Buyers can easily get overwhelmed by the options they are confronted with when it is time to apply for a loan. Conventional? Government-backed? Fixed rate? Adjustable rate? Even within these categories there can be several options.
First Time Buyers
It can be intimidating to apply for your first loan, but rest assured we have great mortgage lenders we can refer you to. And there are plenty of loan programs out there that allow for very low (and sometimes no!) down payment. FHA, VA, USDA and more are available in our area and provide flexible lending terms so you can get started!
Before you can determine which loan is right for you, you need to have an understanding of how each works and the costs and benefits of each. Let’s start with definitions:
Fixed Rate Mortgage
Fixed rate mortgages are exactly that – the mortgage rate remains fixed for the life of the loan. Monthly payments are fixed (for the principal and interest – if property taxes and homeowners insurance are paid as part of your payment, these are paid through an “escrow” account which can fluctuate from year to year).
Adjustable Rate Mortgage
These are also called ARMs. This type of loan has the potential to have monthly payments that change since the interest rate can change. There is usually an initial period of time where the interest rate does not adjust. This might be a1-year ARM, 3-year, 5-year, or 7-year. How often the interest rate adjusts will also depend on the loan. Since interest rates do change over time, the payment can either be higher or lower depending on the difference in the interest rate. For example, if someone took out a loan when interest rates were at record-low levels, it is unlikely that interest rates will continue to be this low when the interest rate adjusts. Furthermore, ARMs generally start out with a lower interest rate than a fixed rate loan.
Ready to Apply? Here is how to get started!
- Do a credit check before applying – This will give you an opportunity to clean any errors up before meeting with a lender. Even if your credit is good, mistakes are made all the time by retailers and institutions who make errors on names or social security numbers. These are errors you can clean up on your own before applying.
- Provide the paperwork – The lender will need a number of documents from you including:
- Asset and investment statements
- Bank account statements
- Credit card statements
- Auto loan statements
- Pay stubs for the last two months
- Verification of other income sources
- Tax returns and W-2s for the past two years
- Form of ID
- And, of course, the mortgage application!
The lender may ask for additional documents, but this will get you started. Reach out with questions!