Tag Archives for " mortgage "

Should You Buy That Home in Your Name?

mortgage individual name


Most mortgage lenders specializing in residential mortgages will not extend financing unless you own the property in your personal name. This is usually a requirement of the investor who purchases the mortgage from the lender who closes on your loan. And this is the case whether the property is your primary residence, second or vacation home, or rental/investment property.

Why would you create an LLC or corporation to hold title to your real estate?

The main reason is usually to limit your personal liability – say, in case someone slips and falls while on your property. For example: If title is in your LLC, you are more likely able to shield your personal assets against a claim (however you should always consult with your attorney).

If you decide not to purchase a residential property in your personal name, however, the loan will be deemed a commercial loan – not a residential loan. While there are many community banks that will lend to an LLC or corporation, you would generally always need to personally guarantee the loan in any event. Also, commercial loan interest rates tend to be a little higher than a residential loan in your name.

Some people acquire their residential properties in their personal name, but then later transfer title via quit claim deed to an LLC. As a general rule, this is not permitted within the loan documentation – but residential lenders do not typically audit title (especially if you continue making your monthly mortgage payments on time).

Here’s the Point: ​The interest rate will usually be more favorable when you purchase a residential property in your individual name.

First-Time Homebuyer Programs?

first-home-buyers


First-time homebuyer programs (FTHP’s), when available, can make purchasing a home more affordable for low-to-moderate income individuals and families – but there is generally always a catch. For example, the Florida Housing Finance Corporation advertises that they offer fixed, low-interest rate FTHP loans. This is true, however the rate is actually higher than what is offered by the most active mortgage lenders in the industry.

Before you get excited about being approved under a government-sponsored first-time homebuyer program, you should know:

  • Some grants can only be used towards your down payment, not closing costs – and in most cases are required to be repaid (getting a gift from a relative may be better)
  • A home inspection report (not required under a conventional loan) may crater the deal because all costly repairs will likely need to be completed prior to closing
  • Some programs have long waiting lists, so be prepared that it may take well over a year before you find out if you qualify
  • Including all other income sources with your application (such as alimony and child support) will often disqualify the applicant because the maximum income threshold may be exceeded

First-time homebuyer programs generally always require another separate government approval stamp. It is therefore not uncommon for loans to be declined at the last minute when it would appear the borrower could qualify for a regular conventional loan.

Sometimes all it takes is a little more preparation and guidance – and a first-time homebuyer can comfortably qualify for more cost-effective conventional financing.

Here’s the Point: First-time homebuyer programs, if available, are not always the best or most cost-effective solution.

You Really Think You Are Pre-Qualified!

mortgage pre-qualify


“My real estate agent said I need a pre-qualification letter, and I was wondering if you could provide one to me within the next hour so that I can make an offer on a property.”

It is very rare when a borrower has pre-prepared all of the paperwork required to demonstrate their ability to repay the mortgage they are seeking.

A pre-qualification letter is absolutely useless, unless it confirms that the preparer has verified the prospective borrower’s income, liquidity and credit. This would include at least the receipt and review of the following, as applicable:

  • last 2 years of tax returns, W-2’s or 1099’s
  • last 30 days of paystubs
  • last 2 monthly bank and retirement account statements
  • tri-merge credit report from the 3 national credit reporting agencies 

Without the above, there is no way a lender can properly confirm that a borrower is truly pre-qualified.

Real estate agents showing “pre-qual” letters to sellers that do not confirm the above are likely wasting their and their seller’s time.

Ideally, an “Approve/Eligible Finding” should also be obtained from government-approved software, evidencing that a greenlight was received from FannieMae or FreddieMac to proceed with a bona fide mortgage loan submission.

Many people are in such a rush to make their offer, they avoid mortgage professionals who take the time to diligently ensure the buyer is a capable borrower. Instead, some buyers actually call around until they find a lender who accepts verbal confirmations alone – and then a letter is issued that usually does more harm than good.

Here’s the Point: ​You can get a mortgage pre-qualification letter in less than 10 minutes – but they are not worth the paper they are written on.

Are You Sure About Value?

appraisal


When valuing your home, don’t simply rely on a few houses that recently sold in the neighborhood. Just because Fred sold his place across the street for $450,000 (or because Trulia/Zillow estimated your value to be $435,000) doesn’t mean your home is worth the same.

Fred’s house is not a good sales comparable if he has:

  • a pool (and you don’t)
  • 4 bedrooms/3 baths (versus your 3 bedrooms/2.5 baths)
  • a 2-car garage (to your carport)
  • a newly renovated kitchen (versus your limited renovations)


Without doing your homework, you may be unable to sell your home for the price you want – or your loan entitlement could be much less on a cash-out refinance or reverse mortgage.

The lender will require an appraisal prior to closing – unless an appraisal inspection waiver is granted (such as when you may have substantial equity in your house).

In a conventional or government purchase mortgage, you can get pre-approved by a lender before getting an appraisal (so you shouldn’t spend $485 on an appraisal until you see the loan closing conditions). Whereas in a reverse mortgage, you generally cannot get pre-approved without the appraisal (so make sure your home value estimate is accurate before paying for the appraisal – otherwise you may be disappointed when your approved loan amount is far less than you had expected).

Analogous to lawyers being trained not to ask a question without knowing the answer, you, as a borrower, should be confident in your home valuation before paying for an appraisal.

Here’s the Point: Before you refinance, don’t waste your money on an appraisal until you have done your own homework on value.

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