Credit After a Short Sale vs. Foreclosure

December 7, 2009

 

One of the most commonly asked questions about a short sale is how it will impact credit and the ability to purchase a home in the future. Whether you are a buyer, seller or investor, it’s imperative to educate yourself on this all important aspect of credit to become fully informed before making a final decision or in order to assist sellers in determining the right course of action for their financial future.

Here to help sort through the confusion is a quick primer on credit after a short sale vs. foreclosure. Remember, every situation is distinctive so these estimates represent the average experience of most individuals.

Note: Depending on the situation, circumstances may vary.

Average Time to Rebuild Credit to Purchase a Home

  • After a foreclosure: 5 – 7 years
  • After a foreclosure with extenuating circumstances such as, but not limited to: disability, death of a spouse, etc: 3 – 7 years
  • After a Deed in Lieu (DIL) of foreclosure: 4 – 7 years
  • After a Short Sale: 0 – 2 years

Other Alternatives

The above averages represent typical buying patterns for those using regular lenders to obtain a conventional loan or government backed loans; private investors are still viable options that enable many people to purchase another home immediately after any type of financial fiasco, including foreclosure. However, mortgage rates tend to be less favorable and requirements more stringent than ever. Just a few years ago it was quite easy to obtain a sub-prime mortgage for a relatively low rate above the preferred status, but today, much of that has changed. While it is still possible to obtain the equivalent of a sub-prime mortgage, be prepared to come up with a much larger down payment and higher overall rates.

Short Sales Win Hands Down

Sellers wishing to minimize damage to their financial future clearly come out ahead when using a short sale but it’s still possible to further decrease the downside by avoiding a 60-day late payment, working closely with the lender to achieve a quick price agreement, and setting aside as much funds as possible for a new loan. In fact, homeowners that maintain a solid payment history and work-out an agreeable short sale deal early may find it desirable to downsize to a new home by setting aside additional funds equal to 20% down. With Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) and a reduced debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, sellers are finding it possible to take advantage of lowered property values to immediately purchase another home for a fraction of the cost (and debt burden). 

Conclusion: It’s a win-win for all involved but, only if you understand the benefits and work aggressively to seal the deal.

*This post has been adapted from Real Estate News & Commentary by Chris McLaughlin


Making Home Affordable Plan

May 23, 2009

MHA_Logo

The Obama Administration has introduced a plan to try to stabilize the housing market called the Making Home Affordable (MHA) Plan. Through this plan, up to an estimated 7 – 9 million American families may be eligible to refinance or modify their loans to a payment that is affordable now and into the future.

Under this plan, there are two programs:

  • Home Affordable Refinance Program
  • Home Affordable Modification Program

Home Affordable Refinance Program

The Home Affordable Refinance Program gives up to an estimated 4 – 5 million homeowners with loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac an opportunity to refinance into more affordable monthly payments. 

Many homeowners pay their mortgages on time but are not able to refinance to take advantage of today’s lower mortgage rates perhaps due to a decrease in the value of their home. A Home Affordable Refinance will help borrowers whose loans are held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac refinance into a more affordable mortgage.

Will the Home Affordable Refinance Program help me?

Eligible borrowers who are current on their mortgages but have been unable to take advantage of today’s lower interest rates because their homes have decreased in value may now have the opportunity to refinance. Through the Home Affordable Refinance Program, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will allow the refinancing of mortgage loans that they own or that they placed in mortgage backed securities.

How do I know if I am eligible?

You may be eligible if:

  • You are the owner occupant of a 1 – 4 unit home
  • The loan on the property is owned or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (If you don’t know, click here)
  • At the time you apply, you are current on your mortgage payments (current means that you haven’t been more than 30 days late on your mortgage payment in the last 12 months or if you have had the loans for less than 12 months, you have never missed a payment)
  • You believe that the amount you owe on your first mortgage is about the same or slightly less than the current value of your house (You may be eligible if your first mortgage does not exceed 105% of the current market value of your home. For example, if your property is worth $200,000 but you owe $210,000 or less on your first mortgage, you may be eligible. The current value of your property will be determined after you apply to refinance)
  • You have income sufficient to support the new mortgage payments, and
  • The refinance improves the long term affordability or stability of your loan

You may also take the Eligibility Test to determine if you qualify.

How do I apply for a Home Affordable Refinance?

You should call your mortgage servicer or lender and ask about the Home Affordable Refinance application process. The number is on your monthly mortgage bill or coupon book.

Note: Please be patient. Lenders and servicers are implementing the program now and there might be a slight delay before they are ready to process all applications. In the meantime, it will help your lender and speed up the application process if you gather some information and documents before you call.

APPLICATION CHECKLIST:

  • Information about your mortgage such as your monthly mortgage statement and
  • Information about the monthly gross (before tax) income of your household, including recent pay stubs if you receive them or documentation of income you receive from other sources
  • Your most recent income tax return
  • Information about any second mortgage or home equity line of credit on the house
  • Account balances and monthly payments on all your other debts such as student loans, car loans, personal loans, etc.

Home Affordable Modification Program

The Home Affordable Modification Program will reduce monthly payments on existing first lien mortgages for up to an estimated 3 – 4 million at-risk homeowners.

Many homeowners are struggling to make their monthly mortgage payments perhaps because their interest rate has increased or they have less income. A Home Affordable Modification will provide them with mortgage payments they can afford.

Will the Home Affordable Modification Program help me?

If you can no longer afford to make your monthly payments, you may qualify for a loan modification to make your monthly payments more affordable. Millions of borrowers who are current, but having difficulty making their payments and borrowers who have missed 1 or more payments may be eligible.

How do I know if I am eligible?

You may be eligible if:

  •  Your home must be an owner-occupied primary residence (verified with tax return, credit report, and other documentation such as a utility bill)
  • Your home must be a single-family 1 -4 unit property (including condominiums, cooperatives, and manufactured homes affixed to a foundation and treated as real property under state law)
  • Your home must not be vacant or condemned
  • First lien loans must have an unpaid principal balance (prior to capitalization of arrearages) that is equal to or less than:
  • 1 unit properties = $729,750
  • 2 unit properties = $934,200
  • 3 unit properties = $1,129,250
  • 4 unit properties = $1,403,400
  • Your mortgage must have originated on or before January 1, 2009
  • Have a mortgage payment (including taxes, insurance, home owner’s association dues) that is more than 31% of your gross monthly income (If you are uncertain, click here)
  • Have a mortgage payment that is not affordable, perhaps because of a significant change in income or expenses

You may also take the Eligibility Test  to determine if you qualify.

Note: Eligibility requirements are simply government guidelines. Guidelines may change, and lenders make exceptions, if it is in their best interest to do so.  In other words, homeowners should not count themselves out.  If they are having trouble making their house payment, they should explore the loan modification option.  Sometimes, the only way to determine whether you qualify is to apply.

How do I apply for a Home Affordable Modification?

You should call your mortgage servicer or lender and ask about the Home Affordable Modification application process. The number is on your monthly mortgage bill or coupon book.

Note: Please be patient. Lenders and servicers are implementing the program now and there might be a slight delay before they are ready to process all applications. In the meantime, it will help your lender and speed up the application process if you gather some information and documents before you call.

APPLICATION CHECKLIST:

  • Information about your gross monthly  (before taxes) income, including recent pay stubs, if you receive them or documentation of income you receive from other sources
  • Your most recent income tax return
  • Information about your savings and other assets
  • Information about your first mortgage, such as your monthly mortgage statement
  • Information about any second mortgage or home equity line of credit on your house
  • Account balances and minimum monthly payments due on all of your credit cards
  • Account balances and monthly payments on all your other debts such as student loans, car loans, personal loans, etc.
  • A letter describing any circumstances that caused your income to be reduced or expenses to be increased (job loss, divorce, illness, etc.) if applicable

Note: Many lenders have made a committment to delay foreclosure on all loans that meet the minimum eligibility criteria for a home affordable modification

Free Counseling Help

There are two options for free counseling help:

  • Contact me via email freezeforeclosure@gmail and we’ll set up a time to talk.
  • If you don’t feel comfortable talking to me then another free resource is to contact a HUD-approved housing counselor. They provide the same advice I do. The only difference is who you feel more comfortable working with.

What to expect?

Either the housing counselor or I will talk to you about your situation and help you decide what mortgage options are best for you. We will explain what documents you will need to provide to your mortgage company. We can also help you make a budget so that you can meet your monthly mortgage payment and other expenses. There is no charge to work with either one of us.

Before you call 

Gather the following documents:

  • Information about your gross monthly  (before taxes) income, including recent pay stubs, if you receive them or documentation of income you receive from other sources
  • Your most recent income tax return
  • Information about your savings and other assets
  • Information about your first mortgage, such as your monthly mortgage statement
  • Information about any second mortgage or home equity line of credit on your house
  • Account balances and minimum monthly payments due on all of your credit cards
  • Account balances and monthly payments on all your other debts such as student loans, car loans, personal loans, etc.
  • A letter describing any circumstances that caused your income to be reduced or expenses to be increased (job loss, divorce, illness, etc.) if applicable

Immediate Assistance

If you are delinquent on your loan payments and need immediate assistance, call myself at 571-249-4357 or 888-995-HOPE (4673)


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