Current mortgage rates are down nearly 100 basis points (1.00%) since September 2013 and approaching their lowest point in more than two years.
The drop in rates has contributed to a rise in U.S. home sales and has sparked a refinance boomlet, led by homeowners jumping on new, lower interest rates.
Even better is that it's getting easier to get approved for a mortgage.
In December 2014, mortgage lenders approved 60% of all mortgage applications, which is six percentage points higher as compared to the year prior. Meanwhile, approval rates for purchase loans are even higher.
According to Ellie Mae, 68% of conventional loan purchase applications were approved in December and, for VA loan purchase applications, the approval rate was 74% -- both all-time records.
For all the talk of how tough it can be to get "mortgage approved", the truth is something different.
However, for many mortgage applicants, it's not the mortgage approval that's the hard part -- it's keeping the mortgage approval intact.
There are plenty of land mines in the mortgage approval process. You'll want to stay clear of them.
Mortgage approvals take time. In a typical home loan market, 45 days is normal time frame.
Approvals can take longer, though, depending on the market environment. For example, if rates are low and there's a refi boom on-going, getting a refinance to close can take as much as two month -- especially for "complicated" loans such as the 5-10 Properties Program which requires additional paperwork .
Banks just don't have capacity to work much faster.
Closing times can also be delayed for buyers of short sales and foreclosures. Loans for distressed sales and REO sometimes take 6 months or longer to get to settlement.
Thing is, during that "extra time" it takes to close -- whether it's 3 weeks, 3 months or longer -- your life is subject to unexpected change. When your life changes, your loan can change, too.
For example, if lose your job, become ill, or have your home damaged by storms, your lender can rightfully revoke your mortgage approval -- even if your loan was previously cleared-to-close.
Some life events are beyond your control. You can't control sickness any more than you can control Mother Nature. But some events are within your control.
In the world of mortgages, good behavior does matter.
Keeping "good behavior" in mind, here are 8 things you should absolutely not do between your date of application and your date of funding. Any one of them could force a revocation of your mortgage approval.
Ignore these rules at your own peril.
And that's it.
Now, you may find it 100% impractical to have follow these rules to the letter. I know that.
For example, if your car lease is expiring, you have to do what you have to do. Renew the lease. Before doing it, though, check with your loan officer -- spreading your lease over 60 or 72 months may be better for your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio.
The same goes for accepting cash gifts from parents.
There's a right way and a wrong way to accept a cash gift for a purchase and if you do it the "wrong way", your lender may disallow the gift and deny the loan.
These are just 8 of the behaviors which could sabotage your loan. There are more, of course, and your lender will help you identify them.
Today's mortgage rates are low. Demand from home buyers and refinancing households is strong. As a result, the number of days required to close a loan is increasing. This leaves more opportunity for "things to go wrong".
Don't get your mortgage get un-approved. Take steps to protect your approval. Avoid the bad behaviors which can cost you time and money and that great, low rate.
Get a complimentary mortgage rate quote now. Rates are available at no cost and with no obligation to proceed. Your social security number is not required to get started.
The information contained on The Mortgage Reports website is for informational purposes only and is not an advertisement for products offered by Full Beaker. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not reflect the policy or position of Full Beaker, its officers, parent, or affiliates.
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2015 Conforming & FHA Loan Limits
Mortgage loan limits for every U.S. county,
as published by Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, and the FHA.