Can You Buy a Home With Student Debt?

According to The Institute for College Access & Success, about 65% of college seniors who graduated in 2017 had student loan debt. In Maryland, the average amount of debt was $29,314. Many potential homebuyers think with a mound of student debt it will be nearly impossible to purchase a new home. Luckily, there are options for those with debt to buy homes. The Maryland Mortgage Program created the SmartBuy 2.0 program, which helps qualifying homebuyers pay off student debt during the purchase of their home.

The terms are pretty simple.

You must have a minimum existing student debt of $1,000 and the loan must be in your name. The program offers up to a maximum of $40,000 in financing to be used towards paying off your debt. The full, outstanding balance of the student debt must be paid off as part of closing; partial loan payment is not permitted. The student loan may be in repayment or deferred status.

Financing for student debt relief will be in the form of a 0% interest, deferred loan with no monthly payments. The loan is forgivable over 5 years; meaning if you are still living in the property after 5 years, your debt is forgiven, repayment is not needed. If you choose to sell or refinance the property within 5 years, the remainder of the student debt loan will be due.

This is a great program to utilize if you are a first-time homebuyer and have accrued student loans over the past few years. Contact one of our loan officers today to see if you qualify.

 

*Student debt information pulled from the Institute for College Access & Success website: https://ticas.org/posd/home

 

Maximum Conforming Loan Limits Announced for 2019

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced the maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages to be acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2019. Starting January 1, 2019, in most of the U.S., the maximum conforming loan limit for one-unit properties will be $484,350, an increase from $453,100 in 2018.

FHFA’s house price index data indicate that house prices increased 6.9 percent, on average, between the third quarters of 2017 and 2018. Therefore, the baseline maximum conforming loan limit in 2019 will increase by the same percentage.

For areas in which 115% of the local median home value exceeds the baseline conforming loan limit, the maximum loan limit will be higher than the baseline loan limit. The new ceiling loan (Conforming Jumbo) limit for 1-unit properties in most high-cost areas will be $726,525 — or 150% of $484,350.

If you have any questions, please reach out to one of our loan officers.

 

5 Home Loan Milestones

Buying a home may seem a bit complicated, and sometimes it can be. It is important to understand what to expect when preparing to buy a home, and what to expect during the home buying process. Below we’ve provided a short outline of the five main milestones of the home buying process.

Pre-Qualification

You’re ready to buy a home, congratulations! The very first step to take if you are ready to start your new home search is to get pre-qualified. This is a no-cost, no-commitment, 10-20 minute analysis that will give you a great starting point for your new home loan. You can do this in-person or on the phone with a loan officer, or in most cases complete an online form. Your lender will be able to determine an estimate of your maximum monthly mortgage payment and how much you can borrow. Pre-qualifying for a loan before you go home shopping helps you set a budget and strengthen your negotiating position when making an offer.

Application

Once you have found a home, you will make an offer to buy it from the seller. A real estate professional will conduct negotiations and a contract will be submitted to purchase, accompanied by the pre-qualification letter. Once your offer is accepted, you will receive your initial disclosure package and you will begin the application process. You will most likely need to provide your loan officer and processor with updated income and asset documentation, such as pay stubs and bank statements. To ensure your loan stays on track, you’ll want to have your docs completed quickly and thoroughly.

Processing

In this step of the process, your appraisal and title work will be ordered. Once all necessary documentation is present, the processor will review everything for completion and accuracy. He/she will verify information on the title work, appraisal, credit report and any additional docs needed. Once the processor has completely reviewed the full application package, he/she will pass it on to the underwriter. Your loan officer will keep you informed, answer any questions and navigate you through the loan processing stage.

Underwriting

Once your loan gets to this milestone, the underwriter will review the entire loan package to determine if your loan meets the guidelines for approval. Your underwriter will review your disclosures, credit, asset documentation, employment, appraisal and additional documents along with the loan program’s guidelines and regulations. Once conditions have been met and any contingencies on the loan have been cleared, the underwriter will give the clear to close/final approval and the loan is sent to closing. Once the loan gets through underwriting, you’ve rounded the last turn and are in the home stretch!

Closing

You are now in the final home loan milestone, closing! A date, time and location should have already been confirmed for closing. At least 3 days prior to closing, you will receive your closing disclosure (CD). This document shows your closing costs, terms of the loan and how much money you need to bring to settlement. Once at settlement, documents will be signed, funds will be distributed and ownership of the property will transfer from the current owners to you. The house is finally yours!

It may seem like a long process, but we strive to make it as seamless as possible. If you are ready to start your home buying process, contact one of our loan officers today!

Preparing Your Home for Hosting

This time of year is always a special time of year. The holidays are right around the corner, and it’s time to celebrate! One of the biggest joys of the holiday season is getting to spend time with family and friends. If you are hosting company for the holidays, the key is to prep in advance so you can cut back on any last minute mishaps. Whether you have guests staying overnight or just visiting for the day, here are a few tips to help prep your home:

Clean Your Home

This one is a no-brainer, but you want your house to look clean and inviting. Starting early will allow you to get a good, deep clean of your home and really get things shining. A few days leading up to the holiday, you can do a spot clean of the kitchen and bathrooms and any area that will get a lot of traffic. Be sure the entryway in your house is free of clutter and there is space for guests to hang coats.

Decorate With Seasonal Items

A few easy ways to make your home look cozy and inviting are to decorate with seasonal items. Thanksgiving and Christmas wreaths are easy pieces to find and hang around the house. Seasonal flowers such as poinsettia, holly, Christmas roses and mistletoe can be spread through the house as well. If you will have small children around the house, simple items like warm, cozy blankets will add a homey feel and will be safe around the little ones.

Stock the Pantry

This tip is especially helpful if you have guests staying overnight, or for a few nights. If you know what your guests like to eat and drink, be sure to add it to your pantry and fridge. If you don’t, ask them in advance if they have any requests for their stay. This is an easy way to make your guests feel welcome and at home.

Prepare a Welcome Basket

This tip is also for your overnight guests. Having a welcome basket in the guest bedroom will be a pleasant gesture for your holiday company. Provide everything from extra bath towels to toiletries, and even some warm fuzzy slippers (because you know the last thing you remember to pack when traveling are slippers!). Little gestures like this certainly go a long way to help make your guests feel more comfortable.

While it is great to have family over for the holidays, it can get a little hectic. Don’t fret too much if every little thing on your to-do list doesn’t get done. Everyone will be so wrapped up in enjoying each other’s company, the small things won’t seem like such a big deal. Be thankful for the friends and family you have, and enjoy your time together.

Why Is a Home No Longer Pending?

A pending sale means the seller has accepted an offer but the deal hasn’t closed yet. A property is placed in pending status when the contract is executed; when the contract is executed, in other words, the property is no longer defined as an active listing. A home will remain pending until all legal work has been processed and the loan closes. If your dream house is currently listed as pending, don’t lose all hope. Some sellers will still allow offers to be made on the house, just in case the deal falls through. Here are a few reasons a deal may fall through.

Finances

Homebuyers are often not aware of how an innocent transaction, such as making a large credit card purchase or moving cash from one back account to another, can jeopardize the mortgage process. Applying for any new kind of credit or accruing any new debt can affect your eligibility to continue with the loan. If any type of financial transaction is made that disqualifies you from continuing with the loan, the pending sale will fall through and the home will likely go back on the market. Always discuss your financial situation with your loan officer during the loan process.

Title Issues on the Property

Once a contract has been written up and the buyers start the loan process, title work on the property will be reviewed. Sometimes there are delinquent liens/bills on the property from the current owner, among other issues, that can affect closing. If the liens are not taken care of by the seller and cleared from the title, a lender will not allow the sale to go through. Errors of public records on title work can also stop a sale from continuing. Clerical or filing errors of the deed or survey of the property can cause financial strain to resolve, so they are not taken care of and the sale falls through.

‘Subject To’ Conditions

A smart buyer will have a property inspection done on the house before closing. An inspector will take a look at the foundation of the house, roof, attic, appliances, and list of other items to make sure everything is in working condition. If issues are found in the house that need to be fixed, the borrower may list “subject to” or “contingent upon” conditions on the contract. If these items are not fulfilled by the seller, the borrower is allowed to exit the contract, thus removing the pending status.

While it is not common for a deal to fall through once a contract is written up, it could happen. It’s a good idea to still follow the sale of the home and keep it in the back of your mind. Contact one of our loan officers if you have any questions, they will be happy to help!

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