Q With housing at sky-high affordability, are lenders still lending? Can I get a loan with the new stricter lending standards out there today? Are there low-down-payment programs still available?

A Lending standards have changed dramatically in the last few years, as banks and lenders have gone from loose standards, particularly on subprime loans in the 2000s, to stricter standardstoday.Verification of ability to repay and assets for down payment (and sometimes reserves), are now required, as the stated income/stated asset or no income/no asset loans no longer exist. Waiting periods after bankruptcies, loan modifications, short sales and foreclosures have all been extended — but loans are still available, even for people that have had those credit blemishes.

As for low-down-payment programs, many counties, as well as CHAFA, offer down-payment-assistance programs, although most of those come with income or asset qualifiers. Additionally, grant programs with income qualifiers reduce down payment requirements to around $1,000. The VA loan program for veterans offers a no-down-payment program, and VA fees can be waived for those with disabilities. FHA offers a program with 3.5 percent of the purchase price as a down payment. The USDA program also offers a zero down program in certain rural areas. Finally, conventional loans are available with as little as 5 percent down.

If you’re looking to purchase or refinance, seek out an experienced, trustworthy, financially savvy lender you can meet face to face, who has access to the full spectrum of loan and grant programs. Then work with them to select the proper loan and grant programs and have them customize them to best suit your needs.

For more information on how you can purchase or refinance a home, contact lending expert Randy Spierings, CPA (over 30 years), NMLS No. 217152, branch manager for Primary Residential Mortgage Inc, a local lender you can trust, at 303-256-5748 or rspierings@primeres .com. BestColoradoMortgages.com is regulated by the Division of Real Estate, MLO No. 100022405. PRMI is an equal housing lender.

PRM is A-plus rated by the Better Business Bureau and winner of multiple Gold Star awards. The firm is at 9800 Mt. Pyramid Court, Suite 400, Englewood. One hundred percent satisfaction guarantee; $500 at closing if your expectation aren’t met or exceeded. A full loan spectrum is offered, including VA, FHA, USDA, jumbo and conventional, among others. PRM is among the top 10 retail FHA lenders in the U.S. today. Mention this article at time of application and receive $495 off of closing costs on a purchase or refinance. Offer expires Oct. 31, 2013.

A copy of this article as it appeared in the Denver Post, can be viewed here.