More Upcoming Changes to Underwriting

Fannie Mae issued Announcement 09-19 amending some very basic underwriting guidelines that will not only impact conventional financing; it will apply to FHA insured loans that are underwriting using Fannie Mae’s DU.   You can read the entire announcement by clicking  here.

Here are some of the changes:

  • Credit documents will be valid for 90 days instead of the current 120 for existing construction.   The age of the document is measured from the date of the document to the date the Note is signed.
  • IRS Forms 4506 or 4506-T is required at application and at closing.  This is due to fraud (misrepresentation of income).
  • Age of appraisal is reduced from 6 months to 4 months.
  • Trailing Secondary Wage Earner Income is eliminated.   Now with a relocation, only the income of the spouse with actual employment may be considered.  Previously, it was possible to use the relocating spouse’s income from their employment prior to the relo without having an actual job.
  • Verbal Verification of Employment required within 10 days of signing the Note for employment income and within 30 days for self-employed income.  (Our company has always performed a verbal VOE prior to funding).
  • Stocks, bonds and mutual funds now valued at 70% instead of 100% to be used as reserves.   Due to market volatility, Fannie Mae is devaluing your portfolio.   This means that if you provide your mortgage originator with a stock, bond or mutual fund statement showing an ending balance of $10,000; the figure used for qualifying and on the application will be $7,000 (70% of the value).   Stock options and non-vested restricted stocks are no longer eligible to use as reserves.
  • Retirement accounts valued at 60% instead of 70% to be used as reserves.  

Fannie Mae’s effective dates are to follow…if the loan is manually underwritten, this applies to applications dated on or after September 1, 2009.   However, expect to see lenders and banks to adopt these guidelines early.

Underwriting Update for Financing of Investment Property with Fannie Mae

Last Friday, when Fannie adjusted the allowance for the amount of financed properties owned from 4 to 10, other underwriting requirements on investment and second home borrowers were updated as well.  (Freddie Mac still has the 4 financed property limit).

Reserve requirements vary depending on the number of financed properties owned (including primary residence):

1-4 financed properties 0wned:

  • 2 months of reserves on the subject property if it’s a second home.
  • 6 months reserves on subj. property if it’s an investment property plus 2 months reserves on each other second home or investment property.

5-10 financed properties owned:

  • 2 months of reserves on the subject property if it’s a second home.
  • 6 months of reserves on the subject property if it’s an investment property plus 6 months reserves on each other financed second home or investment property.

Note:  Freddie Mac’s guidelines are *currently* 6 months PITI.

Other underwriting changes for investment properties include:

  • 70% LTV for purchase of 1-unit and 70% for 2-4 units.
  • 720 minimum low-mid credit score. 
  • No history bankruptcy or foreclosure in the past 7 years.
  • Rental income must be documented with two years tax returns.
  • Borrowers required to sign form 4506 (which you can expect on ALL loans these days–including owner occupied).

Don’t forget that there is a significant price hit of 0.75% to fee from Fannie and Freddie with investment properties on top of the credit score/loan to value adds (LLPA).    Seller contribution is limited to 2% of the sales price with investment property.

Credit Scores for the Ages

It’s funny how sometimes a post will take on a life of it’s own within the comments…such is the case with my recent interview of Jillayne Schlicke.  My intentions were to call out to Washington State LOs to make sure they’re up to speed with the new year approaching…the comments have turned into a discussion of credit scores.  Most likely because of Jillayne’s prediction:

“I expect that underwriting guidelines will continue to go up as banks and conforming paper sold to Fannie and Freddie will raise minimum credit score requirements to 800 and require 20% down.  Everyone else will be pushed to FHA.”

Ardell offered stats from 2005 on credit scores and age so I thought I’d share credit score information from credit reports I’ve provided since the start of 2008.  Not all of the subjects obtained a mortgage loan.

  • Age 18 – 29: average credit score = 697.   Don’t let age fool ya, this group had a high score of 807 and a low of 513.  (This group = 12% of the demographic).
  • Age 30 – 39: average credit score = 735.  High score of 811 and the low at 614. (36% of demographic).
  • Age 40 – 49: average credit score = 739.  High score of 819 and a low of 592. (31% of demographic).
  • Age 50 – 59: average credit score = 759.  High score of 820 and the low at 680. (15% of the demographic).
  • Age 60 – 69: average credit score = 714.  High score of 813 and a low at 589.  (4% of the demographic).
  • Age 70 plus: average credit score = 805. High and low score: 805. (1% of the demographic).

The average mid scores, year to date credit reports I’ve ran is 732 for the borrower and 720 for the co-borrower.  This means that if they are considering locking, the rate would be based on the lower of the two mid scores.  I’m also pleased to see that the credit score criteria that I use (credit scores from 720-739) seems to be appropriate for when I’m post.

From the same interview with Jillayne post, Ardell asks:

“What good is it to say interest rates are at 5.875%, if only people 70 plus can get that rate? False advertising…no? If the average person buying a home can only get a rate of 6.5%, then we have to stop encouraging people to think their rate is going to be something that is unlikely”

Using the credit score data above, it’s very likely that the younger group would be FHA candidates.  Not just because of having an average credit score of 697, most are still working on building their savings and do not have 20% down payment.  Combine a 697 mid score with a 90% loan to value and (now costly) private mortgage insurance and FHA may be the better option.  The key is to investigate all available options if someone decides they should buy a home at this stage of their life.  

The next two groups, 30-49 year olds, would fit the rates that I quote at RCG since the credit score criteria I use is based on 720-739.  Based on Friday’s rates, their rate would be 5.875% at 1 point (total shown in lines 801, 802 and 808 of the Good Faith Estimate or HUD).   This combined group is 67% of the applications with credit reports that I have worked with year to date.

Credit scores 740 and above qualify for a slightly better rate.  Based on Friday’s scenario, they would have 0.25% improvement to fee–so 5.875% would be at 0.75% points (using the above example).  Or depending on how rates were, they could possibly obtain an 0.125% better rate.

The slight dip in average credit score to 714 for ages 60-69 I think just reflects that “life happens”.  Maybe something medical has taken place or you were on vacation and thought you paid that credit card or you’re helping your kids with college or you have an unknown parking ticket or an overdue library book turned into a collection.   I’ve seen many surprised people over the years where they had no idea their credit score dropped.   This is in no way a reflection on this age group, it’s just how the stats came in for this report based on my data.

FHA credit scores (where the credit report was ran and FHA was the identified loan program, the loan may be closed or just prequalified) averaged 680.  FHA is not as credit score sensitive as Fannie/Freddie.  FHA is looking for clean credit (no lates) in the past 12 months.

This data is hardly scientific and is really just a reflection of the people I work with which is really pretty diverse.  I don’t advertise or do cold calling or try to “specialize” in a niche market…so I’d like to think that this group is a good “norm”.

IndyMac Leaves the Mortgage Arena

This announcement from IndyMac came via a press release today:

“…effective July 7, 2008, that we will no longer accept any new loan submissions or rate locks in our retail and wholesale forward mortgage lending channels, except for our servicing retention channel. We plan to honor all of our existing rate-locked loans and will continue to fund these loans in the coming weeks. While the managers and employees in these units have worked incredibly hard, these units are not currently profitable due to the continuing erosion of the housing and mortgage markets.”

IndyMac is planning on retaining the FHA portion of their reverse mortgage division, Financial Freedom.

This also means more people will be displaced from the mortgage industry.

“Unfortunately, the above actions will necessitate the reduction in our present workforce from approximately 7,200 to roughly 3,400 or so over the next couple of months…”

The press release mentions a couple locations where employees will be retained…no word or mention of the Bellevue office.

IndyMac had a lot of unique products and were no stranger to the subprime and alt-a markets.   They had their own automated underwriting system, eMits, that provided “risk based” decisions and pricing.    They are reported as being the seventh largest savings and loan in the nation with both retail and wholesale operations.

Are you really preapproved or are you just prequalifed for a mortgage? Part 2

A preapproval is the next step after becoming prequalifed.   Essentially, this means that you are supplying all of the documentation that is required to support your loan scenario.   Everything you have told the Loan Originator needs to be backed up for a “full doc

Quick reminder to lock in your mortgage

On the first Friday of every month, the Jobs Report comes out.   Tomorrow is the big day.    As I’ve written about this topic before, this economic indicator tends to have a huge impact on mortgage interest rates.  

It is the consumers choice to float or lock a mortgage interest rate.   My preference is generally always to lock.   Especially during these historic times in the mortgage industry.   Locking in a mortgage interest rate not only secures that rate for your loan, it may also preserve that mortgage program.     With some lenders pulling back on certain programs, a few of them are honoring the loans that are locked and underwritten.  

Please do not assume that your mortgage rate is locked.   Make sure you have a written lock confirmation (a Good Faith Estimate is not a lock confirmation).   If you have a mortgage in process, you may want to contact your Mortgage Professional to confirm it is locked and what their read is on the current situation.  

It pays to be extra cautious right now.