Pam Spiros' Blog
Real estate terminology can be confusing for both new and experienced homeowners alike. Especially when it comes to the various types of loans. If the different types of loans have your head spinning, don’t worry. I hear you!
Here’s what you need to know:
Mortgage prequalification is an estimate a lender will give as to what you will qualify for when a more in-depth analysis is made. It doesn't guarantee anything and is to be thought of as a rough ballpark estimate.
Mortgage pre-approval is when a more in-depth review is made. The lender will take your income, debt and other factors into consideration to give you a more conclusive number. This number is the max they will lend out to you. It does not mean you have to take out the full amount.
Adjustable rate mortgage or ARM is a mortgage in which the interest rate changes over time. These changes are dependent on an index based on the credit markets. The change in interest rate should reflect a fairness of risk to both the lender and borrower. These changes are regulated by the government and there is a limit to the charges. The initial lower rate the first few years is a draw for many borrowers.
A fixed-rate mortgage or FRM is, as you might have guessed, one where the interest rate does not change throughout the lifespan of the loan. These loans are seen as risky in that the interest rate doesn’t reflect the flux of credit market values. What this means is that sometimes the risk for the lender increases if the market value of the home increases. And the risk increases for the buyer when the market value of the home decreases.
Conventional loans have fixed terms and rates and are not “government-backed”. This simply means they are not guaranteed by the government or insured by a government agency. Examples of these agencies are the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the Farmers Home Administration(FmHA), and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA).
Private mortgage insurance or PMI is a type of insurance for a conventional loan. This loan protects the lender if, for whatever reason, you were to stop making payments. It’s usually a monthly premium tacked onto your mortgage payment. It can also be an upfront cost you only need to pay once. This is a decision that is up to and may be mandatory, by your lender.
Federal housing administration loan or FHA loan can only be obtained from qualifying lenders. These loans are insured by the FHA. This mortgage is designed to assist home buyers who have a low to moderate income and can’t afford to put down a large down payment. The down payment can be as low as 3.5% of the home's value for borrowers who qualify.
Buying a home should be a fun, exciting experience, one that ends with you moving into your dream residence. However, problems sometimes can arise that prevent you from accomplishing your ultimate goal.
No homebuyer should be left in the dark, especially when it comes to navigating a competitive real estate market. Lucky for you, we're here to help you kick off your homebuying journey on the right foot.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you launch a successful homebuying journey.
1. Know Your Homebuying Budget
You know that you'd like to buy a house, but how much can you afford to pay for a residence? With a homebuying budget in place, you can determine exactly what you can afford.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage enables you to enter the real estate market with a budget in hand. Many credit unions and banks are available nationwide, and each lender is happy to provide details about a wide range of mortgage options. That way, you can select a mortgage that matches your finances perfectly.
Also, don't forget to consider the costs of utilities when you budget for a home. And if you need to commute to work or school, you may want to consider your transportation expenses as well.
2. Examine the Housing Market
The housing market usually features a large collection of high-quality houses. Take a look at some of the houses that are currently available, and you can better plan for your homebuying journey.
For example, if there is an abundance of homes available in a city or town where you'd like to live, now may prove to be the ideal time to enter the real estate market. The sheer volume of residences indicates a buyer's market may be in place, so you might be able to boost your chances of acquiring an exceptional house at a budget-friendly price.
On the other hand, if homes are selling quickly in a particular area, it likely means a seller's market is in place. As such, you will need to be aggressive if you want to secure your dream residence at an affordable price.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
The homebuying journey can be daunting, particularly for those who are interested in purchasing a house for the first time. Fortunately, a real estate agent can help you seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey.
A real estate agent possesses comprehensive housing market experience. He or she can share real estate insights with you to ensure you can purchase a great house that meets or exceeds your expectations.
Furthermore, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about new properties, set up home showings and negotiate with home sellers on your behalf. And if you ever have concerns or questions, a real estate agent can respond to them immediately.
Ready to make your homeownership dreams come true? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can enter the real estate market as an informed homebuyer.
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