Jumbo Loan: Limits, Rates, Requirements And More

Finding the mortgage that best meets your needs is one of the most crucial steps in the home-buying process. To buy the home of your dreams—or, in some parts of the country, to buy any house at all—you could need a jumbo loan.

This information might assist you in determining whether a jumbo loan is the best option for you.

What Exactly Is A Jumbo Loan?
Let’s start by discussing what a jumbo loan is. A mortgage loan that is larger than those imposed by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is referred to as a jumbo loan. Because they don’t adhere to these restrictions, jumbo loans are also known as non-conforming loans.

Jumbo mortgage applicants frequently face greater scrutiny and perhaps higher borrowing rates since they lack the protections that come with conforming loans. Different investors from those who typically purchase conventional mortgage bonds may be drawn to jumbo loans.

Why Do Jumbo Mortgages Get a Different Treatment?
It’s helpful to first understand how the mortgage sector functions in order to better understand jumbo loans: Lenders create mortgages, which they then sell right away to mortgage buyers like Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Fannie and Freddie, however, are only permitted to buy mortgages that adhere to the FHFA’s limitations, so they are unable to buy jumbo loans.

Following the acquisition of these mortgages, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac group them with other, comparable loans and offer them for sale to investors on the secondary mortgage market. Jumbo mortgages frequently go through a similar process, but other investors are involved.

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Having knowledge of conforming loan limits
Your mortgage can only be as much as the conforming lending restrictions set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Conforming loan ceilings differ by market and state. In most areas of the United States in 2023, you can only borrow up to $726,200 for a single-family home.

However, in Alaska and Hawaii, where the median home price is significantly higher than the national average, conforming loan limitations can reach $1,089,300. Loan limitations are established on a county-by-county basis in other high-cost locations.

Check out this FHFA map to identify the conforming restrictions in the area where you want to buy a house.

What if I am unable to locate a home inside the permitted boundaries?
You might require a jumbo loan if you want to acquire a home in one of the most expensive housing markets in the United States. But don’t worry; you’re not by yourself. Many consumers are discovering that even modest homes in some places now demand a jumbo mortgage due to the hot housing market.

Lenders are feeling more at ease giving jumbo mortgages as a result of this demand. The Jumbo Smart loan is provided by Rocket Mortgage® and is available with 15- or 30-year fixed interest rates or a 7-year adjustable rate. Although all adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) have 30-year payback durations, the term “7-year period” refers to how long the rate is fixed at the start of the loan period. The gigantic ARM will adjust every six months following the initial seven years.

Rates for Jumbo Home Loans
Since there is so much danger associated with jumbo loans, it makes reasonable that lenders might charge higher interest rates. But according to market data, jumbo loan interest rates are fiercely competitive with market rates.

The difference between conforming and non-conforming loans at current rates is around 0.25% to 1%. Some jumbo loans actually feature interest rates that are lower than those of ordinary mortgage loans.

How Does A Jumbo Mortgage Operate?
Jumbo loans, like regular mortgages, can have fixed or adjustable interest rates and a wide range of periods and repayment plans. Rocket Mortgage currently offers jumbo loans with terms of 15 and 30 years that are fixed or 7 years that are adjustable.

Jumbo loans, however, operate differently from regular mortgages. In order to qualify for one of these loans, you’ll need to meet very particular property type, down payment, credit score, and debt-to-income ratio standards. These loans have higher restrictions than other types of mortgages.

Real Estate Types
Because the government has no restrictions on how you can utilize your jumbo loan, you can use it to buy a variety of properties. You can use the majority of jumbo mortgages for primary residences, vacation homes, and investment properties as long as you also meet your lender’s other conditions.

The down payment
The down payment requirements for jumbo loans are often substantially greater than those for conforming loans. Lenders frequently demand 20% down payment for jumbo loans for single-family homes. Additionally, a larger down payment could be required for multifamily properties and second residences. Finally, the down payment demanded is determined by the size of your loan and your credit rating.

For a single-family home up to $2.5 million, you’ll need a 10.01% down payment with Rocket Mortgage’s Jumbo Smart loan. You will require a 15% down payment to buy a duplex, which is a two-family home.

Credit Rating
When looking for a jumbo mortgage, a key consideration is your credit score, which measures your borrower reliability numerically. Your credit score is a quantitative assessment of your dependability as a borrower. Your score, which depends on a number of factors, can range from 300 to 850.

Your specific credit score will depend on the loan parameters and the lender you choose to apply for a jumbo mortgage. For permanent residences, second homes, and investment properties, a Jumbo Smart loan requires a minimum FICOR score of 680, though this can go as high as 760 depending on the type of property and what you want to accomplish with your mortgage transaction.

A Jumbo Smart ARM or a 15-year fixed loan require a minimum credit score of 740.

DTI (Debt-to-Income Ratio)
Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio evaluates the relationship between your income and debt. Divide the sum of all of your mandatory monthly debt payments by your gross income before taxes to determine your DTI ratio.

Your DTI ratio is calculated as $1,000 divided by $2,000, or 50%, assuming you pay $1,000 per month in debt payments and make $2,000 per month before taxes.

When applying for a jumbo loan, a low DTI ratio is crucial since it shows lenders that you will have enough cash flow to pay your mortgage. You can be eligible for a jumbo loan with a higher DTI ratio if you make a larger down payment or have better credit.

Your DTI must be 45% or below in order to qualify for a Jumbo Smart loan from Rocket Mortgage.

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Are Jumbo Loans Available From The VA?
With the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as the sole exception, jumbo loans are generally not available through government-sponsored mortgage schemes. Veterans Affairs provides jumbo loans to eligible military members. In reality, the VA frequently does not impose any explicit loan limits. The only restriction is frequently determined by the lender’s risk tolerance.

Loan Conditions
Without a down payment, VA jumbo loans are available up to $1.5 million, but only with a median FICO® score of 640 or higher. You can obtain a mortgage up to $2 million with a 10% down payment if you have a median credit score of 680 or higher.

Based on a variety of variables, including the type of loan, your credit score, and the amount of residual income you have, the DTI required to be eligible for a VA jumbo loan can change.

These are Rocket Mortgage’s specifications, although other lenders might have other rules in place.

VA Appraisal Guidelines
The VA property requirements for jumbo loans are the same as those for ordinary VA loans. Before you move in, the house must be “clean, sanitary, sound, and safe”. While safety checks are an element of other loans as well, the VA examination is significantly more extensive and also takes the property’s resale value into account.

You might be perplexed as to how a house bought with a jumbo loan can fall short of livability requirements, yet even dubious properties in the most expensive areas can fetch seven-figure sums.

VA Funding Charges
Jumbo loans have bigger loan amounts, thus it’s important to budget for the higher VA funding fee. The funding charge ranges from 1.25 to 3.3% of the loan amount, depending on your down payment and if you’re applying for a VA loan for the first time. You have the choice of paying it yourself, requesting a seller concession, or you might be able to finance it through a loan in addition to paying it out of pocket.

Property Types
You must have the intention to use your house as your main residence. A VA jumbo loan cannot be used to purchase a second home or an investment property. For VA jumbo loans, Rocket Mortgage has a $1.5 million lending cap.

Jumbo Mortgage Requirements Special Requirements
Lenders are typically selective about whom they lend to when asked to take on more risk. As a result, while making an application for a jumbo loan, there may be some unique conditions that must be fulfilled.

Lenders could call for cash reserves.
Lenders need evidence that you can repay a jumbo loan in a consistent, timely manner. To demonstrate that you have the funds in the bank to make payments, your lender will want you to provide bank statements. Lenders frequently demand that jumbo borrowers have up to 12 months’ worth of expenses set aside before approving a loan.

But you don’t have to have money in your bank account to fulfill reserve requirements. You don’t have to take out all of your assets in order to qualify using the full assets of your Rocket Mortgage retirement account. It’s possible that gifts and company expenses will count toward your reserve requirements as well.

Closing expenses are greater
Closing expenses for standard mortgages typically run from 3% to 6% of the value of your property, but they are significantly higher for jumbo loans. You might anticipate paying between $21,000 and $42,000 in cash at the closing table for a $700,000 mortgage.

Regular Income
Jumbo loans are only provided by lenders to buyers with steady, predictable income. When you apply for a conventional loan, lenders frequently demand to see up to two or more years’ worth of W-2s, tax returns, and 1099s. When you apply for a jumbo loan, your lender can require more information and evidence that your income won’t likely change after you get it.

Underwriting Manual
Jumbo loans are frequently manually reviewed. A financial professional will carefully review your credit record, assets, and bank statements and point out any prior mistakes. You will find it more difficult to obtain a jumbo loan if you have a bankruptcy or foreclosure on your record.

How to Make a Jumbo Loan Application
The application procedure for jumbo loans is the same as that for other kinds of mortgages. This is how it goes:

1. Decide On A Lender
Like with any mortgage kind, you must first select a lender. You should be particularly cautious while looking around to find who will provide you the best conditions. Even a slight variation in interest rates can result in thousands of dollars in savings over the course of a loan this size.

2. Receive approval for your first mortgage.
You can begin the process of acquiring your initial mortgage approval once you’ve decided on a lender. Your lender will ask for proof of your income before determining how much money you qualify for and at what interest rate.

3. Locate a home and make an offer
Once you have your initial mortgage approval, you can search for the ideal property and make an offer. You can negotiate this procedure with the aid of a real estate agent, who can organize showings, manage the paperwork, and bargain with the seller.

4. Conduct underwriting and obtain an appraisal
Your lender will begin the loan underwriting process as soon as your offer has been accepted and you are in a contract. Jumbo loans, as was already said, frequently call for manual underwriting, which simply means that a someone will carry out the procedure rather than having a computer handle it.

To make sure your property isn’t worth less than the amount of money your lender is loan you to buy it, they will also order an appraisal.

5. Complete the Jumbo Loan
Your lender will notify you that you can close on your jumbo loan once the appraisal and underwriting are finished. Your Closing Disclosure will include information on your down payment and closing fees, so you’ll need to know how much cash to bring to closing.