A Guide to Financing a Home For the First Time
If you are buying a home for the first time. It is imperative to know several important aspects of the process. The glossary of loan terms is one thing that you should familiarize yourself with. However here are the 5 areas that can be critical. Being aware of these will help you avoid costly mistakes.
The Loan Programs are fewer than just a few years ago, however they are financially more sound. Plan to have at least 3.5% for FHA. It can be gifted from a family or family-type member. Non-Profit agencies may provide gift funds. Generally 10-20% is preferred. A 20% down payment will avoid mortgage insurance which can be .75% of the loan amount monthly.
Real Estate agents will want to know that your are pre-qualified. This entails a look at your income, assets and credit history. It is a prime indicator of your sales price limit, ability to repay the loan and your probability of paying back the loan. In this step, your monthly payment is determined based on the current interest rates. Your credit score will also determine the rate.
A score of 700 or higher earns you the best rates. Financial experts recommend around 25% of your income as a mortgage payment. A debt ratio of 38% or higher becomes a concern with regards to affordability. Your assets will be verified to confirm down payment, closing costs are in the bank and for how long. You may need 2-6 months of payment reserves to allow a cushion depending on loan product.
The Good Faith Estimate is considered the sticker price of doing your home loan. The lender fees, Title and Escrow fees, and possibly prepaid tax and insurance, if impound account is used, will be detailed on this form. It also will illustrate the rate, monthly payment and loan program used. Be sure to ask for this if not offered up front. It will be your cost guide going forward throughout the process.
The Process is facilitated by your realtor and home loan consultant. Starting with the prequalification for your target price range, you then are ready to make an offer after working with your local realtor for appropriate homes in your range and features you desire. It is normal to ask for the Seller to pay 3-6% of the closing costs. Next, your offer gets accepted by the seller! Now the work begins with home inspection, appraisal, formal loan approval and finalizing conditions from the underwriter.
The Closing is what is considered drawing loan documents for signing the deed of trust, the note, and all disclosures in title. In some cases a mobile notary may be used. Finally your loan should be ready to fund and record. Now the house is yours!
Good communication and experienced professionals go a long way to making the home buying experience a great one. Be selective in who you choose to handle one of the biggest financial transactions in your life. I love working with First Time Home Buyers. As a teacher, I like to take the extra time to explain and answer all their questions. I can empathize with their fears and concerns about the many options available. Take time to choose your realtor and mortgage professional. Also be willing to learn about the process and take control of what you can control.