Although buying your first home is an exciting time in your life, it can also be nerve-wracking because of all of the unfamiliar terms and the multitude of important decisions that need to be made. From deciding on the type of mortgage to choose to obtaining the necessary pre-approval for the loan, educating yourself on the steps of the process will ensure that you are making an informed decision. Here are four things to educate yourself about as you prepare to buy your first home.

Mortgage concept. Financial agent complete wooden model of the house with last piece with text mortgage. - Image

Mortgage Types

There are many kinds of mortgage loans, and it is important to choose the kind that makes the most sense for your personal financial situation. A conventional mortgage will yield the best interest rates, but not all first-time homebuyers will qualify for this type of loan. A government-sponsored FHA loan is often a good choice for many homebuyers jumping into the market because it requires as little as 3.5 percent down.

Resource: Not Sure if an FHA Loan is Right for You?

Understanding the Rates

In addition to the different types of loans, you will need to understand the difference between a fixed and an adjustable interest rate. Although an adjustable rate will be riskier, it can be a good choice for buyers who do not plan on staying in the house for long. However, if you plan on staying in the home for a period of longer than five years, it is generally better to choose the fixed rate.

Resource: An 8-Step Guide for First-Time Homebuyers

Mortgage Loan Qualifications

There are a variety of factors that go into how much house you can afford. In addition to income verification, a lender will look at your credit history and how much debt you are carrying. Under the new CECL review model, lenders may look at certain qualitative and environmental factors when reviewing your application. These typically include your credit rating and financial condition—among other factors. The best thing that you can do before applying for a mortgage loan is to make sure that your entire credit history is cleaned up. 

Resource: Qualitative and Environmental Q&E Factors in CECL

Pre-Approval is Key

Familiarizing yourself with the steps to get pre-approved for a mortgage will ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible. Taking the time to do this before you start the search for your new home will prevent potential financing issues from derailing the process. It will also give you a detailed account of how much house you can reasonably afford.

With the right amount of research and planning, you can head into the home buying process with the confidence that you are making all of the right decisions for your financial future.


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