The DANGER of automated mortgage pre-approvals via your cell phone

The danger of automated mortgage pre-approvals via your cell phone

Minneapolis / St Paul, MN: Can you really get a mortgage pre-approval online in 10 minutes? Yes. Should you? Probably not. It’s 2018 as I write this, advancements to our lives, along with instant gratification is everywhere. Why go to the store when you get better selection and two day shipping from Amazon. No need for old fashion video stores, everything is on Netflix, Amazon Prime video, or your HBO Go app.  Twitter, Facebook, the internet, and of course Smartphones and iPads have replaced home computers for many people.

So it is no surprise that many mortgage lenders are now advertising instant 10-minute mortgage loan pre-approvals while you stand in front of the house you just looked at. The biggest company pushing these is Quicken Loans ® “Rocket Mortgage”®.

Sounds cool, and their commercials are really funny… But wait a minute… This is the largest financial transaction of your adult life. Can it really be done on your cell phone?

 The Traditional Mortgage Loan Process

The traditional process is you complete a loan application. You do that in person, over the phone, or by completing an online loan application. From there, a real live person reviews the information, pulls your credit report, talks to you about your situation, uses knowledge and expertise to explore all avenues, issues, and different loan options (all good ideas).

Assuming that all looks fine, your application is processed through one of the major AUS (automated underwriting system) of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, etc, to get your initial “looks good” answer.

ffThis automated underwriting system process only takes a few seconds, and with the initial “looks good” answer to your loan application, you got a loan, right? NO, not even close.  This is just AN INITIAL step.

Next, just because the AUS indicates ACCEPT (yes), there are still pages of information and requested items that need to be received and reviewed for accuracy BY ALL LENDERS. Common items are W2’s, pay stubs, bank statements, tax returns. Depending on your situation, you may need further items, like bankruptcy papers, divorce decrees, and more.

You generally need to gather all those documents and submit them to your lender for review to receive a proper Pre-Approval.

PRE-APPROVAL IS NOT A LOAN GUARANTEE

After you find the exact house and sign a purchase agreement, the lender orders the appraisal, title review, and everything else is sent to the underwriter for final review. Generally speaking, a proper professional pre-approval will equal a successful final approval by underwriting in the final stage of the process. A sloppy pre-approval, not properly review??? Scary stuff.

Your largest financial transaction of your life is too important to trust to just anyone, let alone a computer. You need the wisdom and input from a licensed, experienced, and professional Loan Officer.

The Quicken Rocket Mortgage ® 

The difference with their app, is that after taking the initial application information online (like thousands of other lenders), their app jumps right to running your information through the major automated underwriting system to get that initial pre-approval. Yes, that can take just 10 minutes.

Next, they attempt to gather some of your basic supporting documents electronically. Rocket Mortgage ® will ask you to link your financial accounts to their program. This allows them to check your financial statements online without you having to send them the physical copies of your banking information. Again, sounds cool, but in the day of cyber hacking, do you really want to give them access to your information electronically?

Next, a huge portion of applicants are not able to take advantage of instant document verification, and still need to submit many, if not all of their documents the traditional way – completely eliminating the cool factor.

You can also get instant rate quotes, cost quotes, and options like to buy discount points. Again, sound nifty, but…

The first major issue is simple. Garbage in equals garbage out.

I review a LOT of online mortgage applications.  Rare is it that I don’t need to change or adjust any application data before running it though the computers. Data errors, missing data, and income that isn’t allowed to be used for qualifying are all too common.

For example, I recently had a client input $50,000 a year for his wife at a job she has been at for about 9 months. But, as I interviewed him, I discovered that her new job is 100% commission based. Standard underwriting rules for commission based income require the person to have two-years on the job, and that we average the two-years of income.  Therefore her job qualifying income was ZERO.  Oops… Now you are running around with a quick pre-approval looking at houses you will never actually get final approval to buy.

Another recent applicant answer the “Do you pay alimony or child support” question online NO. But when I physically reviewed his pay stub, it clearly showed the deduction for child support. This additional debt lowered the maximum house he could buy $50,000. Again, potentially someone running around with an invalid pre-approval letter.

 The Big Disadvantage of Instant Online Approvals

For as cool as all this sounds, it has huge disadvantages.

First is not having the opportunity to talk to a human loan officer. Consumers may lose out by applying for a mortgage that isn’t necessarily the best choice for their situation. I get clients all the time who complete my online application for one loan type, but I end up switching them to something better suited for their situation. This is because most applicants usually have several mortgage options available to them. Since most consumers are not mortgage experts, this is clearly an area where a human loan officer could help steer their client in the right direction.

Your largest financial transaction of your life is too important to trust to just anyone, let alone a computer. You need the wisdom and input from a licensed, experienced, and professional Loan Officer.

They typically don’t offer first time home buyer programs, and don’t offer down payment assistance programs. This is especially troublesome, as younger first time home buyers are the ones more inclined to think apply on your phone is cool.

Do they have the best interest rates and lowest closing costs?  Generally not, and sometimes, especially on government loans, like FHA, we beat their rates by a long shot.

The Best Move When Getting Mortgage Pre-Approved?

When buying a home, your best move is to always work with a local lender the traditional way. The guy located in your geographic area, with a local reputation to protect. There is nothing anyone on the internet on the other side of the country can offer that you can’t get down the street.  More often than not, it is just the opposite… Especially when it comes to down payment assistance programs for first time buyers. These programs are always only available from the local lender.

We lend for homes in MN, WI, and SD and would love to assist you

Click to apply online


Current and Historic Mortgage Interest Rates

 

What are current and historic mortgage interest rates?

I get asked on a regular basis about where are mortgage interest rates at today, where were they last week or last year… and the best one, what do I think they will do tomorrow.

Of course I have no crystal ball for future rates, but there are many different indicators we look at that gives us a good idea where they may be going. As you can imagine, there are many things that can throw a monkey wrench into the estimates and predictions.

From all time highs, to historic lows – I thought it would be fun to take a look back at mortgage rates:

Historic mortgage interest rates

Mortgage interest rates 2017

Click here for current Mortgage Interest Rates

 


Is Credit Karma your real credit score?

Many people get their credit score from places like Credit Karma, and off their credit card statements. But are these your real credit scores?

The answer is YES and NO. Yes, they are a real credit score, but you may get a very different score when your credit is reviewed by lenders.

The confusing comes because there are many DIFFERENT scoring models out there, including multiple different ones from the same credit bureau. Each company and scoring model calculates your score a bit differently, but they all use information from your report.

The three main credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – create your credit reports, with credit scoring models like VantageScore, Beacon Score, and various FICO scores. These are use to come up with a score that typically ranges from 300-850. Theses scores for you based on their own proprietary models.

VantageScore 3.0 is a credit scoring model generally used whenever you the consumer are able to look at your own credit score, while most lenders actually use different scoring models.

Basically the thing to understand is something known as Industry-Specific Credit Scoring models, which are tailored to each industry. If you buying a new car, or new home – it may make sense for that lender to consult a credit scoring model created with for what they care most about. So car lenders care about how you handle car loans, credit card companies care how you handle credit cards, and finally, mortgage lenders car most about how you handle mortgage loans. When you look at the Vantage score, I generally call that the generic score because it is not tied to any specific industry.

For example, FICO® has all of these different models: FICO® Score 9, FICO® Auto Score 9, FICO® Bankcard Score 9, FICO CLASSIC V5, FICO CLASSIC (04),  Fair ISAAC (VER. 2).

So your score WILL VARY based on where you get it, and what type of company pulls it. It is most common for us to see your mortgage score easily 20 points lower than your Vantage score.

Your credit scores are typically based on things like how often you make payments on time and how many accounts you have in good standing.

Your score will never factor in personal information like your race, gender, religion, marital status or national origin.


NO documentation MORTGAGE loans AVAILABLE? No. Alternative? Yes

Minneapolis, MN: Not everyone meets the traditional proof of income guidelines for your standard home mortgage loan. For years, the industry offered all sorts of alternative options, from no documentation stated income loans, where you just told us what you made, but didn’t prove anything, to true No Income, No Assets, no anything loans. Just a good credit score and a large down payment.

These programs served a small niche market, and had been successful for many years.  In the real estate boom years from 2000 to 2007, these long held niche programs became highly abused – resulting in law changes that all but essentially made them illegal to offer.

No documentation loans

Current rules require lenders to prove and document sufficient income to safely afford your loan payment. All your traditional loans deem that to be pay stubs, W2’s, and tax returns.

These rules leave many people out in the cold – especially the self-employed.

What No Income Documentation Loans Are Available Today?

Well, none… But there is one big non-traditional offering in the market, this being bank statement loans. With these programs, in lieu of traditional pay stubs, and tax returns, lenders use the deposits on your bank statements as qualifying income.

Common options include:

  • qualifying on just 12 months or bank statements, but you get better interest rates if you can prove 24-months of statements.
  • Using 100% of your personal bank statement deposits as income, or 50% of business bank statement deposits

Bank Statement Loans

The Down Side

First, there is no standard set of rules for these programs, so the there is plenty of variation between lenders. A good example is that some lenders only offer 24-month programs, or won’t do it at all with lower credit scores.

Expect at least a 10% down payment requirement, but most will require 20% to 25% down payment.

Expect closing costs to run higher than traditional loans.

Finally, as you might imagine, these programs don’t offer the best current mortgage rates. Typically we see these programs run with at least a 2% higher interest rate than traditional mortgage loans.

The Bottom Line

You should always try to be approved for traditional financing. But if your situation doesn’t allow for that, while no a full no documentation loan, at least there is an option to income qualify for a home loan with your bank statements.

Apply for a Bank Statement Loan

We here at Mortgages Unlimited offer a variety of bank statement loan options for properties located in MN, WI, and SD. Call us at (651) 552-3681 to discuss your situation – or better yet, complete the simple ONLINE LOAN APPLICATION right here on this web site.

Click to apply online

The small print: Not an offer to enter into an interest rate lock agreement per MN law. Not everyone will qualify. Equal housing lender. NMLS 274132.


Tips for MN First Time Home Buyers

Minnesota First-Time Home Buyer Tips

Minneapolis, MN: Being a first time home buyer, and buying your first home is an exciting time. There is no reason to be worried, and here are a few tips to help guide the way.

STEP 1:

Find a lender – Get Pre Approved for a Mortgage Loan.

Unless you are paying cash, you are going to need a loan. Finding and choosing the best loan and lender to handle the loan for you should not be taken lightly. Randomly taking to whoever answers the phone at  1-800 Big Bank, or thinking you can get a mortgage in 10 minutes via your cell phone are generally huge mistakes.

Read my whole separate article on Shopping For a Lender

Once you find your Loan Officer, they will review various programs with you, go over your maximum purchase price, payment comfort level, and any other requirements.  Expect to send in a minimum of your Photo ID, last 30-days of paystubs, last two-months bank statements, last two-years W2’s, and at least your last filed Federal tax return.

With a mortgage pre-approval in hand, you can meet with the Real Estate Agent, and know exactly how much house you can afford to buy, so you are not wasting time looking at homes outside of your price range.

Step 2:

Find a Realtor.

As with picking a Loan Officer, picking a Real Estate Agent also should not be taken lightly. As a Loan Officer, my tips for selecting an agent are:

  1. Avoid big real estate ‘teams’ – you never work with the big guy.
  2. Most major real estate company charge extra fees – Pick small independents
  3. Experience matters, A LOT.

Once you’ve selected your agent, they assist you in finding your dream house, negotiating a great offer, walking you through the paperwork, and helping with things like inspections.

TIP:  Did you know that the buyers do not pay anything out-of-pocket for the working with an agent to buy a home. The cost of your agent is paid for by the seller.

 

Make a Home Wants and Needs Wish List.

Make a list of what you absolutely must have in your new home. Number of bedrooms, school district, etc., and let your Real Estate Agent know.  Then also decide on things you can be flexible on. Unless you are building a custom home, no house will be a perfect fit.

Looking At Homes.

Typically your agent will set you up on automated email listing of new homes that fit your criteria.  Especially in the under $300,000 price point, you should look at those emails daily, and if you see something you like, you need to be prepared to drop everything, and go immediately look at the house.  Waiting for the weekend or a day off, and you may have been just beaten out by someone else.

As you look at homes, you may find your wants/needs list can change.  Be sure to pass that along to your agent.

Ready to get started?

It’s easy. Simply complete the Online application.  You’ll be applying directly with me, Joe Metzler, an experienced, multiple award winning Loan officer with over 20-years in the the business. We lend in MN, WI, and SD. Learn more about me HERE.

 


The closing costs are 3% myth debunked

I just heard it again, a Real Estate Agent saying average closing costs to obtain a home mortgage loan in Minnesota are about 3%.

This simply is way too broad a statement about actual closing costs.

As an actual Minnesota mortgage lender for the past 26-Years, the perception that mortgage loan closing cost are about 3% in MN has never been really accurate. This gets spread around primarily because a conventional loan only allows for seller paid closing costs of 3% ( FHA Loan is 6%: VA Loan is 4%, convention is 6% with a large down payment ).

About 1/2 of closing costs are a set cost regardless of purchase price. The other 1/2 of closing costs are based on the purchase price. Take an appraisal for example, a $500 dollars appraisal cost is about 1% of a $50,000 Loan, but only .1% of a $500,000 Loan. Another example is the title company closing fee, which is now around $400. Again, regardless of purchase price., but can make a big difference in the overall cost percentage.

So lower priced homes tend to have costs of 4% to 5% of the price, while upper end homes tend to come in closer to 2% of the price.  Therefore getting 3% seller paid costs falls short of the real costs for many buyers.  These examples assume full closing costs and pre-paid items (taxes and insurance).

To make up the difference, lender can, and commonly offer you other options, like a no loan origination cost lan, or even total no closing costs loans. We also can do something called ‘lender credits’ to reduce out of pocket closing costs. While these options sound great, they are all achieved by increasing the interest rate. Therefore you pay costs over time, versus up-front today.

That is the same when asking for seller paid closing costs. You are paying over time, versus out of pocket today.

Finally, there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these options. They just need to be understood and analyzed to see what is best for you.  A good Loan Officer will explain and go over all these items once we see a full application, and understand your financial position, amount of cash you have to pay for down payment and more.

Property understanding all these items, then working together with a great agent to property structure your offer will make sure you get a great overall deal on your dream house.

Be sure to ask your Loan Officer plenty of questions, and be sure you carefully pick the Loan Officer who will be handling your largest financial transaction of the average persons life.

If you are buying a home in Minnesota, Wisconsin, or South Dakota… I can be your Loan Officer.  Contact me at (651) 552-3681 or JoeMetzler.com.