Start your mortgage off right by preparing in advance for payments, fees and any unexpected costs of owning a home.
The steps to successful financing
This is not the same as being pre-qualified. There is a difference. Pre-approved is sitting down with a financial advisor, lender, or mortgage broker and going over all your finances, getting a credit report and then determining how much home your income can support.
How much can you afford to spend? While a lender will tell you how much you qualify for, it's up to you to figure how big a payment fits into your budget. What monthly dollar amount do you feel comfortable committing to? Remember to consider related costs such as insurance and taxes, as well as interest and principle.
Compare fixed-rate with adjustable rate mortgages. Look down the road. Where will you be in 15 years, 30 years? What obligations might you have? Take those things into consideration as you choose a loan.
When you're ready to get a loan, explore your options. You can choose either a direct lender or a mortgage broker.
A direct lender has money to lend and makes the final decision on your loan. Brokers are intermediaries who choose from many lenders. A broker may be able to help find you a loan if you have special financing needs, but he or she will also receive a percentage of what you borrow.
While you're shopping for a loan, also look for the best loan costs. These may include:
• Interest rates
• Broker fees
• Points (each point is one percent of the amount you borrow)
• Prepayment penalties
• Loan term application fees
• Credit report fees
• Appraisal costs