Getting a home loan in today’s market is no easy task.
Gone are the days of the easy money. It was all that “easy money” that drove the country into its economic mess. Many of us were caught up in the “no down,” “no-documentation,” and “stated income” loans—to name a few of the gimmicks the sub-prime lending practices allowed in the last few years. And now we all are suffering because of the greedy lenders.
Now, I am not saying that all lenders are greedy. Most are reputable mortgage officers providing excellent service to their customers. It just takes a few rotten apples to spoil the whole bushel. This makes us all very wary of today’s lending practices. Right after the housing and mortgage bubble burst there were anxious shouts of, “Let’s run the bums out of town.”
And so, our “big brother,” the government, tightened up the screws and very few would-be borrowers could get a loan. If you happened to be one of the lucky ones who did, the whole process took months instead of weeks to complete.
Fortunately the money is beginning to flow from the tap again—granted, a bit slowly. But loans are again possible to get. If you have good to excellent credit, you are halfway there. Most know what a FICO credit score is. That is the number the lenders are looking for before they will even take your complete application. The lower the score, the harder it is to get a loan. Most lenders want a score of 620 and above.
Assuming that you have kept up a good credit rating, are gainfully employed with a good income source, and have a sufficient down payment, then you are ready to choose a lender. Making the right choice requires some detective work and a few well-placed inquiries.
Most banks, credit unions, and mortgage companies have qualified mortgage officers to assist you. If any lenders want money up front for anything other than a credit report, be wary. You could contact a reputable Realtor who could make three or four recommendations to you. Study the costs and compare. Remember: “Only you can be yourself. No one else is qualified for the job.” Until next week, keep smiling.