TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – April 25, 2014 – Home buyers still have access to down payment assistance grants, interest-free second mortgages and other special home loan programs, provided they have decent credit and documented income in Florida
However, many borrowers don’t realize that home buying aid isn’t reserved for just low-income individuals, and money available through state and local housing agencies often goes unused.
Some down payment assistance programs “are for working people who make a decent income but don’t have enough to save for a down payment,” says loan specialist Deborah Holloway of Melbourne, Fla.-based Shelter Mortgage Co.
Some buyers qualify for down payment assistance even though they earn upwards of 120 percent to 140 percent of the median area income. Buyers should check the websites of the housing authority in their state for a list of programs and participating lenders.
Meanwhile, some lenders – like TD Bank Group – have created their own loan initiatives for first-time buyers with low down payments, and buyers also have access to Fannie Mae’s HomePath program, which requires only 5 percent down. A first step for Floridians checking to see if help is out there: The Florida Housing Finance Corporation. It’s the state window for funneling money from federal and state programs into the hands of prospective homeowners.
Source: Bankrate.com (04/22/14) da Costa, Polyana © Copyright 2014 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688
As of the first of the year HUD issued new rules regarding Good Faith Estimates (also know as GFE’s). These newly adopted rules called for stricter guidelines for the preparation of GFE’s by lenders, mortgage bankers and mortgage brokers. Obviously the look of the GFE and layout has changed; however, the real change in the rules is how accurate the preparer must be in estimating closing costs and loan origination fees. In the past there were not many guidelines regarding the accuracy of these items. Although, I feel that there are many great mortgage brokers and lenders working in our market; I must also admit that I had many instances where the final HUD at he closing table had significant differences from the original GFE, and trust me, it was never in the favor of the buyer. Although, there is no way to prove it; it would appear that preparers of GFE would under estimate closing costs, prepaid items and origination fees in order to get the buyer / borrower to commit to them, only to later at the closing table, at the 11th hour change-up the numbers. “Well, now what here we are a the closing table, with a ton of deposit money in escrow at risk if we don’t close.” Naturally, this would anger any buyer and anger any agent or broker representing the buyer.
I for one am glad that the new rules are in place. The rules basically state that there is only a small margin of acceptable variance from the GFE to the final HUD for the previously mentioned fees. Also, if these fees do vary by more than the acceptable margin then the lender must absorb the difference. I feel that this will help in more honest and responsible lending.
Lenders are naturally concerned about this rule as they see it as potential losses. Therefore, many lenders have responded by creating “initial fees worksheet”. This worksheet will give an estimate of fees and prepaid items, etc. However, this particular worksheet will be provided prior to application, that is prior to the borrower having their credit pulled, or even providing the property address. The main thing for a buyer / borrower to remember is that this is not a GFE and should not be taken as such. The “initial fees worksheet” offers no guarantees whatsoever.
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South Florida Brokers & Associates, Inc.