Home buyers have faced a challenging environment for being able to qualify for home loans since the real estate market crashed over 10 years ago. Since then, the main program offering affordable home loans has been from the Federal Housing Authority which offers FHA loans. Now, government sponsored Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are offering additional loan programs to home buyers with less than stellar portfolios to make it possible for them to buy a home.
One of the programs offered by Fannie Mae is the HomeReady program which allows a credit score as low as 620 or a debt-to-income (DTI) of as much as 50% with only a 3% down payment. While other factors are taken into account of a potential home buyer’s credit profile, these two factors separately don’t automatically decline the home buyer from being able to buy a home. For people who are within the income limits of this loan program, it is a viable alternative to the FHA loan which can incur high mortgage insurance premiums which can last for 5 to 15 years on payments of the loan. This program also counts rental income as a true source of income and allows co-borrowers to be people not actually residing in the home – think a parent or grandparent co-signing on the loan.
Another program that is available is being offered by Freddie Mac. It is called the HomePossible program. It also allows a 3% down payment, and is specifically designed for home buyers with a lower income level. Repeat buyers qualify for this loan program as well. Freddie Mac is also offering a new loan program called HomeOne. HomeOne’s advantages are that there are no income limits, and there are also no geographic restrictions. A credit score of at least 640 is required for this loan, but that it still well below the “perfect” credit score require by a regular conventional loan.
Where before, home buyers had to account for every penny in their bank account before being able to get approval for their loan, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now allowing home buyers to crowd source fund a down payment for their loan. With home prices going up, a 3% down payment is turning into a higher and higher amount, so being able to raise money to buy a home, just like you would raise money for other things in your life, is a huge advantage. An program called Loftium actually has a unique “forward-thinking” program for home buyers. They allow a home buyer to rent out a room of their home, calculate the potential income for the rental and then “front” a percentage of that income as part of the down payment on the loan. This is a truly innovative way of “getting a home buyer into a home.”
Fannie Mae is also in the trial stages of a lease-to-own program for home buyers where a buyer begins as a renter and then has a deadline to buy the home for an agreed-upon price in a designated number of years. This program is not an official loan program yet, as it is just in the beginning stages.
So, however you are trying to buy your new home, there are programs out there to assist you if you don’t have the upfront money or need a little “mercy” because of bad credit or a high debt-to-income percentage. Ask your lender about these programs to see if you qualify.