Sunday, 28 September 2008

Who is subprime borrower?

What Is a Sub-Prime Mortgage Lender?

March 22, 2004, Revised August 1, 2006, February 26, 2007

"I hear terrible things about subprime mortgage lenders. What are they and how can I avoid them?"
Subprime Lenders Defined

A sub-prime lender is one who lends to borrowers who do not qualify for loans from mainstream lenders. Some are independent, but increasingly they are affiliates of mainstream lenders operating under different names.

Sub-prime lenders seldom if ever identify themselves as such. The only clear giveaway is their prices, which are uniformly higher than those quoted by mainstream lenders. You do want to avoid them if you can qualify for mainstream financing, and I’ll indicate how shortly.

There are lenders who offer both prime and sub-prime loans, and one of them is referred to below. For borrowers who aren't sure where they stand, dealing with a lender who offers both has a distinct advantage. They will try to qualify you for prime and only if that fails will they drop you to subprime. Lenders who are strictly subprime might refer a prime borrower to an affiliated prime lender, but their financial interest dictates otherwise.
Subprime Borrowers Defined

A subprime borrower is one who cannot qualify for prime financing terms but can qualify for subprime financing terms. The failure to qualify for prime financing is due primarily to low credit scores. A very low score will disqualify. A middling score might or might not, depending mainly on the down payment, the ratio of total expense (including debt payments) to income, and ability to document income and assets.

Some other factors can also enter the equation, including purpose of loan and property type. For example, a borrower who is weak on some but not all of the factors indicated in the paragraph above might squeak by if purchasing a 1-family home as a primary residence. But the same borrower purchasing a 4-family home as an investment might not make it.