Mortgage lender Fannie Mae has just made significant rule changes that should make it easier for former students with costly student loan debts to purchase their first home or do a “cash-out” refinancing to pay off debt.
These new policies could be game changers for a large number of consumers. Approximately 43 million Americans are carrying student loan debt, totaling $1.4 trillion nationwide. Costly student loan debt not only impedes on borrowers’ ability to save money for a down payment, but it is also a key reason why so many young, potential home buyers remain renters or are living with their parents.
Below are three big changes that Fannie Mae has made that could affect you:
- If you’re one of the 5 million borrowers who participate in federal-reduced payment plans on your student loan, your actual monthly payments, as reported to the credit bureaus, will count toward your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio calculations. For example, if your payments were originally supposed to be $500 a month but you have had them reduced to $100 through an income-based repayment plan, only the $100 will be added to your monthly debts for DTI purposes. Previously, lenders were required to factor in one percent of your student loan balance as your monthly payment on the student loan, even though you were actually paying a fraction of that.
- For an estimated 8.5 million American homeowners who are still carrying student debt, Fannie Mae has lowered the costs of a “cash out” refinancing, provided the extra cash you pull out from your equity is used to retire your student debt. Among the potential beneficiaries: parents participating in “parent plus” programs that help pay off their kids’ student loan debts, and parents who have co-signed for their children’s student loans. Fannie is eliminating the usual extra fee it charges for cash-outs, as long as the funds that borrowers withdraw pay off student loan debts.
- If you have nonmortgage debts that are being paid for by someone else such as your parents, these will no longer be included in your DTI computation, provided the payments have been made steadily for 12 months. This should improve the DTI ratios of young buyers who are still getting a little help from their parents.
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For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available. Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.