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In the current economic climate, being approved for a mortgage can be a confusing process but it really does not have to be. As long as a borrower understands some basic information about different loan options and government programs available and knows how to find the right mortgage, properly applying for it, being approved for home mortgage loans become much easier.
One of the best steps to take would be to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Being pre-approved does not mean that all the steps to acquire the loan are completed in advance. Rather, it can be considered an initial screening designed to guide you towards those loans which you qualify for. Being pre-approved through a preliminary application definitely will save you time and effort and will tell you how much home you can qualify for you you don’t start looking for homes that are out of your price range. It also brings piece of mind to the seller when you make an offer. It lends credibility to your offer and tells the seller you are already backed by a bank, so they feel more confident in accepting an offer from a buyer who is pre-approved than one who is not.
Types of Home Mortgage Loans
Not all home mortgage loans are the same and there are several different categories of mortgages you can apply for.
- Conventional Loan– Among the most common and traditional loan category would be a conventional loan where a mortgage comes with a pre-defined set number of years to pay it back. If you have good credit and are not in need of any special government loans (like FHA) you would easily qualify for a conventional loan. There are three different categories of a conventional loans and they are:
- Fixed Rate – This mortgage has an interest rate that stays the same throughout the term of the loan.
- Variable – Such a mortgage is one where an interest rate changes over time. It could be a fixed rate mortgage for the first five years and then becomes an adjustable rate when the fixed term expires.
- Adjustable – Adjustable mortgages are connected to an index and the rate will increase or decrease depending upon the market.
- Bi-Weekly Mortgages – These are mortgages where payments are made every two weeks as opposed to monthly with the intent of paying the mortgage off quicker.
- Non-Conforming Home Mortgage Loans – These are loans provided to those who have not met the standard criteria to be approved for a mortgage.
- Refinancing Loan – This is a new loan taken out to pay off an existing mortgage. The new loan will likely be one with better terms, an extended duration (life), and a lower interest rate. Many people refinance to lower their current rate.
- Home Equity Loans – These are secured loans that are borrowed against the value of your home for home improvements and other expenses.
Government Home Mortgage Loans
There are special loan categories which are backed by the government. The most common categories of these loans are:
- FHA Loans – These are government insured loans designed for those in a low income bracket.
- USDA/Rural Housing Loans – USDA Loans require no money down and are intended for purchasing a home in a rural area.
- VA Loans – The Department of Veterans Affairs will back mortgages to qualified veterans and their spouses
Which Loan Is the Right One?
Prior to selecting any loan, you need to ask yourself some questions about which loan is best for you. It is very important to have a good Loan Officer to help guide you through this process. They will be able to help you look at your budget, determine a reasonable amount you can afford, answer any questions about each type of loan and guide you to the best mortgage that will fit your needs.
Some common questions to ask include:
- How much can you afford? It is never a wise plan to take a mortgage out on a home you cannot afford. As such, you will need to examine your debt to income ratio and figure out what you can afford within the budget you have available. Start by downloading our easy Budget Calculator.
- How much of a down payment will you make on the home? By knowing how much of a down payment you will make, you will be able to adequately save for it.
- How long do you plan on staying in the house or with the loan? You would be best served taking out a mortgage with a term which will allow you to pay off the home prior to your moving out of it.
- Do you intend to make extra principal payments so you can pay off the loan early? Surprisingly, if you made one additional payment in a single year on a $250k loan with a 6.5% APR, you will save over $50k in interest in just six years. To do this the easy way, just divide your monthly minimum mortgage amount buy 12 and then add that amount to your monthly payments.
Make the Process Quicker
No matter what loan you decide on, you want to be sure that you facilitate the loan approval in the quickest manner. Ways to do this can include improving your FICO score to gain access to better interest rates, putting money aside for a down payment, and getting all required loan documents in order prior to applying. Check out our handy guide to learn some quick ways to Boost your Credit Score in Months.