Frequently asked questions
Do I have to put down 20% or more to buy a home?
Nope! We have all kinds of programs that require less than 20% down. In fact some loan programs require zero down payment if you meet specific guidelines. Call me to find out more!
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How do I start the process of getting a home loan?
It's easy, if you have about 15 minutes, that's all it takes to complete the online mortgage application. This gives us the big picture informatoin so that we can work up your options for you. If your not sure what to put for some of the info, don't worry about it, we will give you a call and go over everything by telephone to make sure you are all set for your new home.
The application never obligates you to anything and there is no cost or fees to complete it.
To get started just jump to the application!
Or for even more information about the whole process check out our Getting Started Page
What documents will be required to get a home loan?
It can vary depending on the type of loan you qualify for but typically we will need proof of income and assets and basic identification like a drivers license. Once your application is completed you will receive a customized list specific to your loan type by email.
And don't worry, if there are any items that you can not provide we can often order it for you or find an alternative to provide the necessary documentation.
To get started now just jump her to complete the application!
What is the difference between interest rate and APR?
I know it is confusing, but the interest rate is the actual cost of borrowing the money for your home loan. The APR (Annual Percentage Rate) includes both the cost (interest rate) plus any additoinal costs or prepaid finance charges.
The interest rate is what will determine your monthly payment and the APR does not have any effect on your payment . Think of the APR as a univeral measurement to show you what the costs of your mortgage are.
What are closing costs?
Closing costs include items like appraisal fees, title insurance fees, attorney fees, pre-paid interest and documentation fees.
These items are usually different for each customer due to differences in the type of mortgage, the property location and other factors. Don't worry, we'll get you estimates related to different loan programs and options so that you can make an informed decision on what is the best option for you and your family. Then you just give us the nod and we'll get the ball rolling for you.
What can I use as a down payment to buy a house?
When it comes to down payment you have several options but the funds you use have to be verified and sourced. So in this case "Cash IS NOT King". Typically borrowers will use funds that have been "seasoned" in their bank account for a period of time (normally at least 60 days).
Other acceptable sources of down payment are:
If you've got one that's not on the list, give us a ring and let's see if we can use it!
Gifts from family members
401k or retirement account
Sale of personal property (car, boat, etc)
Withdrawal from Life Insurance Policy
Sale of Stocks/Bonds/CD's/Mutual Funds
Down Payment Assistance / Grant Programs
When should I get qualified?
I always say be pro-active and get pre-qualifed first. Think of it as determining your credit limit before you go shopping. This way if you stumble accross that dream home you'll be ready.
Plus if your looking for homes that may be above your credit limit it sets the expectations and makes it hard to find a home you like when you drop down to another price point.
Be sure to ask about our "Get Offer Ready" program where a little pro-active planning on your part can set you apart from everyone else and help you win the home in a multiple offer situation!
Ready to be pro-active, jump here to start the application!
Which type of mortgage is best for me?
That's a great question! And one that we can't answer just yet... but we will.
There are so many different types of mortgages and within that so many different ways to structure the loan. Once you have applied, one of the first steps is to get in contact with me and do an "overview consultation" where we get some info from you about your top priorities, goals, preferrences, etc. We'll ask you questions about your future plans as well as your short term and long term goals and then work up a mortgage report for you to review. This is just our starting point to give you some numbers to review and compare as we dial in the best optoin for you based on your unique situation. You'll love it!
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Are there programs for First Time Home Buyers?
Yes there are! We have several programs for first time home buyers. Most programs do require other parameters be met, wether it be geographic location, income, etc.
They are a great way to get into a new home and often require less down payment or lower credit guidelines to qualify. Give us a call and let's talk about them!
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How long does it take to get a mortgage?
It will vary from lender to lender with some shops needing 45-60 days to complete the mortgage process. We feel like our system is more efficient than most and our standard timeline is 21 days from when you submit the necessary paperwork to us.
We can do it faster if needed but would need to check with processing and underwriting capacity to determine how fast! Just let us know what you need and most likely we can accomodate your timeline.
Do I need to find a home before I apply?
Absolutely not! Getting started before you find a home may be the best thing you could do!
Most sellers won't accept your offer without a pre-qualification letter from us and we would hate to see you miss out on that dream home because someone else put in an offer while you were applying.
Not to mention when you do put in that offer and you provide that pre-qualification letter from us, a local mortgage bank, with a great reputation, it gives you an edge over the competition and could save you money and time!
Ask me about our "Get Offer Ready" program where we get you all set in advance and give you an edge when it comes to your new home negotiations!
Do I need a great credit score?
There are some definate advantages to high credit scores but it doesnt mean you can't still buy a new home.
We have loan programs that are eligible to be underwriten down to a 580 FICO and we will look at all your options to get you the best mortgage.
The best interest rates do go with the best scores so we'll also analyze your credit to see if there are any quick changes that may give you a better score and ultimately a better deal.
Does my spouse's credit score matter?
It will depend. If your husband or wife are listed as a co-borrower then we must consider their credit scores and debts.
If you don't need your spouses income to qualify we may be able to exclude both their credit scores and debts for a conventional loan. For FHA and VA we can omit the score but do still have to include their debts to qualify.
Let's talk about which option is best for you! Get in touch!
Can I get a mortgage loan if I'm self-employed?
Of course you can! A common misconception is that individuals who are self-employed cannot get a home loan but being self-employed just changes the documentation needed.
In most cases the income is set based on the taxable income, either 1yr or 2yr average depending on the circumstances. The most common hurdle is due to self-employed borrowers writing off expenses to reduce their tax liability which can leave the documentable income lacking.
Good news though! We have several options for self-employed borrowers from standard loan programs to some niche products where we determine income via most recent bank statements, assets and holdings, etc, as well.
Tip: Plan ahead. Consider cutting back on your write-offs or saving more money for the down payment to offset the lower income number.
We are happy to analyze your returns and let you know where you stand and help you create a plan for optimal finance options.
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Should I go with a fixed rate or an adjustable rate (ARM)?
An adjustable rate means your interest rate and your monthly payment may vary after a specific period. Most commmonly after 5,7,or 10yrs. The payoff is that you can take advantage of lower interest rates. The risk: Your mortgage payment won’t be the same every single month once the fixed period ends. A fixed rate loan means the interest rate (and your payment) stay the same for the life of your loan.
We'll go over this in detail when we talk and determine the best overall option for you!
What should I do to optimize my Credit?
Credit can be a tricky thing since the credit repositories keep much of their formula a closly guarded secret. It's their secret sauce you could say.
However there are some basics to follow:
1. I highly recommend opting out of all the credit repositories. This can have an immediate impact on your credit score now but can also save you time, money and frustration down the line. Learn how to opt out here!
2. Make sure your payments are made on time. One single 30 day late can drop your scores by 100 points in some cases. Late payments can be devestating to your credit score and are very difficult to correct later.
3. Be aware of your credit usage. Up to 33% of your credit score is based on credit utilizatoin (the % of your available credit charged to your card). Typically the most ideal range is to never have more than 25% charged to your card.
(ie: If you have a card with $1,000 in available credit and you have $600 charged to it, most likely your scores could improve dramatically by paying that down to $250 or less)
Contact us for other questions or advice about how to manage your credit score!