Thursday, July 01, 2010
Lessons Learned for Home Buyers
Wow! The last two months have taught me some important lessons for today's home buyers. First, lending guidelines have tightened significantly.
* Be aware that lenders can recheck your credit just a few days prior to closing. Don't make any major purchases prior to closing--cars, boats, furniture or even decor for your home. Also be sure in the excitement of moving that you don't fail to pay all bills on time. One late payment can affect your credit score and make you ineligible for your mortgage.
*One of my closings was brought to a screeching halt one day before closing when the buyers learned that a new requirement stipulated that they have 6 months of home payments in reserve if they had not sold their existing home. Even though these buyers qualified easily to buy their new home without first selling their existing home, they did not have the necessary reserve. (Few people would!) The money for the reserve could be from a retirement account or from a relative.
The necessary reserve is lowered to 2 months if the buyers have 30% equity in their existing home.
*Loans are taking longer to complete. We now need to build in more time in the event there is a delay in the closing date.
*Both sellers and buyers need to be aware that appraisers are not only being tougher on determining home value, but are also calling for more repairs. An appraiser commented to me that it is rare when a home does not have any repair issues raised during the appraisal.
These changes are frustrating, yes, but we will have to adjust and plan to prepare as fully as we can. I expect the pendulum will move back from this very restrictive environment to a point that is more balanced. For now we will all have to learn to operate within this new reality.
Have you experienced hurdles that might apply to others? Feel free to share them here. Thanks!