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SONYMA Mortgages Definitions

Funds that can be verified as the borrower’s own, the source of which can be: (a) monies from borrower’s checking or savings account, or other similar time deposit account, which have been on deposit in the account for at least 2 months prior to loan application, (b) cash up to $1,000, (c) cash deposit towards property purchase, and (d) the market value of the lot owned by borrower, exclusive of any liens, on which the SONYMA financed home was or will be constructed, or the purchase price of the lot if it was purchased in the past 2 years, whichever is less. Other sources may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Closing Costs
Expenses (over and above the price of the property) incurred by buyers and sellers in transferring ownership of a property. Closing costs normally include, but are not limited to, fees charged by lenders, attorney fees, taxes, insurance premiums (e.g. flood insurance, hazard insurance, PMI), escrow charges, title insurance costs and survey costs. Lenders or realtors can often provide estimates of closing costs to prospective home buyers.

Down payment
The part of the purchase price of a property that the buyer pays in cash and does not finance with a mortgage.

Existing Housing
A property that has been previously occupied as a residence.

First-Time Home Buyer
A person who (i) has not had any ownership interest in his/her primary residence at any time during the three years prior to the date of making an application for a SONYMA mortgage loan; and, (ii) at the time of making the loan application to SONYMA, does not own a vacation or investment home. This definition includes residences owned in the United States and abroad.

Home Buyer Education
A course given by a SONYMA approved organization (usually a PMI company) in which participants learn budgeting techniques relevant to home owners. This is required for all loans with LTVs over 95% or down payments less than 5%. It is also required for all applicants applying for the Achieving The Dream and Remodel New York Programs.

Household Income
The total combined income of all persons who are age 18 or older and who are expected to live in the SONYMA financed property regardless of whether they have signed or will sign the mortgage application.

Housing Expense
The monthly costs associated with a mortgage loan, specifically: Principal, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance (PITI). Monthly costs also include maintenance fees, where applicable (e.g. condominiums, cooperatives, Planned Unit Developments, or Homeowners Associations).

Income Limit
SONYMA finances mortgage loans for persons with low or moderate incomes. The maximum incomes of persons eligible to receive SONYMA financed mortgage loans are subject to the requirements of federal and state law. The maximum income allowable may vary by SONYMA program, region of the state, and household size. Click here for current income limits.

Loan to Value
The relationship between the requested mortgage amount and the appraised value, or, sales price (whichever is lower) of the property. For example, a home valued and priced at $100,000 on which there is an $80,000 mortgage has an LTV of 80 percent.

Lock-In Fee
A fee equal to 1% of the requested loan amount, which is paid to the lender by the borrower within 14 days of loan reservation to hold (“lock”) a specific interest rate for a specific period of time. In SONYMA programs the fee is non-refundable unless the mortgage application is denied by the Participating Lender or SONYMA.

Long-Term Lock-In
Type of interest rate lock that may only be used for properties under construction or rehabilitation as of the SONYMA loan application date. The lock-in period is 240 days from the application date.

Mortgage Servicer
The mortgage company that services your SONYMA loan after closing. All mortgage payments and inquiries should be made directly to the mortgage servicer.

Newly Constructed Housing
A property that has not been previously used for residential purposes.

One-Family Home
A building designed for occupancy by one family, which includes a condominium unit, cooperative unit, town home, planned unit development (PUD) unit, or factory-made housing permanently attached to real property.

Origination Fee
A fee that is paid by the borrower to compensate the Participating Lender for assisting the borrower to obtain a SONYMA mortgage loan.

Participating Lender
A lending institution that has been approved by SONYMA to originate, close and sell mortgage loans to SONYMA. Participating Lenders are familiar with SONYMA loan programs and requirements. Click here for a list of participating lenders.

Payment Reserves
Funds required by some lenders to be retained in a borrower’s bank account after loan closing in an amount equal to a specific number of monthly mortgage payments.

One point equals 1% of the mortgage loan amount. Fees associated with mortgage loans are often calculated in points.

Pool Insurance
Mortgage insurance paid for by SONYMA that is required for all loans which provides protection in the event of a loss resulting from a borrower default.

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)
Mortgage insurance paid for by the borrower that SONYMA requires for all loans where the Loan to Value exceeds 80%. PMI protects the Participating Lender and SONYMA in the event of a loss resulting from borrower default.

Purchase Price Limits
SONYMA provides mortgage loans for moderately priced homes. The maximum sale price of homes eligible for SONYMA financed mortgage loans is subject to the requirements of federal and state law. The maximum sale price allowable may vary by SONYMA program, region of the state, and size of the home. Click here for current purchase price limits.

Seller Concession
An agreement specifically stated in the sales contract between the seller of the property and the buyer of the property in which the seller commits to pay a specific portion of the buyer’s closing costs. SONYMA limits the amount of Seller Concessions allowed.

Short-Term Lock-In
Type of interest rate lock that must be used for all Existing Housing and completed new construction or rehabilitation properties. The SONYMA rate lock-in period is 100 days from the application date.

Target Area
An entire census tract or portion thereof which has been designated by the federal government as economically distressed. For borrowers who purchase in these areas, in accordance with federal law, SONYMA waives the First-Time Home Buyer requirement, applies higher income and purchase price limits, and will finance two-family homes that are less than 5 years old.

Total Monthly Expense
Expected monthly expenses of the borrower including, but not limited to, the Housing Expense, car lease payments, credit card payments, and, any installment debt with more than 10 monthly payments remaining (i.e., personal loans, car loans, student loans, 401K or pension loans, etc.).

Underwriting Ratios
The maximum debt burdens allowable to applicants for mortgage loans expressed as two separate ratios – Housing Expense to gross monthly income and Total Monthly Expense to gross monthly income. SONYMA requires that the Housing Expense not exceed 33% of the borrower’s gross monthly income, and that the Total Monthly Expense not exceed 38% of the borrower’s gross monthly income. These percentages are increased to 40% and 45%, respectively, for applicants having a down payment of 3% or more.

Value of the Property
The lower of the purchase price being paid for the property or the property’s market value as established by a qualified property appraiser.


4 Steps To Negotiatng A Good Deal

Here are four things you should consider when negotiating a great deal on a potential new home, Keep in mind when attempting to bid on a home that if you go too high you’ll wish you would have gone lower, but at the same time going too low and you can hurt your chances of getting the home you desire.

The first thing you need to do is prepare yourself; Knowing more information about the property you want allows you to have more control over price negotiations and allows you to know what your max bid should be. Things like hiring a home inspector to help find out what repairs are needed to the home can help you get a home for cheaper or possibly give you the ability to negotiate the current owner of the home to fix these repairs. Another helpful thing to know about is the properties history with certain information and circumstances you can help yourself negotiate a better deal by knowing some things such as how long the property has been listed, a property on the market for a longer period of time you can attempt to go lower than you normally may. Also things like relisting’s, short sales or foreclosures or unique things about the property. Also after finding out property information you also may want to find out information about the seller which could potentially have them motivated to sell the home such as needing to move out quickly or getting a divorce.

The second thing to make sure of when negotiating is always be polite. Negotiating with the seller face to face is a starting point, as it makes it a more real thing and lets them know you’re serious about your interest. Also consider this negation to be like any other business deal, you can always offer a low price that helps you but by throwing something extra to the seller might have them more willing to accept the offer, for example letting them chose the closing date. Always be as professional as possible and courteous but don’t let the seller bully you at the same time. Always be out to try and achieve a win-win with your seller.

Number three, Modesty is key. Look at it as a game of poker try to keep things in your favor by not letting the seller see all of the cards up your sleeve. Example may be not letting them now how you plan on paying for the home which may change the way he goes about the price. And very important to always try to remain emotionally detached as falling in love with a home can be the death of a good negotiation and is usually something a seller can see and some will take advantage of this fact. Always remember there are plenty of houses for sale and other options will almost always exist. When given a counter offer, don’t respond to it instantly but be sure to sleep on it and make sure you have everything planned out be it to propose another counter offer or accept the deal.

Finally always be wise. Once you and the seller have finally come to an agreement, make sure to get everything in writing. Make sure you fully understand all of the costs that come with a home outside of just the mortgage.

A Negotiating game done correctly is one in which all parties can walk away happy. So prepare yourself, and get ready to enjoy your new home.