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Posted by Julie Shanks on 11/10/2019

In your quest to buy a home, you might check out properties online or looking up houses around your neighborhood up for sale. These are all steps you must first make to attain your desire of becoming a homeowner. Before you go into your search proper, there is something you need to do; itís called getting pre-approved for a mortgage. 

A mortgage pre-approval involves lenders going through your financial records to determine how creditworthy you are. Itís a process that allows the lender to go through your financial records to determine if you are loan qualified and how much you are eligible to borrow. Being qualified for a mortgage differs from being pre-approved Ė the latter holds more value to a lender. 

The purpose of getting pre-approved is to convince the lender that if granted the loan, you would be able to payback. Another reason lender asks for pre-approval is to be clear on all your financial situations. The pre-approval process involves lenders going through your financial records either on your request or at their discretion.  The following are things and documents you would be pre-approved about before applying for a mortgage loan.

Proof of Income

The documents showing your income statement is required to validate how much you earn on the average annually. Itís an essential document for pre-approval and underwriting. It involves you presenting your W-2 statements for the past two years, your most recent pay stubs (at least two) and any other additional source of income or bonuses. 

Proof of Employment

Aside from going through your pay stubs, a lender will also want to confirm your employment status from your employer and verify how much you earn. If the job you are working in is a new one, a lender might contact your previous employer. All these are procedures the lender undertakes to ensure they are borrowing to a financially stable individual. Self-employed people would need to provide more critical paperwork about their business. 

Credit Information

A lender would want to measure your debt-to-income ratio before granting you a loan. This procedure involves ascertaining if you are currently repaying any debt like a car loan, student loan or any other loan form. Providing documents relating to this information is vital.

Social Security Number

Lenders need your social security number to verify your identity, to attain your credit reports and also to request your tax returns from IRS. The information is made available through your social security cards, tax documents and all other documents showing your SSN.

Bank Statements

Your bank statement is required to determine if you have enough cash or investments needed to make a down payment, conclude closing cost and still maintain a cash reserve. Your bank statement is one of the essential documents nearly all lenders will request to see to ensure you have enough funds. 

The pre-approval process is the first place a serious homebuyer begins the home application process. Speak to a financial consultant or your real estate agent to help you secure one.




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Posted by Julie Shanks on 9/29/2019

Getting a new mortgage can be stressful, whether you are getting it for the first time or not. You have to carry out thorough research to avoid going into a mortgage that drains your pocket through high-interest rates. You can get yourself prepared for the lowest interest rate that is suitable for you by taking good care of your credit history. Do you realize that a difference of 1 percent in the interest rate can save a tremendous amount of money on a mortgage running for 30 years?Consider the following when searching for competitive rates:

Introductory rates:

You should consider loans with discounted initial rates. Be on the lookout for fees and be ready to switch in case the rate goes higher than your budget or plan.

Alternative lenders:

When looking for a low-interest mortgage rate, you should check if a smaller non-banker lender is providing a low-interest mortgage. When you find options, check properly to be sure that there are no additional charges. You must know the final amount before committing.

Variable versus fixed rates:

The difference between a variable and fixed rate is that variable loans usually advertise more flexibility and lower interest rates when compared with the fixed rate. However, the truth is that you can get a fixed-rate mortgage without any possibility of rising rates. Variable rates may tell you the percentage is likely to go down, but it can go up also! 

Negotiating a discount: 

After you have selected a mortgage company, inquire about their unadvertised discounts that can save you money.

Here are some tips to help you qualify for low-interest mortgage rates:

  • Get a loan with low fees. You should know that most mortgages have a separate charge that is different from the repayments and rates. Such fees sometimes are not included in most online loan comparison websites. Contact the company to be sure you have full information about one-time fees like application or origination fee as these may be expensive. Compare with other ongoing fees to be sure it does not cost you more in the long run.
  • Should you avoid fees at all costs? You do not always need to avoid fees. To know the amount that a loan will cost you, you should do the calculations and consider the benefits as well as the charges involved. If you discover that a mortgage loan has features that benefit you, it is justifiable to pay a small ongoing fee.
  • Save up a healthy down payment. It is worth noting that you are likely to borrow less to cover your home's purchase price if you have a substantial down payment. It is better to save enough funds towards your down payment.

Speak to your financial advisor or planner to know how to be pre-approved for the best mortgage rates before you start your house search.




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Posted by Julie Shanks on 9/22/2019

Credit plays an important role in your ability to secure a home loan and to qualify for a low-interest mortgage. However, many first-time homebuyers arenít arenít sure about the exact relationship between credit scores and mortgages.

This doesnít come as much of a surprise considering the many factors that go into your credit score and into your lenderís decision to approve you for a mortgage. So, in this article, weíre going to cover three commonly asked questions that homebuyers have about credit scores and how theyíre used by mortgage lenders to determine your eligibility for a home loan.

Will my credit score go down if I check my credit report?

If youíre thinking of buying a home in the near future, one of the first things youíll want to do is check your credit. However, if youíve heard that some credit inquiries briefly lower your credit score you might be hesitant to find out.


This common misconception stems from the fact that taking out new lines of credit results in a temporary decrease in your credit score. The difference between checking your credit and a credit inquiry is simple: a credit check you can access for free online through a service like Credit Karma, whereas a credit inquiry is performed by a lender or creditor with whom youíve applied for credit.

In short, checking your credit score online wonít affect your score. In fact, the major credit bureaus are required to allow you to check your credit for free once per year.

Can I get a loan with low credit?

Increasing your credit score is a lengthy process that requires careful financial management. Many people who have had difficulties paying off bills, loans, and credit cards will have to rebuild their credit. Or, if youíre young and donít have a diverse history of credit payments, youíll be starting from scratch to build your score.

If youíre hoping to get an FHA (first-time homeowner loan), the lowest your score can be is 580. However, that doesnít mean you should always take a loan with a low credit score. When you donít have a good credit history, lenders will seek other ways to guarantees their investment. This comes in the form of higher interest rates or PMI (private mortgage insurance) which youíll have to pay on top of your monthly home insurance and mortgage payments.

Will applying for a home loan affect my credit?

Simply stated, yes. However, applying for a loan or get preapproved is considered a credit inquiry and wonít leave any lasting negative on your credit score. Making several inquiries within a short period of time, however, can significantly lower your score, so choose your inquiries wisely. And, be sure to monitor your credit score on a monthly basis so you have an idea of where you stand along the road to applying for a home loan.




Tags: Buying a home   FAQ   homebuyers  
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Posted by Julie Shanks on 6/2/2019

Once youíve made up your mind that you want to buy a house, either to decrease your rent or increase your income, the next hurdle will be choosing the right property. You will find no shortage of glossy brochures or recommendations from all sides telling you why this flat or that house is best for you. So, which of the many voices should you pay attention to? Here are some guiding principles to help you make the right choice:

What are your home ownership goals?

Why do you want to buy a house? Do you want to live in it for the rest of your life, or is it just a place to start as you save up for your dream home? Is it your retirement paradise or is it an investment that you will flip for a profit after a year or two? Alternatively, you could just be in the market for a getaway cabin for your family.

Problems or challenges youíre dealing with in your current residence may contribute to some of these goals. Put them down in a list as some of the criteria any potential new home has to meet.

What kind of neighborhood do you want to live in?

If youíre buying a dream home or retirement retreat, this will be particularly important as this is where youíll be spending the rest of your life. You want to live in a place where your neighbors hold dear the same aesthetic values as you. If you enjoy your peace and quiet, you might not want to live in an area where residents are allowed to hold loud parties until the wee hours. 

How seriously is security taken in that neighborhood? How clean is the area? Is there a management committee or neighborhood association that looks into such issues?

Have you exhausted your options?

Before you seal any deal, ask yourself, ďCan I do better?Ē You may have found a house that nearly checks all your must-have boxes, but there could be one down the street that does the same at a considerably lower asking price. Donít assume thereís no better deal out there. Be willing to keep looking even if you feel youíve been scouring the market for too long.

Write down your home ownership goals and hold them up against all the homes youíre considering for purchase. Make sure your real estate agent understands your goals so they can help you find the best home.




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