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You'll need to be a better credit risk to borrow

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

November 17, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - South Georgia banks and lenders admit they've tightened their standards, and it's getting harder for you to qualify for a loan.

Real estate agents and builders say many people want to take advantage of lower home prices and move up, but they can't sell their old homes and they can't get financing.

Banks say they have not increased the credit score required to get a home loan, but they are demanding a bigger down payment.

Some home builders are getting creative to make the sale.

Chad Oosterveen of Southern Pines Constructors says even in these tough times, people are calling him wanting to build a new home, but the money for the deal is the sticking point. "Banks are just not giving money to anything or anybody right now, without a large amount of money being put down. Twenty percent is what a lot of them are asking for."

Even with the lower prices of homes right now, most people can't sell their old home to get the down payment to buy the bigger home they see a bargain in. And banks are not lending on speculation that led to the housing collapse.

Realtor Patsy Martin said, "The market has not changed one bit. If you have good credit, and you have a little money saved up, you'll get a mortgage loan."

But Oosterveen says he decided to get creative to help his customers get that down payment and selling their old home.

"We're taking their home in trade. I'm actually buying that house from them, which allows them to buy a larger and new house. What'll I will do then, I will probably lease that house out for a year, until this market turns. And at that time turnaround and sell these houses,"  Oosterveen said.

Oosterveen says he is confident the market will turn around soon and he will make his money back. Patsy Martin says South Georgia realtors are seeing more investors taking their money from the stock market and buying real estate. It's a buyers market, if you have the cash now to buy.

We talked with six banks, and all said they are ready to write home loans, if the customer qualifies. But all of those banks would not go on camera with us to talk about real estate lending in this market.

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