When it comes to home loans these days, having good credit and specifically, a good payment history on your mortgage or apartment, is super important. Before you apply for a home loan, consider what mortgage lenders and underwriters are looking for when they review your payment history:
To qualify for the lowest interest rates and most attractive loan terms, it should come as no surprise that you’ll want a perfect mortgage history without having any late payments (payments that are more than 30 days past due). Lenders are looking for some assurance that you will pay back the money they lend to you on time every month, so they turn to your payment history on your credit report – particularly, your payment history with your home loan – to find out how responsible you’ve been in the recent past.
If you’re a first-time home buyer or currently rent your home, make sure to pay your landlord by check or online every month. This way, you can provide a 12 month history for the underwriter when you apply for a home loan. If you pay by cash or money order, there is no way to trace the funds and you are essentially living rent-free in the eyes of a mortgage underwriter.
Can I qualify for a home loan if I’ve missed a mortgage payment?
If you are in need of a jumbo loan (a loan amount more than $417,000), your chances are slim. Missing any mortgage payments in the 12 to 24 months prior to applying for this kind of new home loan will make it extremely tough to get approved. With conventional financing, in most cases, you’ll be okay if you’ve had one late mortgage payment in the 12 months prior to a new home loan application. And if you have strong compensating factors such as a steady job history, low expense ratio, and/or money in the bank, you should be fine.
[Mortgage Help: Get your free credit report and see if your credit score is mortgage qualified]Can I qualify for a home loan if I’ve had two 30-day late payments in the past year?
If you’ve missed two mortgage payments in the past year, your best option is going to be a FHA loan, but be prepared to have some strong compensating factors. If you’ve had a 60- or 90-day late payment or several 30-day late payments, your loan application will likely be denied and you will have to rebuild your credit before applying again.
If you are upside-down on your house and thinking of selling it as a short-sale, know what you are getting into. Most lenders will look at a short-sale as a foreclosure, which will make you ineligible for a home loan for at least three years, sometimes as long as five to seven years.
Having a good payment history has always been important, but even more so in today’s credit market, so make an extra effort to be timely with your mortgage payments. Your credit score – and lender – will thank you.
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Joe Kustra is a Home Loan Expert with Quicken Loans, America’s #1 Online Mortgage Lender. He has more than eight years of experience in the mortgage industry and enjoys helping people get into the right home loan for their personal financial situation and goals.