Home Loan Programs and Tips For Low-Income Oakland County MI Buyers

Home Loan Programs and Tips For Low-Income Oakland County MI Buyers

Home Loan Programs and Tips For Low-Income Oakland County MI Buyers

Owning your own home is the American dream and being in a lower income bracket doesn’t automatically disqualify you from buying a home. Fortunately, there are a number of low-income home loans available to help you reach your goal of homeownership.

Depending on other important factors such as your credit score, debt, location, and profession, you may be able to qualify for a home loan through one of the following programs: FHA loans, USDA loans, Fannie Mae HomeReady loans, Freddie Mac Home Possible® loans, Good Neighbor Next Door program, and VA loans. 

Before we take a closer look at the eligibility requirements of these different loan programs, here are a few tips for buying a home with low income:

The first thing you’ll want to do is review your credit reports from all three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and Transunion)  and dispute any errors you may find. Make a concerted effort to pay all of your accounts on time and lower your credit usage to below 30% of your available limit. This can help improve your credit score before applying for a mortgage.

You should also try to pay down your outstanding debt (especially credit card balances) which will help lower your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. Next, you’ll want to get a mortgage pre-approval. When house hunting, sellers are likely to take you seriously if you’ve already been pre-approved when you put in a purchase offer. A pre-approval tells you how much a lender might be willing to lend you, based on a review of your overall financial picture.

After you get a mortgage pre-approval, the next step is to enlist the services of a qualified Oakland County MI real estate agent. Find an agent who is knowledgeable about the local housing market as well as the different home buying programs that are available for low-income borrowers.

Once you’ve found an agent you can work with, start looking at home buying assistance programs. Check with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) for available homebuying assistance programs, including grants or loans to help cover your down payment or closing costs.

Low-income home loan programs

FHA loans

FHA home loans are loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).  An FHA loan can be a good option for first-time homebuyers who may not qualify for a conventional loan or for those who may be struggling to save a 20% down payment. With an FHA loan, a borrower can have a credit rating as low as 500 and a fairly high debt-to-income ratio.

These loans require only a 3.5% down payment, which can come from gifts, and have less stringent requirements for credit rating or income. FHA loans require all borrowers to pay upfront and annual mortgage insurance premiums, no matter their credit score or down payment amount. Borrowers putting the minimum 3.5% down will pay FHA mortgage insurance for the life of the loan.

Eligibility requirements for FHA loans:

  • A 500 to 579 credit score and a minimum 10% down payment
  • A 580 credit score and a minimum 3.5% down payment
  • Meet local county FHA loan limits. Oakland County, MI FHA loan limits range from $331,760 for 1 living-unit home to $638,100 for 4 living-units.  

USDA loans

The U.S. Department of Agriculture also ensures low-income home loans provided by approved lenders up to 90% of the loan amount. USDA loans cater to homebuyers with a modest income. With a USDA loan, no down payment is required, no assets needed to qualify, and no maximum loan amount. 

Eligibility requirements for USDA loans:

  • Preferred 640 credit score
  • Meet local income eligibility requirements. For a family of 1-4 in Michigan, the average household income limit for a USDA loan is around $86,850, and for a family of 5 or more, it can be as high as $143,300.
  • Purchase a home in a designated rural area

Fannie Mae HomeReady® loans

The HomeReady mortgage program from Fannie Mae offers low-income home loans to homebuyers with limited cash for a down payment. Underwriting guidelines are more flexible to make it easier to qualify and both first-time homebuyers and repeat buyers are eligible. If all borrowers on the loan are first-time buyers, at least one borrower must meet the homeownership education requirement, by completing an online course on the Framework website.

Eligibility requirements for Fannie Mae HomeReady® loans:

  • Minimum 620 credit score
  • Minimum 3% down payment
  • Earn a maximum of 80% of the area median income (AMI)

Freddie Mac Home Possible® loans

The Freddie Mac Home Possible® mortgage program also caters to very low-to low-income borrowers with limited down payment funds. Both first-time and repeat homebuyers may qualify. Co-borrowers who do not live in the home can be included for a borrower’s one-unit residence, and borrowers are permitted to have another financed property –  all with competitive pricing and the ease of a conventional mortgage. 1-4 units, condos and planned-unit developments, and manufactured homes are eligible with certain restrictions.  

Eligibility requirements for Freddie Mac Home Possible® loans:

  • Minimum 660 credit score
  • Minimum 3% down payment
  • An income less than or equal to 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI)

HUD’s Good Neighbor Next Door program

With the Good Neighbor Next Door program from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), law enforcement officers, teachers (pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade) firefighters, and emergency medical technicians can contribute to community revitalization while becoming homeowners. HUD offers a discount of 50% from the list price of the home.

In return, an eligible buyer must commit to live in the property for 36 months as his/her principal residence. If an FHA loan is used to buy the home under this program, the minimum required down payment is $100. You can also use a conventional or VA loan.

Eligibility requirements for HUD’s Good Neighbor Next Door program: 

  • Work full-time as a pre-K through 12th-grade educator, emergency medical technician, firefighter, or law enforcement officer
  • Buy a home in a HUD-designated revitalization area
  • Must live in the home for at least 36 months (3 years)

VA loans

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a mortgage program to help veterans, service members, and surviving spouses purchase homes. The VA is not a direct mortgage lender, but it does guarantee a portion of the loan so borrowers can receive more favorable loan terms like a lower interest rate. 

If your VA-backed home loan goes into foreclosure, the guaranty allows the lender to recover some or all of their losses. Since there’s less risk for the lender, they’re more likely to give you the loan under better terms.  90% of all VA-backed home loans are made without a down payment. 

There is no minimum required down payment or mortgage insurance requirement. These loans also limit the amount you can be charged for closing costs. There are no VA loan limits  

Eligibility requirements for VA loans:

  • Valid Certificate of Eligibility
  • Preferred minimum 620 credit score
  • Required VA funding fee to offset program costs to taxpayers

Partner with highly-rated Oakland County MI REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam   

Award-winning Oakland County MI REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam provides the kind of knowledge, skills, dedication, and professionalism you need when buying or selling a home. 

With over 20 years of real estate experience, Tom will protect your interests, advocate for you, negotiate on your behalf, and be your trusted guide and advisor every step of the way. Tom works very hard for his clients and will always go the extra mile to ensure a smooth transaction and the best results possible!

If you or someone you know is interested in buying or selling real estate in Oakland County MI, please give Tom Gilliam a call today at (248) 790-5594 or you can get in touch here.

Tom Gilliam, REALTOR®
RE/MAX Classic
29630 Orchard Lake Rd.
Farmington Hills 48334
Direct: 248-790-5594
Office: 248-737-6800
Email: Tom @ Homes2MoveYou.com
License #314578 

NAR’s 5-Point Plan To Help Increase African-American Homeownership

NAR’s 5-Point Plan To Help Increase African-American Homeownership

NAR’s 5-Point Plan To Help Increase African-American Homeownership – Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, interest in home buying is strong as reflected in the surge in mortgage applications to buy a home. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, mortgage applications to buy a home spiked 4% last week to an 11-year high. 

The jump in demand was likely fueled by falling mortgage rates. The fixed 30-year rate fell to 3.3%, the lowest in the MBA survey’s history. That being said, however, there isn’t enough supply to meet demand and significant growth in new home construction is needed.

Before the pandemic hit, the U.S. faced a housing shortage due to multiple years of underproduction of new homes. The housing shortage has intensified as we enter into the second half of 2020.

As a result, home prices are likely to rise, making ownership opportunities for first-time buyers, including minorities, that much more challenging. More homes need to built to offset demand and keep home prices from escalating.   

The homeownership rate for African-American households is now at 44% – compared with an overall U.S. rate of 65.3%. A year ago, it fell to 40.6%, which was the smallest share recorded for Black households since the 1950 decennial Census when it was at 34.5%.

With much of the nation’s attention currently focused on fighting for racial equality, particularly as it relates to African-Americans, the following five-point plan outlined by the National Association of REALTORs® would increase the number of Black homeowners. 

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun stated that “given the events of the recent weeks, it highlighted the progress, or lack of progress, among the African-American community,” adding that the access to homeownership is a critical source for building financial wealth. 

NAR’s five-point plan to help increase minority homeownership, especially for African Americans, includes: 

1). Build more homes to increase supply: The lack of housing supply makes converting from renting to owning very difficult. The lack of viable purchase options and resulting competition rapidly push up home prices, precluding some potential first-time buyers from entering the market. 

Yun stated that since the pool of potential first-time buyers is higher in the minority population if the industry can increase supply, it could help minority households lock in a home. 

2). Build more homes in Opportunity Zones:  NAR strongly supports Opportunity Zones as a means by which to invest in the revitalization of economically-distressed areas. Yun posed the question: “Since the industry needs to build so many homes, why not build or sell homes in the Opportunity Zones to help revive some of those areas?”

He added that there is even a tax break in certain geographically defined opportunity zones for developers to go in and build homes, helping the revitalization of economically-distressed areas. 

3). Increase access to down payment assistance: Saving for a down payment can be the biggest hurdle for renters wanting to become homeowners. In recent years, a growing number of first-time buyers received help from family members with their down payments. 

However, due to historical gaps in accessing and accumulating wealth, it’s much more difficult for African-Americans to obtain substantial financial assistance from family members. Therefore, increased access to federal down payment assistance based on a certain income threshold is vital, particularly for African-Americans. 

4). Strengthen FHA’s loan program: FHA loans have been an important source of financing for first-time buyers and minority households. Shifting federal dollars to strengthen the FHA program could lower mortgage insurance premiums and monthly mortgage payments. 

Yun explained that many minority households are able to become first-time buyers primarily due to FHA mortgages, making the product an important source of financing. 

5). Expand alternative credit scoring models: NAR outlined that expanding credit scoring models to include rent and utility payments would help Black Americans boost their credit score. Yun also shared an estimate from the National Association of Real Estate Brokers that alternative credit scoring would open up buying to around 115,000 Black Americans per year.

Yun added that the industry needs to make sure that it doesn’t make the same mistakes it did in the past, especially 10 years ago with the subprime lending debacle.

The homeownership rate for African-American households fell more than seven percentage points from 47.8% at the start of the financial crisis to last summer’s record low after some predatory lenders focused on minority communities.

“We need to ensure successful homeownership, not just temporary homeownership,” said Yun.

Partner with Top-rated Farmington Hills MI REALTOR® -Tom Gilliam  

A top-rated Farmington Hills and Oakland County MI real estate agent like Tom Gilliam can show you more properties and save you thousands of dollars when buying a home. You need an agent who knows the area, processes a vast network of local connections, and has the skills to negotiate like a pro. From first-time homebuyers to multi-million dollar investors, Tom continually strives to provide top quality service for his clients. With access to the most up-to-date MLS listings for Oakland county MI properties, Tom is able to match your lifestyle needs with the perfect home.

If you are ready to list your current property, Tom has the experience and skills necessary to handle the sale and marketing of your home for the optimum results. Tom employs the latest technology to deliver massive exposure that will drive mega-response from qualified buyers. Tom also partners with the most talented home stagers to ensure that your home is thoughtfully staged to best showcase its features and amenities.

With over 25 years of local real estate experience, Tom will protect your interests, advocate for you, and go above and beyond your expectations to ensure a smooth and successful transaction. If you or someone you know is interested in buying or selling Farmington Hills MI real estate, please give Tom a call today at 248-790-5594 or you can get in touch here.

Tom Gilliam, REALTOR®
RE/MAX Classic
29630 Orchard Lake Rd.
Farmington Hills 48334
Call: 248-790-5594
Office: 248-737-6800
Email: Tom @ Homes2MoveYou.com
License #314578

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