Broker's Opinion

Opinion and comments on general real estate practices and activity in Colorado Springs.

Improved Lending Environment

Things have changed over the last few months which is making is easier for potential buyers to get a home loan.  Some examples are:

Conventional loans:  Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac now allow minimum down payments as low as 3 percent for first-time buyers when the previous requirement was 5 percent.  Some lenders have also lowered their minimum credit score requirements on conventional loans to 620.  Plus, remember that the federal government's definition of a first-time buyer is someone who hasn't owned a home within the past three years.  This certainly expands the pool of potential candidates beyond today's Millennials.

VA loans:  Eligible member the military, veterans, spouses, and some defense-related employees can apply for loans with zero down payment and no mortgage insurance requirements.

FHA loans:  Annual mortgage insurance premiums have been reduced to 0.85 percent of the loan amount, down from 1.35 percent.  On average, this saves borrowers about $1,000 per year.  Credit standards for FHA loans have also been lowered, with some banks accepting minimum scores as low as 600.

Homebuyer assistance programs:  A surprising number of programs are available at the regional, state and local level designed to help first-time homebuyers secure attractive financing terms.  Unfortunately, the vast majority of buyers eligible for assistance are unaware of what's offered. or falsely assume they won't qualify.  Often, maximum income levels are higher than many realize.  Plus, remember the definition of first-time buyer mentioned previously in this article.  To find buyer assistance programs check on, do a Google search of (name of state) home buyer assistance, or check  Local mortgage professionals are also a very good resource.  Ask your Realtor to help you in this search.


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