Loan Servicing Companies

What happens when you suddenly get a notice to pay your mortgage to a company you may have never heard of? How do you determine if this is a legitimate request or a scam?

A borrower may get a written notice or an email that their mortgage has been sold to another entity or that a new loan servicing company will now be collecting the mortgage payments. The borrower needs to exercise extreme caution before just sending in a payment to the new company. It is prudent to double-check to see if the communication is legitimate because many people get scammed by this type of notice.

Borrowers must receive a letter in the mail from the original lender notifying them of the change before getting any communication from the new company. If there was not a letter from the original lender, it is probably a scam.

How To Verify A Legitimate Request With The Original Lender

It is important to be 100% certain that communications are with the lender. DO NOT respond to any notice received by email by clicking on any link in the email, even if the email looks legitimate.

Fraudsters on the Internet use a technique called “phishing” to trick people into thinking they are getting a request from a legitimate company when the email comes from a criminal. These emails are very convincing. They look exactly like the real company; however, they are fake.

Borrowers who want to communicate with their lender online should type in their lender’s website address and make contact through the company’s official website. 

Better yet, call the customer service number listed on the company’s official website and talk directly to a customer service person to verify that the request is legitimate. They will ask you for identification information and then be able to tell you your loan status.

What Is Loan Servicing? Can A Lender Sell My Loan?

Companies may choose to have the collection of the loan payment done by a third-party vendor. Usually, in any loan, there is a provision that allows the lender to sell it to another party or to change loan servicing companies. These legal rights are normally in the part of the loan document called the “Mortgage Servicing Disclosure.”

This legal right is usually held only by the lender and the borrower has no option but to comply with a legitimate request. Since almost all lenders sell off their loans to other companies or investors, so that they can get more money to loan out, the chance of a new mortgage loan selling is extremely high.

Troubles With Loan Servicing

Many make a smooth transition from one loan servicing provider to a new one by simply following the instructions. Others have troubles. Besides actual fraud by fake companies, there may be problems with real companies if the information in the records is not accurate. The date of a loan transfer may cause an overpayment or a late payment.

Any time there is confusion about a mortgage loan servicing transfer, it is best to be proactive and stay in touch with the original lender for guidance in connecting with the new loan servicer.

Lenders sell their loans all the time. Loan servicing companies change frequently as well. These can be a simple legitimate transfer of the business process from one company to another. However, this is an area that is ripe for scammers to trick people and for bad companies to take advantage of their customers through loan servicing fraud techniques. Be aware of this problem and take care to avoid any negative consequences of loan servicing fraud.

Remember that two of your best partnerships in real estate will be with your licensed real estate agent and your trusted home mortgage professional. Be sure to rely on them if you have questions or concerns about your property.

Navigating Mortgages as a Self-Employed Professional: A Guide to Non-QM Lending

For self-employed professionals, the mortgage process can feel like passing through a maze, fraught with challenges and uncertainties. Traditional lending standards often favor individuals with stable, predictable incomes, leaving entrepreneurs and freelancers in a precarious position. However, there’s a solution gaining traction in the mortgage industry: Non-Qualified Mortgages (Non-QM). We’ll explore how self-employed individuals can successfully navigate the mortgage landscape, leveraging non-QM lending to their advantage.

Understanding Non-QM Lending

Non-qualified mortgages represent an alternative to the stringent criteria of Qualified Mortgages (QM). While QM loans adhere to strict guidelines set forth by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Non-QM loans offer more flexibility in underwriting criteria. This flexibility is particularly beneficial for self-employed professionals whose income may fluctuate or not fit neatly into traditional documentation standards.

Documenting Income

For self-employed individuals, documenting income is often the biggest hurdle when applying for a mortgage. Unlike salaried workers who can provide W-2 forms, entrepreneurs must demonstrate their income through other means. Here are some key documents that can help verify self-employment income:

Tax Returns: Lenders typically request two years of personal and business tax returns. This provides a comprehensive overview of your income and expenses over time.

Profit and Loss Statements: These documents offer a snapshot of your business’s financial performance. They should align with the information presented in your tax returns.

Bank Statements: Providing bank statements can corroborate the income and expenses reported in your tax returns and profit/loss statements.

1099 Forms: If you receive income from clients or contracts, 1099 forms can serve as additional evidence of your earnings.

Managing Tax Considerations

While maximizing deductions can reduce taxable income, it can also diminish the apparent income lenders use to evaluate mortgage applications. Self-employed individuals often face a delicate balancing act between minimizing taxes and showcasing enough income to qualify for a mortgage. Here are some strategies to consider

Stabilize Income: Lenders prefer consistent income streams. If your income fluctuates, consider strategies to stabilize it, such as diversifying revenue streams or securing long-term contracts.

Minimize Deductions: While deductions are essential for reducing tax liability, excessive write-offs can lower your qualifying income for a mortgage. Work with a tax professional to optimize deductions while maintaining a healthy income profile.

Delayed Write-Offs: Consider delaying certain deductions in the years leading up to a mortgage application. This can temporarily inflate your income, improving your chances of mortgage approval.

Creditworthiness: In addition to income, lenders consider credit history when evaluating mortgage applications. Maintain a strong credit profile by managing debts responsibly and addressing any negative marks on your credit report.

Embracing Non-QM Lending

Non-QM loans offer a lifeline to self-employed professionals who struggle to meet the stringent requirements of traditional mortgages. These loans take a more holistic approach to underwriting, considering factors beyond strict income documentation. While interest rates may be slightly higher, Non-QM loans provide the flexibility and accessibility that many self-employed individuals need to achieve homeownership.

Securing a mortgage as a self-employed professional presents unique challenges, but it’s far from impossible. By understanding the nuances of non-QM lending and taking proactive steps to document income and manage tax considerations, entrepreneurs can increase their chances of mortgage approval. Remember, each lender may have different criteria and preferences, so it’s essential to shop around and find the right fit for your financial situation. With diligence and strategic planning, homeownership can be within reach for self-employed individuals navigating the complex world of mortgages.

Millennials and the Pursuit of Homeownership

With rapid technological advancements and shifting societal norms, millennials find themselves facing a unique set of challenges and opportunities when it comes to securing a mortgage. The journey toward homeownership for this generation is a multifaceted one, influenced by factors ranging from soaring student loan debt to evolving housing preferences.

The Student Loan Conundrum: One of the primary obstacles that millennials face when considering homeownership is the burden of student loan debt. With the rising cost of education, many find themselves struggling with substantial loan balances, which can impact their ability to qualify for a mortgage. Lenders typically assess debt-to-income ratios and high levels of student loan debt can tip the scales unfavorably. However, there are programs and strategies available to help manage this challenge, such as income-driven repayment plans and loan forgiveness options.

Changing Housing Preferences: Millennials are rewriting the script when it comes to what they desire in a home. Unlike previous generations, many millennials prioritize experiences over possessions and seek homes that align with their values and lifestyles. The demand for urban living, sustainable features, and smart home technology is on the rise. As a result, the real estate market is adapting to accommodate these shifting preferences, offering diverse options that cater to the unique tastes of millennial homebuyers.

Rising Housing Costs: The dream of homeownership is further complicated by the increasing cost of housing in many regions. Inflated real estate prices, coupled with the financial aftermath of the 2008 recession, have made it challenging for millennials to save for a down payment. Creative solutions, such as shared equity arrangements and government assistance programs, are emerging to address this issue and provide a helping hand to aspiring millennial homeowners.

The Gig Economy and Employment Trends: The gig economy, characterized by freelance work and short-term contracts, is a defining feature of the millennial workforce. While providing flexibility, it can also introduce uncertainty when it comes to mortgage eligibility. Traditional income verification methods may not capture the varied income streams of gig workers, making it essential for lenders to adapt their approaches. Likewise, millennials must be proactive in demonstrating their financial stability and reliability to lenders.

Technology as an Enabler: On the flip side, millennials are uniquely positioned to leverage technology to their advantage in the home buying process. From online mortgage comparison tools to virtual home tours, technology streamlines the journey to homeownership. Additionally, fintech innovations are emerging to address specific millennial challenges, such as crowdfunding platforms for down payments and digital mortgage application processes.

As millennials embark on the path to homeownership, they encounter a landscape shaped by a confluence of economic, social, and technological forces. While challenges like student loan debt and changing housing preferences loom large, opportunities abound through creative financing solutions, evolving real estate options, and the power of technology. Navigating the mortgage maze requires adaptability, financial literacy, and a proactive approach. By understanding and addressing these challenges head-on, millennials can turn the dream of homeownership into a tangible reality.