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In today’s housing market, mortgage and interest rates are at their lowest in years. It is definitely a buyer’s market. However, more and more mortgage lenders are becoming increasingly scrupulous when examining your mortgage loan application.
While the United States is still shrouded in economic uncertainty, mortgage lenders are fearful of borrowers who may default on their loan or commit mortgage fraud. Because of this, many lenders are improving their background checks and fraud-prevention measures by investigating a number of factors such as your credit, place of employment and more.
According to a recent New York Times article, “Mortgages: Triggers of Lender Scrutiny” there are four major triggers in which lenders are looking out for and what you can do about them:
A LARGE BANK DEPOSIT Lenders are required by federal regulators to confirm that funds in an account come from bona fide sources, like a gift from your grandmother for the down payment. “We source it,” Mr. Lipes said — “find out where it has come from.” What constitutes a large deposit? That is based partly on your income, he explained. If you earn $5,000 a month and deposit an extra $10,000 beyond your paycheck, that may be considered oversized. Of course, if you were just married and received a bounty of checks as gifts, you might want have your marriage license on hand as proof, when you are providing your bank account information.
YOUR ADDRESS If you are buying a primary home three hours from Manhattan yet list your employment with a Midtown company, your case may draw scrutiny, said Jason Auerbach, the divisional manager for the Manhattan office of First Choice Loan Services. He suggests getting a letter from an employer noting, for example, that you are authorized to work from home four days a week. Likewise, a couple with three children who are buying a one-bedroom apartment may be scrutinized about whether this will be their principal home. Lenders want to make sure you’re the owner-occupant, not buying as a rental or to flip the property.
NEW OR UNDISCLOSED DEBTS When you’re in the process of buying a home, avoid taking on other debt. “Sometimes borrowers don’t think buying a new car prior to closing a loan is a problem, but it is,” said Carolyn Mitchell, a senior vice president of Aklero Risk Analytics, which provides software for mortgage quality control. Buying a sofa or a furnace on credit could also slow or even scuttle your mortgage closing, depending on your situation, if it pushed your total debt levels beyond acceptable limits.
INCOME ISSUES If you disclose that you earn twice what the average person in your occupation earns, you may need to document that discrepancy. Or if you used to be an independent contractor and were recently hired as a full-time worker, that might raise concerns, Mr. Auerbach said. It is relatively easy, Mr. Lipes added, to invent false documents that inflate incomes, so lenders routinely check with the Internal Revenue Service and other sources.
This article is provided by Henderson Properties, Inc.