Selling Guide

Published June 3, 2020

The Selling Guide is organized into parts that reflect how lenders generally categorize various aspects of their business relationship with Fannie Mae. To begin browsing, select from any of the sections below. You may also download the entire Selling Guide in PDF format.

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B3-6-02, Debt-to-Income Ratios (02/05/2020)

Introduction

This topic contains information on the use of the debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, including:


DTI Ratios

The DTI ratio consists of two components:

  • total monthly obligations, which includes the qualifying payment for the subject mortgage loan and other long-term and significant short-term monthly debts (see Calculating Total Monthly Obligation below); and

  • total monthly income of all borrowers, to the extent the income is used to qualify for the mortgage (see Chapter B3–3, Income Assessment).


Maximum DTI Ratios

For manually underwritten loans, Fannie Mae’s maximum total DTI ratio is 36% of the borrower’s stable monthly income. The maximum can be exceeded up to 45% if the borrower meets the credit score and reserve requirements reflected in the Eligibility Matrix.

For loan casefiles underwritten through DU, the maximum allowable DTI ratio is 50%.

See B3-1-01, Comprehensive Risk Assessment for information about the DTI.


Exceptions to the Maximum DTI Ratio

Fannie Mae makes exceptions to the maximum allowable DTI ratios for particular mortgage transactions, including:


Calculating Total Monthly Obligation

The total monthly obligation is the sum of the following:

  • the housing payment for each borrower’s principal residence

  • the qualifying payment amount if the subject loan is for a second home or investment property (see B3-6-04, Qualifying Payment Requirements);

  • monthly payments on installment debts and other mortgage debts that extend beyond ten months;

  • monthly payments on installment debts and other mortgage debts that extend ten months or less if the payments significantly affect the borrower’s ability to meet credit obligations;

  • monthly payments on revolving debts;

  • monthly payments on lease agreements, regardless of the expiration date of the lease;

  • monthly alimony, child support, or maintenance payments that extend beyond ten months (alimony (but not child support or maintenance) may instead be deducted from income, (see B3-6-05, Monthly Debt Obligations);

  • monthly payments for other recurring monthly obligations; and

  • any net loss from a rental property.

Note: Fannie Mae acknowledges that lenders may sometimes apply a more conservative approach when qualifying borrowers. This is acceptable as long as Fannie Mae’s minimum requirements are met, and lenders consistently apply the same approach to similar loans. For example, a lender might calculate a higher minimum payment on a credit card account than what Fannie Mae requires, which is acceptable as long as the lender consistently applies this calculation to all mortgage applications with revolving debts.


DTI Ratio Tolerance and Re-Underwriting Criteria

Fannie Mae expects lenders to have in place processes to facilitate borrower disclosure of changes in financial circumstances throughout the origination process and prefunding quality control processes to increase the likelihood of discovering material undisclosed debts or reduced income. See D1-2-01, Lender Prefunding Quality Control Review Process.

As a result of the lender's normal processes and controls, the lender may need to re-underwrite the loan after initial underwriting. If the borrower discloses or the lender discovers additional debt(s) or reduced income after the underwriting decision was made up to and concurrent with loan closing, the loan must be re-underwritten if the new information causes the DTI ratio to increase by more than the allowed tolerances.

In all cases, if the lender determines that there is new subordinate financing on the subject property during the loan process, the mortgage loan must be re-underwritten.

Note: Re-underwriting means that loan casefiles must be resubmitted to DU with updated information; and for manually underwritten loans, a comprehensive risk and eligibility assessment must be performed.


Applying the Re-underwriting Criteria

The following steps are required if the borrower discloses or the lender discovers additional debt(s) or reduced income after the underwriting decision was made up to and concurrent with loan closing:

Step Description
1 The lender must document the additional debt(s) and reduced income in accordance with B3-6-01, General Information on Liabilities or B3-3, Income Assessment, as applicable.

Note: The lender is not required to obtain a new credit report to verify the additional debt(s). However, if the lender chooses to obtain a new credit report after the initial underwriting decision was made, the loan must be re-underwritten.

2 If there is new subordinate debt on the subject property, the mortgage loan must be re-underwritten.
3 The lender must recalculate the DTI ratio. For DU loan casefiles, the DTI ratio should be recalculated outside of DU.
4
  • If the recalculated DTI ratio exceeds 45% for a manually underwritten loan or 50% for a DU loan casefile, the loan is not eligible for delivery to Fannie Mae.

  • Manually underwritten loans: If the recalculated DTI does not exceed 45%, the mortgage loan must be re-underwritten with the updated information to determine if the loan is still eligible for delivery. Note: If the increase in the DTI ratio moves the DTI ratio above the 36% threshold, the loan must meet the credit score and reserve requirements in the Eligibility Matrix that apply to DTI ratios greater than 36% up to 45%.

  • DU loan casefiles: See B3-2-10, Accuracy of DU Data, DU Tolerances, and Errors in the Credit Report for the tolerances and resubmission requirements associated with changes impacting the DTI.

  • High LTV refinance loans: For loans underwritten in accordance with the Alternative Qualification Path, if the recalculated DTI ratio exceeds 45%, the loan is not eligible for delivery to Fannie Mae. If the DTI does not exceed 45%, but is increasing by 3 or more percentage points, the loan must be re-underwritten with the updated information to determine if the loan is still eligible for delivery.

5 The final loan application signed by the borrower must include all income and debts verified, disclosed, or identified during the mortgage process.
6 Upon delivery to Fannie Mae, the lender must deliver the qualifying monthly income and expense amounts that are on the final loan application. See C1-2-02, Loan Data and Documentation Delivery Requirements.

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