How To Pre-Qualify Borrowers Credit

How To Pre-Qualify Borrowers Credit For Home Buyers

Gustan Cho Associates are mortgage brokers licensed in 48 states

This Article On How To Pre-Qualify Borrowers Credit For Home Buyers  Was UPDATED And PUBLISHED On March 28th, 2020 As A Training Guide For New Loan Officers

How To Pre-Qualify Borrowers Credit  For Home Buyers

If you are a newly licensed loan officer readying this blog on How To Pre-Qualify Borrowers Credit For Home Buyers may be of help:

  • Congratulations on passing the NMLS SAFE ACT EXAM and going through the state licensing process
  • Now since you have your NMLS license approved and active, the real fun begins
  • Many mortgage loan originators who have aced their NMLS exams are often surprised how much of the information on the exam has no purpose in actual practice for loan officers
  • Training a new loan officer takes a lot of time
  • Covering the basics such as qualifying income, learning how to pre-qualify borrowers credit, interpreting tax returns especially for self-employed borrowers
  • Knowing the basic mortgage guidelines is not sufficient in being able to be an independent mortgage loan originator being able to take a file from pre-qualification to closing
  • Two of the most important tasks new loan officers need to master is learning how to pre-qualify borrowers credit, and how to qualify borrowers income
  • Loan Officers who are new to the business or need more training may want to read all of my blogs on Loan Officer Training which is under CATEGORIES labeled CAREERS/LOAN OFFICER TRAINING

We will cover How To Pre-Qualify Borrowers Credit on this blog.

Pre-Qualification And Pre-Approval Process

Many dread the term mortgage denial .

  • If you are new to the business, do not be alarmed about getting any loans that you submit denied by an underwriter
  • You will know whether or not you will be able to close a mortgage loan
  • Do last-minute loan denials happen?
  • All the time but there are ways of not letting that happen to you
  • As mentioned, the number one reason for last-minute loan denials is because the loan officer did not properly pre-qualify and pre-approve a mortgage borrower
  • There are many tasks on the pre-approval process and I will limit each of my Loan Officer Training Blogs to one specific topic
  • After your initial interview or during your interview with your borrower, you will be pulling a tri-merger credit report

The tri-merger mortgage credit report will give you three credit scores from each of the three credit bureaus:

  • Transunion
  • Experian
  • Equifax

How To Pre-Qualify Borrowers Credit For Home Buyers And Credit Scores Used

Each borrower should have three credit scores from each of the three credit reporting agencies:

  • Transunion
  • Experian
  • Equifax

Just because a borrower meets the minimum credit scores does not mean that the borrower is credit ready for a mortgage pre-approval.

  • Loan officers need to look at the overall credit report and pay attention to every line item on the borrower’s credit report
  • Make sure that there are no red flags on a borrowers credit report
  • Any questionable item on a borrower’s credit report needs to be addressed
  • The way on how to pre-qualify borrowers credit is to look beyond the borrower’s credit scores
  • Look at the overall credit history

Pay especially close attention to the past 12 months of the borrower’s payment history.

Public Records & Credit Repair

Even though the borrower’s credit report does not show any public records such as judgments, tax liens, bankruptcies, short sales, and foreclosures:

  • Always ask the borrower if they had any judgments or other public records
  • Reason for this is that there are folks who go through credit repair
  • They have public records such as judgments, tax liens, bankruptcies, and foreclosures deleted off their credit report
  • They often think that they are good to go

Credit repair does work and maybe it works too well when it comes to public records deletions.

How To Pre-Qualify Borrowers Credit On Late Payments Versus Public Records

There is no way of creditors and lenders can track down a deletion of late payments, charge offs, outstanding collection accounts, or credit trade lines such as auto creditors or other installment loan creditors:

  • Public records such as judgments, tax liens, bankruptcies, and foreclosures will be discovered by all lenders
  • All lenders will do a third party public records national search through Data Verify or Lexis Nexis
  • A borrower who applies for a mortgage loan that has public records deleted off their credit reports will get an approve/eligible per Automated Underwriting System approval
  • This is because the automated underwriting system will not pick up the public records

However, the mortgage underwriter will do a public records search during the mortgage underwriting process and the public records search will be discovered.

Public Records Search By Mortgage Underwriters

What does the search for public files by mortgage insurers mean?

Loan officers should ask all borrowers if they have public records such as the following:

  • bankruptcy
  • foreclosure
  • short sale
  • deed in lieu of foreclosure
  • tax lien
  • federal student loan delinquencies
  • child support delinquencies
  • judgments

The above questions on public records should be asked during the pre-qualification and pre-approval process.

  • If a borrower tells states their credit scores have improved due to credit repair, this should be a red flag
  • Make sure to tell them that public records will be discovered during the mortgage process
  • Ask them if they had any deletions off their credit reports

Credit Scores Versus Credit History

Many loan officers still make the mistake of just checking the borrowers’ credit scores:

  • They do not thoroughly review the borrowers’ credit history
  • Just because borrowers meet the minimum credit score requirements to qualify for a mortgage loan program does not mean that they are credit qualified
  • Late payments on a mortgage payment in the past 12 months will most likely be a denial
  • Borrowers will most likely not get an approve/eligible per automated findings
  • Most lenders will not allow any late payments in the past 12 months

Make sure you check with your lender to see what overlays they have with regard to late payments in the past year.

Collection Accounts And Credit Disputes

Loan Officers need to thoroughly review borrowers credit reports:

  • Loan Officers should carefully review each collection accounts, charge off accounts, and make sure to review credit disputes
  • HUD, the parent of FHA,  does not require borrowers to pay outstanding collection accounts or charge off accounts
  • However, you cannot have credit disputes on any non-medical collection accounts if total outstanding unpaid balance is greater than $1,000
  • Credit disputes on charge off accounts are not allowed either need to retract the credit disputes on all non-medical collection accounts and charge off accounts

Can have credit disputes on medical collection accounts and non-medical collection accounts if the non-medical collection account has zero balance.

Medical Versus Non-Medical Collections Mortgage Guidelines

Loan Officers need to make sure that they take non-medical collection accounts into account.

  • Borrowers with more than $2,000 in total non-medical collection accounts, need to take 5% of the unpaid outstanding collection balance
  • Use that figure as part of the borrower’s monthly debt even though they do not have to pay anything
  • This can be a problem if the outstanding collection account balance is a large amount

For example, here is a case scenario:

  • if the total sum of all collection account balance is $20,000
  • than 5% of the $20,000 or $1,000 must be used as a monthly debt when calculating the debt to income ratios of the borrower
  • However, if the borrower enters into a written payment agreement with the collection agency and/or creditor, then the amount negotiated on the written payment agreement can be used as the monthly debt when calculating the DTI of borrowers
  • There are no seasoning requirements and the date the written payment agreement is executed

The date of the agreement is the date when the monthly payment amount will go into effect.

How To Pre-Qualify Borrowers Credit With Issues With Credit Disputes

Under no circumstances should any loan officers issue a pre-approval letter until the credit disputes have been retracted and the retraction reflects on the borrower’s credit reports.

  • Reason being is that when a borrower disputes any derogatory credit items, the credit bureaus will automatically not count the negative disputed item from the credit score calculations
  • So whenever a consumer disputes a negative derogatory item, their credit scores will increase
  • This holds true because the credit disputed item will not be counted by the credit bureaus
  • When a consumer retracts the credit disputes and the credit bureaus remove the dispute verbiage from the credit report, the borrowers credit scores will drop
  • Loan originators make the assumption that just because the borrowers credit score may be in the mid 600’s and there is only one credit dispute that it is safe to issue a pre-approval letter
  • This can be a serious mistake

This is because I have seen cases where a borrower’s credit scores dropped over 70 FICO points by retracting one credit dispute.

Retracting Credit Disputes And Not Qualifying For Mortgage Due To Credit Scores Dropping

Which means withdrawing credit disputes and not qualifying for a mortgage because of a decline in credit performance

There are cases where borrowers have a hard time retracting credit disputes because either the credit bureaus will take their time or creditors will fight the dispute retraction. If this is the case, here is a link that will help you in getting the credit disputes removed sooner:

How To Remove Credit Disputes

How To Pre-Qualify Borrowers Credit For Borrowers Who Are Not Credit Qualified

If you have borrowers who are not credit qualified but do qualify with income and other requirements, set up a separate file for them. As long as the borrower has qualified income, you can help borrowers who are not credit qualified. There are many solutions in advising borrowers who do not meet the minimum credit scores. We will cover this topic on another blog.

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