Unfortunately the media is far more an influence in what goes on in this country than they should be. I am pretty sure that many people throughout the country are under the impression that there is very little mortgage money to lend and probably little or no down payment assistance. I think pretty much everyone in the industry knows this is not true. But now, in addition to the fact that sales are slow, we are moving into what is normally a slower time of year, and many other economic factors are weighing on things, we have to overcome the perception that it is next to impossible to get financing.
There is plenty of money for mortgages. There are down payment assistance programs available. Yes, the guidelines have become more strict. But then, let's face it, they needed to be. We are, in essence, going back to the future. That is a reality of the changing landscape. For those of us who have been in the industry for some time it is going back to the basics of years ago. For those newer in the industry look for those who have been around for some time and use thier experience to assist you.
Down payment is available through the same channels it used to be before the seller contributed non-profits entered the picture. While those (the seller contributed) may return at some point I wouldn't count on it. Given the recent events and the fact that Congress will break for campaigning as soon as they pass the bailout bill I don't see it happening this year, and once something is gone, and then put somewhat out of mind, it is that much more difficult to get it back. The government programs are there and they are just fine. Yes it is a little more work, but the homebuyer education and counseling that is required is extremely valuable and entirely worthwhile. I have a background in non-profit home buyer education and counseling on both a local and national basis. Education is what will help keep people in homes and ensure that they are at least given the basics to survive, and a place to go when they have questions.
We at Brand Mortgage Group, being a privately held bank company, have made sure that we were ahead of the curve on this. We not only are aligned and approved with the state and local entities offering the HUD DPA programs, but being a Federal Home Loan Bank we can, and do, offer the FHLB down payment assistance program as well. This is similar to the others but is a 5 to 1 match. In addition to help our builders we instituted a in house, via a non-profit, down payment assistance to help with the inventory. How many banks do you think did that for their builders?
We can still do an FHA Manual underwrite loan down to a 550 score. Obviously these are going to be very difficult to do, but it is still possible. Loans are still being closed, still being done, and there is still down payment assitance...for those that qualify. Rates are good, the prices are great, and now is the time to buy. I have seen several signs that tell me that we are at or near......finally.....the bottom of this. Signs that I have not seen prior to this. We will just all have to work that much harder to be sure the public knows all this as well!
Your comments and thought are greatly appreciated!