2018 Guide to Qualifying for a Mortgage
with IBR Student Loans
you have student loans, qualifying for a mortgage can get tricky.
loan guidelines have changed yet again. This is your ultimate guide to
understanding how these changes will affect you in 2018.
you begin to make payments on your student loans, you may have several options.
be making payments on your student loan based on your income. This is
called an Income Based Repayment (IBR) plan.
plans typically will not cover the principal and interest due, and the loan
balance may increase even though you are making payments.
payment is based on a calculation that pays off your loan in full at the end of
a loan term, this is an amortized payment.
underwriting guidelines with all lenders will allow you to use an amortized
payment when calculating your debt to income ratio.
plans could also leave you with a $0.00 payment, even though your loan is in
repayment status. Your income is reviewed every year to determine your
new payment over the next year.
Loan Payment Change History
and more students are straddled with student loan debt for years after leaving
chained to student loan debt requires an experienced locksmith to unlock the
correct guidelines to get you approved for a home loan.
almost a full time job keeping up with the updates to the underwriting
guidelines, and IBR payments seem to send many loan officers into a tail spin
Loan Guideline Changes Since 2015
2 times for Fannie Mae Conventional Loans
2 times for Freddie Mac Conventional Loans
1 time for FHA Insured Loans
2 times for VA Guaranteed Loans
1 time for USDA Guaranteed Loans
first major change to the underwriting guidelines happened when lenders were no
longer allowed to ignore deferred payments or loans in forbearance.
second major change was that you had to apply a payment to any student loan
balance. If the payment reporting on your credit report will not pay off
the loan at the end of a fixed term, your payments are not amortized.
payments became public enemy #1 by Fannie Mae, FHA,
and USDA. In 2015, Freddie Mac guidelines did not allow for deferred
payments or loans in forbearance, and would allow IBR payments, even if the
reported payment is $0.00.
Your Debt to Income Ratio (DTI)
entire student loan debacle is being caused by confusion around how your debt
to income ratios are calculated.
debt to income ratio is calculated as your proposed housing payment (when
buying a home) plus your monthly liabilities from your credit report, as a
percentage of your gross income.
using a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac Conventional loan, the total housing payment
plus monthly liabilities cannot exceed 50% of your gross income, or a 50% DTI.
using a FHA mortgage have 2 DTI ratios. A front-end debt to
income ratio is your housing payment as a percentage of your income. A
back-end debt to income ratio includes your monthly liabilities from your
will allow your housing payment to be as high as 46.99% front-end DTI, and a
maximum 56.99% back-end DTI including your debts.
loans become confusing when no payment is reported on your credit report, or
when your payment is an Income Based Repayment (IBR) payment.
Student Loan Guidelines Snapshot
Non-amortized Payment – IBR Ok, even with $0.00 payment – Updated
Amortized Payment – Ok with all lenders
Deferred or forbearance use 1% of loan balance.
Non-amortized Payment – Must use .5% of loan balance – Updated
Non-amortized Payment – Not Allowed | Must use 1% of loan
Non-amortized Payment – Not Allowed | Must use 5% of loan
balance divided by 12
Non-amortized Payment -Not Allowed | Must use 1% of loan balance
and Fannie Swap Guidelines
enough, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have since swapped positions on IBR payments
as of the most recent update by Freddie Mac in February 2018.
Mac no longer allows for IBR payments, while Fannie Mae does
since April 2017. Fannie Mae will even allow an IBR payment with a $0.00
have an IBR payment that is equal to less than .5% of the balance of your
student loan, Fannie Mae is your option for being able to use the payment as
reported on your credit report.
Solutions to Solve Student Loan Problems
are trying to buy a home, and the pieces just aren’t fitting together, here are
some creative solutions that past clients have successfully done.
Deferred or Loan in Forbearance
have loans with deferred payments, or if your loan is in forbearance, we have
had homebuyers go into an income based repayment plan, and qualify using a
Fannie Mae Conventional
Co-Sign and Pay Student Loan Payment
Mae recently updated their “Contingent liability” guideline to allow student
loan payments to be ignored, if you can show that a co-signer has made the
payments for the past 12 months.
Income Ratio too High for Conventional
home buyer is consolidating over a dozen loans into a 30 year amortized
payment. We needed an amortized payment to take advantage of more
flexible DTI requirements over Conventional.
Not Showing Up on Credit Report
loan is in repayment, your lender can get a credit supplement (if needed) from
the credit bureau by providing them with a copy of your statement from your
student loan lender.
Less than 5% Down Payment and IBR Payment
It is a
common misunderstanding that FHA offers the lowest down payment. VA &
USDA offer 100% financing, but additional qualifying is required.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have programs that allow for as little as a 3% down
payment. Eligibility can be determined by income limits, or the area you
are buying in.
are no income limits for homes being purchased in “targeted” low to moderate
income. These special programs also include discounted mortgage insurance
and discounted closing costs.
Lenders Get it Wrong
you’re calling from a TV, radio, or internet advertisement, you are most likely
being connected to a call center, where the “Loan Officer” has little to no
actual mortgage experience. You can look up the experience of your Loan Officer
and see when they got their mortgage license and what they were doing before
they became a mortgage loan officer. (YOU
WILL BE SURPRISED!)
these “big box” lenders. These lenders are amazing at processing a
certain type of loan file that does not require anything too far outside the
box. They only want and really can only do the vanilla stuff.
are working through a big box lender, here is what is really happening, your
application is not getting in front of a professional until it reaches the
times, your file is not in front of the underwriter until after you’ve already
accepted your purchase offer and paid for the appraisal.
there’s enough time, and the underwriter is experienced enough to look up the guidelines,
and can figure out how to save your new home by getting you approved for the
wouldn’t believe this happens as much as it does if I didn’t see it professional
so often! So many of these horror stories we hear could have been avoided
if a professional loan officer was used, and not a call center lender.
with an Expert
The 3% Down Alternative to FHA
It seems that a
lot of people think that Conventional financing requires a minimum down payment
of 20% or more.
I am shocked at
how many folks I speak to every day that think that a conventional loan is not
an option for buying a home with a low down payment.
Both Fannie Mae
and Freddie Mac, the conventional mortgages, have special loan programs
available that, based on your income, and/or the geographic region you are
buying in, allows you to buy with as little as 3% down payment.
Credit is Best
conventional loan programs they tend to favor better credit scores, through
their risk based pricing they punish borrowers with lower credit scores with
costs to the lender that increase interest rates if you are not perfect in the
eyes of Fannie or Freddie.
If you’re one
of those homebuyers, or homeowners that has excellent credit to decent credit,
but not a lot of equity or money for a down payment, you may be surprised at
conventional loan options offer.
HomeReady program is designed to meet the diverse needs of today’s buyers using
flexible underwriting guidelines for credit worthy low-to-moderate income
borrowers trying to finance a home.
Income from non-borrowing household members can be considered as
a compensating factor to allow debt to income ratio greater than 45%, up to
Can use income from rental unit and boarder income for
Allows non-occupying borrowers, like a parent, to help meet debt
to income requirements.
Financing up to 97% loan to value for the purchase of a one-unit
Financing up to 95% loan to value for limited cash out
refinances, or 97% loan to value if mortgage being refinanced is owned or
guaranteed by Fannie Mae.
You are NOT required to be a first time home buyer to qualify
for this program
Private mortgage insurance is discounted, in many cases below
that of FHA and a regular conventional mortgage.
Gifts, grants, community seconds, and cash-on-hand can be used
as a source of funds for down payment and closing costs.
Nontraditional credit is allowed. An example is rental
history, or utility and insurance payments.
Requirements for HomeReady
HomeReady are required to meet certain criteria that are not necessarily
required if you’re using a traditional conventional loan with a maximum loan to
value of 95% (5% down payment for purchase).
Education Requirement – A homeownership education course may be required unless you
have previously taken a course required by a community seconds program, or if
you’ve completed a course from a recent attempt to purchase another home.
Eligibility – HomeReady is available to any homebuyer or homeowner that
meets the income limits of the property location. The income limits may
be waived if the property is located in a “targeted” low-to-moderate income
You can look up
the income and property eligibility by entering the address of the home you’re
interested in into Fannie Mae’s
Eligibility Search Tool Here
Home Possible Mortgages
Home Possible mortgage offer low down payments for low-to-moderate income
homebuyers, or buyers in high-cost or underserved communities.
offers two different low down payment options, Home Possible 95% Loan to Value,
and Home Possible Advantage 97% Loan to Value. I will only address the 97% or
3% down payment option.
Maximum loan to value 97%. Minimum 3% down payment for
1-unit single family unit homes, condominiums, and planned unit
developments are eligible.
Flexible sources of down payment. Down payment can come
from a variety of sources, including friends and family, employer-assistance
programs and secondary financing.
No cash-out refinancing is available up to 97% loan to value for
borrowers who occupy the property.
Income flexibility. Borrowers with income above the area
median income (AMI) may be eligible in high-cost areas. No income limits
in underserved areas.
You can check eligibility by using Freddie Mac’s Home Possible
Income & Property Eligibility Tool Here.
Private mortgage insurance is discounted, in many cases the
monthly mortgage insurance is well below that of a regular conventional
mortgage and below that of FHA
All borrowers must live in the property. Non-occupying
borrowers not allowed at 97% loan to value.
How Do I Choose
The Best Option?
There is very
little to no difference between the costs and interest rates of these two programs,
so it comes down to your financial situation that may determine which option is
best for you. In a sense, the best option chooses you.
or Home Possible should all be considered for many home buyers that in the past
were placed only in a FHA mortgage. What use to be has changed, if yesterday
you were a FHA mortgage today you may have a better option
example is if you have student loans with Income Based Repayment (IBR) payments.
FHA, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae all handle this situation differently.
is that the targeted income and property lookup tools offer different results.
If you look up a property using Fannie Mae’s HomeReady lookup tool, you
may make too much income to qualify, whereas if you look up the same property
using Freddie Mac’s Home Possible lookup tool, you may qualify. FHA does not
have a maximum income limitation.
If you are
considering a new home purchase and want a low down payment option you need to
consider a mortgage lender that has experience with FHA, Home Possible, and
HomeReady, and is willing to consider all possible options for you.
If you want to
talk with me about what options are available to you please contact me, Bob
Rutledge, at 314-628-2218 or email me at email@example.com
At the start of many mortgage application I hear my borrowers tell me that they had started the process of 'fixing' their credit BEFORE they spoke with me or any other mortgage lender. This is a mistake that has hurt so many potential home buyers. This is especially true when it comes to collections on your credit report.
have done a great job over the years of convincing consumers that paying off
collections will raise their credit scores. Many are actually surprised to
learn that paying off collections will actually LOWER their credit scores.
Collections are usually reported on the credit as a “9” status or collection
account. This means the account has already been "written off" and
assigned to collections by the creditor. Once an account is reported this way
on the credit report, the damage to the credit score is irreversible, unless
that item is removed completely from the report.
If the account is paid off, the collection company reports that the account now
has a $0 balance, but they do not usually delete the item off the report. The
account has already become a collection, and the risk of the consumer
defaulting on another account is already very high, due to that collection.
So their credit score will not go any higher if it is paid off, because paying
off a collection after the fact, doesn't lower the risk of defaulting in the
However, the DATE OF LAST ACTIVITY is updated to the date the account was paid
off. So if that account was sent to collections 3 years ago, the date of last
activity is 3 years old and the impact to the credit score is not as much. But
if the consumer pays off that collection today, they just update the date of
last activity to today's date, many times causing the scores to go DOWN as a
Crazy isn't it?
Also, if you have medical collections most mortgage programs will not require you to remedy medical collections, in essence....we ignore them. Yes, they may be hurting your credit scores, but there are usually other methods available to you to increase your scores.
Before you start doing your homework to purchase a new home please contact me or another mortgage professional. Allow us to pull your credit report for you and to discuss what is the best course of action to take, you may be surprised how easy it really is to get your credit scores higher.
You Are Not Alone
I recall the feelings that ran through me when I felt compelled to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, I felt as though I was an outcast and ashamed that I could not handle my obligations. For a very long time I barely admitted it to myself much less my friends. Now I realize that I did not have a solid handle on my finances and it took a couple small set backs to put me into the position of bankruptcy. But, when I look back I see a life lesson that was provided to me and has been instilled well into the fabric of my personal life. I will not allow this to happen ever again. It is this exact lesson that Underwriters and Mortgage Lenders are looking for from borrowers when it comes to providing a mortgage approval for a home buyer after a bankruptcy.As a Mortgage Lender I am in a very unique position to provide both experience and knowledge in help my clients when they come to me for help in the purchase of a new home or the refinance of thier current house after a bankruptcy.
TIME AND PROOF
For the sake of brevity I will not get into all the exact rules for every mortgage program, I do at my website, please visit AFTER BANKRUPTCY here I provide what you need to get you approved.Every mortgage program has specific time periods that you must wait after the discharge of your bankruptcy before you get started. Though most of the programs have exceptions to those wait guidelines, for instance the wait period for FHA is normally 2 years, but there is an exception called Back to Work that allows for only a 12 month wait period.
Something that many Lenders fail on is that after a Chapter 13 bankruptcy has been discharged it is possible to be approved for a FHA mortgage after only 12 months! BUT! You can actually get approved for a FHA mortgage while you are still in the repayment period of your Chapter 13! If you have made at least 12 months of on time payments and if your Trustee agrees you are eligible for a FHA mortgage!
The Underwriters will be looking for validation that you have learned from your bankruptcy. They will want to see that if you have current credit accounts that you are making your payments on time. This is important, to re-establish credit after your bankruptcy and especially with a credit card or two.
Applying for and getting approved a mortgage application after a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy requires a stronger than normal application. To strengthen your application requires COMPENSATING FACTORS. Click on the link for a long list of items that you probably already can bring to your application, here are a couple that are important.....
Housing payment shock, you should not have a large increase in what you are paying currently for housing compared to your new house payment.
12 months of on time housing payment, this is an absolute must. There are exceptions if you are living somewhere rent free.
Keep your total debt to income ratio at or below the recommended guidelines of the mortgage program.
YOUR BANKRUPTCY FIXED A PROBLEM
When I was an Underwriter we were told that a bankruptcy should be seen as the borrower recognizing that they had a problem with thier current financial situation and the method of solving that problem was bankruptcy. Now, let's see that the borrower has learned from that life lesson and they are practicing what they learned.
It takes a mortgage lender that adhers to the guidelines of the mortgage programs and don't have overlays that create roadblocks to your approval. It takes a mortgage loan officer that is willing and able to take on your special situation, don't settle!
If you have questions please feel free to visit my website, www.bobrutledge.com or contact me.