Subprime Mortgage Crisis
Although the crisis is not acute in Missouri, for sale signs are popping up everywhere. Housing sales are off about five percent in Columbia.
However, the problem could be worse. While foreclosure rates are up in Mid-Missouri, they don't come close to the national average. When people in California or Florida complain about their loss of equity or value in their house, most area homeowners do not have that problem.
"They have an over supply and it is very difficult to sell property in South Florida right now," said Carol Van Gorp, CEO of the Columbia Board of Realtors. "Here in Columbia, we never had that huge rise in prices, and we're not going to have a huge fall either."
The biggest problem for some is their credit report. The national subprime crisis is forcing banks and lenders to tighten up mortgage loan requirements. Even if you have all of your paperwork in order, a bad credit score can still mean no home.
"Regardless of the fact that I have had a steady job for five years, a steady income the entire time, can show pay stubs showing a good income every month for five years, but it's just the credit score," said first-time home buyer Nick Weston.
This shows just how important credit scores are.
"Credit scores drive the economy," said loan officer Kyle Turner. "Buying a house, buying a car, anything you want to do. Some jobs, you want to apply for a job, they check your credit."
Lenders look at many things before you qualify for a subprime loan or otherwise known as a non-conforming loan. Your loan to value ratio is figured by the ratio of the loan you want compared with how much your house is worth.
Even if your income is high and you want a loan for more than $417,000 you are in the subprime category.
It also may be difficult to verify your credit score if you are self employed. If your credit score is lower than 640, you may be in trouble.
A growing group of people who rely on subprime loans are recent college graduates, many who are loaded down with student loans.
"Student loans has been the biggest thing that's gotten me," said Weston, "Just in the fact that I've got like $20,000 in loans against me right now."
Home buyer Emilie Meyers said, "When I look at my credit, it's all messed up from school. I've got all these schools on there that were reporting negative this, negative that."
Mortgage brokers said repairing your credit is key before deciding to buy a home.
"Spend some time, get a copy of your credit report, look through that report to make sure that everything that is on there you agree with," said loan officer Chris Sanders. "If there are late payments or debts that are not yours, make sure that you dispute them and get your credit aligned to possibly buy a home down the road."
If you want a better loan as a first time buyer or to refinance, review your financial situation with a loan officer before late payments on your bills get out of hand. A broker can share many options and lead you down the right path to home ownership. Also, keep your credit card bill about 35 percent below your limit.