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Ken Baltes

Upcoming changes in USDA financing

Friday, August 19, 2011 - Article by: Ken Baltes - FBC Mortgage - Message

Hello All,
If you plan to buy a home or refinance your current USDA loan with a U.S. Department of Agriculture, or USDA, loan, you had better act soon.
These loans, which are one of the few options for low-cost, no down payment mortgages, are about to get more expensive.

Borrowers have until Sept. 30 to receive the Conditional Commitment from USDA to close on USDA mortgages if they want to avoid a new annual fee that will increase monthly payments and in some cases prevent applicants from getting loans.

If you are looking for this type of financing:
USDA loans currently don't require mortgage insurance premiums. They require only an upfront guarantee fee of 3.5 percent of the total mortgage amount. The one-time fee is added to the total balance of the mortgage and financed into the loan.

On Oct.1, that 3.5 percent fee will decrease to 2 percent. But the USDA will implement a new annual fee of 0.3 percent of the balance of the loan. This fee will be added to the monthly payments and run for the life of the loan, slightly diminishing each year, based on outstanding loan balance.

If you are refinancing:
Refinancers will have to pay the annual 0.3 percent fee, plus the current one-time upfront guarantee fee of 1 percent of the total of the mortgage. The upfront fee will stay unchanged for refinances.

Why the new fee?
The USDA insists this new fee is not an insurance premium, but rather a fee designed to make the program self-funding. Regardless, as far as your pocket is concerned, this is much like the mortgage insurance premium in most home loans.

How much of a change in payment?
In terms of how much more you'll have to pay per month, it's not the end of the world. For a borrower who needs a mortgage of $150,000, that translates into a monthly payment increase of about $37.50, assuming the interest rate is about 4.0 percent. Like the guarantee fee, the new fee can be financed into the loan, which means you could still get a USDA mortgage without a down payment.

But the slight monthly payment increase can easily disqualify borrowers, depending on their debt-to-income ratio, which is the formula used by lenders to measure your debt expenses versus your income.
Your total DTI should be no higher than 41 percent for USDA loans. Please call if you have any questions about the new changes, I would be happy to elaborate.
Thank you,

Ken Baltes
American Security Mortgage

Licensed in North and South Carolina.

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