The more money you have in reserves the less risk a borrower is considered.
Depending on the loan program the amount of reserves you have can actually help you obtain more favorable terms.
Some lenders do not require cash reserves, and some require up to 12 months of your monthly payment to be reserved. Your mortgage broker will be able to determine the best lender to choose based on the reserves you have available.
Most conforming lenders will only require 2 months reserves but may require more if you are a higher risk. If you have a lot of reserves, an underwriter may make an exception to your file if, for example, your debt ratio is a little high but you have a lot of reserves they will approve your file.
Reserves - A cash amount that a homebuyer must have on hand after making a down payment and paying all closing costs. The reserves required by the lender must equal the amount a homebuyer would pay for principal, interest, taxes and insurance for a specified number of months.
The amount of reserves required may be dependent on the type of loan you are obtaining.
With investment properties which are financed 100% with no money down, you will often be expected to hold PITI reserves of Six months or more.
Your lender may require anywhere from 2 months of PITI to 6 months of PITI. And usually it's more for a person that doesn't have mortgage history on their credit.
As proof of reserves, lenders often require two current, consecutive bank/stock accounts statements showing the available funds. In the rare occasions where your bank and financial institutions do not offer past monthly statements on their websites, your mortgage broker can request a Verification of Deposits from them.
Lenders refer to the money you have left after you've bought your home as 'reserves'. Reserves can include money in your checking/savings, mutual funds, retirement accounts, stocks, and bonds. Typically, borrowers with a higher amount of reserves are a lower risk. Lenders often look for you to have a minimum of two months of mortgage payments left in your account after the closing. However, not all mortgage programs require that you have reserves, so please check with your mortgage lender for all of your options.
One thing to keep in mind is that FHA does not require reserves.
Reserves are also called assets. Liquid assets are monies deposited in savings accounts or checking accounts held at Banks, Savings and Loans (S & L) or Credit Unions.
Stocks, mutual funds, 401K accounts, money market accounts, SEP aacounts, are also considered assets.
Lenders generally consider a borrower who has some liquid reserves to be less risky than one who does not. Therefore in many loan programs, borrowers who can prove that they have reserves can get better terms on their loan. This is especially true in loan programs where the borrower is not required to prove their income.
If you have good credit but not the required reserves, you may want to look at a Stated Income Stated Asset(SISA) or No Income No Asset(NINA) loan where assets are not verified.
It is important to remember that there are many different types of loan programs available and they all have different requirements. As a general rule of thumb, it is ideal to have 6 months of reserves. Most programs only require 2 or 3 months so if you have 6 months worth stashed away, your loan will go much smoother. Also, for 401k and other retire accounts, most lenders will only consider 75% of the full value towards reserves. This is because most retirement accounts have early withdrawl penalties.
When dealing with Option ARM's, it is important to remember that the PITI is calculated from the fully indexed rate. Even if you have the option to pay a minimum payment, you must have enough reserves for the fully amortizing payments.