Why Get Pre-Qualified?
1. Pre-qualification acts as a dry run of the loan application process. The mortgage lender will use details you provide about your credit, income, assets and debts to arrive at an estimate of how much mortgage you can afford. The whole process may take only minutes or a few hours at most, and is free.
2. While a "pre-qual" is non-binding to the lender (because the information you provide has not been verified), it does serve as a good indication to potential sellers of your general creditworthiness.
3. These days most sellers will NOT accept an offer without at least a pre-approval letter, so if you are serious about buying this is the first step towards getting you in your new home.
10 TIPS FOR BUYING YOUR FIRST HOME
1. Get pre-approved: This will help determine how much you qualify to borrow and what you're comfortable paying.
2. Check your credit: Even if you have blemishes on your credit, you may still be able to qualify for a loan. Your loan officer can educate you on the many factors involved.
3. Determine your down payment: Requirements vary depending on the type of loan, loan amount, and available down payment assistance programs.
4. Save for closing costs: They may include but are not limited to, title policy insurance, mortgage insurance, fire/flood/homeowners insurance, recording fees, and loan origination fees.
5. Explore ways to lower your rate: You may be able to pay points (fee charged by a lender; one point is equal to 1% of the loan amount) at the beginning of the loan to lower the interest rate charged.
6. Decide between fixed or adjustable: Depending on your short-and long-term goals, you may wish to take advantage of a fixed rate loan or one that adjusts periodically over time.
7. Consider conventional and government loans: While conventional loans may feature fixed or adjustable interest rates, FHA, VA, and USDA loans typically involve a fixed rate.
8. Take advantage of first-time homebuyer programs: Ask your mortgage expert about options that are customized for those who have not previously owned a home.
9. Factor in mortgage insurance: Home loans with a down payment of less than 20% will most likely require mortgage insurance.
10. Attend first-time homebuyer counseling: Learn about selecting a home, realtor services, homeownership responsibilities, saving for a down payment and other essential elements.