Borrowers who lost their homes through foreclosure or short sale will no longer have to wait three years to get a mortgage to buy another home.
The Federal Housing Administration has changed the rules to help buyers whose credit was tainted due to the loss of a job or income reduction. They will now be able to get a mortgage to buy again after a one-year waiting period through the FHA's new lending program, dubbed Back to Work. The FHA previously required these buyers to wait three years before applying for a mortgage.
Buyers who can document they lost their home to foreclosure or filed for bankruptcy because they were laid off or because their income was reduced by at least 20 percent will be eligible to apply for a loan after paying their bills on time for a year, according to the instructions the FHA sent lenders last week.
The change is effective immediately until September 2016.
Now for the fine print
Borrowers will be required to provide documentation showing the loss of income or employment, including termination notices, tax returns and W-2s.
The program is designed to help potential buyers who went through a period of financial distress but have been able to get back on their feet and can afford a home again, says Jim Sahnger, a mortgage planner for FBC Mortgage in Jupiter, Fla.
"This is not going to work for strategic defaulters," he says.
Speeding up the process
The program is especially helpful to borrowers who went through bankruptcy and foreclosure simultaneously. Often, the lender doesn't take title of the property until years after the discharge of the bankruptcy, which has delayed the start of the waiting period for many potential buyers, he says.
During the one-year waiting period after the foreclosure sale, bankruptcy discharge or short sale closing, the borrower should have:
- No late housing payments (rent/mortgage).
- No more than one 30-day late payment on all other accounts.
- No accounts in collection.
Borrowers will also be required to go through housing counseling prior to being approved for the loan.
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