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Recently Introduced Mortgage Rules May Affect Purchase Decisions for Homebuyers in Spring

Buying a new house can be a very exciting time in one’s life. To do it efficiently, many house hunters take into account mortgage rates and how the rates affect their purchases. Changes to loan guidelines can also change their borrowing costs and their ability to qualify for a home loan.

Recently, some adjustments have been made in the aftermath of a few events, including a pandemic-related economic crisis and the tragic collapse of a condo building in Surfside, Florida. The authorities now focus on increasing home loan balances, the expanded pool of vacation home buyers, and the target of increasing access to homeownership for eligible buyers. Here are the new rules that buyers should consider prior to applying for a loan.

Requirements for Condo Loans

Condos in Florida that were constructed 20 or more years are mainly under consideration, as they do not have proper maintenance systems, because of which a building collapsed. This has raised concerns among authorities about avoiding such incidents across all states. It is required to conduct a detailed review process of most of the condo projects, by respective responsible that also includes a questionnaire provided by condo authorities.

To prevent such horrible accidents and secure the interests of borrowers who are considering buying any condo, either new or old, lenders need to conduct some more due diligence to approve the loan for respective condominium units. This demands the lender to seek authentic information from condo authorities related to structure, maintenance, etc., which condo authorities might not provide.

All these additional documents requirements will add on expenses to lenders, which they will probably pass on to borrowers. Condo loans already cost more than conventional loans; thus additional costs will make it more challenging for borrowers to acquire a home in a condo.

Additional Fees on High-balance Loans and Vacation Homes

A high-balance or super-conforming loan is a loan for an amount between the national baseline loan limit and the maximum loan amount in high-cost housing markets. For example, the national baseline loan limit for 2022 is $647,200 in most states of the country.

The additional fees are most probably covered by the interest rate of the loan. For high-balance loans, borrowers will need to pay between 0.25 percent and 0.75 percent of the loan amount and For second home loans, borrowers will need to pay 1.125 percent to 3.87 percent of the loan amount. According to a report, lenders have already started to add these chargers to their mortgage rates.

The goal behind adding these fees is to support first-time buyers and low to middle-class income households becoming homeowners.

Eased Requirements for Self-employed People

At the start of the pandemic, authorities raised documentation requirements for self-employed people seeking to borrow loans just to ensure they had sufficient income and could afford to repay their mortgage.

Now some of the imposed requirements have been removed including the requirement for the current year-to-date profit and loss statement and three months of bank statements to analyze gross deposits to match the income of the previous year.

Now one to two years of tax returns are needed to show income for self-employed borrowers only if they filed their 2020 federal returns.

Alternative Ways to Analyze Creditworthiness

Since last fall, authorities introduced new alternative ways for loan applicants to have their reported on-time rent payments as part of their credit review, including through bank statements. This will ease borrowers to show their financial stability and qualify to get the loan.

Also, a new automated income assessment tool is being introduced for mortgage lenders through which they can use direct deposit information from bank accounts rather than receiving hard copies for income verification. Borrowers need to be allowed to have their income verified from direct deposits, employer data, and tax return data. It is predicted that automation will minimize errors, speed up loan application evaluations, and reduce costs.

Some Parting Advice for the Homebuyers

It is anticipated that home prices and mortgage rates will continue to increase. Therefore, it is advised that home buyers should collaborate with a fine real estate agent and their lender to optimize their buying power. Also, homebuyers should keep themselves updated with changing conditions, provide all the required documents while applying for the loan, and be ready to move quickly when they find a house that works for them.

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