Qualify for Home Equity Financing
Lenders use several criteria to qualify you for a home equity
line or loan. The most important criteria include:
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The Market Value of Your Home
Lenders will not extend an equity line or loan amount that exceeds the value of your home
Since a home equity is secured in 2nd position by the value of your home, lenders will use your home value to determine how much loan amount that you qualify for.
That is why lenders complete a home market valuation or a home appraisal before they qualify any home equity amount. The appraisal must be comparable with similar homes in the surrounding neighborhood.
Most lenders qualify equity line amounts using a Long-to-Value (LTV) calculation
Which means that they will underwrite a loan at the LTV percentage of the appraised or market value of the home minus any amount that you still owe on your first mortgage and/or 2nd and 3rd mortgages.
This is calculated by taking:
(times) % LTV
(minus) Mortgage Balance
The LTV rule protects the bank in the event of non-payment or market declines. The lower the LTV percentage, the less risk that bank will have to take translating into best rate and terms.
That is why the value of your home is an important component lenders use to qualify you for a loan amount
We have more information about market values and LTV:
Your Credit Rating
Your credit report is used by banks and other lending institutions to determine your credit worthiness.
The report lists any payment delinquencies that you may have had over the past three years.
While information regarding your credit habits for the last three years appears on your credit report, no adverse credit information, with the exception for bankruptcy, may be kept on file for more than seven years.
The report can be a factor in a lending institution's decision to approve or decline your home equity application.
You should review your credit report for any errors before applying for a equity line: see checking credit report
Lending institutions review the following information from your credit report to determine your creditworthiness:
your current outstanding debt
places and number of times you've applied for credit
the kind of credit you have taken out in the past
over extension of your credit lines
You need a credit history of at least one year to ensure a good credit report.
A credit score determines the rate the lender may charge you. The credit score estimates your ability to repay a loan as evidenced by your credit history.
Lenders will sometimes give you a better rate based on a good credit report.
Further, a lending institution is less likely to be concerned over an occasional late payment if you have a good credit report rather than a fair credit report.
Establishing a good credit report can payoff in lower rates and better loan management.
For more information: link to our affiliated credit module for credit report information, repair, and management:
Your Capacity to Repay (Income Ratios)
Your capacity to repay the home equity is an important factor for lending institutions to qualify an applicant for financing.
If capacity ratios are too high, you will need to change one of the following parameters in order to qualify for equity financing:
- reduce your borrowed amount
- increase your LTV position
- increase your income
- pay off outstanding debts
Lenders use two debt ratios
1: The "housing ratio":
calculated by dividing monthly housing expenses by your gross monthly income. As a basic rule, the housing ratio should not exceed 28%.
What are your monthly housing expenses:
- current mortgage loan payment on your home including interest and principal
- real estate taxes
- hazardous insurance
- private Mortgage Insurance, if any
- other mortgage related insurance
- homeowner's association dues
- ground keeping fees
- property leases
- other special assessments and financing
Monthly Income includes the following:
- gross employment income
- overtime bonuses and commissions
- net self employment income
- alimony, child support and income from public assistance
- social security, retirement, and VA benefits
- workman's compensation or permanent disability payments
- interest and dividend income
- income from trust, partnerships, etc.
- net rental income
Your capacity to repay the loan is contingent on your employment and other income sources.
Lenders like to see home equity applicants in steady jobs with verifiable income.
Lenders will likely call your employer to verify your employment position and salary/wages. Any discrepancy in your reported employment and income may raise additional questions that can disqualify you for a loan.
Self-employed individuals will require additional documents to ensure lenders that the applicant has steady income
These documents will include your personal tax filings and other information as required.
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