Dan Green

Dan Green

Since 2003, Dan Green has been a leading mortgage lender and respected industry authority. His unwavering commitment to first-time home buyers and home buyer education has established him as a trusted voice among his colleagues, his peers, and the media. Dan founded Homebuyer.com to expand the American Dream of Homeownership to all who want it. .

Jersey Shore Home - Underwriting

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What is Underwriting?

Underwriting is the process by which a mortgage lender evaluates a home buyer’s mortgage application and determines whether the mortgage should be approved.

A Longer Definition: Underwriting

Underwriting is a detailed evaluation of a borrower’s ability to repay a loan.

An underwriter performs the underwriting of a mortgage, which may include verifying a home buyer’s credit history, employment status, income, and debts, and other characteristics of the transaction, such as the condition of the subject property and whether the transaction is an arms-length transaction.

Every mortgage type features different mortgage underwriting standards, known as mortgage guidelines.

An FHA mortgage is underwritten differently than a USDA loan and a VA loan. A HomeReady mortgage is underwritten differently than a Home Possible mortgage.

As part of the underwriting sequence, an underwriter may check credit reports for payment history and outstanding debts, verify employment through recent pay stubs or contact the employer directly, and confirm income by examining tax returns and bank statements.

Additionally, an underwriter may review a property’s value, ensuring it aligns with the loan amount requested.

When underwriting is complete, the home buyer’s mortgage application is marked approved or denied.

Underwriting: A Real World Example

First-Time Home Buyer Stories: Underwriting

Imagine a first-time home buyer applying for a low-downpayment mortgage to purchase a home.

The mortgage lender’s underwriting sequence will include a review of the buyer’s:

  1. Credit report, to ensure the buyer’s FICO score meets minimum standards
  2. Monthly income and debts, to ensure that the program’s debt-to-income maximums are not exceeded
  3. Employment history, to ensure that the buyer’s income is likely to continue

Underwriting may also require an appraisal of the subject property to ensure its value is commensurate with the purchase price, proof of a paid homeowners insurance policy for the upcoming 12 momnths, and a clean title report.

After every checkbox on the underwriting list is satisfied, the lender can issue a clear-to-close, indicating that the home buyer may schedule their closing.

Common Questions About Underwriting

What does an underwriter look for in a mortgage application?

An underwriter evaluates the home buyer’s credit history, income stability, debt ratios, and the property’s value, focusing on the buyer’s ability to fulfill loan obligations.

How does a home buyer’s credit score affect underwriting?

A home buyer’s credit score is crucial in underwriting, indicating their past credit management and repayment behavior. Higher scores typically result in better loan terms and more borrowing options.

Can underwriting result in loan rejection?

Yes, underwriting can lead to loan rejection if the buyer fails to meet the lender’s criteria or if there are significant issues with the property’s value or condition.

How can applicants prepare for the underwriting process?

Applicants can prepare by ensuring their credit history is accurate, managing debts, and having all required documents organized and available.

Does the underwriting process differ for different types of mortgages?

Yes, the underwriting process can vary for different mortgage types, like conventional, FHA, or VA loans, each having its own requirements and guidelines.

       Underwriting is the process by which a mortgage lender evaluates a home buyer's mortgage application and determines whether the mortgage should be approved.

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