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5 Chaldean Home Buying Power Tips
By Salam Abbo :: Wednesday, March 14, 2007 :: 12830 Views :: Article Rating :: Business & Finance

Michigan, USA - It is a seller’s market in many Chaldean concentrated states.    While the economy is doing great in states like Illinois, Nevada, Arizona, and California, Michigan’s economy continues to free-fall.  In Michigan the real estate opportunities are far and wide as the buyer market continues to heat up as homes are foreclosed, residents move out of the state, and businesses close.  Chaldeans can seize on the opportunity of depressed Michigan economy by finding and securing an undervalued piece of property. 

There are many advantages of becoming a home owner.  This includes the appreciation, tax benefits, a higher quality lifestyle, a more stable family life, and obviously the investment.

Chaldeans are able to better prepare themselves when planning to purchase a home.  For such occasions consider these 5 Chaldean home buying power tips.

1.  Understand your Debt-to-Income Ratio
When a lending company determines a Chaldeans’ ability to qualify for a mortgage, a lender looks at what is called the "debt-to-income" ratio. A debt-to-income ratio is the percentage of your gross monthly income (before taxes) that you spend on debt. This will include your monthly housing costs, including principal, interest, taxes, insurance, and homeowner’s association fees, college loans, and other forms of debt or recurring expenses. It will also include your monthly consumer debt, including credit cards, installment debt, and car payments.

For example, suppose you earn $5000 a month and you have a car payment of $400. Using an interest rate of 8.0%, you would qualify for approximately $55,000 less than if you did not have the car payment.

In short the debt-to-income ratio affects your buying power.  Your debt to income ratio is a simple way of showing what percentage of your income is available for a mortgage payment after all other debts are met. The ratio is one of the key things a lender considers before approving your home loan.
Conventional loans are sometimes expressed as debt limits like the 28/36 qualifying ratio. Those numbers refer to two percentages that are used to examine two factors of your debt load.

The 28% Number: (PITI)

This number indicates the maximum percentage of your monthly gross income that the lender will allow for housing expenses. The amount will include payments on the loan principal and interest, private mortgage insurance, hazard insurance, property taxes, and homeowner's association dues.

The 36% Number:

This number is for the recurring debt.  This is the maximum percentage of your monthly gross income that the lender will allow for housing expenses.  Recurring debt includes credit card payments, child support, car loans, and other obligations that will not be paid off within a relatively short period of time (6-10 months).

Doing the Math:

Yearly Gross Income = $45,000 / Divided by 12 = $3,750 per month income

$3,750 Monthly Income x .28 = $1,050 allowed for housing expense

$3,750 Monthly Income x .36 = $1,350 allowed for housing expense plus recurring debt.

Chaldeans should keep in mind that not all loans are the same.  For example, the FHA loan ratios are typically 29/41, allowing a higher debt load for both housing expenses and recurring debt.  This translates into FHA allowing $1087 for housing and $1538 for housing plus recurring debt.  For a VA loan, the debt to income ratio should not exceed 41% of your monthly gross income.

2.  No Major Purchase of Any Kind
Even if you feel you can afford a major purchase like a new car, the car payment will impact your ability to purchase a higher valued home.  Remember mortgage companies approve your mortgage based on their guidelines, not yours. Do not get discouraged, however. You should still take the time to get pre-qualified by a lender.

However, if you have not already bought a car, remember one thing. Whenever the thought of buying a car enters your mind, think ahead. Think about buying a home first. Buying a home is a much more important purchase when considering your future financial well being.

3.  Don’t Move Money Around
When a lender reviews your loan package for approval, one of the things they are concerned about is the source of funds for your down payment and closing costs. Most likely, you will be asked to provide statements for the last two or three months on any of your liquid assets. This includes checking accounts, savings accounts, money market funds, certificates of deposit, stock statements, mutual funds, and even your company 401K and retirement accounts.

If you have been moving money between accounts during that time, there may be large deposits and withdrawals in some of them.

The mortgage underwriter (the person who actually approves your loan) will probably require a complete paper trail of all the withdrawals and deposits. You may be required to produce cancelled checks, deposit receipts, and other seemingly inconsequential data, which could get quite tedious.

Perhaps you become exasperated at your lender, but they are only doing their job correctly. To ensure quality control and eliminate potential fraud, it is a requirement on most loans to completely document the source of all funds. Moving your money around, even if you are consolidating your funds to make it "easier," could make it more difficult for the lender to properly document.

So leave your money where it is until you talk to a loan officer.

Oh…don’t change banks, either.

4.  Changing Jobs May Affect Home Buying Power
For most people, changing employers will not really affect your ability to qualify for a mortgage loan. For some homebuyers, however, the effects of changing jobs can be disastrous to your loan application.

Salaried Employees
If you are a salaried employee who does not earn additional income from commissions, bonuses, or over-time, switching employers should not create a problem. Just make sure to remain in the same line of work.  Hopefully, you will be earning a higher salary, which will help you better qualify for a mortgage.

Hourly Employees
If your income is based on hourly wages and you work a straight forty hours a week without over-time, changing jobs should not create any problems.

Commissioned Employees
If a substantial portion of your income is derived from commissions, you should not change jobs before buying a home. This has to do with how mortgage lenders calculate your income. They average your commissions over the last two years.

Changing employers creates an uncertainty about your future earnings from commissions. There is no track record from which to produce an average. Even if you are selling the same type of product with essentially the same commission structure, the underwriter cannot be certain that past earnings will accurately reflect future earnings.

Changing jobs would negatively impact your ability to buy a home.

If a substantial portion of your income on the new job will come from bonuses, you may want to consider delaying an employment change. Mortgage lenders will rarely consider future bonuses as income unless you have been on the same job for two years and have a track record of receiving those bonuses. Then they will average your bonuses over the last two years in calculating your income.

Changing employers means that you do not have the two-year track record necessary to count bonuses as income.

Part-Time Employees
If you earn an hourly income but rarely work forty hours a week, you should not change jobs. There would be no way to tell how many hours you will work each week on the new job, so no way to accurately calculate your income. If you remain on the old job, the lender can just average your earnings.

Since all employers award overtime hours differently, your overtime income cannot be determined if you change jobs. If you stay on your present job, your lender will give you credit for overtime income. They will determine your overtime earnings over the last two years, then calculate a monthly average.

If you are considering a change to self-employment before buying a new home, don’t do it. Buy the home first.

Lenders like to see a two-year track record of self-employment income when approving a loan. Plus, self-employed individuals tend to include a lot of expenses on the Schedule C of their tax returns, especially in the early years of self-employment. While this minimizes your tax obligation to the IRS, it also minimizes your income to qualify for a home loan.

If you are considering changing your business from a sole proprietorship to a partnership or corporation, you should also delay that until you purchase your new home.

5. Delay Buying a Home in Certain Circumstances
Assuming you have the financial resources and the desire to eventually own your own home, there are very few good reasons to put off the purchase. You can miss out on years of appreciation if you do.

The main thing you want to avoid when buying a home is being put in a position where you will have to sell it too soon. If you have to sell a home before it has appreciated enough to cover the costs and commissions of selling, you could find yourself in a financial bind. This is especially true for those who buy a home with a down payment of ten percent or less.

Real Estate commissions traditionally run around six percent of a home’s sales price. The seller’s closing costs generally come to about one and a half percent. You can see how this can easily exceed the first year’s appreciation. If you made a minimal down payment, you could actually have to come up with cash out of pocket to sell your home.

New to the Area
Chaldeans are becoming more mobile and moving from one state to another.  Especially in Michigan where the economy has become deplorable and with governor Granholm talking about raising taxes the state can expect harsher economic conditions.  

Before moving into a new state you might want to get as much information as possible.  If it is another strongly concentrated Chaldean state you might want to contact the nearby church and speak with members of the parish council to get some insight. 

It makes sense to rent for a number of months before deciding on exactly where you want to live.  Taking out an ad in the church newsletter or contacting a realtor in the area to help identify a rental option before purchasing a new home is always a very smart move.  

Uncertain Job Future
You could be right out of college or expecting a promotion and a transfer. Or your company has announced an impending "restructuring." If any of these apply, it might be best to wait to buy a home. When you have a more accurate picture of what your next few years will be like, that will be the time to buy.

Marital Problems
Real estate agents see a lot of life unfold before their eyes. One of the saddest occurs when former clients divorce and are forced to sell a recently purchased house. It happens all too often when a family in turmoil decides that buying a new home may help resolve their problems. Perhaps it is inevitable that such problems occur, but selling a home before it appreciates can create an additional financial burden in an already difficult situation.



 Salam Abbo is a Century 21 realtor, who has achieved the prestigious 10 million dollar sales club.  The sales club honors realtors who have demonstrated leadership in real estate measured by their sales.  Mr. Abbo lives and works in Michigan with real-estate partnerships in Chicago, Phoenix, and San Diego.  Mr. Abbo has been married for over 25 years and has three college educated children.