Our Real Estate Blog
When it comes to a mortgage, most of us think of the same standard product; the 15 or 30 year conventional mortgage offered by banks and lenders. This is not the only mortgage option you have, though. Depending on your personal history and circumstances you may qualify for an attractive mortgage with lower rates and a small down payment. Examining your options and determining if you qualify for a less common type of mortgage allows you to have the greatest amount of flexibility and more options when it comes to your new home. Learning more about the different types of mortgages ensures you get the best possible terms when it comes to this significant purchase.
FHA, VA and USDA Loans: Explore your Mortgage Options
An FHA loan is one that is insured by the Federal Housing Administration; if the buyer was to default or fail to pay, the FHA would pay the lender instead. Because of this guarantee, lenders are able to offer mortgages with less rigid requirements and accept more potential risk. FHA loans benefit the borrower in several key ways; they offer low down payments, credit score requirements of just 620 and that FHA guarantee for lenders. There are income guidelines and limits for the amount that can be borrowed, so you should check to see if your potential loan qualifies. A fast and easy approval process makes this a good option for many borrowers, though you should note PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) is required and adds an additional amount to your monthly bill.
Often the most overlooked and misunderstood, a USDA loan is backed by the Department of Agriculture in the same way an FHA loan is backed by the Housing Administration. USDA loans are designed to help people in rural and suburban areas become homeowners and offer attractive rates and very low closing costs and down payments. If you are looking for a mortgage, it is worth checking your eligibility. Both your income and the home you are considering need to be eligible, but since an estimated 90% of the homes in the country qualify, USDA could be the right product for you.
A VA loan is backed by the Veteran's Administration and is available to active members and veterans of the US armed forces. This is the most attractive alternative to conventional loans of all, if you qualify. Designed to make it easy for service members to buy a home, this loan features little or no down payment, easy lending guidelines and appealing rates for veterans. If you qualify, the VA loan is an excellent option for your new home.
Learning about your options makes it easy to find the right home mortgage for your situation. Chances are, you will qualify for one or more of the loan types above; you should compare the terms of the FHA, USDA or VA loan you are considering with a conventional mortgage to make the best possible choice for your new home purchase.
Myths are lies that are perceived to be true. Like every other industry in the world that has myths surrounding them, the real estate industry has its tales. People have ideas in their head about the mortgage industry that are not true. If you are buying a house and all you feel is happiness, then you might be working with a myth you heard and perceive as being real; same also applies if you are buying a home and all you feel is dread.
Below are few mortgage misconceptions that many buyers and sellers mistake for truth:
You Need A Near-Perfect Credit Score
It's essential to have a high credit score, but lack of it doesn't mean you are out of the game. Even if you have some credit blemishes but always ensured you paid bills, you probably won't have a lot to worry. If you are bothered about your credit score, other factors could offset adverse credit. Depending on your loan type, each situation is analyzed differently.
A Down Payment of Twenty Percent Is Needed
Compulsorily providing 20% of the purchase value of the home as a down payment is also a myth. Making a down payment of 20% is helpful in the long run, especially to avoid paying monthly insurance to a private mortgage. Presently, mortgage companies and banks provide loans to individuals without requesting for a down payment close to 20%. It all depends on your financial situation.
A House Is an Excellent Investment
A home could be considered as a long-term investment if you do not intend living in it – but then, nothing in the real estate business is guaranteed. If you purchase a house to live in for several years, it's better you don't think about it as a financial tool for padding your investment or retirement plan. Buying a house is part of your net worth, but you shouldn't count on getting a return after investing much money into the home. Something most home buyers fail to understand is that the value of houses appreciates at a shallow rate and can have negative growth for long periods.
The House Belongs to You After You Get the Keys
It's one of the myths that homebuyers assume is true. When you purchase a house via mortgage; if you do not have equity or a significant amount as down payment, your bank owns your home. For as long as it's required to finalize payment for your home - including interest, the house doesn't belong to you.
The American Dream
In as much as owning a home is supposed to be the American dream; it can also be the American nightmare. Acquiring a home via a mortgage and not being able to meet up with payment can turn out to be your worst nightmare. Owning a home is a decision that requires thorough thinking without jumping into any decision
Buy a house if you can afford it but be sure you have your facts right.
Filling out a mortgage application may prove to be a long, arduous process, particularly for those who are buying a house for the first time. Lucky for you, we're here to help you dot the I's and cross the T's on your mortgage application to ensure you can quickly and effortlessly acquire your dream house.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prepare your mortgage application.
1. Be Diligent
A mortgage application may appear daunting at first. The application may include several pages of questions, and you may have only a limited amount of time to finalize your submission.
When it comes to completing a mortgage application, it generally pays to be diligent. If you answer each mortgage application question to the best of your ability, you likely will have no trouble moving forward with your home purchase.
2. Avoid Guessing
If you're uncertain about how to respond to certain mortgage application questions, there is no need to guess. Instead, search for the information that you need to provide a comprehensive response. This will help reduce the risk of encountering potential problems down the line that otherwise could slow down your home acquisition.
Remember, guessing on a mortgage application probably won't do you or your lender any favors. But if you allocate the necessary time and resources to understand mortgage application questions and provide thoughtful responses, you can minimize the risk of application errors.
3. Ask Questions
Completing a mortgage application sometimes can be tricky. Fortunately, a lender employs mortgage specialists who are happy to respond to your application concerns or questions at any time.
If you're unsure about information that is requested on a mortgage application, don't hesitate to reach out to a lender's mortgage specialists for help. These specialists possess extensive mortgage expertise and can help you complete a mortgage application.
Furthermore, mortgage specialists can offer insights into a wide array of mortgage options. These specialists can explain the differences between fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages and enable you to select the right mortgage option based on your financial situation.
As you prepare to buy a house, you may want to consult with a real estate agent as well. In fact, with a real estate agent at your side, you can seamlessly navigate the homebuying process.
A real estate agent understands exactly what it takes to acquire a house, regardless of the finances at your disposal. This housing market professional can set up home showings, help you submit offers on houses and ensure you can purchase a residence that matches or exceeds your expectations. And if you need help getting a mortgage, a real estate agent may even be able to connect you with the top lenders in your city or town.
Ready to move forward in the homebuying journey? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can finalize a mortgage application and secure the financing that you need to acquire your ideal residence.
You may have wanted to apply for a mortgage at some point but were put off by something negative someone said about this type of loan. Similarly, you may have been encouraged to apply for one based on some false information but met with a quick rejection. Some of the information that bred these misconceptions may not be false but has merely become outdated. Below are some of those misconceived ideas and the truth behind them:
1. You cannot get a loan with a bad credit score
While it is true that most traditional banks will consider you too risky if your score is below 620, other non-traditional lenders will listen to you. Those offering house loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) can approve borrowers with a minimum score of 580. Remember, though, that lenders will cover the risk of lending to folks with a low credit score by fixing a higher interest rate. So you might want to clean up your debt before looking for a mortgage.
2. You have to raise 20% as a down payment
In the past, this was true. You had to stump up at least 20% of the value of the property before you approached a lender. Some would require up to 30%. These days you can find lenders who will only ask for 6% to get closing on your mortgage deal. FHA-backed loans will accept even 3.5%.
3. Being pre-approved and pre-qualified are the same thing
Being pre-approved is as almost as good as having the cash to buy a property. Before you get pre-approval, you have to have submitted all required documentation to the lender. Based on your financials, the lender will arrive at a maximum amount they can advance you for the purchase of the property. Your real estate agent can, therefore, use that pre-approval to go house hunting. Getting pre-qualified doesn’t carry this much weight- it only means you have engaged a lender and that you’re ready to begin the application process.
4. The interest rate quoted is what you’ll close with
The rate quoted is subject to change unless you lock it in. Interest rates fluctuate daily, changing severally even on the same day depending on how mortgage bonds trade. From the time you get the initial quote when beginning the pre-approval process to the time you settle on a property and want to close, the rate could have changed by a few points. You can only lock the rate once you've identified a home to which you want to commit.
Ask your mortgage officer all the questions you can think of before you close your deal.
If you plan to pursue a home in the near future, there is no need to wait to get a mortgage. Because if you enter the housing market with a mortgage in hand, you'll know exactly how much you can spend to acquire your dream house. As a result, you'll be able to map out your home search based on your property buying budget.
There are many things you can do to ensure you can get a great mortgage prior to launching a house search. These include:
1. Learn About Your Mortgage Options
Banks and credit unions offers a wide range of mortgage options. If you meet with these financial institutions, you can learn about all of the mortgage options at your disposal.
As you assess your mortgage options, it is crucial to weigh the pros and cons of each option. That way, you can make an informed decision about a mortgage and decide which option will serve you well in the years to come.
2. Ask Mortgage Questions
If you are uncertain about what differentiates one mortgage option from another, it is important to remember you are not alone. Fortunately, you can ask mortgage questions to home financing professionals to determine which mortgage option is right for you.
Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable home financing specialists who are ready to respond to your mortgage queries. Thus, if you discuss your mortgage concerns with home financing specialists, you can get the guidance you need to choose the best mortgage based on your individual needs.
3. Improve Your Credit Score
Your credit score may have far-flung effects on your ability to get pre-approved for a mortgage. However, if you analyze your credit score, you can determine if you need to take steps to improve this score before you apply for a mortgage.
You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Take advantage of this complimentary perk, and you can analyze your credit score at your convenience.
If you have outstanding debt on your credit report, you may want to pay this off as soon as possible. Remember, the sooner you pay off outstanding debt, the sooner you can bolster your credit score.
In addition, if you identify any errors on your credit report, notify the agency that provided the report immediately. This will allow you to correct any credit report mistakes before you submit a mortgage application.
As you get set to apply for a mortgage and conduct a home search, you may want to hire a real estate agent too. A real estate agent can provide expert guidance as you pursue your dream residence. He or she will help you find a house that matches your budget, attend home showings and much more.
Ready to launch a comprehensive home search? Get pre-approved for a mortgage, and you can take the first step to establish a budget for the homebuying journey.