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What is the Mortgage Underwriting Process?

Lenders will not approve a mortgage without first conducting their own due diligence. A mortgage underwriter reviews, confirms and analyzes every loan application to minimize risk to the lender. Some mortgage applications get approved almost immediately while others may face denials and suspensions that can prolong the approval process for weeks or even months.

Generally speaking, larger mortgage companies can accept a higher level of risk than smaller companies. The underwriting process begins as soon as a completed application is submitted to the lender. The underwriter will review the application for clerical errors, inconsistencies and risk factors. They will contact an applicant’s employer, confirm credit reports, research assets or liabilities, and make sure that the application falls under the company’s approval guidelines.

After completing the process, which usually takes a week, the underwriter will decide as to whether the application will be approved, suspended or denied. If the application is approved, the borrower is able to meet any additional conditions and move ahead with the closing process. There are eight common issues that may affect the underwriting process. These include:

  • Income Discrepancies: Borrowers may be tempted to pad their income information to secure an approval. Underwriters compare tax returns, W2s, bank statements and other documents to assess a borrower’s true income.
  • Tax Documents: Tax documents must back up other financial information for a loan to be approved.
  • Missing Information: Underwriters need a complete set of information before they can review the information. Missing signatures or documents will prolong the process.
  • Employment Issues: Employment stability is essential for the mortgage approval process. Underwriters want to see a long term commitment to make sure a borrower can repay a loan.
  • Credit Issues: A credit history of late payments, too many lines of credit and high balances will hurt your chances of getting a loan approved.
  • Funding Issues: Underwriters must see evidence that there are available funds for the down payment, closing costs and cash reserves. They also need to know the source of the funds, how long the funds were available and where they originated.
  • Appraisals:  A low appraisal value can change the entire agreement so price reconciliation with buyers and sellers is fundamental.
  • Letters of Explanation: If there are outstanding or unusual circumstances, complex asset arrangements or other unexpected concerns, a letter of explanation can go a long way in helping underwriters understand a borrower’s personal situation.

If you understand the most common issues mortgage underwriters face, you can take steps to avoid any pitfalls. Superior Mortgage Company is dedicated to consistently expanding our knowledge of the mortgage industry by keeping abreast of every change, revision or new regulatory provision because we know that an informed client is the best client. Whether you are purchasing, refinancing or in need of a home equity loan, we can help you. Contact the company that can answer all your questions. Call us at 845-883-8200. 

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Avoiding Costly Mortgage Mistakes

A mortgage will probably be the biggest debt you will ever have and a home is probably the most expensive purchase you will ever make. To lessen the stress of this important decision, it is vital to avoid the usual pitfalls such as letting a bank decide how much you should spend on a home. A mistake like this may cause you to pay more than you need, prevent your loan from closing, or may even lead to foreclosure or bankruptcy.

Smart mortgage choices are made every day, especially at Superior MCI. Home loans are available with great interest rates, low fees and pre-determined monthly payments. By doing your homework, making a budget ahead of time and thinking about your long-term plans, you can avoid getting in over your head.

Speak to mortgage professionals who can answer all your questions. For example, because fixed-rate loans are no longer at a record low, you may be tempted to get an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM). If you are not planning to move within the next five to seven years, a fixed-rate loan may be better as you do not need to worry about refinancing a fixed-rate loan. Although an ARM offers a lower payment now, it will reset in the future, usually at a higher rate. There is a lot of risk associated with getting out of an ARM at exactly the right time. You may be unable to refinance or afford the new payment once the rates increase and the housing market at that time may make your home difficult to sell.

The true cost of home ownership is not just the price of the home. It is important to look at the mortgage amortization schedule to determine the total amount of principal and interest you will pay. For example, borrowing $250,000 for 30 years at 4.3% will amount to $445,384. It is also vital to understand the property tax system where you live to see when taxes may increase and by how much. Property taxes add thousands of dollars to the cost of your home every year. You will also be responsible for homeowner’s insurance, possible mortgage insurance, plus all the ongoing costs of furnishing and maintaining a home while paying for things you may not have paid for as a renter such as water and trash.

If you rely on a bank to tell you what you can afford, you are making a mistake. Banks are in the business of maximizing their earnings and don’t care much about making sure you are not over-extended. Banks qualify you based on your gross (pretax) income. They don’t count monthly expenses such as insurance, utilities, child care, etc., when determining your maximum approval amount. It is best to create a budget and determine a comfortable monthly payment. A general rule is to not spend more than approximately 28% of your pretax income on principal, interest, taxes and insurance. Lenders usually assume that you can spend 36% to 45% of your pretax income on all of your debts including your home, student loans, credit cards and car loans.

At Superior Mortgage Company, Inc., we specialize in residential and commercial loans and provide the best products and services available. Whether you are purchasing, refinancing or in need of a home equity loan, and regardless of any credit problems, we can help you. Contact the company that can answer all your questions. Call us at 845-883-8200.

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Home Appraisal Tips to Maximize Home Value 1.

If you are interested in buying a home, your lender will order an appraisal of the property you are interested in purchasing to make sure that you are not overpaying for your home. If you are refinancing a home you already own, an appraisal is necessary to ensure that the seller does not lend more money that the property is actually worth.

A home appraisal is an estimate of what a home is worth. The estimate is sometimes referred to as the fair market value of the property. Home appraisers are licensed professionals who are expert at assessing real estate value. They are unbiased as they do not work for you or the lender. They are seen as an independent third party in the mortgage process. They consider factors such as the location of the home and its size to get the home’s true value. They will look at the home’s structure, fixtures and appliances. The difference between this and a home inspection is that the appraiser assesses the condition of the home to determine a fair value. The inspector protects the buyer by identifying problems in the home such as non-working electrical outlets, faulty toilets and other problems.

If you are refinancing your home, you want to get the highest appraisal value. Some tips to increasing your chances for a higher value are:

  • Because it is your home and you may not be objective about what repairs or improvements it needs, it is a good idea to get the opinion of a friend or family member.
  • Decluttering your home will make each room look better and will make it easier for them to view your home in a more favorable way.
  • Any upgrades or improvements you made in your home may not be obvious such as new air conditioning units, windows or landscaping. It is helpful to provide the appraiser with a list of upgrades so they can include them in their report.

If you are selling your home, let your appraiser know about every offer that has been made for your home. You should remain at the property when your appraiser is there to answer any questions or provide information. Always make sure your home is tidy and well-organized. There are several ways to make your home look bigger and brighter such as replacing lightbulbs, adding mirrors to reflect natural light and pulling furniture away from the walls. Give the appraiser a list of comparable properties in the area and their final sales price.

If you are buying a home, do your homework and be aware of the current market. Hire a real estate person who knows your area well. If you think that the appraiser may have made an error in their report, you may appeal it. Read the report thoroughly to look for any incorrect information. Your lender will help you with this process. Remember that a fair value for your home protects you and your lender.

At Superior Mortgage Company, Inc., our experience and knowledge about residential and commercial loans allow us to provide the best products and services available. If you are purchasing, refinancing or in need of a home equity loan, regardless of any credit problems, we can help. Contact the company that can answer all your questions. Call us at 845-883-8200.

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What Happens During a Home Appraisal?

Getting appraisals for your home when you are buying or refinancing can be challenging. If the appraisal comes in higher or lower than the sale price, both parties will need to negotiate accordingly. Therefore, it is important to know what home appraisals consist of and what sellers can do to move the process along successfully.

If the home you want to buy appraises for less than your offer price, you may choose to:

  • Make up the price difference by finding the additional funds to pay the amount between your down payment and your loan. The seller may also agree to lower the listing price but in today’s competitive market, this is becoming more uncommon.
  • Cancel the deal if you have an appraisal contingency. If the appraised value comes in less than the agreed on purchase price, and you do not have the necessary funds to pay the difference, you may be able to get back your deposit if you have met the terms and deadlines of your offer.

During a home appraisal, a licensed appraiser conducts an inspection of the property. If you already have a loan, the lender usually orders the appraisal as they are the ones to bring the most money to the purchase. During the home appraisal, the appraiser will review ‘comps.’ Comps for a property refer to nearby, similar properties that have recently sold. This helps the appraiser to understand the local real estate market and factor it into the property value. During the property visit, the appraiser will consider the other aspects that affect property value such as the property’s condition, value-adding or detracting features, upgrades, additions and lot size. When the appraiser is finished inspecting the property and area comps, he or she will put their findings into an appraisal report. Most importantly, they will finalize the appraised home value.

If you are tasked with finding a reliable appraiser, find one that bases their opinion on a mix of experience and education and writes their report in a way that conforms to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practices set by the Congress-approved Appraisal Foundation. It may be helpful to begin the search process at the federal government’s Appraisal Subcommittee Website, which provides links to state government websites that list state-certified appraisers. Check to ensure that their certifications are still valid and search the national registry to check if they have been a subject of any disciplinary actions. Contact the appraisers you are interested in and ask for references. You will want to select the appraiser with whom you feel the most comfortable based on references, pricing and the rapport you may have established.

At Superior Mortgage Company, Inc., we specialize in residential and commercial loans and provide the best products and services available. Whether you are purchasing, refinancing or in need of a home equity loan, and regardless of any credit problems, we can help you. Contact the company with the answers you need. Call us at 845-883-8200. 

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Jumbo Mortgages

A jumbo mortgage may be the best way to finance an expensive home. It is the type of mortgage loan whose principal balance is more than the loan limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which at this time is $484,350 for a one unit property and $931,600 for a four unit property, depending upon where you live. Jumbo mortgage interest rates are competitive with more conventional loans. There are also higher limits for two to four unit properties. However, income credit score and appraisal requirements are usually stricter.

If the loan amount on a home you want to purchase exceeds the above limits, you will probably need to obtain a jumbo mortgage. Because these loans aren’t eligible to be purchased by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, they represent a bigger risk to lenders and have stricter requirements, including:

  • A strong credit history, which typically means a FICO credit score or 700 or higher.
  • You can get approval for a jumbo mortgage with a debt-to-income ratio as much as 45%, but the loan will often have higher reserve requirements then conforming loans.
  • With a conforming loan, you can make a smaller down payment if you obtain private mortgage insurance (PMI). You cannot do this with a jumbo loan so you will probably have a down payment requirement of at least 20%.
  • As in a conventional mortgage loan, the property’s appraisal may justify the price you’re paying for the home. However, some lenders require two appraisals as opposed to one appraisal for a jumbo mortgage loan.

The advantages of a jumbo mortgage include being able to borrow more than you could with a conventional loan, which allows you to purchase a bigger and more expensive property that you may not have been able to afford with a conventional loan. It is important to remember that there are no low down payment options. With a conventional loan, you may be able to put down a low down payment such as 3% or 5% and with an FHA loan, the down payment may be 3.5%. With a jumbo loan, you can expect your lender to require 20% or more as a down payment.

It is imperative to work with a lender that understands your needs and provides all the information you need to make a good decision. At Superior Mortgage Co., Inc., we approve 10% down up to 1.5 million with no mortgage insurance. We accept bank statements as income and we approve jumbo loans at 100% for our veterans. We work with investment properties up to 4-family with 15% down as well as loans for second homes. We also offer ARM products.

At Superior Mortgage Company, Inc., we specialize in residential and commercial loans and provide the best products and services available. Whether you are purchasing, refinancing or need a home equity loan, we can help. Choose a company that knows the best way to provide you with the information necessary to make this important decision. Contact us at 845-883-8200. 

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Home Improvement Loan Options

As we know, home improvements can make your property more efficient, comfortable, aesthetically pleasing and ultimately, more valuable. If you’re short on cash and wanting to make improvements on your home, there are several good choices for home improvement loans.

If it is a smaller project, a personal loan may be a good solution. You can use the money for anything you want such as sprinklers or a simple cosmetic improvement. The closing costs for a personal loan are low and the application process is much easier than for a home equity loan. There is no need for appraisals or other services and you do not have to put anything up as collateral. You can repay a personal loan faster than, for example, a mortgage with a 15 or 30-year repayment period. Personal loans usually have higher interest rates than home loans but if you have good credit and enough income to repay, your rate may be below 10 percent.

Home equity loans, sometimes referred to as a second mortgage, are an option when you want to borrow against the equity in your home for a bigger project. By using your home as collateral, you may qualify for lower interest rates than you would have with a personal loan. However, it is imperative that you understand that not making your payments may put your home into foreclosure. Closing costs for these loans are less costly than purchasing or refinancing loans.

Cash-out refinancing loans can also provide the funds for home improvements. A new loan that replaces your existing home loan can include some extra funds to pay for any larger improvement projects. If you choose this option, it is important to understand your loan-to-value ratio (LTV). This represents the ratio of the first mortgage line as a percentage of the total appraised value of real property. Because you are getting a brand new mortgage, closing costs can be expensive. You are also extending the life of your loan so your new monthly payments may go toward interest instead of reducing your loan balance.

Government programs can be helpful if your credit is not great or you have insufficient equity in your home. For example, an FHA Title 1 loan allows you to borrow $25,000 even if you have no equity in your home. Luxury upgrades are not permitted for this type of loan. FHA cash-out refinancing is for any type of improvement you wish to make but you will need sufficient equity to use this program. An FHA 203k is another option for refinancing but this loan limits how you can use the funds and who can do the work.

It is generally considered risky to borrow money if you have little or no equity in your home. You may wind up owing more than your home is worth if your improvements don’t sufficiently increase the home’s value. The best idea is to borrow money for home improvement projects that you are 100 percent confident will increase your home’s value and that are necessary for you and your family’s health and safety.

Superior Mortgage Company is dedicated to expanding our expertise about the mortgage industry by keeping abreast of every change, revision or new regulatory provision. We believe that an informed client is the best client. Whether you are purchasing, refinancing or in need of a home equity loan, we can help you. Contact the company that can answer all your questions. Call us at 845-883-8200. 

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