While other loan programs continue to go though multiple guideline changes, the VA loan program has been mostly unchanged for Orange County VA home loan borrowers. FHA and Fannie Mae have recently tightened their guidelines. VA has not.
FHA and Fannie Mae Tighten Condo Financing Guidelines
FHA and Fannie Mae recently tightened their guidelines for financing on condominiums. FHA, which has an extensive approved condo list in Orange County, recently started requiring that projects on the list be “recertified”, a costly and time consuming process. Also, projects that were not previously on the list will need to go through a full review and approval process, which will take even more time and more cost. Plus, there is no guaranty that a project will be financeable. Even Fannie Mae is requiring a much more thorough look at condo projects. Each lender has their own approved condo list for Conventional loans, making lending on condo’s very tricky. VA is the only program that continues to have a valid project approval list. This is a big advantage for Orange County VA home home buyers interested in a condo. If they specifically look at VA approved condo projects, they will have an advantage over FHA and Fannie Mae home buyers. The key is to know how to find Orange County condo projects on the VA approved list.
Fannie Mae Lowers the Debt to Income Ratios
In December 2009 Fannie Mae decreased the debt to income ratios used to qualify borrowers. Although the “guideline” ratios rae still 28/36, it was possible to get a home buyer approved with a debt ratio of 60% in some cases. Now, Fannie Mae will not allow ratios over 45%, unless there are strong compensating factors. In ases with strong compensating factors, they will allow a ratio of 50%. This dramatically effected the amount borrowers can qualify for. VA guidelines remain unchanged, with some borrowers getting approval with debt ratios as high as 60%.
FHA Increases the Upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium
FHA increased the Upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium to 2.25%. The UFMIP is similar to the VA Funding Fee, which on a typical transaction is 2.15%. The great thing about VA loans is there is no a Monthly Mortgage Insurance, which FHA has. Fannie Mae also requires Mortggae Insurance if the down payment is less than 20% of the property value. There is talk that FHA may increase the Monthly Mortgage Insurance beyond the current .55%. (versus VA, which is 0%).
So while all of these changes have taken place, the VA loan program has held steady. Orange County mortgage rates on VA loans are also very low, as are interest rates for most programs. Compared to Fannie Mae, VA is actually very competitive. Fannie Mae has “pricing hits” that begin when the loan to value is over 60% and when the FICO is less than 740. The pricing hits can really add up if the FICO score drops under 660, or if the property is a condo over 75% loan to value. If the loan is a cash out refinance, be prepared to pay extra for a high rate. VA does not have pricing hits and will even allow a VA cash out refinance to 90% of the properties value. Imagine the following scenario: cash out to refinance on a condo for a borrower with a 660 FICO score at 80% loan to value. (Fannie Mae won’t even go over 80% on a cash out refi, and FHA won’t allow over 85%.)
The first step an Orange County VA eligible home buyer needs to take is to talk to an Orange County VA lender who can answer questions and prequalify you for a loan before you begin looking at homes.
Authored by Tim Storm, an Orange County, CA Loan Officer MLO 223456– Please contact my office at Emery Financial Group for more information about an Orange County, CA home loan. 877-786-4243 x 7.
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877.786.4243 x 7 | tstorm (at) ochomebuyerloans.com