In 2012-2013, securing a California home loan with less-than a 640 qualifying credit score(s) OR a recent history of short sale, foreclosure, or bankruptcy is difficult. You have a few options, however. Please take a moment to review prior to inquiring, and remember that we offer loans on California real estate ONLY. If you are seeking financing outside of California please Google search for lenders in your area.
Major Derogatory Credit Events
1) If you have a prior Bankruptcy, Short Sale, Foreclosure, Short-Pay Refinance, loan modification (with a 90-day late shown on the mortgage) or Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure and you are seeking a conventional bank loan please check the seasoning requirements for eligibility here first. If the minimum time since the event has elapsed, AND you have reestablished credit, and there have been no late payments, AND you have a down payment or equity in the property, contact us to discuss your needs.
If you have a recent history of late payments on a home loan you need a minimum 12 months of on-time mortgage payments to qualify for a new loan with traditional bank financing.
Repair, Boost or Establish Good Credit FIRST
2) Repair your credit, boost your current credit scores, or establish positive credit before applying for a real estate loan. This is the FIRST thing you should be doing if your credit scores are below bank loan / FHA requirements, unless you have a 40%+ down payment and can afford to pay hard money loan rates (more on hard money below and here).
One of the most common reasons for reduced credit scores comes from carrying over-leveraged balances on credit cards. If you owe more than 35% of your available credit limit on credit cards, your credit scores will suffer as a result. Even those who use credit cards for business purposes who pay off and re-charge on personal credit cards can suffer lower scores as a result (it's best for business people to use a business credit card in the name of the company, rather than your personal accounts).
Paying your credit card balances down to less than 1/3rd of the available credit is a very effective way to improve your credit scores in a very short period of time. We frequently assist customers in loan transactions with Rapid Rescoring to boost credit scores to a qualifiable level within 5–10 business days once credit card balances are paid down to 35% or less of the limit.
If you have damaged credit as a result of liens, collections, charge-offs, judgments, late payments, and inaccurately reporting past credit events it's best to work with a reputable credit repair / restoration company that can improve your credit scores by ensuring that your current report is accurate, disputing inaccurately reported items, deleting old items that can be removed, and making recommendations for strategies to improve your scores.
For a California credit repair specialist, contact Sean Smith at American Credit -- (310) 295-1967.
Download a brochure (Adobe pdf format)
If your only credit is poor credit (and assuming you are not currently in a bankruptcy) you will need to begin rebuilding a positive history with FOUR or more lines of credit -- these can be secured credit cards, auto loans, consumer finance lines, etc. You'll need 12 months of perfect payment history and no additional late payments or credit problems before you start to see the results of new credit translated to a solid boost to scores, and the 12-month positive payment history is also vital to being eligible for a new conventional home loan as well. establish new lines of credit and pay your bills on time, being careful never to owe more than 25% of the available credit on revolving credit cards at any time.
Bottom line: repairing and establishing credit that's good enough to qualify for a conventional loan is FAR CHEAPER in the long run than a hard money loan. Hard money is a viable option, but only if you have a very large down payment or equity in the property and can afford much higher payments.
FHA Financing With 640+ Credit Score
3) FHA Financing. You need a 640 or higher credit score to qualify for standard FHA loan financing today. FHA is the only sub-prime lending available when your credit scores don't qualify for Fannie Mae / Freddie Mac home financing and you have minimum funds available for a down payment or equity in your current property. You must meet FHA eligibility requirements and the loan must be approved through the industry Desktop Underwriting system. We are a direct FHA Jumbo lender in California.
Hard Money Loans (aka "Equity-Based Loans ")
4) Hard Money Loans -- This is only a practical option if you have 40% or more cash available for the down payment or equity in property you own already after the new loan is made, including points and closing costs. A hard money loan might be for you if you cannot or will not wait to own a home with conventional bank financing. Hard money loans on owner-primary homes are governed by Federal lending guidelines, and only a handful of California hard money lenders loan on primary residences or second homes (we do). Certain restrictions and conditions apply to hard money loans regardless of occupancy, but do not waste your time looking into hard money if you are shopping for bank rates and low fees -- hard money lending is more expensive, but sometimes the only available option.
5) An owner willing to finance you at reasonable terms would be an option, but financing and servicing a seller-financed loan is not something most sellers should engage in nowdays due to the onerous goverment laws and regulations that apply. At the very least, an experienced real estate attorney specializing in mortgage lending practice should be consulted.
It's also best for buyers to avoid "lease option" purchase offers from sellers in the current economy. Declining property values and other legal issues regarding lease options can lead you into legal problems and a loss of your capital investment.
* If you have major derogatory events in your past like a foreclosure, bankruptcy, short-sale, short-pay refinance, deed-in-lieu, or loan modification with 3 missed payments you will need to wait the minimum period of time to requalify unless you have a VERY large down payment and qualify for a hard money loan.
* MOST home buyers and current homeowners with poor credit would be better served by repairing, boosting, or establishing good credit with the goal of obtaining conventional bank financing than trying to secure a hard money loan. For a California credit repair specialst, contact Paul Ford at American Credit -- (310) 903-7934. Download a brochure (pdf format).
* Hard money loans are okay for a short-term lending solution where there is more than 35% protective equity in the property (after the new loan is made) and you can comfortably afford the increased monthly payments compared to a conventional bank loan.
* Seller financing is an option in limited circumstances, but this type of financing is fraught with legal issues now that weren't applicable years ago. These effect not only the seller but the buyer as well. What's more, you're not guaranteed a compliant transaction just because a licensed real estate broker (or an agent) is involved. I recommend that an attorney experienced in current California real estate lending practice be consulted prior to consumation of any seller financing.
We provide financing only on California real estate.