Home ownership IS cheaper than Renting

Owning is cheaper than renting

Minneapolis, MN:  The debate continues.  Is owning a home more affordable than renting.  New data is in showing that for most people, yes, owning appears to be cheaper than renting.

A survey by the big online company that starts with a Z and rhymes with Willow (I’m not a fan, so I don’t like to use their name) found on average, Americans spend about 15% of their income on a home mortgage loan, while renters that live in the nation’s largest cities spend around  30% of their income on just their rent.

Conventional wisdom says housing debt of 30% of your income or less is deemed affordable.

The report also looked at other issues effecting homeownership, and found that, just like in the past, coming up with down payment is a challenge for many, and that 13% of home buyers in 2014 got their down payment as a gift from relatives.

Many people are not aware that most home buyers DO NOT need a 20% down payment.  Conventional loan programs allow for as little as 3% down payment, and the popular FHA home loan only requires 3.5% down payment. If you are US Military, a VA loan is a no down payment loan. If you are looking to buy in rural areas of the country, the USDA Rural Development loan is also a no down payment loan.

Only if you live in a “high cost” are of the county where even the most modest home costs over $417,000 will you maybe need a larger down payment.

Many areas and potential home buyers also qualify for First Time Home Buyer programs, like the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency Start Up program, here in Minnesota where I am, that will typically loan the new homeowner a big chunk of their down payment money. The program here only requires the buyer to have $1,000 of their own money to buy a home.

Sadly, many renters THINK they can’t afford a home, when statistics tend to prove otherwise. Between small down payment requirements, gifts from relatives, down payment assistance programs, and even taking money from your 401k program for down payment, most people CAN make home ownership work.

Another challenge is debt.  Many talk about student loan debt killing home buying for millennials.  As a Loan Officer, I simply don’t see it.  What I DO see is first time home buyers needing to get back to reality in their home purchase. The term starter home needs to return to the lexicon of home buyers.

Your first home needs to fit into the reality of your income and debts. Therefore, your first home may not be your dream home.

Credit is the final challenge.  If you pay your bills on time, you should be just fine.  If you don’t, you need to get that corrected first. Realistically, you need to have a middle credit score of 620 or higher. If you have poor credit, you will need to work on improving your credit first. There are NO bad credit loans available.

 

ARE YOU READY TO BECOME A HOMEOWNER

All mortgage loan applicants need to meet some basic requirements:

– OK or better credit history.
– Stable employment
– Buy a home you can safely afford (known as debt ratios)
– Have some money in the bank

If you are realy, contact a local mortgage broker in your area.  Give them a complete mortgage application, and let them zero in on what programs you qualify for, how much house you can afford, what the payments will look like, and how much money you will need to pull it all together.

If it all looks good, you’ll be put in contact with a local expert Real Estate Agent, who will help you select that perfect home.


Mortgage loans. Why all the paperwork?

Mortgage loans – Why all the paperwork?

Loan PaperworkAs a Loan Officer serving Minnesota, Wisconsin, and South Dakota, I am constantly asked why is there so much paperwork required to get a mortgage loan today. It seems that the lender wants to know everything about you these days, and you would be correct. Your mortgage lender does want to know a lot about you.  If you were to give a complete stranger a huge loan, for a 30-year commitment, what would YOU want to know about them?

To make it feel worse than it really is, from about 1999 until 2007 during the housing boom, there were many programs available that allowed for limited documentation, or even no proof of income. Many people took advantage of those programs. Unfortunately, a large number of those people were allowed to bite off more loan than they would have been allowed if they proved income, contributing to the real estate collapse starting in 2007.

Loan Documentation Requirements Today

No one wants foreclosures and bad loans. It isn’t good for the home buyer, the neighborhood, or the economy.  For that reason, mortgage companies need to verify and double check everything on the application, and to make sure you are a good risk.

There are three very good reasons that the loan process is much more onerous on today’s buyer than perhaps any time in history.

  1. The mortgage industry was a bit too trusting in the past. Lenders for example asked for a pay stub, but we took what you provided at face value, and there was no double check. This allowed fraud to become rampant. How hard would it be to scan a W2 that said you made $30,000 a year into a computer, then use Photoshop to change that the 3 to an 8, and now you make $80,000 a year income.
  2. Even without fraud, during the run-up in the housing market, many people qualified for mortgages that they realistically could never pay back. The government has mandated new guidelines that now demand that the mortgage lender  prove beyond any doubt that you are indeed capable of affording the mortgage. The rule is called ATR, or the “Ability to Repay” rule. So no more stated income, or limited income loans.
  3.  The lenders have never wanted to be in the real estate holding business. Since the collapse, lenders suffered huge losses that came close to destroying the economy, and were were forced to take on the responsibility of liquidating millions of foreclosures,  and negotiating millions of more homes in short-sales.

The Good News About Mortgage Loans

The friends and family who bought homes ten or twenty ago experienced a simpler mortgage application process. If you got a loan ten to 20-years ago, yes, it was easier. But at the same time, if you never experienced that in the past, your fame of reference is that it really isn’t all that difficult today.

Instead of complaining about the paperwork required, be thankful that that you can get a loan, and get it at these amazingly low mortgage interest rates.


Minneapolis St Paul Home Values Continue to Rise

Minneapolis St Paul area home values continue to rise

Twin Cities area median home prices continue their creep upward, increasing 4.9 percent compared with October of last year.
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Housing inventory declined 25.6 percent, to a 3.2-month supply. Generally, five to six months is considered balanced. While the bulk of the metro as a whole is favoring sellers, not all areas, segments and price points reflect that.

The median list price in the metro rose 4.4 percent to $240,000, while average price per square foot rose 3.2 percent to $127, according to The Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.

Less foreclosures, less homes underwater, less homes on the market, and attractive mortgage interest rates have all combined to push home values nicely higher

  The October median sales price was $218,000 according The St. Paul Realtor Association.