin' hard to do. And I'm not talking about the actual work involved, although I think most first time flippers grossly underestimate that. I'm talking about the financing part of a house flip. Let me share why getting a mortgage for a flip home is so challenging for most buyers.

The Undervalued House

The way to make money on a house flip is to find one that is undervalued, normally because of condition, fix it and resell it for a fair market value. The challenge is that you need to cover the costs of your financing, repairs and your profit in that new 'fair market value' which means the initial price needs to be quite low when compared to the houses around it.

That does happen, but when it happens, it's often because the problems with the current condition are significant. They're things like missing plumbing or visible mold or significant damage (floors torn up, toilets missing, etc.). The issues that exist are often things that make the house uninhabitable and an uninhabitable house is not a financeable house.

What does that mean for a flipper? It means that most of the houses that will make the best flips have to be bought with cash. If you don't have the cash to buy and fix them, you're not going to be able to buy a lot of the more profitable flip houses.

Down Payment and Reserves

Maybe a person finds a house that could be a profitable flip that is actually in good enough condition to get financed. Yea! The next hurdle then is the down payment and repair costs. When you're purchasing an investment property, you need to invest more upfront than you do on a home you intend to live in. An owner occupant home can often be purchased for as little as 3% down (even 0% down for USDA eligible homes) but an investment property typically takes at least a 20% down payment.

To make it more challenging, a lender will need you to have additional funds in savings AFTER the down payment and loan approval costs are covered (called 'reserves'). You often don't need to have any additional savings with an owner-occupied home purchase but an investment property purchase typically requires you to have savings equal to six months of payments on your existing mortgage(s) and the new mortgage combined. That savings can often be in the form of retirement savings if needed (IRA, 401k), which helps. For many would be flippers though, they're stretching all their savings to just buy and fix the house and the requirement to have additional savings is just too much.

Debt/Income

So....maybe just maybe you find a house that is financeable and maybe you have the money for the down payment, reserves and repair costs. Do you have the room in your budget for the new loan though? Even if your intent is to sell the house fairly quickly, the lender has to see that you can afford the payment on it on top of your current payments. This means your income has to be enough to cover your current bills (mortgage, car loans, credit cards, student loans, etc.) and the new mortgage payment with enough cushion above these for the lender to be comfortable. Some people have that kind of space in their budget but, if you don't, this could stop your flipping plans in their tracks.

All to say...


So does all this mean that only cash buyers can flip houses? No, not really. A person can potentially flip with a mortgage but there are so many 'ifs' to it. You could potentially flip with a mortgage if the house meets minimum property conditions, if you have the 20% down payment, if you have the required reserves, if your debt/income ratio isn't too high (plus a few more minor 'ifs' not covered here). Add on top of all of this that most sellers will prefer a cash offer on their distressed property over a financed one and it's just really, really flippin' hard for people to get into home flipping if they need a mortgage to do it. 

My best advice - if this is something you really want to do, find a property that meets minimum property standards and buy it to live in while you're fixing it. If you make it your home and live there, repairing it over time, and selling it down the road, a lender will view it as your primary home and a lot of these tighter requirements go away.

If that's not an option, try to save the money and become a cash flipper. It may take longer to get to your goal, but it's do-able if you're willing to put effort and time to save upfront.

To learn more about the products covered here or any other aspects of home financing, contact Lori Hiscock at lori.hiscock@ruoff.com.  
Lori Hiscock is a Sr. Loan Officer at Ruoff Home Mortgage‘s South Bend office.  One of Michiana’s top mortgage loan officers, Lori started her lending career in 1995 after obtaining her bachelor’s degree in Finance from Western Michigan University.  You can connect with Lori Hiscock or apply online here. NMLS#404320.
Ruoff Mortgage Company, Inc. is an Indiana corporation licensed by the Indiana Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) and operates with the following licenses:

Indiana-DFI First Lien Mortgage Lending License #10994;
IL Residential Mortgage Licensee #MB.6760734;
Michigan 1st Mortgage Broker/Lender License #FL0017496.
Ohio Mortgage Broker Act License #MBMB.850220.000

The Florida Office of Financial Regulation License #MLD1182

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Why I (almost) Always Recommend Conventional

Sometimes a home buyer will call me and say they were referred to me for a home loan. My first response is typically "YEA! That's awesome!"  I'll then ask if they've gone through the preapproval process before and they'll often say that, yes, they're preapproved with another bank but don't wish to work with them any further (typically because of poor communication).

I then typically ask if they recall what type of loan they were preapproved for and they'll often say "They told me FHA financing, but I have no idea why....."

That answer saddens me because it points out a common weakness in my industry.  Lenders have a tendency to tell buyers what loan we think they should use instead of giving them the pros and cons of multiple options and letting them decide.

Sometimes FHA is the right fit for a buyer. Sometimes, it's the ONLY option for a buyer. There are many times conventional financing is an option too though. When Conventional is an option, it will (almost) always trump FHA in my eyes.  Let's review why:

  • Lower fees:  FHA currently charges a home buyer an upfront fee equal to 1.75% of the mortgage amount.  This fee is rolled into the loan so the buyer doesn't pay it upfront, but if they borrowed $100,000, they're going to owe $101,750 right out of the gate.  Conventional loans don't charge a fee like this.
  • Lifetime mortgage insurance:  When a home buyer is not putting 20% down on a loan, they typically pay something called mortgage insurance as a part of their monthly payment.  With a conventional loan, that piece of the payment will automatically fall off and the monthly payment will become lower once the buyer has built up 22% equity in the house (they can request it be removed at 20% equity).  With FHA loans though, that mortgage insurance typically stays for the life of the loan.  
  • Lower down payment:  People often think they need a bigger down payment for conventional loans. Not necessarily though. There are several 3% down conventional options available these days. FHA requires 3.5% down.  
  • Simpler property standards:  FHA has a higher bar on property conditions which can make the home purchase more challenging.  For example, if the home is a flip, FHA has rules on how long the seller needs to have owned the home (conventional does not). Also, FHA is picky about peeling paint on homes older than 1978 and will require it to be scrapped, sanded and repainted before the loan closes. Conventional financing doesn't require this.
Now are there reasons why FHA might be a better fit for a buyer? Absolutely!  FHA is more willing to approve someone with a lower credit score and it's more flexible with previous bankruptcies and foreclosures.  It also can offer a lower  interest rate or cheaper mortgage insurance in some situations which should definitely be considered in a loan selection.

The problem comes in when a lender thinks 'Well, I know they'll be approved FHA, so we'll just go that route' instead of exploring the FHA vs. Conventional option more deeply and giving the buyer the information to let them decide what fits them best.  Yes, it can be more difficult to get a loan approved for a conventional loan sometimes, but if it's best for the buyer, it's worth the extra work.

Given all the advantages of conventional financing, it's almost always my first choice for a buyer who qualifies. Why only 'almost', you say? Because I love love LOVE VA loans even more. To learn more about VA financing, feel free to click here - VA Loans - The Flax Seed of Mortgage Lending.

Bottom line, there is no one right answer for all buyers. Each loan situation is unique. Each home buyer's goals and priorities are different. A lenders role is to review their situation and help them decide which of the available options suit them best.

To learn more about the loan options that give the best benefit to you based on your scenario and goals, feel free to contact me at lori.hiscock@ruoff.com.

To learn more about the products covered here or any other aspects of home financing, contact Lori Hiscock at lori.hiscock@ruoff.com.  
Lori Hiscock is a Sr. Loan Officer at Ruoff Home Mortgage‘s South Bend office.  One of Michiana’s top mortgage loan officers, Lori started her lending career in 1995 after obtaining her bachelor’s degree in Finance from Western Michigan University.  You can connect with Lori Hiscock or apply online here. NMLS#404320.
Ruoff Mortgage Company, Inc. is an Indiana corporation licensed by the Indiana Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) and operates with the following licenses:

Indiana-DFI First Lien Mortgage Lending License #10994;
IL Residential Mortgage Licensee #MB.6760734;
Michigan 1st Mortgage Broker/Lender License #FL0017496.
Ohio Mortgage Broker Act License #MBMB.850220.000

The Florida Office of Financial Regulation License #MLD1182


Friday, April 29, 2016

How To Make Your Offer Better

In my thirteen years of mortgage lending, I've never seen the market balanced. The number of buyers and sellers is always lopsided with someone having an advantage.

Any active home buyer will tell you that the seller is currently on the winning side of that equation. There are more buyers out their than good homes so the attractive properties are selling fast, often with multiple offers.

This can really stink for buyers. They find a house they like only to find out other buyers want it too. So what can they do? Can they somehow make their offer look better than the other guy's offer?

Absolutely! There are certain small differences that can have a big impact on the seller's decision to pick one offer over the other. Let me share three important ones here:

Go Conventional

Conventional mortgages and FHA mortgages are the two most common loan types used today. Many buyers use FHA financing because it offers more flexibility with the loan approval. Credit scores can be lower, the down payment can sometimes be lower, bills can be higher compared to income, etc.

FHA is a logical choice for many buyers, but it can make some sellers nervous. FHA financing requires a higher property standard which could mean that some repairs are required for a FHA buyer that wouldn't be required for a conventional buyer.

Because of it's flexibility, FHA financing also sometimes has the reputation of being used by 'less solid' buyers. That is not the case at all - a FHA buyer is just as able to close on a mortgage loan as a conventional buyer - but perception matters and some sellers view FHA offers as weaker than conventional offers.

So what can you do to make your offer look better in a multiple offer scenario? Talk to you lender and see if you can go conventional. While FHA may have made the most sense for you when you did your initial loan application, you may also have a conventional option. There are now several 3% down conventional loan options available and the requirements for credit score, savings and debt/income ratio continue to soften, so a conventional option might be available to you if needed.

(If you'd like to learn more about the 3% down conventional options, go here - The Best Mortgage Loan You've Never Heard Of)

Remove Seller Concessions


It's common for buyers to ask sellers to contribute to the buyer's loan costs. When you are up against multiple offers, though, asking for seller assistance can put you out of the running. Even if the net amount to the seller is the same (or sometimes even better) the impression given with seller concessions is that you don't have enough money to buy the house without help. That can make a seller nervous so they may go with a different buyer.

But what if you really don't have enough money to buy the house without help? In a competitive offer situation, you may want to look for help from another source. Do you have a family member that might gift you the money needed for closing costs? Do you have a 401k that you could take a loan against? A vehicle you own outright that you could borrow against?

Or does your lender have an option to charge you a higher interest rate and waive some of the loan costs? That's not always an option but it often is. In a competitive situation, you'll want to explore all options to help your offer be strong.

(LENDER SIDE NOTE - if you choose to try any of these options, talk to your lender before making the offer.  Adding gift funds in or a new loan can change your approval status. Be safe. Talk to the lender first.)

Use a Trusted Local Lender

I can see how me telling you to use a local lender may seem self-serving. I am a local lender, after all, so of course I'd say to go local, right? The truth of it is, though, going local really can make a difference. Even if the seller doesn't have a preference, odds are good that their Realtor does. The seller's Realtor has worked with the Internet banks before and they have worked with many of the mortgage lenders in town and they have opinions of who is good and who is not. The seller will likely take their Realtors advice into consideration when deciding who to go with.

Now, don't get me wrong. All Internet lenders are not bad. All local lenders are not good.  People are people and there are strong and weak ones on both sides. There are local lenders though that have a strong reputation in the market for getting things to closing on time and with little drama. If your offer comes with a preapproval letter from one of those lenders, that can go a long way in helping your offer stand out from the rest.

And is Ruoff Home Mortgage one of those well-respected, low-drama, get it done lenders? You bet we are. But don't just trust me, ask around. Check with your Realtor. Read the online reviews (Zillow Review for Lori Hiscock).  Talk to us and judge for yourself.

So...there you go. If you want your offer to be stronger than the other guys, these options could help. If you'd like to explore them deeper and get that 'well respected local lender' advantage, email me at lori.hiscock@ruoff.com. Good luck with your home shopping!

To learn more about the products covered here or any other aspects of home financing, contact Lori Hiscock at lori.hiscock@ruoff.com.  
Lori Hiscock is a Sr. Loan Officer at Ruoff Home Mortgage‘s South Bend office.  One of Michiana’s top mortgage loan officers, Lori started her lending career in 1995 after obtaining her bachelor’s degree in Finance from Western Michigan University.  You can connect with Lori Hiscock or apply online here. NMLS#404320.
Ruoff Mortgage Company, Inc. is an Indiana corporation licensed by the Indiana Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) and operates with the following licenses:

Indiana-DFI First Lien Mortgage Lending License #10994;
IL Residential Mortgage Licensee #MB.6760734;
Michigan 1st Mortgage Broker/Lender License #FL0017496.
Ohio Mortgage Broker Act License #MBMB.850220.000

The Florida Office of Financial Regulation License #MLD1182