Can I get pre-approved?
Do you charge an application fee?
Do you charge for a credit report fee?
What are the different types of mortgage loans?
Do I have to pay discount points?
When should I "lock" the interest rate?
How do I reduce the amount of cash required at closing?
Do I have to establish an escrow account?
what do I need to provide for the loan approval?
What is a "No Income Verification" (NIV) loan?
What's the difference between and Equity Line vs. Equity Loan?
What is 'Perfect Credit'?
What is 'Good Credit'?
I have some 'Credit Problems'?
Should I pay off all of my debts?
Does bankruptcy disqualify me from a mortgage loan?
What is a "FICO" score?
I am self-employed, does that present any problems?
Most of my income is commissions and/or bonus, does this present any
Does my income have to be verified?
1. Can I get pre-approved (not just pre-qualified) for a mortgage
before finding a home to buy?
Yes! Southwestern Mortgage Company offers you a complete credit
approval prior to finding a home to buy! We recommend you getting pre-approved for the
A. You know exactly what you can afford and have a pre-approval
letter to submit to your realtor and your potential seller so that you can
find the right property.
B. You can usually negotiate a lower price since you are pre-approved and are
similar to a cash buyer. The seller knows that the house is sold, not just under contract,
contingent upon final approval.
C. Your closing time will be shortened. Since you are credit pre-approved, all
that is necessary is to get the contract of sale, an appraisal, and the title commitment.
Closing can usually be done very quickly.
2. Do you charge a Loan Application Fee?
No, Southwestern does not charge an application fee. Please feel free to apply at no obligation for a no charge pre-approval of your loan request. If the borrower decides to protect an interest rate an appraisal fee may be necessary. The typical appraisal fee is $455 for an owner coupied single family residence transcation. However, appraisal fees can vary depending upon transaction parameters.
3. Do you charge a Credit Report Fee?
We provide you with a non chargable in house credit report. Similar to our opinion of
the loan application fee, we feel that the credit report is part of our primary business,
and that the expense is a general overhead item. If after reviewing that report, we will
determine if the three repository merged report is necessary a $20 fee will be required.
4. What are the different types of mortgage loans?
There are many different mortgage loan products, however, they can usually be grouped
into three major categories. These categories are:
A.Fixed Rates - in fixed rate mortgages, the interest rate is fixed for the life of the
loan. The amortization periods can be for:
Ten, Fifteen, Twenty, Twenty Five, Thirty, and now even Forty Years
B.Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM's) - in adjustable rate mortgages, the interest rate
adjusts periodically (adjustment interval), depending on the type of ARM. Some of the
adjustment intervals are monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually, every three years,
or every five years. An ARM that has an adjustment period of once per year is called a
"one year ARM".
To determine your interest rate with an ARM, you must know two things. First the
Financial Index that the ARM is tied to, such as: 1.Treasury Notes (6 month or 1
year) 2.Libor rate. 3.11th Federal Reserve District Cost of Funds Index (COFI) The other
item needed is the margin (amount added to the index to determine the interest rate).
The more popular adjustable rate mortgages are: 1 month ARM; the rate adjusts monthly
after a 3-month introduction period. 6 month ARM; the rate adjusts every six months. 1
year ARM; the rate adjusts annually.
5. Do I have to pay discount points?
NO! A discount point is equivalent to a percentage of the loan amount. While it is
commonly used to lower the interest rate, it is usually optional.
6. When should I "lock" the interest rate?
This is a difficult question to answer. The question is very similar to when should
you buy any given stock. Many items should be taken into consideration, including the
performance of the economy. Your loan officer will be able to advise you.
7. How do I reduce the amount of cash required at closing?
Depending upon the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, some of the non-recurring closing costs
can be financed, by classifying these expenses as a "seller-contribution."
Generally, if the LTV is greater than or equal to 95%, the seller-contribution is limited
to 3% or less. Other wise the seller contribution is usually limited to 6% or less. Keep
in mind that a seller contribution could affect the seller's net proceeds. Special
programs such as the FHA with a Nehemiah grants can also reduce the amount of cash
required at closing. (see programs)
8. Do I have to establish an escrow account?
Not necessarily. Although many lenders require an escrow account for real estate taxes and
insurance, there are many that allow you the option. With conventional loans, an escrow account can be
waived if the loan-to-value ratio does not exceed 90%.
However, certain programs such as FHA and VA do require impound accounts.
9. Other than the application, what do I need to provide for the loan
In processing an application, the processor is required to verify the income, assets,
and liabilities of the prospective borrower. Therefore, while it is not required that the
applicant provide the below listed items it is usually in their best interest to do so. If
the items are not provided by the applicant, the processor is required to send
verifications to third parties, which slows the processing time. The typical documents
needed at the time of application include: Last three months statements on all
deposit accounts (bank, savings, retirement, etc.) Prior two (2) years W-2 statements and
1099's. Last thirty (30) days pay-stubs. If purchasing a home, a copy of the sales
contract. These items usually cover most applications. If you are self employed, then
you would not have W-2's or pay-stubs. In the alternative, a copy of your prior two years
tax returns and a current profit and loss statement on you business would be necessary.
10. What is a "No Income Verification" (NIV) or "Stated
A "No Income Verification" (NIV) or "Stated Income" loan is one
that the applicants income is not verified. The applicant simply "states" his or
her income on the application, and while the employment status is verified, the income
information is not. Please do not misunderstand, the income is the only thing not
verified, credit is still reviewed. In fact the No Income Verification or Stated Income
loans are usually (but not always) reserved for those people with good credit, and usually
require 20% down payments. Also, since the lender is assuming more risk (no income
information at all), the loan carries a slightly higher interest rate than a loan that has
full documentation of the borrowers income. This type of loan is excellent for those
applicants that have income sources that are difficult to verify ( i.e., the self
employed, investment income) or those applicants that do not want to go to the trouble of
providing all of the documentation to verify their income.
Questions Regarding Credit:
1.What is "Perfect Credit"?
Perfect Credit would be similar to a person with the following:
A record of paying all financial obligations on time, for many years. There should be
only a few credit inquiries within the last 24 months. There should be no bankruptcies,
liens, lawsuits, or divorce proceedings. There should be several loan-established credit
accounts in the USA.
2. What is "Good Credit"?
Good Credit would be similar to a person with the following:
A record of paying all financial obligations on time for the past few years.
Bankruptcies and liens should have been discharged at least 24 months ago, and credit
re-established. No active lawsuits, and not currently in divorce proceedings.
3. I have some credit problems, can I still get a mortgage to purchase or
refinance a home?
Yes!, even if you do not have excellent or good credit, you can still obtain a
mortgage. These mortgages are referred to as "sub-prime" mortgages, and a large
percentage of the population have them. Sub-Prime mortgages usually require more down
payment or equity, and carry a slightly higher interest rate than prime mortgages. The
amount of the required down payment or equity as well as the interest rate will depend on
your own particular circumstances.
4. Should I pay off all of my credit cards or other debts before I apply
for a mortgage?
In most cases no! However, there are times that it may benefit you in obtaining a
mortgage. After pulling your in house credit report, your loan officer can advise you as
to which, if any, debts should be paid off before you start the loan process.
5. Does bankruptcy disqualify me from a mortgage loan?
No! What type of mortgage (prime or sub-prime) that you qualify for is dependent on
how long ago the bankruptcy happened. If the bankruptcy was less than 24 months ago, you
probably will be in the sub-prime category, otherwise, you may qualify for the prime
6. What is a "FICO" score?
A FICO score is a credit scoring system determined by certain credit reporting
repositories, and used by many ortgage companies to determine creditworthiness of an
individual. The FICO score is determined by a formula that considers a persons past
payment history, amount of available credit on revolving accounts vs. amount of debt,
public record filings (bankruptcy, law suits, liens, judgements, divorce, etc.), number of
recent inquiries, and other factors. Many mortgage companies have different FICO score
requirements for certain programs.
Questions Regarding Income:
1. I am self-employed, does that present any problems?
Not necessarily. Tax returns and 1099's are the documentation of income needed for a
self-employed person. The income is reviewed for the prior two years. If you have been
self-employed for less than two years, there could be a problem, but solutions are
available. Many times a problem arises due to the different missions of a tax return vs. a
mortgage application. Most taxpayers attempt to minimize taxable income for tax purposes.
However, the mortgage loan is qualified based on income, so indicating a minimal taxable
income can prevent you from qualifying for as much home as you would like.
2. I am not self-employed, but most of my income is commissions and/or
bonus, does this present any problem?
Not necessarily. Commission and bonus income is averaged for the prior two years and
that average is used for qualification purpose. Also it may be necessary to provide some
evidence that continued bonus income is probable. This is another reason for the "No
Income Verification", "Stated Income", or "No Ratio" mortgage.
3. Does my income have to be verified?
Depending on the loan program that you are applying for: There are mortgages available
that do not require any documentation and/or verification of income. These mortgages are
known as "No Income Verification", "Stated Income", or "No