Real Estate Reality: Mortgage madness

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- Buying a home any time soon?  Be prepared to come up with a lot of documentation to make sure you qualify.

A few years ago, you didn't have to provide very much information in order to get a home loan, in fact in some cases all you had to do was state your income and boom you got your loan.  But prepare yourself for how financing has changed.

Sharon Nichols and her family love their new home especially since they've been renting for the past ten years.

"We walked in and just fell in love," Sharon said.

But Sharon says getting financing lined up was a hard fought battle.

"It was torture! It was torture! There were plenty of days when I just wanted to cry," she recalled.
A few years ago, homebuyers like Sharon only needed a paystub or two proving income and that were basically it. But ever since the housing market crashed a lot has changed.  Getting financed now takes time and lots of documentation.

“Bank statements, tax returns, years and years worth of tax returns, months and months of bank statements, pay stubs," said Sharon.

Sharon said she had to turn over stacks of paperwork not just once, but sometimes a couple of different times.

"All my bank statements, I had to go through each and every deposit page after page and write it over and over and sign it over and over and over and over again," she stated.

And Sharon says all the information was closely scrutinized.

"Oh DNA!  I was really expecting them to ask for blood samples! I mean seriously the stuff they were requiring made no sense to me!" Sharon proclaimed.

Dean Wegner is a financing specialist here in the Valley, and he says welcome to the new age of home ownership.

"No more easy financing," noted Wegner.
Wegner says homebuyers should gear up for what Sharon went through.

"The biggest thing is the federal changes that have occurred to mortgages, so the government went in a basically said no more stated income, verify everything, they want to know where they down payment comes from, no funny money," Wegner explained.

Wegner says these changes were necessary because so many homebuyers got financed for more than they could afford and it eventually caused the housing market to burst.

"We're gonna audit homeowners association, we're gonna read the appraisals, they're going to look at all the pictures on the appraisals, all the comps, all the tax returns, income, they're gonna verify where you work, the day of closing, they're gonna call to verify if you still work there," Wegner said.

They're even auditing tax returns.

“There is no more fast and easy,” said Wegner.

And no one knows that more than Sharon, who finally made it through the scrutinizing process.

"Be prepared! Be prepared for the worst! Be optimistic hope for the best but be prepared for the worst, be prepared to work for what you want!" Sharon advised.

During the housing boom, a lot of consumers simply got spoiled when taking out a loan or a second mortgage because it was fairly easy, but now lenders are really crunching numbers to make sure you qualify.