LOAN OPTIONS

Understanding Loan Options …. Loan Types.

Here are several mortgage loan types; these are differentiated by loan structure and the agencies that secure them.

Conventional Loans.

Conventional loans are fixed-rate mortgages that are not insured or guaranteed by the federal government. Although they are the most difficult to qualify for due to their requirements for criteria such as down payment, credit score and income, certain costs, such as private mortgage insurance, can be lower than with other guaranteed mortgages. Conventional loans are defined as either conforming loans or non-conforming loans. Conforming loans comply with the guidelines set forth by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. These stockholder-owned companies create guidelines, such as loan limits - $417,000 for single-family homes, for example - because they package these loans and sell securities on them in the secondary market

FHA loans.

he Federal Housing Administration (FHA), part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, provides various mortgage loan programs. An FHA loan has lower down payment requirements and is easier to qualify for than a conventional loan. FHA loans are excellent for first-time home buyers because in addition to lower upfront loan costs and looser credit requirements, they allow down payments of as low as 3%. FHA loans cannot exceed the statutory limit.

VA Loans.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) guarantees VA loans. The VA does not make loans itself, but guarantees mortgages made by qualified lenders. These guarantees allow veterans and service people to obtain home loans with favorable terms, usually without a down payment, and in most cases they are easier to qualify for than conventional loans. Lenders generally limit the maximum VA loan ($417,000 in 2008, $625,000 in Hawaii, Alaska, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands). Before applying for a loan, request eligibility from the VA. If you are accepted, the VA will issue a certificate of eligibility to be used in applying for a VA loan.

 

At some point, you’ll probably need money that you don’t have handy, possibly for a home improvement project or a large, unexpected expense. What do you do if you don’t have the money in your checking account? If you own your home, you have the option of getting a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit.

A home equity loan is basically a second loan (after your mortgage) that you take out on your house. But where the first loan (your mortgage) goes toward the purchase of your home, the second loan (the home equity loan) is a lump of cash the bank gives you to spend as you please.

Once you’re approved for a home equity loan, you receive a check for the total loan amount. Home equity loans have a fixed interest rate and a fixed term (the amount of time you have to repay the loan), usually 10 to 15 years. You make monthly payments on the load With a home equity line of credit (HELOC), you’re approved for a total loan amount, but bank does not give you money in a lump sum. Instead, you get a credit/debit card, or a checkbook (or both) and you withdraw money when needed. You only pay interest on the amount you’ve taken out, and you’re only limited by the total amount of the loan. Up to $100,000 of the loan is tax deductible until it’s all paid up.

Before you have any conversation with your loan service, prepare. Record your income and expenses, and calculate the equity in your home. To calculate the equity, estimate the market value less the balance of your first and any second mortgage or home equity loan.