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If you’re hoping to buy a house in the near future, you’ll want to focus on saving for a down payment.
Down payments are a way to let a lender know that you are a low-risk investment, and a way to save money on interest over the term of your loan.
If you have your other finances in order--a good credit score and stable income--there’s a good chance that making a 20% or more down payment will land you a low interest rate that can save you thousands while you pay off your loan.
How large should my down payment be?
The larger the down payment you can afford, the more money you’ll likely save in the long run. While there are ways to get a loan with no or very small down payments, these aren’t always ideal.
First, if you put less than 20% down on your home loan, you’ll be required to pay private mortgage insurance, or PMI. These are monthly payments that you make in addition to the interest that is accrued on your loan.
So, if you don’t put any money down on your home, you’ll accrue more interest over your term length and you’ll pay PMI on top of that.
What affects your minimum down payment amount?
Lenders take a number of factors into consideration when determining your risk. If you’re eligible for a first-time home owners loan, a veteran’s loan, or a USDA loan, your loan can be guaranteed by the government. This means you can likely pay a lower down payment while still receiving a reasonable interest rate.
When applying for a mortgage, be sure to reach out to multiple lenders and shop around for the rates that work for you. Many lenders use slightly different criteria to determine your eligibility to pay a lower down payment.
Other things that affect your minimum down payment include:
Location of the home you want to buy
Value of the mortgage
Saving for a down payment
You’ll get the most value out of your mortgage if you put more money down. However, if you’re currently living in a high-rent area, it could mean that it’s in your best interest to get out of your apartment and start building equity in the form of homeownership.
If you want to buy a home within the next year or two, there are a few ways you can help increase your savings.
First, determine how much you need to save. Depending on your housing needs and the current market, everyone will have different requirements. Do some home shopping in your area online and look for homes that are within your spending limits. Remember that you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your monthly income on housing (mortgage, property taxes, etc.)
Next, find out what a 20% down payment on that home would be, adjusting for inflation.
Once you have the amount you need to save, remember to leave yourself enough of an emergency fund in your savings account to last you a month or two.
Finding a mortgage lender should be easy, particularly for homebuyers who want to purchase a high-quality residence without having to worry about spending too much. However, many mortgage lenders are available nationwide, and the sheer volume of lenders can make it difficult to choose the right one.
Lucky for you, we're here to help you streamline the process of selecting the ideal lender.
Now, let's take a look at three tips that homebuyers can use to accelerate the process of choosing the perfect lender.
1. Know Your Credit Score
Your mortgage interest rate may vary based on your credit score. As such, you should learn your credit score before you begin your search for the right lender. This will enable you to boost your credit score if necessary – something that may help you get a preferred mortgage interest rate.
You are eligible for one free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Request a copy of your credit report, and you can find out your credit score and map out your search for the ideal mortgage lender accordingly.
2. Meet with Several Mortgage Lenders
There is no shortage of mortgage lenders in cities and towns around the country. Therefore, you should allocate the necessary time and resources to meet with several credit unions and banks to explore all of your mortgage options.
Each lender can provide details about fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages, how these mortgages work and other pertinent mortgage information. This information can help you make an informed decision about a mortgage.
In addition, don't hesitate to ask questions when you meet with a mortgage lender. If you obtain plenty of information from a mortgage lender, you'll be able to understand the pros and cons of various mortgage options and make the best choice possible.
3. Review a Mortgage Closely
A mortgage may enable you to secure your dream residence, but it is important to understand all of the terms and conditions associated with a mortgage before you select a lender.
For example, if you decide to purchase a condo, your mortgage might only cover the costs of your property. Meanwhile, you still may be responsible for condo homeowners' association fees that total hundreds of dollars each month, so you'll need to budget properly.
Of course, you should feel comfortable working with a mortgage lender as well. The ideal mortgage lender should be available to answer your concerns and questions at any time and help you stay on track with your monthly mortgage payments.
If you need extra assistance as you consider the mortgage lenders in your area, you can reach out to a real estate agent for additional support. This housing market professional can provide insights into mortgage interest rates and may even be able to connect you with the top local lenders.
Take the guesswork out of finding the right mortgage lender – use these tips, and you can move one step closer to getting the financing you need to buy your dream residence.
Find the right home and you could enjoy years of living at a beautiful, peaceful property. You might even get married at your house and start and raise a family. By the time they are your current age, your children may feel and think of your home as one of the safest, most inviting places on earth.
Here are 3 things that could tank your mortgage
That's if everything goes right. Those or other housing advantages may not be possible if you make the below three mortgage mistakes. A clear goal, discipline and focus could help you to stay free of these mortgage mistakes:
Hiding financials from potential lenders - Top mortgage lenders will vet your home loan application thoroughly. They will check your credit history, current credit rating, tax returns and income, including income from part-time or contractor jobs. Outstanding debts that you currently have will also be reviewed. Yet, those thorough financial checks may not reveal the full details of your financial portfolio. For example, money that you owe a relative or friend may not show up during the reviews, even if you owe a relative or friend thousands of dollars. The fact that you know that you're planning on taking out another loan after you get approved for a mortgage also won't show up. Keeping these types of financial details a secret could help you to secure a home loan. Hiding financials from lenders could also cause you to take on more debt than you can handle. When you first move into your new home it might feel like a win. Months or years later, it could feel like one of the worst decisions you've ever made, especially if you start falling two or more months behind in your mortgage payments.
Securing a home loan with the wrong lender - There are several drawbacks to securing a home loan with the wrong lender. The lender may not be solvent and you could lose money on court fees should you challenge the home loan contractual language. Employees at the company may also not get fully vetted, putting you at risk of identity theft. You could also get involved with a company that's involved with illegal money schemes like money laundering or Ponzi schemes. Worst, the company that gives you a home loan might not actually have the funds to cover the cost of the loan.
Paying more for property than it's worth - Admittedly, houses are one of the more expensive purchases that you will make. But, that doesn't mean that you should pay as much as a seller is asking for a house. Buy a house that's over valued and you could end up losing thousands, even if you are able to sell the house to another buyer.
Assess homeownership over the long term
Even if you're diligent during the house hunting, closing and house buying processes, you could still fall prey to one or more mortgage mistakes. It's one of the reasons why owning and maintaining a house smartly is an ongoing effort. The good news is that you don't have to stay in a house for decades to benefit from the type of forethought that puts you in position to avoid the three mortgage mistakes.