Tips to Get the Most out of Your Mortgage
Buying a home is both exciting and overwhelming for most people. Between unfamiliar paperwork and the unfamiliarity of a process that most homebuyers will only go through a few times in their lives, it can’t hurt to get some tips on how to excel at getting the best mortgage that meets your unique needs.
Realistically Assess Your Budget
Before you start looking at homes, sit down and realistically assess what you can afford. You may expect your income to rise over the coming years, giving you the confidence to stretch to afford that nicer home, but life has a way of bringing about the unexpected. Start the process early to get an idea of what interest rate you will qualify for and a monthly payment you can afford. If your income does increase in the coming years, use it to redo that kitchen or bath to get the most out of the house while you live there and increase its resell value when you move up to the bigger home.
Optimize Your Credit Starting Now
Getting professional help to smooth out the dings and knocks on your credit score can mean the difference in getting an interest rate you are happy with and settling for one that is less satisfying. If your credit is right on the margin of making a lender smile, start right now to begin to address what you can to get a better loan when you buy. Don’t get sucked into the false thinking that if your credit isn’t perfect, you won’t qualify for a mortgage, however. Many programs can help you qualify, even if your credit isn’t all that great. But even with those programs, the more you do to improve your situation, the better your payments will be.
Analyze Your Down Payment Options
Many people still buy into the idea that you must have 20% down to qualify for a mortgage. Nothing could be further from the truth! Many mortgage programs can qualify you for a mortgage with 3.5%–5% down. However, the more cash you have available at the time of purchase, the better off you are likely to be. If you do have 20% down, you can likely skip the private mortgage insurance payments right from the start. And you can use cash to buy down your interest rate, a move that may save you money for years to come.
The more you understand about the mortgage process, the better able you will be to get a mortgage that will make your home feel cozy for years to come.