Thursday, May 21, 2009

"Nobody is lending right now!"

I hear this a lot these days, but it just is not true. There are billions of dollars out there for the qualified buyer. I think the key word here is "qualified".

Over the past several years now we have come to expect that there would be a specialty mortgage program that could get anyone qualified. No down payment loans, 80/20's, interest only, and no doc loans. Seems like really all you needed to do was be able to "fog a mirror" and there would be a great loan product for you.

Well, that was then and this is now. Pretty profound, huh? It was these predatory loan practices that helped put the country and perhaps the world in the financial predicament we are in today. But, again, that was then.

Today if you have credit scores in the low 700's(lets say 720 or above), an established job and a good debt to income ratio you are on your way to home ownership. You will need to have a down payment of 3.5% of the purchase price to comply with an FHA loan. Or, if you are looking at a jumbo purchase, a purchase with the loan amount above $417,000, you will need to come to the table with a downpayment of 20% and satisfy the requirements mentioned above.

This may seem like we are taking a backward step, but in reality all we are doing is getting back to responsible lending and borrowing.

If you are thinking about buying a home in todays market, I would advise you to partner with a Realtor you trust and then meet with a good lender to determine what you can truly afford to purchase, and then start a program to make this purchase happen.

There has never been a better time to purchase, whether a first time purchase or an upward movement on home ownership. Prices have come down 20-30% depending on the part of the country you are looking. It is a buyers market, so don't be afraid to dicker a bit. If you are a home owner and need to sell to buy, you may feel that you can't afford to take the hit by selling now. Keep in mind that the loss of value that you feel you will experience when you sell, you should be able to make up in your new purchase. We are all in the same boat.

In a nutshell, buy smart, shop aggressively and quit waiting for the bottom of the market. We are probably already there, so if you wait too long you will be buying in a rising market.

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