Why top real estate producers rely on Keith Brown

"Keith Brown is the Fairfax mortgage lender I've counted on for years. His pre-approvals stick, he uses local appraisers, and his loans close on time." Learn more »

Why homebuyers trust Keith Brown

"Keith Brown got us a great rate on the right type of loan. When there was an underwriting issue, he solved it so we closed on time with no surprises." Learn more »

Call Keith at 703-449-6821 or GET STARTED TODAY!

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Mortgage Tips & Traps

Keith Brown is one of the most experienced loan officers in Northern Virginia. He is also one of the most passionate about sharing his knowledge with both the realtors and homebuyers. Please feel free to browse the resources here to learn more about how to get your best mortgage and avoid traps such as late closings, rate changes, and decline loan applications.

But remember, all you really need to know is to call Keith Brown. He will handle everything for you from preapproval through appraisal, processing and settlement. Plus, he'll make that entire process pleasantly efficient and free of unpleasant surprises that can waste you time and cost you unnecessary expense.

Ever since the mortgage melt-down in 2008, lenders have adopted far more conservative underwriting standards. 

This means that it’s tougher to get approved for a loan.  Before you begin the application process, it’s good to look ahead to the challenges you might face and how best to deal with them.  Here’s a “quick start” guide to help you.

Documentation: Make sure you have your most recent paystubs, 2 years W2s, 2 years tax returns and 2 months of actual bank statements (or most recent quarterly statements).  Missing/incomplete documentation can lead to ugly surprises when the documentation is not made available upfront at prequalification.  For a detailed documentation list, click here.

Employment: If you have any gaps in employment longer than 1 month, you’ll need to provide an explanation.  If you’ve had multiple jobs in the past two years, this will also warrant an explanation.  If you work for a family member, be prepared for additional scrutiny.  If you are on maternity/family leave or extended sick leave you may have to show you have returned to work full-time prior to closing on your loan.  

Self-Employment:  The self employment category includes anyone who owns at least 25% or more of a business. As an example, anyone who gets a K1 may be considered self-employed depending upon their ownership interest.  Additionally, if you are an independent contractor who gets a 1099 you are considered self-employed.  Self-employed individuals must have a full two-year history of being self-employed.  Your income will be solely based upon the average of your past two years of tax returns.  If you had a poor year followed by a great year, the income will be averaged over the two years.  If you’ve had a great year but have not yet filed your returns, only the income from the previous two years of filed returns will be used.  Be prepared to document the existence of your business. This often can be done by having an online presence with a website or a phonebook/business listing. 

Income: You’ll need to have your last 30 days of paystubs, 2 years W2 forms and the last two years of tax returns.  Your Federal tax return filings must be current or you must be able to show you have filed an extension.  If you take any unreimbursed expense write-offs (IRS Form 2106) let the Loan Officer know!  Unreimbursed expenses will most likely be deducted from your income which will affect your qualifying.  If you are relying on commission, bonus or overtime income, you’ll have to show a history of these earnings over the past two years with the same employer, and the income will be averaged over the previous 2 years.  If you are paid hourly-wage and your hours vary from pay-period to pay-period, your income will be averaged.  If you have any unusual allotments or garnishments coming out of your pay, be prepared to document what those are for.  If you are using child support or alimony you’ll have to show that it will continue at least three years and you’ll have to document that you’ve been receiving the support payments for the previous 12 months (bank statements, cancelled checks, etc).  As part of your prequalification, always provide your loan officer your most recent tax returns to avoid any surprises. 

Assets: Lenders are very concerned with where the funds are coming from to go to the settlement table at closing.  Any large deposits (over $1,000) that are not payroll-related must be documented so keep copies of any funds you deposit at the bank.  Gift funds may or may not be allowed depending upon the type of financing.  Normally, gifts can come only from an immediate family member.  Also, deposits that are repayments of old loans you made to friends/family members are never looked at favorably.  To make your life easier, do not move funds back and forth between accounts as these transfers will have to be documented.  Funds must be liquid for closing.  If your money is coming from a 401k loan, IRA withdrawal or sale of stock/mutual funds, be prepared to show confirmation of the disbursement along with evidence the funds went into your account.

Property Rental: If you own rental property, be prepared to provide your last two years of tax returns and show that you have a current lease with your tenants.  If you own your current residence and plan to rent it, check on what your residence is worth.  Often, you must have 25% to 30% equity in your current residence before a lease agreement can be used to offset an existing mortgage payment. 

Liabilities/Debts: Whatever your credit report shows regarding credit card balances/payments is what lenders will use to determine if you qualify for a loan. If you have cosigned on loans but you do not pay on them and want the amount excluded, be prepared to show that the other party has been making the payments for the past 12 months (bank statements, cancelled checks).  If you have deferred student loans, you must show exactly for how long they are deferred.  FHA and VA programs allow you to exclude deferred student loans if you can document they are deferred for at least 1 full year after closing; conventional loans require the payments to be counted so you must show what the minimum payment would be.  You may be able to exclude installment loans with less than 10 months remaining. 

Credit: Any outstanding judgments or liens must be paid in full prior to closing.  Collections of $250 or more may have to be paid in full.  For more detailed information on credit, please click this link to go to the Understanding Credit page.

Separated/Divorced: Be prepared to provide your complete separation agreement.  If divorced, provide both the separation agreement and divorce decree.  If you have liabilities that are your ex’s responsibility but show on your credit report, be prepared to have to qualify while carrying these expenses unless the ex is willing to provide documentation showing that he or she has been making the payments for the previous 12 months. 

Permanent/Non-Permanent Resident Aliens:  Non-US citizens must show they have the legal right to reside and work in the United States.  “Green” Cards, H1 & L1 Visas and Work Authorization Permits are all acceptable for mortgage financing.  However, they cannot be expired at time of closing.  Additionally, you typically need to show that you have lived/worked and have established credit in the US for at least two years prior to purchasing.  If you have a G4 Visa and do not file tax returns let your loan officer know!