Gifts in the home buying process

Gifts in the home buying process This Christmas season, you may have plans to help your children buy a home in the coming year by giving them some assistance with their down payment. Mark Wells of Preferred Financial Services discusses the various rules involving gifts, and answers questions about how this can be done to meet lending guidelines. Do all mortgage programs...

Learn More

Cash-out mortgage financing

Cash-out mortgage financing  Borrowers often want to cash out equity from their homes to pay for home improvements, consolidate a home equity line into a single mortgage, consolidate debt, or pay for other expenses. Guidelines for cash-out loans vary from program to program. Mark Wells of Preferred Financial Services addresses questions regarding this type of mortgage...

Learn More

Mortgage lending and property types

Mortgage lending and property types Day in and day out, Mark Wells at Preferred Financial Services talks to homebuyers planning to purchase a new residence. Questions often arise about whether a particular type of property can be purchased using standard mortgage financing programs. Here, he answers questions about how lenders view various property types in the mortgage...

Learn More

Mortgage financing for manufactured homes

Mortgage financing for manufactured homes Manufactured homes have long been a practical housing option for many families in South Carolina. Mortgage financing for these properties has always been a bit more difficult to obtain than for other types of housing. Mark Wells at Preferred Financial Services discusses currently available lending programs for manufactured...

Learn More

Credit restoration services – helpful or harmful?

Credit restoration services – helpful or harmful? Nearly every week, Mark Wells at Preferred Financial Services meets with clients who have entered into credit-repair contracts hoping to improve their credit scores. Some find they are unable to transact a mortgage because the credit-repair company has effected changes that will have to be reversed to adhere to...

Learn More

Credit breaches in the news

Credit breaches in the news The recent revelation that credit agency Equifax was hacked raises fears that almost anyone could become a victim of identity theft. Below are Mark’s responses to clients’ questions about the best ways to protect themselves. How serious is the treat of identity theft? Having processed over 10,000 mortgage loans, I have encountered very few...

Learn More

Income qualifying for mortgage financing: self-employed borrowers

Income qualifying for mortgage financing: self-employed borrowers In the previous two columns, Mark Wells at Preferred Financial Services addressed qualifying income issues for borrowers who are salaried or hourly workers. Today, he looks at the rules for self-employed borrowers, which are quite different. I am self-employed and I made $100,000 last year. Is that my...

Learn More

Income qualifying guidelines for mortgage financing part 2

Income qualifying guidelines for mortgage financing part 2 Various types of income are considered differently when determining whether or not a borrower qualifies for a loan. This column is the second in a series of three in which Mark Wells of Preferred Financial Services explains qualifying rules that apply to income from different sources. I am a new pastor and my...

Learn More

Income qualifying guidelines for mortgage financing

Income qualifying guidelines for mortgage financing “Not all incomes are equal” certainly applies in the mortgage world. There are substantially different ways of determining your qualifying income when applying for a mortgage. Here, Mark Wells of Preferred Financial Services covers the various scenarios that apply to income guidelines for borrowers who are not...

Learn More

When is a broker the best choice for a mortgage?

When is a broker the best choice for a mortgage? There has long been debate about whether a mortgage broker or a direct lender is the best source for a purchase or refinance loan. Advertisements for each platform claim the higher ground, but what is best for you? Mark Wells at Preferred Financial addresses why a mortgage broker may be your best bet when seeking mortgage...

Learn More

USDA mortgage financing

USDA mortgage financing The USDA mortgage program continues to be available to many borrowers in the Upstate, and can be an excellent choice, providing the borrowers and the property meet the requirements and guidelines for the loan. Here, Mark Wells of Preferred Financial Services discusses the various aspects of the program. I have heard of RDA loans, but not USDA...

Learn More

Credit scores and mortgage rates

Credit scores and mortgage rates Since the mortgage meltdown of 2008, all loan programs are subject to risk-based pricing.   Your credit score is one of the biggest factors in determining the level of risk assigned to your mortgage. Mark Wells at Preferred Financial Services answers questions about interest-rate pricing, and how your credit scores can affect the rate...

Learn More

Refinancing with a home equity line

Refinancing with a home equity line With interest rates still low, many homeowners are refinancing. In cases where they have both a first mortgage and a home-equity line, questions come up about how to best structure their refinance. Mark Wells of Preferred Financial Services answers commonly asked questions: The rate on my equity line is low right now, but it can go up....

Learn More

New appraisal guidelines may make borrowing easier

New appraisal guidelines may make borrowing easier Prior to the crash of 2007-2008, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had instituted a national value-tracking system in which all appraisals across the country were stored in a giant database that could be accessed by any lender to cross-check the valuation given by an appraiser. After a number of years of tracking this...

Learn More

Financing renovations and repairs

Financing renovations and repairs There are several ways to approach financing for renovations and repairs, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Mark Wells of Preferred Financial Services provides answers to often-asked questions about how mortgage financing can be put to work for those projects. I have some general repairs that will cost a little under $10,000...

Learn More

Fannie Mae relaxes debt-to-income guidelines

Fannie Mae relaxes debt-to-income guidelines In an announcement last week, Fannie Mae indicated that it will incorporate higher debt-to-income ratios in its underwriting guidelines. Mark Wells at Preferred Financial Services discusses the impact this will have on borrowers buying or refinancing a home. How significant is this change in the overall picture of mortgage...

Learn More

Co-Signers, co-borrowers, and the mortgage process

Co-Signers, co-borrowers, and the mortgage process Mark Wells of Preferred Financial discusses which loan programs do and do not allow for co-signers, and when a co-signer can make a difference in getting loan approval.   What is the difference between a co-signer and a co-borrower? A co-signer is someone who signs onto a mortgage loan to strengthen the loan, but...

Learn More

Financing options for second homes and vacation homes

Financing options for second homes and vacation homes Second home (vacation home) financing has its own special underwriting guidelines and product offerings. Here, Mark Wells at Preferred Financial Services answers common questions he receives from customers looking to buy or refinance a second home. How do lenders define a second home?  Very specifically—a second...

Learn More

Adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs)

Adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) Adjustable Rate mortgages have been around for more than 30 years in various forms, and are still among the choices offered to consumers. Mark Wells at Preferred Financial Services discusses the pros and cons of ARMs. What are the advantages of an ARM compared to a fixed rate?  The single advantage of an ARM is that the rate is lower than...

Learn More

Mortgage qualifying after a credit disruption: short sale

Mortgage qualifying after a credit disruption: short sale Last week, Mark Wells of Preferred Financial Services discussed guidelines affecting mortgage financing after a foreclosure. Here, he covers a short sale event. Short sales occur when borrowers are forced to sell a house for less than what they owe on it. In a short sale, the lender must agree to the sale, because...

Learn More

Resetting after a major credit disruption: foreclosure

Resetting after a major credit disruption: foreclosure There are five categories of credit disruption that require waiting periods before a borrower is eligible for mortgage financing, regardless of income or credit scores. These are: Foreclosure, a deed in lieu of foreclosure, a short sale, Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In this three-part series, Mark...

Learn More

Mortgage qualifying after a major disruption: bankruptcy

Mortgage qualifying after a major disruption: bankruptcy For homebuyers who have a bankruptcy filing in their past, there is good news: this event will not keep them out of the housing market forever. In fact, recovery from a bankruptcy can be as soon as 2-3 years after the discharge date. Waiting periods vary depending on which of the two types of personal bankruptcy was...

Learn More

FHA announces reset of condominium financing

FHA announces reset of condominium financing  On June 9, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced plans to revise the approval process for individual condo loans. Previously, FHA would only finance a condo if the total complex was FHA approved. Since very few developers or HOAs wanted to go through the approval process, very few FHA loans were made for condos....

Learn More

Judgments and tax liens no longer to be filed with credit bureaus

Judgments and tax liens no longer to be filed with credit bureaus Starting July 1, the credit bureau system will no longer report judgments or tax liens on a consumer’s credit report. This may have a positive impact on a borrower’s ability to qualify for a mortgage, but it also has the capacity to present additional challenges. Here, Mark Wells of Preferred Financial...

Learn More

Short-term rentals and your home mortgage

Short-term rentals and your home mortgage The sharing economy—supported by platforms like Uber, Airbnb, and VRBO—offers flexibility and savings, and extra cash for those who have goods or services to offer. But it also raises questions. For example, if you rent your home out through an online marketplace, does it cease being your primary residence and become rental...

Learn More

VA loans benefit veterans, active duty, and long-term reservists

VA loans benefit veterans, active duty, and long-term reservists This weekend, as we recognize and honor those who have served their country in the armed services, it is a good time to take a look again at one of the most important benefits offered to veterans of all military branches. Originated under the GI Bill, this program is generally referred to as a VA (Veterans...

Learn More

Selling the cow to buy the farm: smart ways to come up with the funds for a home down payment

Selling the cow to buy the farm: smart ways to come up with the funds for a home down payment One of the most significant problems facing new home buyers is coming up with the funds for a down payment. Mark Wells of Preferred Financial Services shares some creative—and perhaps unknown—sources that can be used to find those down payment funds: First, the easy one: If...

Learn More

Resolving home equity line issues

Resolving home equity line issues Many homeowners took out a home equity line of credit (HELOC) prior to the downturn of 2007.  A large number of those loans offered interest-only payments for up to 10 years, and are reaching a point at which they will re-set and begin to amortize. Most products require a 10- to 15-year payoff term, which can dramatically increase the...

Learn More

Financing for new-home construction

Financing for new-home construction With housing inventories low, many consumers are considering construction projects for new homes. Mark Wells of Preferred Financial Services answers common questions related to construction financing. I want to buy a lot and build a new house on it. Can I get a single loan to do all of that?  Yes, but a lot of things need to be...

Learn More

Mortgage brokers put lender competition to work to benefit borrowers

Mortgage brokers put lender competition to work to benefit borrowers Home buyers can get a mortgage loan from one of two major platforms: From a direct lender (a bank or a mortgage banker) or from a mortgage broker. Here, Mark Wells of Preferred Financial discusses the differences between the two and the advantages of each. What is a mortgage broker and how does this...

Learn More