The mortgage process can feel like a serious of questions that never ends, but it’s for good reason. Lenders need to make sure you can afford the loan beyond a reasonable doubt. The last thing you or the bank wants is a foreclosure.
After you provide documentation for your income, assets, and liabilities, expect to answer questions about certain areas of your life, most notably your bank account, credit and job history. Sometimes lenders ask questions about these factors that require a Letter of Explanation. All an LOX does is put into writing the reasons for your current situation that may need a little more explanation.
So why do lenders ask for a Letter of Explanation? Check out the top reasons below.
You Change Jobs Often
Lenders want a consistent job history. While a 2-year history is recommended, if you changed jobs within the last two years it doesn’t automatically mean you won’t get approved. When lenders get the most concerned is when you changed jobs frequently within the last two years or if you completely changed careers within that time.
Let’s look at an example. You used to be a teacher but decided to get trained as a real estate agent last year. Those are two completely different career paths and since your real estate career is rather new, a lender may worry that you won’t succeed. You may need to write a Letter of Explanation stating your reasons for changing careers as well as what training you underwent so that you succeed in your new career.
If you didn’t change careers, but change jobs often to the point that a lender considers it ‘job-hopping, they may want an explanation for your actions. In other words, they want to know why you keep leaving your job (is it forced or voluntary) and what you benefit from leaving and starting a new job.
Lenders use these answers to decide if you are a good risk for a loan or if you are a high risk of default.
You Have Large Deposits
If you make large deposits in your bank account within two months of applying for a loan, you’ll have to explain it. If a lender can’t tie the deposit in with your employment income, they’ll need concrete proof of its origination.
Along with the paperwork proving the funds’ origination, lenders will want a Letter of Explanation. The LOX should state where you obtained the funds and why. If you don’t have proof of your explanation, a lender may not be able to accept the deposit as a part of your funds. For example, if you claim you sold your car and received cash for it, but you don’t have a Bill of Sale and/or a canceled check from the buyer, the lender may not be able to use the funds for qualifying purposes.
Lenders look closely at your credit score and credit history. Your credit history actually tells them a lot more about your financial responsibilities. If upon looking at your history they see many late payments or collections, they may want an explanation.
For example, some people fall onto hard times and make several payments late within a short period. This may be easily explained with a Letter of Explanation. For example, if you fell ill and were in the hospital, it would make sense why you were unable to pay your bills on time for that short period. An LOX could explain the situation and if you could provide proof of your downfall as well as how you picked up the pieces, it would help your situation.
Lenders need to know that late payments aren’t a typical habit and that this was a one-time occurrence, which you can prove with your LOX.
Change in Income
If you’ve had a change in income recently, and it wasn’t a raise, you’ll need to explain the situation in a letter. All lenders see is a drop in income, which makes them want to decline your loan. But, if you have a valid reason, such as you started a new career or started at a new company that has more opportunities for advancement, an underwriter may see the value in it and approve your loan. Without the letter, the lender would see you as a high risk of default and decline the loan.
A good Letter of Explanation can be the difference between loan approval and loan denial. Stay in close contact with your loan officer to find out what questions the underwriter may have on your loan so that you can clear up any miscommunication right away and keep your mortgage approval.