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Killer Tips For Preparing to Get a Home Loan

By Bill Gassett | December 8, 2022

Most people need to get help from a lender to buy a home, and applying for a loan can be difficult at times. Getting a mortgage in the current conditions, where interest rates have risen quickly, hasn't made the situation any easier.

While it might be more difficult to get a mortgage, it is, of course, still possible, but you might need to prepare more carefully.

We will look at the process of getting a mortgage for the first time.

How to Get a Mortgage

Understanding how to get a mortgage is an essential step in the buying process. Here are all of the steps to consider in order to get financing for a home purchase.

Steps For Getting a Mortgage
What Are The Steps For Getting a Mortgage?

Build Your Credit

Your credit score shows lenders how well you deal with debts. With a good credit history and a score that's above 700, you will more easily qualify for a loan and benefit from better rates and terms.

If your credit score isn't so good, you are likely to pay more for the mortgage. Improving your credit before you apply to a lender could save you a lot of money.

If you don't already know your credit score, your bank might offer a service to give you this number for free. You can check your credit reports at AnnualCreditReport.com also for free. If you see any errors in your report, they could be affecting your score, so report them to the bureau.

Making payments on time is important to your credit score. If you have missed payments in the past, this could still be affecting your score, so try to build a good history of being a reliable borrower.

Many people focus on the credit score needed to buy a home when their focus should be on getting the best possible score.

Without improving your financial standing, you'll need to get a bad credit loan which isn't ideal.

How Much Can You Afford?

Increases in interest rates mean you will pay more each month to borrow the same amount of money compared to before. This might mean you have to adjust your sights on a home that you're sure you can really afford.

Your debt-to-income ratio is an important consideration when lenders look at your finances. DTI is all of your debts divided by your gross income each month.

Typically lenders won't accept a DTI ratio over 45%, but it is better to reduce your ratio to around 36%.

But whatever your DTI ratio, you should try to ensure you do not commit to a mortgage that over-restricts your finances.

Understand Your Savings Goals

Having a good-sized down payment could help you qualify for better interest rates and reduce the fees involved when buying a home. If you can save a 20% down payment, you will not need to pay private mortgage insurance.

You should also remember that closing costs will need to be paid when you buy the home. These costs can be as much as 5% of the loan amount.

On top of the down payment and closing costs, if you can also have enough money to pay the mortgage for 5 or 6 months, you won't find yourself in such a difficult position if you lose your job.

Having a solid understanding of deposits, costs, and reserves is a crucial part of preparing for a mortgage.

Choose a Mortgage and Lender

There are government-backed loans that can offer low down payments and lower credit score requirements. Conventional loans are better if you have decent credit and a good down payment saved.

You also need to choose between a fixed or adjustable rate mortgage. Getting a mortgage means paying back the loan over a set period, usually up to 30 years.

A longer term means lower monthly payments but more paid in interest overall, so you need to choose which options are right for your situation.

When looking for a lender that offers your chosen type of mortgage, the interest rate they offer shouldn't be your only consideration. The terms they have on the loan and their customer rating should also be part of your decision.

Get Preapproved For a Mortgage

One of the more vital steps in buying a home is getting preapproved for your mortgage.

Once you have found a lender you are happy with preapproval will show you what mortgage you are eligible for. Preapproval is better than prequalification and gives you a better understanding of what home loan you can qualify for.

Even if you get preapproved, it doesn't necessarily mean you will get the loan you expect, however. Once you are preapproved, you can begin searching for your new home.

Applying for a Mortgage

When you have found the home you want to buy you can apply for a mortgage.

The lender will check your credit history again, so if anything has changed in your finances it might mean you will not qualify for the amount you expect.

Your application will then go through the underwriting process. The home will need to be appraised and a title search conducted. After this process, you will get a decision from the lender on whether they have approved your mortgage.

With funding for your new home secured, you can then close and become the new owner.

Final Thoughts on Mortgage Preparation

Getting a mortgage you are comfortable with is one of the most essential steps in buying a home. It is worth the time and effort to do your due diligence.

Following the above steps will put you into a much better position.

Bill Gassett is a thirty-six year veteran to the real estate industry. He enjoys writing helpful articles for buyers, sellers and fellow real estate agents to make sound decisions. His work has been featured on RIS Media, National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Maximum Real Estate Exposure, Newsbreak, Credit Sesame and here at Realty Biz News. He has been on of the top RE/MAX agents in New England over the last two decades.
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