People usually apply for a second mortgage or home equity loan when they need money for debt consolidation, to pay large expenses or for home remodeling and home improvement. Second mortgages are generally categorized as fixed interest rate home equity installment loans (HELOANS) and adjustable mortgage rate home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). Which you choose depends on your needs, but the application and approval process is similar for both. These nine tips will help your loan process be as hitch-free as possible:
1. Compare options like mortgage refinancing and other loan options to determine if a second mortgage is the best choice.
2. Make sure you can tell lender what the purpose of the loan is. Your answer will help determine whether or not you are approved.
3. Check your credit report for errors and get your FICO scores (myfico.com/12) because lenders will review your FICO score to determine your loan rates. Check “How to Improve Your Credit Score” for more information on cleaning up your credit.
4. Compare several home equity loan options. Discuss the loan programs with your broker or lender and find the best loan for your situation. Getting a good interest rates isn’t a bad idea either.
5. When applying for a loan, you will get a mortgage checklist from your lender containing the list of paperwork you need to close the loan, including:
• Copy of deed to property.
• Recent tax appraisal.
• Last two years’ W-2’s, tax returns and current pay stub, or two years’ tax returns if self-employed. Be sure to include all schedules.
• Proof of income from alimony, child support, disability payments, lawsuit settlement, inheritance or other income source.
• Copies of your last 3-6 bank statements.
• List of all open credit accounts (account numbers, payment amounts, and balances).
• Your current mortgage statement.
• Homeowners insurance information (name, account number and phone number of agent).
6. Faxing documentation from the checklist will expedite the loan process more than mailing it.
7. Fill out your loan application thoroughly, or it may delay approval and loan closing.
8. Beware of bad loans. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns that you may be signing into trouble if the lender encourages you to falsify your application to get the loan, urges you to borrow more than you need, pushes you into unrealistic payment terms, shows up at closing with a different loan product than you agreed to, asks you to sign blank forms, or denies you copies of documents you signed.
9. Has your mortgage application been rejected by a lender? Ask why it was rejected to find out what you need to do to secure mortgage loan approval in the future. Sometimes paying down some credit cards can increase your credit score just enough to qualify.