Knowing the mortgage requirements in NJ allows applicants to be prepared for the different types of mortgage loans.
In this blog we will explain the necessary requirements to request a mortgage loan and specially one from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), because the latter is usually the “easiest” loan to qualify for. If after reviewing the article you require legal assistance, book a consultation with our experienced NJ real estate attorney.
What Do I Need To Qualify For A Mortgage In New Jersey?
To qualify for a mortgage in New Jersey, most lenders require an applicant to have a debt-to-income (DTI) ratio of 41% or less with new mortgage payments included. Certain lenders may approve credit for a DTI of 45% or less.
If applicants have lost their job before the mortgage closing, their application may be delayed or worse, their mortgage loan may be denied at closing. Check our articles related to these topics to obtain complementary information about the requirements to apply for a mortgage in NJ.
2023 Checklist Of Requirements To Successfully Apply For A NJ Mortgage
The list of requirements or documentation necessary to apply for a mortgage loan may vary as they depend on the type of loan and other factors. However, some of the requirements needed to apply for a mortgage in NJ are the following:
- Bank statements for the last few months of the borrower. In case more than one individual is named on the loan, each must provide bank documents.
- Tax returns for the last year. These documents must be sent directly to the mortgage company from the IRS. Typically, the homebuyer completes IRS Form 4506-T (Request for Tax Return Transcript) to make this happen.
- All recent pay stubs showing year-to-date earnings.
- The name and contact information of the borrower’s employer. Previous employers may also be required.
- The most recent statements of any outstanding loans or lines of credit.
- If applicable, marriage licenses, child support documentation, bankruptcies, judgments, or divorce settlements should also be added.
- In certain cases, New Jersey mortgage applicants are required to provide explanations for recent credit inquiries.
- If receiving gift money from a third party (commonly gift letters), loan applicants should request a letter from the donor stating that no reimbursement is expected.
These are some of the most requested mortgage documents in New Jersey. However, applicants may be required to provide additional documents. This varies depending on the specific circumstances of the real estate loan and transaction.
Letters Of Explanation
When a mortgage loan enters the underwriting stage, the underwriter may ask the applicant for some additional documents. Letters of explanation are very common requests during this stage of the process.
During this stage, the underwriter or underwriting department needs additional clarification from the applicant regarding their financial nature.
For example, the insurer might require an explanation for a large deposit or withdrawal from the borrower’s bank account.
FHA Loan Requirements In New Jersey
Homebuyers in New Jersey who need a small down payment or do not have a low credit score may be able to purchase a home through an FHA loan.
Down payment requirements for an FHA loan are the same in every state. Therefore, the minimum requirement for an FHA loan is 3.5% of the purchase price. The requirements for the applicants are the following:
- 3.5% down payment or 10% if credit score is below 580 points.
- Employment history for the last 2 years. Certain exceptions are allowed for some cases.
- Documentation of your income for the last 2 years.
- Minimum 500- point FICO score requirement (although down payment may vary).
- A Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) for each FHA loan.
- Maximum debt to income ratio of 43% with certain exceptions up to 56%.
- The house must be your primary residence.
- Must not have bankruptcies or foreclosures in the last 2 years.
New Jersey FHA Loan Benefits
Among the benefits of an FHA loan compared to a conventional loan we find the following:
- Allows for higher debt-to-income ratios.
- Allows co-signers.
- FHA loans are assumable.
- Allows lower credit scores.
- Seller closing cost contributions are allowed.
- Gift funds are allowed.
- The down payment requirement is lower.
FHA Loan Limits In New Jersey
The FHA sets limits on the maximum loan amount they are willing to guarantee. These are aptly known as “loan limits” by the FHA. Typically for home buyers, the single-family loan limit applies. This one in New Jersey can range from $275,000 to $640,000.
It is important to keep these limits in mind as they can change from year to year, due to the increase in the value of the home. Therefore, it is advisable to consult the updated information on this.
FHA Loan Preapproval Process In New Jersey
FHA loans have an optimal process that applicants must follow to get pre-approved. Such steps to follow are:
- Make sure you have a minimum down payment needed to qualify.
- Check the credit and try to clean up anything that is lowering the score.
- Obtain a copy of the tax returns for the last 2 years.
- Get copies of pay stubs from the last month.
- Get copies of bank statements for the last 2 months.
- Talk to the FHA lender about the loan.
What Are The Four Things You Need To Qualify For A Mortgage?
Whether you’re a first time homebuyer in New Jersey or re-entering the housing market, qualifying for a home loan can be intimidating. Standards may differ from lender to lender, but there are four basic things a lender looks at to determine if you can get a loan.
This is known as the four C’s (capacity, capital, collateral and credit). This refers to the capacity, capital, guarantee and credit that the loan applicant has. Next, we will analyze this in more details:
Capacity to Pay Back the Loan
Lenders look at applicants’ income, employment history, savings and monthly debt payments, and other financial obligations. This is done in order to ensure that applicants have the means to assume the mortgage.
One of the ways lenders verify income is by looking at multiple years of your tax returns and W-2 forms, along with current pay stubs. These assess applicants’ income based on:
- The length of time you have been receiving the income and whether it has been stable.
- Amount of time your income is expected to continue in the future.
- The source and type of income earned. For example, if you have a salary, commission or are self-employed.
If you are self-employed, you might be interested in reading our article on self-employed mortgages.
Lenders should also look at recurring monthly debts or liabilities, such as:
- Car payments.
- Student loans.
- Child support.
- Credit card payments.
- Other debts that are required to be paid.
Lenders will consider money, savings, investments, property and other assets that they could access more quickly in exchange for cash. Having money saved or in investments can be easily converted into cash. This is known as cash reserves.
Cash reserves may include:
- Money market funds.
- Other investments that can be converted to cash, such as Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), Certificates of Deposit (CDs), bonds, 401(k) accounts or stocks.
Other Sources Of Capital Accepted
Along with cash reserves, other acceptable sources of capital may include the following:
- Assistance programs for the closing costs of a house in NJ or the down payment.
- Matching funds or grant programs.
- Sweat equity.
- Family gifts.
When applying for a mortgage, the lender may need to verify the source of any large deposits in the applicant’s bank account. This is to ensure that the fonts come from an allowed source. That is, the money was obtained legally.
Lenders can also view checking and savings account statements for the past few months. Also the applicant’s money market or investment accounts to accurately assess how much equity they have.
Lenders take into account the value of the applicant’s property and other possessions that are pledged as collateral against the loan.
In the case of a mortgage loan, the collateral is the house that the loan applicant is buying. If you don’t pay the mortgage, the mortgage company could take action for possession of the home. This is known as a foreclosure .
To determine the fair value of the home, during the process of buying a home in New Jersey, the lender orders a home appraisal.
Lenders check an applicant’s credit score and credit history to assess payment of bills and other debts paid on time.
- Most mortgages have minimum credit score requirements.
- In addition, the credit score can consider the interest rate the borrower will get and how much they need for a down payment.
It is recommended that renters or individuals who do not have plans to buy a home at the time, know your credit score in advance to learn the ways in which you can improve your credit health.
Our real estate lawyer is also a landlord tenant lawyer in NJ ready to help you with all kinds of real estate matters.
What Credit Score Is Needed To Buy A House In NJ?
In general, to buy a house with a conventional loan, a minimum score of 620 points is needed. However, for FHA loans, a home can be purchased for as little as 580 points.
What Is The Minimum Requirement For A Mortgage?
The minimum requirements to apply for a NJ mortgage vary depending on the mortgage, but in general, the absolute minimum that can be accepted for a mortgage loan is 500 points. However, most programs and financial institutions will require 620 points or higher.
FHA Loan FAQs
Generally, you must wait 2 years before applying for an FHA loan after bankruptcy. However, there are some exceptions that may allow the applicant to apply earlier.
FHA lenders allow gift funds to cover down payment and closing costs. However, the gift funds must come from a relative or close friend previously approved by the lender. In addition, the donor must provide the lender with a signed gift letter.
The FHA requires a New Jersey home inspection and appraisal before the loan can be approved. The FHA inspection has guidelines on what needs to be repaired in the home before the loan is closed. This is done to ensure that homebuyers move into a safe house.
FHA loans are for primary residences only. Therefore, if the goal is to purchase an investment property, FHA-insured financing cannot be used.
Why Do I Need Curbelo Law’s Help To Apply For A Loan In New Jersey?
Now that you know more about the requirements to apply for a mortgage in NJ, you should surround yourself with professionals in the real estate practice area. Curbelo Law has been helping individuals in New Jersey obtain a home loan for over 10 years. Our real estate experts have been able to help hundreds of applicants obtain a mortgage in the most complex scenarios.
The firm makes knows well the things to avoid after applying for a mortgage in NJ and the things that really work, consequently being able to apply the best personalized legal advice of each client.
You can contact the firm by phone, email, or by scheduling an appointment at one of the offices located in Ridgewood and Newark, New Jersey.