Sumathi Narayanan Realty's Blog
Buying a home is a beautiful feeling, but dealing with the financial aspect of it can be tiring. Well, thanks to mortgages, the financing is no longer a headache. From conventional to Government-insured mortgages, homeownership is now a dream that can be turned into reality once you have done your homework, arrived at a budget, reviewed your credit and nailed down your down payment amount.
The America government is not a mortgage lender but has been helping many Americans become homeowners. How? Through government agency loans, namely:
- Federal Housing Administration, also known as FHA, loans
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture, also known as USDA, loans
- U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, also known as VA, loans
This article will cover FHA loans: how they work, who is eligible, and everything you need to know about it.
What Is an FHA Loan?
FHA loans give borrowers who do not have a significant down payment saved up and don't have good credit the opportunity to own a home. Since its inception in 1934, the FHA has insured over 40 million home loans.
Types of FHA Loans
FHA mortgagee loans come in different forms. Each form is dependent on your assets, income, age, and current home equity, should any be present. There are seven types of FHA loans:
- Fixed-Rate Purchase Loan
- Adjustable-Rate Purchase Loan
- Condominium Loans
- Secure Refinance Loan
- Home Equity Conversion Mortgages
- Graduated Payment Loan
- Growing Equity Loan
Like other kinds of mortgage loans, FHA loans come with closing costs. However, expenses may be different depending on lenders, market conditions, geographic location, and down payments.
If you wish to lower your closing cost, you can do so by increasing your credit score, shop through multiple lenders, check for settlement and title companies, or negotiate with the lender you've selected.
FHA Loan Pros and Cons
FHA loans have many benefits such as low down payment, better interest rate, and credit score flexibility. The only downside of FHA loan is that you have to get mortgage insurance that stays with you throughout the life of your FHA loan.
What You need to qualify for an FHA Loan
You will need some form of identification to begin qualifying for an FHA loan. Driver licenses, military IDs, passports, or any other kind of government-issued ID is an acceptable form of identification. You'll also need your bank statements from the last two months and investment statements from the last two years. Be sure to have at least one month of pay stubs available, as well.
If you run a business or you are self-employed, you will be asked to provide:
- Your current tax year profit and loss statement
- At least two of your recent tax returns
Talk to a mortgage and loan specialist to get the process started.
In real estate terminology, you may hear about various ratios and where you need to fall within the ratio to qualify for the home you want. A ratio simply expresses a relationship between two values: they compare two things, so a student/teacher ratio might be shown as 18:1, or one teacher for every 18 students. Different ratios apply to residential home buyers, investors, sellers, and lenders, but here are a few that might apply to you.
Loan-to-value or LTV
A comparison between the amount of a mortgage loan and either the home’s purchase price (for new buyers) or its appraised value (in a refinance) is its loan-to-value ratio. Lower LTVs typically qualify a buyer or homeowner a lower interest rate because there is less risk of default to the lender. So, a conforming mortgage with 20 percent down often garners a lower rate than an FHA loan with only five percent down.
Higher LTVs place more risk on the lender so if the market drops, the home could be “upside-down” or worth less than the amount of the mortgage.
Debt-to-income ratio or DTI
More important to home buyers is the debt-to-income ratio. Also called a debt-service ratio, it expresses how much money the borrower makes monthly compared to the monthly ongoing debt payments and obligations. A lender uses this figure to determine how high a mortgage payment you can handle. The first number is your income (gross) from your job, plus any other income that can be counted such as child support or a trust disbursement that you can use to make your mortgage payment plus taxes and insurance, and if applicable, association dues.
The second number uses the same calculation as the first plus any long-term debt such as a vehicle or school loan and consumer debt. This amount is the percentage of your income used to pay housing and long-term debt. So, a ratio of 30:37 (also written 30/37) means you spend 30 percent of all your income on housing with no more than seven percent obligated to debt service. That leaves you with 63 percent of your income for food, auto insurance, medical bills, clothing, and other expenses. Qualifying ratios adjust over time, but the Federal Housing Administration lists the qualifying ratio and the formula to determine it to qualify for an FHA loan.
Your DTI comes from your personal debts and income, and the LTV comes from a specific home's value, but the price-to-income ratio expresses the affordability of housing in a given locale. Most often, it is the ratio of the median home price to the median household disposable income. This ratio helps you determine if the home you want to buy is overpriced (it will be hard to sell) or under-priced (super good deal) for its geographical location. Lenders use this ratio as one additional factor in determining risk for that specific home.
To learn where your ratios fall and to determine if an area is right for your household budget, let your local real estate professional guide you.
Step 1: Setting upYou'll want to set up the room with the right balance of furniture, decorations and natural light. Avoid decorations that are too personal (like family photos) or eccentric (no stuffed animals, preferably). Set up your tripod against one of the walls of the room. Ideally, you'll have the target of your photo illuminated by natural light coming through windows, so you'll likely be standing in front of or next to the windows. However, before you take any photos use your best judgment to determine the room's best angles. The amount of and the placement of furniture will play a large role in how spacious the room looks, but equally important is the camera angle from which you take your photos.
Step 2: Learn your camera settingsYou won't learn all of the settings in a DSLR overnight, but it is important to get an understanding of the basics. In spite of the many technical improvements that have been made, the basic concept of a camera hasn't changed much over the years. The two main components that determine what your picture looks like are aperture and shutter speed. Aperture (or "f-stop") is what is used to determine how much light enters the camera. Much like your pupils dilate in the dark to let in as much light as possible, having a wide aperture will allow you to take brighter photos. Shutter speed is the amount of time the shutter on your camera is open. A slower shutter speed allows more light into the camera, creating a brighter exposure. However, due to our inability to hold a camera entirely still having a slower shutter speed creates more opportunity for your photo to become blurred from camera shake. A third important setting is the ISO. This setting is unique to digital photography because it controls the sensitivity of the camera's image sensor. The higher the number, the more sensitive. Why not just crank it up all the way then to get the best quality? Because if you set it too high the photos become grainy or "noisy."
Step 3: PracticeNow that you know the basics, start taking photos in your home using various camera settings. Play around with taking photos with different light sources on, with your camera flash on and off, and at different times of day. You'll find that there are endless possibilities when it comes to taking photos of your home.
10 Violet Dr, Grafton, MA 01560
Even the best real estate agents can't share important facts about your house the way that you can. You know what it's like to actually live in your house. Only you know if the refrigerator runs after the door has been open for at least a minute. You know if the house makes settling noises late at night. Soft spots in the floor, and how well the house heats during winter and cools during summer are more facts that you're privy to.
Sharing your house's inside history, builds buyer trust. But, be careful. As you share facts and history about your house, you might fall in love with your house all over again and start second guessing whether you should let your house go.
Home buyers want to do more than walk thru your house
When house shoppers start asking you about closing costs, if you have pets and when you'd like to move into your new home, it's time to start sharing important information with them. Doing so could speed up a house sale. Information to share includes:
The personality of the neighbors. Similar to how authors describe the personalities of characters in their bestselling novels, introduce potential buyers to the neighbors. Skim the surface, letting prospects know if neighbors are quiet, social or tougher to get to know. This is where having great neighbors pays off hugely.
Just as you'd let house shoppers know if you have pets, let potential buyers know if most of the neighbors have pets. If pets are well trained, not aggressive and stay in their yards, share this. It could put people who are uncomfortable around large pets at ease, especially if these potential buyers heard dogs barking as they drove up the street to your open house.
Don't keep house shoppers in the dark
Don't stop there. Tell house shoppers where malls and hit stores are, including how far these hot spots are from your house. If you live near hot spots, this alone could attract buyers who love being at the center of exciting events.
Although prospects will see key features about your house as they walk through it, they won't catch everything. Tell people who are interested in buying your house about the extra storage space that buyers can't see right away and often miss.
Have a finished basement or a finished attic? Let buyers know. It could make the difference between losing a house sale or closing a deal. Buyers may be looking for extra space that can be used as a guest room, extra bedroom or home office.
Show off gorgeous outdoor views. Share stories about renovations you performed on your house since you purchased it. Share stories about experiences you created at the house that caused you to love the house. For example, you could tell buyers that your first child was born in the house or that you started you operated your first business out of the house.
Let house shoppers know where nearby airports and other forms of public transportation like trains, subways and buses are. Buyers may not be a two-car family. Knowing that you live near reliable public transportation could seal the deal.
Talk with your real estate agent about inside history that you're considering sharing with potential home buyers. Do this before you speak with people who are interested in buying your house. Your realtor may have ideas on how you can present the history, offering house shoppers honesty and engagement.