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How to Find a Bad Credit Mortgage

A Bad Credit Mortgage Should Not be Held Long Term

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Don't treat a bad credit mortgage as a permanent solution to your financial woes.

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Chances are if your FICO score is under 620, institutional lenders and credit unions will tell you that you can't get a loan because you have bad credit, which is not necessarily true. You probably can get a bad credit mortgage, it's just that these guys -- the banks and credit unions -- don't offer a bad credit mortgage.

People with bad credit get a bad credit mortgage all of the time. But they pay through the nose for it. If you just completed a short sale, you might want to wait 2 years before applying for a mortgage because you'll get a much better rate if you wait. Fannie Mae guidelines say a short sale seller can qualify in 2 years for a loan as long as the seller maintains good credit after the short sale.

Even if you've filed bankruptcy, as long as you keep your credit squeaky clean after the discharge, you can probably qualify for an FHA loan in a couple of years. FHA loans don't necessarily carry credit score minimums, but the lenders who fund the loans do want a minimum FICO score.

Tips for a Bad Credit Mortgage

Make sure you check out the mortgage broker with your state's licensing board and deal only with a reputable company. Do not get a hard-money loan through a loan shark. Following are some tips for taking out a bad credit mortgage:

  • Think of the bad credit mortgage as a temporary solution. Make it short term. This does not mean get a short-term loan, but plan on paying the loan no longer than 2 years before you build up your credit enough to get a decent refinance.

  • Consider an adjustable-rate mortgage. Your interest rate will be high for a fixed-rate amortized loan, much higher than the rates you will find advertised online at websites such as bankrate.com. You will most likely pay higher discount points, too. By getting an adjustable-rate mortgage, you should be able to keep your mortgage payments low enough to be somewhat manageable.

  • Do not agree to a prepayment penalty. A prepayment penalty means you could pay as much as 6 months of additional interest if you pay off the loan early. Since most of your payment is interest and not principal, that's like paying an extra 6 months of payments. Don't do it.

Alternative Options to a Bad Credit Mortgage

Work with a mortgage broker to shop for the best loan available without having to resort to a bad credit mortgage. The first option is to work on repairing your credit.

  • Get a free copy of your credit report. Examine it. If you see a mistake, write to the credit bureaus and ask for a correction.

  • Ask your mortgage broker about submitting you for a rapid rescore. Your mortgage broker can help you to repair your credit or refer you to a reputable credit repair company. Then a rapid rescore through your mortgage broker might considerably increase your FICO score in a relatively short period of time. Rapid rescore is a mortgage industry secret tactic.

  • Consider a co-signer. For example, FHA guidelines will allow a co-signer on your loan. Maybe your parents or another relative could co-sign for you and you could avoid a bad credit mortgage.

At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, DRE # 00697006, is a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.

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