What Do I Need To Know?
1. You can, and should, get pre-approved for a mortgage before looking for a home.
Preapproval is easy, and can give you complete peace-of-mind when shopping for your home. Your mortgage Banker can provide you with written pre-approval for you at no cost and no obligation, and it can all be done quite easily over the phone. More than just a verbal approval from your lending institution, a written pre-approval is important. It entails a completed credit application, and a certificate with limited assurances for a mortgage to the specified level when you find the home you’re looking for.
2. Know what monthly dollar amount you feel comfortable committing to.
When you discuss mortgage pre-approval with your mortgage Banker, find out what level you qualify for, but also pre-assess for yourself what monthly dollar amount you feel comfortable committing to. Your situation may give you a pre-approval amount that is higher (or lower) than the amount of money you would want to pay out each month. By working back and forth with your lending institution to determine what this monthly amount is and what value of home this translates into at today’s rates, you won’t waste time looking at homes that are not in your price range.
3. You should be thinking about your long term goals and expected situation.
There are a number of questions you should be asking yourself before you commit to a certain type of mortgage. How long do you think you will own this home? What direction are interest rates going in, and how quickly? Is your income expected to change (up or down) in the near term, impacting how much money you can afford to pay for your mortgage? The answers to these and other questions will help you determine the most appropriate mortgage you should be seeking.
4. Understand what prepayment privileges and frequency options are available to you.
More frequent payments (for example weekly or biweekly) can literally shave years off your mortgage. Simply structuring your payments so that they come out more frequently will significantly lessen the amount of interest that you will be charged over the term. For the same reason, authorized pre-payment of a certain percentage of your mortgage or an increase in the amount you can pay monthly will have a major impact on the number of years you will have to pay and could shorten your payment term considerably. These two payment options can cut years off your mortgage and save you thousands of dollars in interest. However, not every mortgage has these prepayment privileges built in, so make sure you ask the proper questions.
5. Ask if your mortgage is both portable and/or assumable.
A portable mortgage, where available, is one that you can carry with you when you buy your next home and avoid paying any discharge penalties. This means that you will not have to go through the entire mortgage process again unless you are making a move up to a much more expensive home. An assumable mortgage is one that the buyer for your home can take over when you move to your next home. This can be a very powerful tool at the negotiating table, making it much easier and more desirable for a buyer to buy your home, and again saves you any discharge penalties.
6. You should seriously consider dealing with a mortgage expert.
Consider dealing only with a professional who specializes in mortgages. Enlisting their services can make a significant difference in the cost and effectiveness of the mortgage you obtain. for example, they can make the process faster thereby avoiding costly delays. Typically there is no cost or obligation to inquire.