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Killer Tips For Getting A Home Mortgage

By Bill Gassett | December 12, 2022

Becoming a homeowner is the goal of many folks. Going from being a renter to a homeowner isn't always as easy as it seems.

There is quite a bit to know about financing the purchase of a home. There are several things to consider when it comes to getting a mortgage.

As a first-time home buyer, educating yourself on the process is essential to make things go as smoothly as possible. Most home buyers want to get the best mortgage rates and terms.

We will cover everything you need to know about how to get a mortgage. Let's dig in.

What is a Mortgage?

A mortgage is a loan that you take out from a bank or other financial institution to buy, build or substantially improve on a property.

There are many different types of mortgages, including conventional, FHA, VA, and USDA loans. Mortgages come with different terms and lengths.

Critical Things to Understand Before You Get a Mortgage

Get a Home Loan
What to Know When Getting a Home Loan.

Home buyers should know these are some of the most crucial things before applying for a mortgage.

Mortgage Pre-Approval and Pre-Qualification Are Not The Same

Mortgage prequalification and mortgage preapproval are two essential processes that potential homebuyers typically engage in before making an offer on a property. Despite their similarities, these two procedures do differ from one another.

Securing conditional approval for a mortgage is the optimal method for determining the amount of borrowing capacity. It is one of the essential steps for getting a mortgage.

This preapproval estimates potential borrowing power based on factors such as income, employment, credit history, and financial accounts.

A preapproval differs from a prequalification in that lenders verify all the financial information you've provided, including income, employment, and credit.

Obtaining preapproval does not guarantee approval of a mortgage. However, approval will likely be granted if all relevant factors remain unchanged.

Mortgages Are More Expensive With Less Than 20 Percent Down

If you can come up with at least twenty percent down, you'll be in much better shape when purchasing a home. Not only will you reduce the mortgage size, but you will also pay less interest over the life of the loan.

Most importantly, you'll avoid paying your loan's private mortgage insurance (PMI).

It is important to note that private mortgage insurance (PMI) may be required if a conventional loan is taken out with a down payment of less than 20%. PMI protects the lender in the event of a borrower's default on their loan payments.

The cost of Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is estimated to be approximately 1% of the outstanding loan balance, to be paid as part of the monthly mortgage payment.

Borrowers may request to have private mortgage insurance (PMI) removed once their outstanding balance reaches 80% of the original loan amount.

However, it is essential to note that those with smaller down payments typically have a higher interest rate. Although making a smaller down payment can enable access to the homeowner market earlier, it may cost more in the long run.

Strive to Increase Your Credit Scores Before Applying For a Mortgage

Increasing a credit score before buying a home is always a worthwhile endeavor.

When you have a higher credit score, you'll be rewarded when getting a home loan. Home buyers with higher credit scores will get more favorable terms from lending institutions.

Individuals with lower credit scores may be faced with higher interest rates when it comes to obtaining a mortgage, resulting in increased costs over time. It is possible that a credit score below 620 may lead to difficulty in securing a loan.

You may need a bad credit home loan which is not attractive.

Before applying for a mortgage, obtaining a copy of your credit report and ensuring its accuracy is essential. If any discrepancies are found, take the necessary steps to rectify them.

Maintaining a good credit score can be done by paying off any outstanding debts, such as credit card balances and loans, and making timely payments.

If you have collections on your credit report, requesting a "Pay-for-Delete" arrangement from the collection agency may be beneficial. This entails paying the total balance in full, and they will then delete it from your records.

You should avoid opening any new credit accounts until after you have closed on your home. The credit score needed to purchase a house differs from having an optimal score for best rates.

It is worthwhile to educate yourself on things to know about credit scores.

Stay Comfortably Within Your Debt-to-Income Ratio

One of the most important things lenders look at when granting mortgages is a borrower's debt-to-income ratio or DTI.

Stretching beyond your means when buying a first home is almost always a mistake.

When beginning the process of searching for a home, it is essential to have a firm understanding of what can be realistically afforded.

Generally, no more than 43 percent of one's income should be spent on necessary monthly debts. Many financial experts will recommend keeping your DTI closer to 36 percent if possible.

Get a Handle on All of Your Mortgage Options

When getting a home loan, there are many options to choose from. Do you want a fixed rate, or will you settle for an adjustable-rate mortgage?

How about the length of your loan? Are you going for the standard 30-year mortgage, or will a shorter term satisfy your needs better?

If you are falling short of the twenty percent down payment, you may want to look into something different than a conventional loan.

You can put down as little as 3.5 percent with an FHA loan. VA and USDA loans offer no down payment options if you qualify. You'll need to be a veteran for a VA loan and be purchasing in a rural area for a USDA loan.

It is essential to discuss your lifestyle and budget with your lender to identify the mortgage option that is most suitable for you.

Keep Financial Changes to a Minimum Before Closing on a House

Many people make financial mistakes when they are buying a home for the first time. It happens because they don't know any better, and the mortgage professionals they are working with have not educated them.

Before closing, it is vital not to make a large purchase, such as a car. Your credit and bank accounts should be stable without significant additions or subtractions.

Lenders love stability. The more you can do to not stimulate scrutiny, the better.

Final Thoughts

Every financial decision you make before closing can impact your ability to get a mortgage. Tread carefully until closing. Follow the advice of the financial pros you're working with.

Realizing the dream of home ownership is a shared ambition for most folks. Knowing how mortgages work can prove beneficial when it comes to buying your first house.

Bill Gassett is an authority in the real estate industry with 38 years of experience. Bill is well respected for his informative articles for buyers, sellers, and fellow real estate agents to make sound decisions. His work has been featured on RIS Media, the National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Newsbreak, Credit Sesame, Realty Biz News, and his own authoritative resource, Maximum Real Estate Exposure. He has been on of the top RE/MAX agents in New England over the last two decades.
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