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Mike and Jill Kohler


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The top reason mortgage applicants nationwide get rejected is because they’re carrying too much debt relative to their monthly incomes. Fannie Mae will be raising its DTI ceiling from the current 45 percent to 50 percent as of July 29. (iStock)

It’s the No. 1 reason that mortgage applicants nationwide get rejected: They’re carrying too much debt relative to their monthly incomes. It’s especially a deal-killer for millennials early in their careers who have to stretch every month to pay the rent and other bills.

But here’s some good news: The country’s largest source of mortgage money, Fannie Mae, soon plans to ease its debt-to-income (DTI) requirements, potentially opening the door to home-purchase mortgages for large numbers of new buyers. Fannie will be raising its DTI ceiling from the current 45 percent to 50 percent as of July 29.

DTI is essentially a ratio that compares your gross monthly income with your monthly payment on all debt accounts — credit cards, auto loans, student loans, etc., plus the projected payments on the new mortgage you are seeking. If you’ve got $7,000 in household monthly income and $3,000 in monthly debt payments, your DTI is 43 percent. If you’ve got the same income but $4,000 in debt payments, your DTI is 57 percent.
[For every eight applicants who seek a mortgage, one is rejected]

In the mortgage arena, the lower your DTI ratio, the better. The federal “qualified mortgage” rule sets the safe maximum at 43 percent, though Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration all have exemptions allowing them to buy or insure loans with higher ratios.

Studies by the Federal Reserve and FICO, the credit-scoring company, have documented that high DTIs doom more mortgage applications — and are viewed more critically by lenders — than any other factor. And for good reason: If you are loaded down with monthly debts, you’re at a higher statistical risk of falling behind on your mortgage payments.

Using data spanning nearly a decade and a half, Fannie’s researchers analyzed borrowers with DTIs in the 45 percent to 50 percent range and found that a significant number of them actually have good credit and are not prone to default.

[First-time home buyers already burdened by debt often need help to qualify for mortgages]
“We feel very comfortable” with the increased DTI ceiling, Steve Holden, Fannie’s vice president of single family analytics, told me in an interview. “What we’re seeing is that a lot of borrowers have other factors” in their credit profiles that reduce the risks associated with slightly higher DTIs. They make significant down payments, for example, or they’ve got reserves of 12 months or more set aside to handle a financial emergency without missing a mortgage payment. As a result, analysts concluded that there’s some room to treat these applicants differently than before.

Lenders are welcoming the change. “It’s a big deal,” says Joe Petrowsky, owner of Right Trac Financial Group in the Hartford, Conn., area. “There are so many clients that end up above the 45 percent debt ratio threshold” who get rejected, he said. Now they’ve got a shot.

That doesn’t mean everybody with a DTI higher than 45 percent is going to get approved under the new policy. As an applicant, you’ll still need to be vetted by Fannie’s automated underwriting system, which examines the totality of your application, including the down payment, your income, credit scores, loan-to-value ratio and a slew of other indexes. The system weighs the good and the not-so-good in your application, and then decides whether you meet the company’s standards.

Fannie’s change may be most important to home buyers whose DTIs now limit them to just one option in the marketplace: an FHA loan. FHA traditionally has been generous when it comes to debt burdens: It allows DTIs well in excess of 50 percent for some borrowers.

But FHA has a major drawback, in Petrowsky’s view. It requires most borrowers to keep paying mortgage insurance premiums for the life of the loan — long after any real risk of financial loss to FHA has disappeared. Fannie Mae, on the other hand, uses private mortgage insurance on its low-down-payment loans, the premiums on which are canceled automatically when the principal balance drops to 78 percent of the original property value. Freddie Mac, another major player in the market, also uses private mortgage insurance and sometimes will accept loan applications with DTIs above 45 percent.

The big downside with both Fannie and Freddie: Their credit-score requirements tend to be more restrictive than FHA’s. So if you have a FICO score in the mid-600s and high debt burdens, FHA may still be your main mortgage option, even with Fannie’s new, friendlier approach on DTI.

Source: By Kenneth R. Harney, The Washington Post

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What my clients are saying  

PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO READ OUR REVIEWS BELOW FROM OUR SATISFIED BUCKS COUNTY, PA REAL ESTATE AND MORTGAGE CLIENTS!

 

~ 2017

Michael is very genuine & honest . He goes the extra mile & always has your best interest in mind . If i have any additional lending or Realtor needs , Michael will be my first choice !

 

~ M. Jones, Morrisville Pa

Jill was very knowledgeable and helpful during my first home buying. She answered any questions or concerns I had. She was able to walk me through the process from beginning to end and he never rushed or pressured me to make a decision on the house. I would highly recommend using Jill as a real estate agent

 

~ Denise L, Bensalem Pa

Jill Kohler is remarkable. Not only did she do her job she went above and beyond to help us with refinancing our home and that in itself was a huge project. Unlike many others she stuck with us and helped us every step of the way to refinance our home. SHE IS DEFINITELY TOP NOTCH IN OUR BOOK! We really can't thank her and her associates enough

 

~ Jen Biddle, Levittown Pa

Mike assisted me with financing the purchase of a condo. From beginning to end he was very responsive to my needs, extremely knowledgeable and helpful about the real estate market and just a pleasure to work with in general. He anticipated and communicated each step in the process of mortgage financing and made it easy for me to understand and qualify for a mortgage. I would work with him again in a heart beat and strongly recommend them to anyone shopping for real estate or a mortgage. Thanks Mike!

 

~ Bob M, Yardley Pa

Jill is a great person to work with. We refinanced our mortgage and Jill was very persistent on getting everything done. The entire process took about 5 weeks from beginning to end. She knows her stuff and answered any questions we had. I would highly recommend working with her.

 

~ Dawn S, Fairless Hills, Pa

Jill was awesome to work with. She told us what we needed up front things went as smooth as possible. Jill would always keep us in the loop never a guessing game. Thank you so much.

 

~ Frank B, Langhorne Pa

Mike and Jill Kohler are the ultimate professionals in the real estate world. Mike and Jill guided us through the entire home-buying process from beginning our search, to understanding our price range (based on credit and income), to finding houses for us, to scheduling walk-throughs and taking us to the houses (sometimes 6 or 7 in a night), to evaluating the properties (to ensure it is worth what they were asking), to making the offer, to finding the best mortgage rate and walking us through the mounds of paperwork, and helping us through all the inspections and requirements that lead to settlement. Buying a house is not an easy process and Mike and Jill Kohler made it as simple and pain-free as anybody could and we could not have asked for a better team!!

 

~ Jim & Wendy, Bensalem Pa

Mike is a very personable, trustworthy professional. I have worked with him in several capacities over the past 20 years and have appreciated his professionalism, confidence and overall good nature.

 

~ Bill D, Langhorne Pa

I have talk to Mike several time for advise and he was honest and very knowledgeable on my situations. I would recommend him because he walks you through without making you feel confused.

 

~ M Deon, Yardley Pa

I was a first time buyer and Jill made it as easy as can be. It was overwhelming but she guided us through to the best of her abilities. Her honesty was key and made me feel very comfortable. The process of buying a home was all brand new to me and without her guidance I would have been lost. She was very professional and new all about the information I had questions with. I would recommend her to anybody when buying a home.

 

~ Anthony B, Levittown Pa

I have worked with Mike on several occasions. Both with helping to finance my primary residence, but also to seek advice on refinancing, and the possibility of purchasing other properties. I have always enjoyed working with Mike and he has become a trusted advisor. I highly recommend him!

 

~ John K, Upper Makefield, Pa

The entire process of buying a house, even when you've done your research as I had done, can be unavoidably frustrating and nerve wracking. Jill was there to walk us through every stage, from the agreement of sale, to building inspection, repair requests, to final walk-through, to settlement day. Being a person who does everything in advance, Jill was there to calm me down when I was frustrated by sellers who were, in my eyes, slow to respond. She was continuously an integral part of the process, always pushing the sellers and their agent for the information we needed. Having met 3 other real estate agents in the past, I can say undoubtedly that if you want to find a house that meets your needs, that Jill Kohler is the best person for the job. She's more concerned about your needs as a buyer, than trying to pressure you into buying something you don't quite want.

 

~ Jimmy Mac, Levittown Pa

Jill, I cannot thank you enough for all of your hard work. You listened to what I wanted. We worked out a plan and were able to accomplish my goals. You made the process simplier than I could have imagined. And the communication was amazing. I will definitely refer you to my friends and family. Thank you for everything.

 

~ Wendy W, Langhorne, Pa

Jill was truly a godsend! She helped us sell my elderly in-law's home, which wasn't easy since we live an hour from the property. No task was too big or small to help us sell in a timely manner. Jill had a strong grasp of local real estate markets, and helped us price and market the property quickly. She also kept an eye on the house in our absence, and kept us informed every step of the way. We simply can't recommend Jill more highly!

 

~ S Fiorentino, Langhorne Pa

Jill and her husband helped me through a very tough time selling my mother's home. Being a good real estate agent is a great thing and they both were but it is even better when they really support you through it as well. I would highly recommend them.

 

~ Chris S, Langhorne Pa

We were lucky to find Jill. We had a house floundering on the market (as plenty were at the time) and decided to change realtors. We gave Jill a call. She gave us great advice on staging and even provided us with some of her own things to help with the staging process. She took great photos of our home and we had the house sold a short time later. My husband calls both Jill and Mike with questions about real estate and they are very knowledgeable and always available to us and we really appreciate it! I would recommend Jill Kohler to anyone looking to buy/sell a property.

 

~ Joann O, Levittown Pa

Jill did a great job understanding exactly what I was looking for. She arranged a full day to see numerous properties that met my requirements. We found the perfect property the first day that we started looking.

 

~ Tim K, Yardley Pa

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