Five Inside Credit Secrets for
Getting a Great Mortgage
With home prices rising and interest
rates well below historic norms, many potential buyers would like to get into
the marketplace but are stymied by one hurdle: credit.
"The credit process mystifies
many borrowers," says Ray Brousseau, Executive Vice President of a
mortgage service company active in more than 40 states.
"They worry that their credit
may be imperfect or that a late payment from long ago will doom a loan application,
when the reality is different."
Brousseau explained that
"lenders and borrowers have similar goals. They both want the mortgage
application to go through. The lender will create a package to provide a full
picture of the borrower's financial status. In many cases, borrowers will be
surprised that their credit standing is stronger than expected."
So, how do you make sure you have
tip-top credit when applying for a mortgage? Here are five strategies that can
lead to a faster -- and better -- mortgage credit review.
First, prepare for your mortgage
Since 2010, most real estate
financing has been in the form of "qualified mortgages," loans that
meet the standards outlined by Wall Street Reform. A qualified mortgage -- or
QM -- must show that the borrower has the ability to repay the loan.
To meet QM requirements, you can
expect lenders to want signed tax returns or W2s for at least the past two
years, year-to-date pay stubs from the past 30 days, plus complete copies of
all financial statements, usually for at least the last two months. If
self-employed, a lender might also want a balance sheet as well as a
Having such information in hand can
greatly speed the mortgage review process.
Second, check your credit report in
The better your credit report, the
better your credit score -- thus the reason to check credit reports for errors
and outdated items.
Under the Fair and Accurate Credit
Transactions Act (FACTA), consumers can get one free copy of their credit
report from each of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies every 12
months. This can be done in a few minutes by going to the official website,
AnnualCreditReport.com. Print out your report or save it as a PDF.
"Look at your report in advance
to make sure it fairly reflects your credit history," says Brousseau.
"If you spot items that are inaccurate, you'll want to contact the credit
reporting agency. Most negative items -- but not all -- fall off after seven
years. Some bankruptcies stay on for 10 years. Check the report to be certain
that outdated items are not included."
Third, know how credit scores work.
In basic terms, credit scores weigh
the answers to five questions:
"Once a loan application is
made most lenders will automatically provide borrowers with a free copy of
their credit score," says Brousseau. "A good credit score can greatly
help in the application process, and a lower score can often be overcome by
selecting a certain type of mortgage product."
Fourth, a lower credit score does
not always mean no credit.
Borrowers can readily finance and
refinance with an 800 credit score, but it's also true that mortgages are
available with lower credit scores. For instance, more than 40 percent of
recent FHA borrowers had credit scores between 620 and 680.
Fifth, beware of surprise credit
It used to be that lenders checked
credit reports when a loan application was first made and then again just
before closing. Now lenders have the ability to even check for daily credit
report changes. When new debt or credit lines show up lenders re-calculate the
ability of borrowers to qualify for financing.
Brousseau explains that "after
a mortgage application is made, borrowers should enter a financial quiet period
until closing. During this time, avoid non-essential purchases, stay away from
new credit accounts, and ignore offers for higher debt limits. This way you can
stave off the problem of 'undisclosed' debt and protect your mortgage
Source: Carrington Mortgage Services