What Buyers need to know about financing during COVID-19
by Sara Ifert
on Thursday, April 30th, 2020 at 10:12am.
For most buyers, financing is the first thing to think about when buying a home. A changing economic climate due to COVID-19 has begun to affect financing for some loan programs. Plus, the financing process has moved entirely virtual. Dave Leeder and the team at Inlanta Mortgage are helping many of our clients navigate these changes. Below are some of their top suggestions for buyers based on the current circumstances.
As always, you should start the mortgage pre-approval process early. Ideally, you should have your pre-approval before you begin your search. This will help you understand which loan programs may be available to you, and how much you may be able to borrow for your new home.
Then, be sure to keep your lender up to date with any employment changes, such as reduced hours or pay changes. Lenders are required to verify employment for all borrowers on the loan within three days before closing. If they have any new information ahead of time, they can make sure that clients still qualify.
Similarly, if you received a pre-approval before the Safer at Home order, you should revisit your pre-approval with your lender. This is especially important if you qualified for a USDA, VA, or a FHA Loan. All Lenders have experienced some tightening of approval criteria of these programs.
There have been some changes in programs for borrowers with lower credit scores as well. Government loans have been most affected by this. Staying in touch with your lender will help you avoid any last-minute surprises.
That doesn't mean you should expect challenges when you apply for your mortgage. “For the most part, we have not had any changes with our underwriting guidelines for borrowers with good credit,” said Dave. “We have seen rates staying very low and expect this to continue to be the case for quite some time.”
Inlanta mortgage has taken steps to move their services to virtual while still maintaining a connection with clients. “We do miss meeting with our clients in person but we are using Zoom and Facetime meetings daily to review loan options and pre-approvals,” said Dave. "It's great to stay in touch with buyers face-to-face, even if it is online."
The Inlanta team uses a variety of software programs to maintain their great levels of customer service. The Inlanta smartphone app allows buyers to submit their mortgage application and upload their documentation right from their phone. Inlanta can issue pre-approvals within the app. There is also a very user-friendly program that shows clients a comparison of all the loan programs they are eligible for.
“Thanks to technology and a bit of planning, we have found that we can be very efficient and effective while working remotely,” said Dave. “We are still able to close mortgage loans quickly when needed - in as little as two weeks.”
The appraisal process has also been streamlined or moved online. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are either waiving some appraisals, or only requiring Desktop appraisals. Mortgage closings also allow for social distancing, with some buyers being able to virtually sign or do “Drive-up closings.”
"Inlanta Mortgage has always provided great customer service to our clients over the years," says REALTOR Dan Miller. "We are grateful to have them working alongside our current clients. They have not skipped a beat in regards to their service levels." While it may seem intimidating to finance a home in this uncertain time, it is still possible with a bit of planning and the right team in your corner.