Buyers with student loan debt get a break

Marty Kovacs is the 2017 Chairman of the Santa Clarita Valley Division of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors. Courtesy photo.

On April 25, the Federal National Mortgage Association, better known as Fannie Mae, announced what it called “innovative solutions” intended to help more borrowers with student debt qualify for a home loan.

The innovations address challenges and obstacles to home ownership due to a significant increase in student loan debt over the past decade and provide access to credit for qualified borrowers.

The new solutions give homeowners the opportunity to pay down student debt with a mortgage refinance, allow borrowers to exclude non-mortgage debt paid by others as part of the loan application process, and make it more likely for borrowers with student debt to qualify for a mortgage loan by allowing lenders to accept student debt payments included on credit reports.

“We understand the significant role that a monthly student loan payment plays in a potential homebuyer’s consideration to take on a mortgage, and we want to be a part of the solution,” said Jonathan Lawless, vice president of customer solutions, Fannie Mae.

“These new policies provide three flexible payment solutions to future and current homeowners and, in turn, allow lenders to serve more borrowers.”

Because there is rarely a “one size fits all” approach to this issue, the new policies provide options to borrowers based on their individual circumstances:

• Student Loan Cash-Out Refinance. This offers homeowners the flexibility to pay off high interest student debt while potentially refinancing a home to a lower mortgage interest rate.

• Debt Paid by Others. This widens borrower eligibility to qualify for a home loan by excluding from the borrower’s debt-to-income ratio non-mortgage debt, including credit cards, auto loans, and student loans, paid by someone else.

• Student Debt Payment Calculation. This feature makes it more likely that borrowers with student debt can qualify for a loan by allowing lenders to accept student loan payment information on credit reports.

Fannie Mae helps make the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage available and affordable rental housing accessible for millions of Americans. The agency partners with lenders to create housing opportunities for families across the country.

Its goal is to provide innovative housing finance options while reducing costs and risks and making the home-buying process easier. Learn more at

Data Breach

In other news, Realtors who use DocuSign for zipForm need to be aware that DocuSign recently experienced a data breach.

DocuSign detected an increase in phishing emails sent to some of its customers and users. The emails “spoofed” the DocuSign brand in an attempt to trick recipients into opening an attached Word document that, when clicked, installs malicious software.

The company said that only email addresses were stolen from the non-core system in the DocuSign data breach. DocuSign said hackers did not access “names, physical addresses, passwords, social security numbers, credit card data or other information.”

Users should be on the lookout for fake emails that claim to be from the company. Users can identify these emails by checking for misspellings, incorrect email addresses and links that don’t lead to its own official websites. For updates, visit the DocuSign Trust Site.

Marty Kovacs is the 2017 Chairman of the Santa Clarita Valley Division of the 9,600-member Southland Regional Association of Realtors. David Walker, of Walker Associates, co-authors articles for SRAR. The column represents SRAR’s views and not necessarily those of The Signal. The column contains general information about the real estate market and is not intended to replace advice from your Realtor or other realty related professionals.


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