Bonuses, windfalls and your mortgage.

Your work bonus can do more for you than help you buy Christmas presents or the latest electrical gadget. It can help you buy a home or help you pay it off a lot sooner. Investing your bonuses and extra income in your home can pay off in a big way.

Your work bonus may help you buy a home. While some lenders might look at bonuses with a suspicious eye, there are provisions in the FHA for regularly received or earned bonuses. This can help you qualify for a mortgage that you otherwise might not be able to obtain.

The 4155 (the FHA "bible") states, "Both overtime and bonus income may be used to qualify if the borrower has received such income for the past two years and it is likely to continue. The lender must develop an average of bonus or overtime income for the past two years and the employment verification must not state that such income is unlikely to continue." Furthermore, it goes on to say, "Periods of less than 2 years may be acceptable provided the lender justifies and documents in writing the reason for using the income for qualifying purposes."

In order to qualify your bonus as income for the purposes of the FHA, you must have pay stubs, W2s and income tax forms for the past two years or for as long as you've been working. Two years or more is optimal, but if you are applying only after a year or so, it can't hurt to make a case for your yearly bonus program to be included in your overall financial outlook.

Be careful about depending on your bonus for income if it isn’t guaranteed. If your financial picture would be seriously affected by the lack of a bonus, you might want to reconsider using it as collateral for your mortgage.

One option that might drastically help your financial outlook is if you apply the bonus to your mortgage principal, which will reduce the amount of the principal that you pay interest on. Another option is to put your bonus and any other “windfall” income into a high-interest savings account and make a lump sum payment on your mortgage principal every year. However, the more frequently you pay money towards your principal, the smaller the amount of mortgage you have to pay interest on, so in many cases it is preferable to put money towards your mortgage as soon as possible.

It is very tempting to treat extra money as “free spending capital”, but in the long run, you’ll do a lot better to invest your extra dollars in your home or in a portfolio that will see some long-term return.

About The Author:
Joshua Sloan is your experienced REALTOR® for San Diego real estate. Visit his website at to find San Diego home values, property listings and more.

No comments:

Post a Comment