Mortgage rates are at record lows, with 30-year fixed-rate mortgages—the most popular choice among home buyers—averaging in the 3 percent range for the last several weeks.
So how can home buyers snag such low financing for their home purchase?
Banks have tightened their lending standards in recent years, which has put such record-low rates out of reach for many home buyers. To get a loan, borrowers find that lenders scrutinize their credit scores, income, employment history, liquid assets, down payment, property value, type of property (single home vs. multifamily, for example), and how much money they’ll have left after closing, The New York Times reports.
Mortgage brokers say the greatest challenge in processing a loan nowadays is “documenting your income and every bit of information on your application, down to the last $200 your mother sent you for your birthday.”
“What’s tougher today is the level of scrutiny and documentation and analysis and reverification around assets, income, employment and appraisals,” says Bob Walters, Quick Loans chief economist. “Lenders are terrified, literally terrified, of repurchases. What that means is if a lender makes a mistake, or there’s a difference in opinion, and they close the loan and it goes into default, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac could require them to repurchase the loan.”
To secure the lowest mortgage rate, The New York Times reports you need the following:
However, home buyers with a lower credit score may still be able to get a low rate.
“Say you have a 700 score but you are only financing 50 percent of the home’s value,” says Mark Maimon with Universal Mortgage in Brooklyn, N.Y.“You might get the same rate as someone who has an 800 score doing 75 percent financing.”