Most of us lack the means to pay for a house with cash, which means we must turn to a bank or credit union for a mortgage. Finding a mortgage that works for you doesn’t have to be a painful experience. Here are a few things to consider when you start looking around for a loan for your next house.
Work on Your Credit Score
If home ownership is in your future, it is in your best interest to get your credit report (you can obtain a copy for free at www.annualcreditreport.com) and review it. Make sure that there are not any mistakes (or surprises) on the report that require cleanup.
In addition to reviewing the report, it is also important to build your credit. You must be able to demonstrate to the lender that you are a credit risk worth taking.
Save Your Down Payment
You will typically hear about the “standard” 20 percent down payment. There are definitely advantages to having 20 percent of the purchase price as a down payment. You will have a lower payment because you are reducing the cost of the house, and you will not be required to purchase mortgage insurance for the loan. While it may sound attractive, sometimes 20 percent down is not in the cards for some people, which is where your lender comes in. Depending on your situation and lender, there can be smaller down payment options (like 3.5% , 5%, or even no down payment).
Find a Great Lender
Clients frequently ask who they should use for their mortgage. I definitely have a few great lenders that I work with regularly, but my first answer to this question is to usually check with the bank or credit union where you already have an established relationship. In addition, it is important that you choose a mortgage lender who is well versed on the various loan programs available. Loan programs are ever changing and it is important that whomever you choose know and have access to these options. Not only are loan programs critical, but there are varied mortgage lengths such as 15 and 30 year loans.
It is important that you work with the lender to figure out how much you can spend, the payment amount that makes you comfortable and how much money you will need as a down payment for the amount you want to spend. You can also get an idea of how much your payment would be by using a mortgage calculator. You can then get prequalified and start the process of searching for a home.
Consult Your Agent
After deciding on your mortgage type and payment, your real estate agent can help narrow down your search with your criteria for location, price, size and the amenities you require in your new home. Your agent should be able to provide a list of available properties that fit your criteria so that you can find the house that fits your budget.
Buying a house is a big deal. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if I can answer any questions about the home buying or mortgage process.