VA Compensating Factors Guidelines On VA Home Loans

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VA Compensating Factors Guidelines On VA Home Loans

This BLOG On VA Compensating Factors Guidelines On VA Home Loans Was PUBLISHED On October 22nd, 2019

VA Compensating Factors
Gustan Cho Associates

VA Compensating Factors are normally required on manual underwriting files with higher debt to income ratios.

  • VA Loans is the best loan program in the United States
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs offers VA Loans for veterans of our active and/or retired members of our Armed Services
  • To qualify, veterans must have earned a Certificate Of Eligibility also commonly referred to as COE
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs does not mandate a minimum credit score requirement or a maximum debt to income ratio cap on VA Loans that is approve/eligible per automated underwriting system
  • VA and FHA Loans are the only two loan programs that allow manual underwriting
  • If borrowers cannot get an approve/eligible and get a refer/eligible per AUS needs to be downgraded to a manual underwrite

On this blog, we will discuss VA Compensating Factors for manually underwritten VA and FHA Loans.

Manual Underwriting On VA And FHA Loans

What is Manual Underwriting On VA And FHA Loans

Here are cases where VA and/or FHA Loans need to be downgraded to manual underwriting:

  • Cases when the automated underwriting system cannot render an approve/eligible per AUS
  • Cases when the AUS renders a refer/eligible per AUS
  • The Automated Underwriting System will analyze the borrower’s credit, credit scores, payment history, income, assets, liabilities, and other positive and/or negative factors and render its decision
  • Borrowers who are in a current Chapter 13 Bankruptcy plan that has not been discharged
  • A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy discharge that has not been seasoned for at least two years

Mortgage Underwriters Discretion On Manual Underwriting

What is this Discretion On Manual Underwriting

Mortgage Underwriter’s discretion is heavily reliant on manual underwriting.

  • Underwriters need to be convinced that borrowers have the ability to repay the loan without stress
  • Compensating factors is heavily weighed on manual underwrites
  • Compensating Factors such as reserves, longevity on the job, additional income not used as qualified income are factors predicting a borrower’s ability to repay the mortgage on time

VA Compensating Factors Guidelines is the same and/or similar to FHA’s.

VA Manual Versus Automated Underwriting

What is VA Manual Versus Automated Underwriting

VA does not have a minimum credit score nor debt to income ratio requirements on automated approvals.

  • The automated findings decide on loan approval
  • However, with manual underwriting, the manual VA loan decision is dependent on the human mortgage underwriter
  • VA compensating factors play strong when borrowers have higher debt to income ratios
  • Underwriters need to makes sure borrowers meet all VA Guidelines and has underwriter discretion dependent on compensating factors

Although VA Loans does not have a maximum debt to income ratio requirement, the maximum DTI on manual underwrites is 41%. With two compensating factors, underwriters can stretch the DTI to 54%.

List Of VA Compensating Factors That Can Be Taken Into Consideration

What are VA Compensating Factors That Can Be Taken Into Consideration

Here is a list of VA Compensating Factors Underwriters Can Take Into Consideration:

  • Rental Verification with low payment shock
  • Payment shock of $100 or less than 5% increase is considered a great compensating factor
  • A larger down payment on the home purchase than the minimum required
  • History and ability to save money in the past and being conservative in using credit 
  • Cash reserves and liquid assets such as 401k and/or other types of investment and/or retirement accounts
  • Consistent increase in pay and promotions: Example, police officer who gets promoted to sergeant, lieutenant, captain and is going to night school to advance his/her career
  • Additional income such as part-time job, overtime income, bonus income not used as qualified income
  • Low debt to income ratio
  • Substantial Residual Income

FHA Manual Underwriting Versus VA Guidelines

What are FHA Manual Underwriting Versus VA Guidelines

FHA Manual Underwriting Guidelines are very similar to VA’s:

  • FHA loans that are manually underwritten, the maximum debt-to-income ratio is 43% without compensating factors
  • One month reserves on one and two unit properties
  • 3 months reserves on two to four unit homes
  • Borrowers with under 580 credit scores require 10% down payment and DTI cannot exceed 31 percent front end and 43% back end
  • Energy efficient homes can have 33 percent front end and 45 percent back end DTI
  • Under 580 FICO requires 3 months reserves on one unit and six months reserves on 2 to 4 unit multi-family homes
  • Up to 40% front end and 50% back end DTI allowed with two compensating factors

How Compensating Factors Allow Higher DTI On Manual Underwriting

How Compensating Factors Allow Higher DTI On Manual Underwriting

Higher debt to income ratio borrowers can have higher DTI with compensating factors on both VA and FHA Loans:

  • Borrowers Non-traditional credit with under 580 FICO, the maximum debt-to-income is 31/43 or 33/45 for energy efficient homes
  • With no compensating factors and 580 FICO plus maximum DTI allowed is 31/43
  • With one compensating factor and 580 FICO, the maximum DTI allowed is 37/47
  • With two compensating factors and 580 FICO, the debt-to-income is 40/50
  • No discretionary debt and 580 credit score the debt-to-income cap is 40/40

Borrowers who need to qualify for VA and/or FHA Manual Underwriting with a direct lender with no overlays on VA and FHA Loans, please contact us at Gustan Cho Associates at 262-716-8151 or text us for faster response. Or email us at gcho@loancabin.com. We are available 7 days a week, evenings, weekends, and holidays.

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