There are several costs built into purchasing a home. The biggest expense to start planning for may be your down payment. While there may be loan programs with little to no down payment, many mortgage loans will require you to put down at least 20% of the total price of the home if you want to avoid additional monthly fees and expenses. The larger your down payment, the more of your home you will own from day one, providing you built-in equity!
Once you’ve started saving for your down payment, you may want to assess your budget to determine what you may be able to afford. Online resources and tools, such as mortgage calculators, can help give you an idea of what your mortgage payment might be based on the hypothetical amounts you enter for the loan amount, down payment amount, interest rate, loan term, taxes and insurance.
To secure financing for your home, you can work with a bank or credit union in your area, a lender, a mortgage banker, or a mortgage broker who will research lenders for you. You may want to research the current interest rate averages for the area, as well as various loan programs that may be available so you can compare quotes and estimates from different brokers, bankers or lenders.
There are several different types of mortgage loan programs that may be available. Therefore, it can be beneficial to research what programs you may qualify for in advance — especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. Some common mortgage options may be Conventional (Conventional or Jumbo), VA, FHA or USDA. And if you’re financially able and willing to pay cash, you may avoid interest and closing costs altogether!
While these are common mortgage options, take time to meet with one or more mortgage professionals to review all of your possible options. Your mortgage professional will work with you to help find the best loan option for your needs and circumstances.
The terms pre-qualified and pre-approved may be used interchangeably or inconsistently by various mortgage professionals. More important than what the mortgage professional calls it, is what the mortgage professional reviews in order to provide it to you. Getting either pre-qualified or pre-approved for a loan may give you a better estimate of a loan program you may qualify for if certain conditions are met and based on the level or review by the mortgage professional.
Obtaining either a pre-qualification or pre-approval tends to show homebuyers and their real estate agents that you are serious about buying a house, which may help make your offer more appealing. To get either pre-approved or pre-qualified, your mortgage professional will assess your credit history, current income and debt situation. Once completed, they can give you an estimate of how much you may be able to borrow, which is subject to certain conditions and final loan approval. Once you’ve been pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage loan, you will know how much you can spend and you can begin the search for the perfect home!