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Important Facts You Should Know When You Refinance a Bad Credit Home Loan

If you are currently making payments on a home loan that was executed under the onus of bad credit scores; it probably has pretty high interest rates and unwieldy monthly payments. You may want to consider getting a bad credit home loan refinance.

Hard Times Make Traditional Lenders Shy

Because of these economically unstable times, many people have taken hits on their credit scores. The instability caused by the housing loan debacle of the last decade made lenders raise their standards, not only for home loans but also just about any loan. So it is somewhat difficult to wrest a home loan refinance from them if you have a smudged financial history. However, if you have been a client at a traditional lender and have a good history with them you probably should approach them. They will be able to offer the lowest rates available.

Private Lenders Step In

With traditional lenders not lending to bad credit borrowers and with so many bad credit borrowers in need of refinancing, private companies have recognized a growing (and profitable) market and have stepped in to offer bad credit home loan refinancing.

Gather Your Documents

Before you go shopping for a bad credit home loan refinance, you should have your documentation. You will need two forms of government issued identification, proof of job stability and salary, access to an active bank account (usually checking with direct deposit), proof of residency and other home buyer documents.

Figure Your Budget

You need to establish your financial goals for short term and long term. You want to figure what interest rate you would like to find, and establish what you would like to pay every month. You will also want to figure when you would like to be out from under any type of mortgage. If you go online, you can find free mortgage and mortgage refinance calculators that will help you figure interest rates and repayment schedules. You should also pull your credit ratings so you know how you look to prospective lenders. Also, check and correct any discrepancies.

Start Your Search

Once you have gathered your documents and figured your finances, you will start hunting for a lender who will offer you good interest rates and comfortable payments for a bad credit home loan refinance. While you may want to check locally with banks and credit unions as well as store-front lenders, your best bet would be to check out refinance companies who have set up shop online.

Online Lenders

Fire up your computer, get on the net, and punch your browser with bad credit home loan refinance. You will rewarded with scores of lenders that may be willing to work with you. You will also find brokers who will take your general financial information and will return a list of lenders who would most probably lend to you in light of the information you have given. As with any online application, you should be sure the websites where you divulge personal and financial information is secure. You will want to check the credentials of any lender you may choose for your bad credit home loan refinance.

Buyer Beware

You can check on the reputation of lenders by checking the online listings of the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB will have assigned grades to each lender and at times you will even find customer feedback. You will want to gather a list of at least 10 lenders. Getting quotes from each. Let each lender know that you are getting quotes from other lenders. You should be able to pick and choose to get the best deal. Also, be sure to read the fine print before you sign anything. With a little research and diligent shopping, you will soon be making home loan payments that are easy to handle and have a good interest rate.

Understanding the Home Loan Application and Mortgage Approval – The Mortgage Lender Analysis

Do You Pass The Mortgage Lender Analysis? When a mortgage lender reviews a real estate loan application, the primary concern for both home loan applicant, the buyer, and the mortgage lender is to approve loan requests that show high probability of being repaid in full and on time, and to disapprove requests that are likely to result in default and eventual foreclose. How is the mortgage lenders decision made?

The mortgage lender begins the loan analysis procedure by looking at the property and the proposed financing. Using the property address and legal description, an appraiser is assigned to prepare an appraisal of the property and a title search is ordered. These steps are taken to determine the fair market value of the property and the condition of title. In the event of default, this is the collateral the lender must fall back upon to recover the loan. If the loan request is in connection with a purchase, rather than the refinancing of an existing property, the mortgage lender will know the purchase price. As a rule, home loans are made on the basis of the appraised value or purchase price, whichever is lower. If the appraised value is lower than the purchase price, the usual procedure is to require the buyer to make a larger cash down payment. The mortgage lender does not want to over-loan simply because the buyer overpaid for the property.

The year the home was built is useful in setting the loan’s maturity date. The idea is that the length of the home loan should not outlast the remaining economic life of the structure serving as collateral. Note however, chronological age is only part of this decision because age must be considered in light of the upkeep and repair of the structure and its construction quality.

Loan-to-Value Ratios

The mortgage lender next looks at the amount of down payment the borrower proposes to make, the size of the loan being requested and the amount of other financing the borrower plans to use. This information is then converted into loan-to-value ratios. As a rule, the more money the borrower places into the deal, the safer the loan is for the mortgage lender. On an uninsured home loan, the ideal loan-to-value ratio for a lender on owner-occupied residential property is 70% or less. This means the value of the property would have to fall more than 30% before the debt owed would exceed the property’s value, thus encouraging the borrower to stop making mortgage loan payments. Because of the nearly constant inflation in housing prices since the 40s, very few residential properties have fallen 30% or more in value.

Loan-to-value ratios from 70% through 80% are considered acceptable but do expose the mortgage lender to more risk. Lenders sometimes compensate by charging slightly higher interest rates. Loan-to-value ratios above 80% present even more risk of default to the lender, and the lender will either increase the interest rate charged on these home loans or require that an outside insurer, such as FHA or a private mortgage insurer, be supplied by the borrower.

Mortgage Closing Settlement Funds

The lender then wants to know if the borrower has adequate funds for settlement (the closing). Are these funds presently in a checking or savings account, or are they coming from the sale of the borrower’s present real estate property? In the latter case, the mortgage lender knows the present loan is contingent on another closing. If the down payment and settlement funds are to be borrowed, then the lender will want to be extra cautious as experience has shown that the less of his own money a borrower puts into a purchase, the higher the probability of default and foreclosure.

Purpose Of Mortgage Loan

The lender is also interested in the proposed use of the property. Mortgage lenders feel most comfortable when a home loan is for the purchase or improvement of a property the loan applicant will actually occupy. This is because owner-occupants usually have pride-of-ownership in maintaining their property and even during bad economic conditions will continue to make the monthly payments. An owner-occupant also realizes that if he/she stops paying, they will have to vacate and pay for shelter elsewhere.

If the home loan applicant intends to purchase a dwelling to rent out as an investment, the lender will be more cautious. This is because during periods of high vacancy, the property may not generate enough income to meet the loan payments. At that point, a strapped-for-cash borrower is likely to default. Note too, that lenders generally avoid loans secured by purely speculative real estate. If the value of the property drops below the amount owed, the borrower may see no further logic in making the loan payments.

Lastly the mortgage lender assesses the borrower’s attitude toward the proposed loan. A casual attitude, such as “I’m buying because real estate always goes up,” or an applicant who does not appear to understand the obligation he is undertaking would bring low rating here. Much more welcome is the home loan applicant who shows a mature attitude and understanding of the mortgage loan obligation and who exhibits a strong and logical desire for ownership.

The Borrower Analysis

The next step is the mortgage lender to begin an analysis of the borrower, and if there is one, the co-borrower. At one time, age, sex and marital status played an important role in the lender’s decision to lend or not to lend. Often the young and the old had trouble getting home loans, as did women and persons who were single, divorced, or widowed. Today, the Federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibits discrimination based on age, sex, race and marital status. Mortgage lenders are no longer permitted to discount income earned by women even if it is from part-time jobs or because the woman is of child-bearing age. Of the home applicant chooses to disclose it, alimony, separate maintenance, and child support must be counted in full. Young adults and single persons cannot be turned down because the lender feels they have not “put down roots.” Seniors cannot be turned down as long as life expectancy exceeds the early risk period of the loan and collateral is adequate. In other words, the emphasis in borrower analysis is now focused on job stability, income adequacy, net worth and credit rating.

Mortgage lenders will ask questions directed at how long the applicants have held their present jobs and the stability of those jobs themselves. The lender recognizes that loan repayment will be a regular monthly requirement and wishes to make certain the applicants have a regular monthly inflow of cash in a large enough quantity to meet the mortgage loan payment as well as their other living expenses. Thus, an applicant who possesses marketable job skills and has been regularly employed with a stable employer is considered the ideal risk. Persons whose income can rise and fall erratically, such as commissioned salespersons, present greater risk. Persons whose skills (or lack of skills) or lack of job seniority result in frequent unemployment are more likely to have difficulty repaying a home loan. The mortgage lender also inquires as to the number of dependents the applicant must support out of his or her income. This information provides some insight as to how much will be left for monthly house payments.

Home Loan Applicants’ Monthly Income

The lender looks at the amount and sources of the applicants’ income. Sheer quantity alone is not enough for home loan approval; the income sources must be stable too. Thus a lender will look carefully at overtime, bonus and commission income in order to estimate the levels at which these may reasonably be expected to continue. Interest, dividend and rental income would be considered in light of the stability of their sources also. Under the “other income” category, income from alimony, child support, social security, retirement pensions, public assistance, etc. is entered and added to the totals for the applicants.

The lender then compares what the applicants have been paying for housing with what they will be paying if the loan is approved. Included in the proposed housing expense total are principal, interest, taxes and insurance along with any assessments or homeowner association dues (such as in a condominium or townhomes). Some mortgage lenders add the monthly cost of utilities to this list.

A proposed monthly housing expense is compared to gross monthly income. A general rule of thumb is that monthly housing expense (PITI) should not exceed 25% to 30% of gross monthly income. A second guideline is that total fixed monthly expenses should not exceed 33% to 38% of income. This includes housing payments plus automobile payments, installment loan payments, alimony, child support, and investments with negative cash flows. These are general guidelines, but mortgage lenders recognize that food, health care, clothing, transportation, entertainment and income taxes must also come from the applicants’ income.

Liabilities and Assets

The lender is interested in the applicants’ sources of funds for closing and whether, once the loan is granted, the applicants have assets to fall back upon in the event of an income decrease (a job lay-off) or unexpected expenses such as hospital bills. Of particular interest is the portion of those assets that are in cash or are readily convertible into cash in a few days. These are called liquid assets. If income drops, they are much more useful in meeting living expenses and mortgage loan payments than assets that may require months to sell and convert to cash; that is, assets which are illiquid.

A mortgage lender also considers two values for life insurance holders. Cash value is the amount of money the policyholder would receive if he surrendered his/her policy or, alternatively, the amount he/she could borrow against the policy. Face amount is the amount that would be paid in the event of the insured’s death. Mortgage lenders feel most comfortable if the face amount of the policy equals or exceeds the amount of the proposed home loan. Less satisfactory are amounts less than the proposed loan or none at all. Obviously a borrower’s death is not anticipated before the loan is repaid, but lenders recognize that its possibility increases the probability of default. The likelihood of foreclosure is lessened considerably if the survivors receive life insurance benefits.

A lender is interested in the applicants’ existing debts and liabilities for two reasons. First, these items will compete each month against housing expenses for available monthly income. Thus high monthly payments may reduce the size of the loan the lender calculates that the applicants will be able to repay. The presence of monthly liabilities is not all negative: it can also show the mortgage lender that the applicants are capable of repaying their debts. Second, the mortgage applicants’ total debts are subtracted from their total assets to obtain their net worth. If the result is negative (more owed than owned), the mortgage loan request will probably be turned down as too risky. In contrast, a substantial net worth can often offset weaknesses elsewhere in the application, such as too little monthly income in relation to monthly housing expense.

Past Credit Record

Lenders examine the applicants’ past record of debt repayment as an indicator of the future. A credit report that shows no derogatory information is most desirable. Applicants with no previous credit experience will have more weight placed on income and employment history. Applicants with a history of collections, adverse judgments or bankruptcy within the past three years will have to convince the lender that this mortgage loan will be repaid on time. Additionally, the applicants may be considered poorer risks if they have guaranteed the repayment of someone else’s debt by acting as a co-maker or endorser. Lastly, the lender may take into consideration whether the applicants have adequate insurance protection in the event of major medical expenses or a disability that prevents returning to work.

When a mortgage lender will not provide a loan on a property, one must seek alternative sources of financing or lose the right to purchase the home.

How to Find the Best Home Loan

Back when the real estate market was booming, you didn’t have to go far to find a great mortgage. Practically all of the lenders were eager to loan money for home purchases. Now that the real estate market has dramatically changed, the easy mortgage money is history. If you are in the market to make a home purchase, it is still possible to find a mortgage, but you are going to need to recognize that the avenues available for best home loans have dwindled and restrictions for home loans have increased.

Lenders today have become far more wary when it comes to making home loans and with good reason. Given the number of mortgage defaults, it only makes sense that most banks today have decreased their mortgage loans as well as tightened lending restrictions. There are even some banks that will no longer consider working with mortgage brokers, making it even more difficult to locate a mortgage loan in today’s market. So, what do you need to do to find a mortgage loan in spite of these problems?


The first step is to turn to the Internet. Shopping online has become quite commonplace today and that includes shopping for a mortgage. Browsing the web will provide you with some crucial information regarding current home mortgage rates. You should keep in mind that many of the mortgage sites you will come across actually act as a referral service and or not actual mortgage brokers or banks, but still, it’s a good way to become informed before you actually begin the process of shopping for a mortgage. Just make sure that you keep your confidential information private when you are in the early stages of research. You shouldn’t supply your social security number or any other confidential information until you are actually ready to apply for a mortgage.

When submitting information to receive mortgage loan quotes, make sure you enter only accurate information. Avoid the temptation to guesstimate when it comes to your credit score or income. If you aren’t sure about something, wait until you have the accurate information before you enter all of the data. Otherwise, the rate you are quoted could end up being much different than your actual rate based on your verified information. Get your free and best mortgage rate quotes here!


Keep in mind that if you are refinancing or if you are looking for a loan less than $417,000 then contacting your bank may be the best option for finding a loan. Sometimes banks are more willing to make a loan to an existing customer, whom, they already know. The key is to make sure that you’re working with a loan officer who truly understands the new regulations. The last thing you want is for your loan to fall out in the middle of the process because your loan officer was less than informed about changing underwriting regulations.

Mortgage Broker

Working with a mortgage broker can also still be a good option. If you are a first-time home buyer, a broker can actually be an excellent asset. If you are trying to go it on your own and shop online there will not be a lot of support available. Working with a mortgage broker can provide you with the crucial support you need during the process. Also, a mortgage broker may be able to provide you with more mortgage options than you would be able to find on your own.

If you are planning to finance investment property or you are looking for a jumbo mortgage, typically more than $417,000, then it can also be a good idea to use a mortgage broker, who can help you look for lenders who will underwrite loans that are less conventional. Keep in mind that the more unique your loan needs, the more difficult it may be locate a mortgage at the current time, especially if you are trying to do it on your own. This is where a mortgage broker really excels.

Finally, when you do find the mortgage and rate you are looking for, make sure you exercise the option to lock it in, if the lender offers that capability. Remember, loan rates do not remain static. They can and will change from one day to another. Do not make the mistake of assuming that a loan rate will remain available. The best option is to make sure that you are ready to take advantage of a good mortgage deal when you find one, because they are definitely not as plentiful as they once were.