Subsequent to the Housing Crisis, the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act imposed many new rules. This was a response, in part, to some unscrupulous mortgage lenders and brokers charging excessive fees to consumers.
Mortgage lenders and brokers cannot charge origination fees to borrowers that represent more than 3.0% of the loan amount (the “Points & Fees Cap”). As reasonable as this fee cap concept sounds, it is fraught with restrictions that are unfair to the people it was meant to protect.
Let’s take an example of a consumer wishing to borrow $120,000 to buy a home:
$2,700.00 - Mortgage Broker Fee (2.25%* of Loan Amount)
975.00 - Lender Administration (Standard Average Flat Fee)
$3,675.00 - Total Origination Fees
* Average Florida mortgage broker fees range between 2.0% to 2.75% (based on the interest rate selected, the borrower is eligible to receive a credit at closing to fully cover this fee for most conventional loans).
On the surface, the loan fails the 3.0% Cap (i.e., $3,675 of fees represents 3.1% of the loan). This renders the loan a “Non-Qualified Mortgage”, in which case Fannie Mae could elect not to purchase the loan from the mortgage lender. The lender might stamp “decline”, given their potential inability to monetize the loan.
And, if the lender imposes customary “risk adjustment fees” to compensate for a higher loan-to-value or lower credit score (or if the borrower pays a reasonable fee to “buy-down” the rate), these “Discount Points” must also be added into the calculation – making it impossible for the borrower to obtain a Qualified Mortgage. Fortunately, the regulators have acknowledged that some “bonafide” fees may be excluded from the cap calculation, allowing most mortgages to qualify after time-consuming compliance checks.
Here’s the Point: Regulators imposed a “Points & Fees Cap” to ensure that mortgage lender and broker fees are reasonable, but the resulting time-intensive compliance checks can delay closings.
Your lender will eventually sell the loan they advance to you – it’s pretty much a given. They will do everything they can to “check the boxes” prior to approving your loan in order to make sure that either Fannie Mae will buy your loan, or that FHA will insure against the loss of principal.
Let’s say you just squeaked by with a Debt-To-Income Ratio of 43% (maximum percentage allowed under a Qualified Mortgage). Or, maybe your credit score just barely meets the lender’s minimum 620 requirement. Perhaps your income reduced over last year, and you know that the average earnings to support your loan will be tight.
If the decision is too close to call, your loan will be declined – that’s just the way it is today. So here are some discretionary “Compensating Factors” that can help to persuade the underwriter to stamp “approved” on your loan application:
It’s been two weeks since your lender told you: “Your loan approval is coming any day now”. Guess what – you have a problem!
Yet you were told your credit score is acceptable, your debt-to-income ratio is comfortably below 43%, and your savings will satisfy the down payment, reserve and closing cost requirements…
Well, unfortunately it didn’t register with your lending officer that you are renting the home you are buying, and that in lieu of rent you are paying for utilities and capital improvements (plus you paid cash for almost all of your housing expenses, and do not have much of a checking account paper trail). And, by the way, the landlord is in default with her lender who is about to foreclose on the home you want to purchase! [Yes, this is a real example]
Without proper explanation, the ultimate buyer of your loan (Fannie Mae) would most definitely conclude that you do not have an arm’s length or independent relationship with your landlord. More importantly, this loan will require too much effort for most lenders, especially if you do not have an established working relationship with them.
By: (i) properly and clearly documenting your receipts, (ii) demonstrating the legality and reasonability of your tenancy, (iii) evidencing proof of your residency, and (iv) ensuring you have an adequate letter of explanation acknowledged by yourself and your landlord, you should be able to get the loan – and avoid having to move your family elsewhere.