Hot housing markets are seeing entry-level homes sell over list price and with multiple offers. So what you can you do to compete?

Meet minimum loan standards: FHA loans are guaranteed by the Federal Housing Agency. You can get a loan with a 3.5 percent down-payment if you have a credit score of 580 or higher. If your score is between 500 and 580, you’ll have to put 10 percent down to qualify.

Fannie Mae offers loans that must qualify for repurchase on the secondary loan market, and offers a program for first-time homebuyers called HomePath. Hompath loans require a minimum FICO credit score of 620 and only a three percent down-payment.

Loan requirements can be flexible according to higher down-payments, higher credit scores, and unique homebuyer circumstances.

Choose a lender who can preapprove you: A preapproval letter from a lender should state clearly that your loan has been through underwriting. Don’t risk your earnest money by finding out too late that you aren’t approved or not approved for as much as you thought you were.

Have your earnest money ready: Earnest money is paid by the buyer and escrowed by the title or closing company to show good faith to the seller. The amount required can vary, but is typically one percent of the purchase price. If the sales contract goes to closing, the earnest money is used toward the down-payment. Ask your Berkshire Hathaway Home Services network professional what amount is typical in your area. As always, please consult a tax professional before making tax decisions.

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