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Fannie Mae

Is The Zero-Down Mortgage Loan Making A Comeback?

Buyers may soon be able to bring less to closing. They were blamed for precipitating the housing crisis years ago, but major lenders are giving no- and low-downpayment loans another shot.

Several major lenders are reportedly offering loans with just 1 percent down. Navy Federal, the nation's largest credit union, offers its members zero-down mortgages in amounts up to $1 million. NASA Federal Credit Union markets zero-down mortgages as well.

Quicken Loans, the third highest volume lender, offers 1 percent downpayment options, as does United Wholesale Mortgage. And the Department of Veterans Affairs has offered zero-down loans to eligible borrowers for many years.

Also, Movement Mortgage, a large national lender, has introduced a financing option that provides eligible first-time buyers with a non-repayable grant of up to 3 percent. As such, applicants can qualify for a 97 percent loan-to-value ratio conventional mortgage, which is basically zero from the buyers and 3 percent from Movement. For example, on a $300,000 home purchase, a borrower could invest zero personal funds with Movement providing $9,000 down. The loan also allows sellers to contribute toward the buyer's closing costs.

So far, the delinquency rates on these low- to zero-down payment loans have been minimal, according to lenders. Quicken Loans says its 1 percent down loans have a delinquency rate of less than one-quarter of 1 percent. United Wholesale Mortgages told The Washington Post that it has had zero delinquencies from the borrowers on its 1-percent down loan since debuting it last summer.

For Movement's new loan product, the lender will originate the loans and then sell them to Fannie Mae, which remains under federal conservatorship. Fannie officials released the following a statement:

"(We're) committed to working with our customers to increase affordable, sustainable lending to creditworthy borrowers. We continue to work with a number of lenders to launch (test programs) that require 97 percent loan-to-value ratios for all loans we acquire." They add that there "is no commitment beyond the pilots," which are "focused on reaching more low- to-moderate income borrowers through responsible yet creative solutions."

During the housing crisis, zero-down loans were among the biggest losses for lenders, investors and borrowers. However, housing experts say the latest versions are different from years ago. Applicants must now demonstrate an ability to repay what's owed. They also must have stellar credit histories and scores, and lenders require a lot more documentation to prove borrowers are in good standing.

Also, many of the programs are charging higher interest rates. For example, Movement's rate for its zero-down payment option in mid-June was 4.5 percent to 4.625 percent, compared with 4 percent for its standard fixed-rate mortgages.

Some critics say that the borrowers who really could benefit from such options aren't able to qualify for them. Paul Skeens, president of Colonial Mortgage Corp. in Waldorf, Md., told The Washington Post that "it seems like people without excellent credit scores and three months of [bank] reserves don't qualify."

Source: "No Down Payment? No Problem, Say Lenders Eager to Finance Home Purchases," The Washington Post (June 14, 2017)

If you have any additional questions or queries contact us at (954).944.2799 or emailinfo@DSALegalGroup.com

 

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact an attorney.

How to Get Your Down Payment and Closing Costs Paid For You

Buyers can finance their Down Payment and Closing Costs with Community Second Mortgages - Community second mortgages allow eligible homebuyers to finance their down payments, closing costs and even home improvements.

This type of assistance may be offered by states, counties, local housing agencies, nonprofit organizations or Employer Assisted Mortgage (EAM) programs.

Subject to qualification, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac allow buyers to finance over 100 percent of your home's purchase price.  They do this by combining the first mortgages with a second mortgage (this loan arrangement will work with HomeReady and Home Possible programs).

The Fannie Mae program is called Community Seconds, and the Freddie Mac option is called Affordable Seconds.

Down Payment Assistance and Closing Costs

Community second mortgages allow eligible homebuyers to buy houses with no out-of-pocket down payment or closing costs.

Repayment may be structured in several ways:

  • they may make monthly fixed monthly payments until the loan is repaid.
  • they may be allowed to defer (put off) repayment for some period. Then, you make fixed monthly payments until the loan is repaid.
  • they may not have to make payments at all. The loan is only repaid if you sell the property.
  • they may not have to repay the loan if you remain in your home for a specified number of years.

If repayment is deferred for five years or more, the second mortgage payment is not counted when the lender calculates the debt-to-income ratio (DTI).

Who Is Eligible For Community Second Mortgages?

Community second mortgages are offered by many sources.

According to the OCC (United States Office of the Comptroller of the Currency), most EAM programs have some income-eligibility requirements. With regard to income, generally, no more than 120 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI).  As it concerns credit scores, no lower than a 640.  Further, buyers must qualify in the usual manner as it relates to job stability, income sources etc.

The assistance may be limited to first-time buyers, and require some form of homebuyer education or counseling.

Every loan has its own requirements, so once the down payment and closing cost programs have been located in the buyers’ area, attention must be paid to the specific guidelines.

Finding Your Program

These second mortgage programs requirements can vary from county to county of state to state.

An online search for "community second mortgage by city, county or state will bring up programs offered by local housing departments.

HUD’s State pages may also have some resources.  Select State, then "Homeownership Assistance," and a list of links and contact information for many programs will be generated.

Mortgage rates for home loans with Community Seconds or Affordable Seconds are still very low. Combining the two mortgages can get a buyer into a home they can afford with little or nothing out-of-pocket.  These programs take time, so preparation and an early start is the key.  ** Funds are subject to availability.

This year, let’s be creative and continue to help our buyers get the best of what’s available to them.