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Mortgage Learning Center
Our experts are committed to helping you understand the home buying & financing process,
including mortgages, so that you can make smarter decisions. We've pulled together answers to
your important mortgage questions, including tips on how to approach shopping for a home loan
as well as how to get the best rates & deals. Learn how to select a mortgage lender & real estate
agent, negotiate the best price, and best time a refinancing. Plus, understand how mortgage
decisions can affect your credit score.
Imagine that a friend asks to borrow money from you. Assuming you had the money to loan,
you might then ask yourself, "Did he pay me back the last time he borrowed money? Did he pay
me back the full amount? On time?"
Why is searching for a home important? The home search is an important aspect of the home buying process -
getting a feel for price ranges and availability in the neighborhood(s) you are looking in, learning about new
neighborhoods, and fine tuning your list of criteria for a potential home is a must when you are getting ready to buy.
What is an appraisal? With the loan conditionally approved and a purchase offer accepted,
you must make sure that an appraisal is ordered from a lender-approved provider.
No single issue confuses borrowers more than "points." Points are an upfront fee that is paid to lower
your mortgage interest rate. One point is 1 percent of the loan amount.
A knowledgeable mortgage professional can help you set goals and secure a loan that is suited to your needs.
Home loans are available from a number of institutions---from banks and credit unions to mortgage bankers and mortgage brokers.
What must be done to get a loan fully approved? Following pre-approval, your loan representative will instruct
you to provide the required supporting documents. The loan representative will then submit your loan application,
along with the documents, to the underwriter.
What is a down payment? When you buy a home, it is typical for you to provide some of your own money in addition
to the money you take out on loan. The money you provide of your own is considered the "down payment."
Fixed rate mortgages have an interest rate that remains constant for the duration of the loan.
With a fixed rate mortgage, you know exactly what you are going to pay each month for the life of the loan.
You've come a long way toward owning a home. There's a good chance you've been approved for your loan and seen
your appraisal go through. At the very least, you are working toward those milestones.
Refinancing your existing home mortgage can save you a lot of money if done correctly.
This worksheet from our loan experts will help you figure out if now is the right time to refinance your mortgage.
What measures determine home affordability? Mortgage lenders have traditionally expected borrowers
to have a housing expense ratio of 28% or less. The housing expense ratio is an indication of a borrower's
ability to make the payments on their mortgage loan.
Have you found the home you want to buy? The next step is to write an offer.
Use the following negotiation techniques to reach an agreement with the seller.
Before you start shopping for a home, you need to work with a lender to get pre-approved for a mortgage.
Pre-approval is basically a promise from the lender that you're qualified to borrow up to a certain amount
of money at a specific interest rate.
A Realtor® (pronounced ré-al-tor) is a designation of those real estate agents who, along with the companies
they work for, are members of the National Association of Realtors.
When it comes to buying a real estate investment property, the first deal is the hardest.
I know this from personal experience. I kept talking about buying a rental property for several
years until my husband finally took the initiative, found a property, and made me buy it.
The rules and amount vary widely from state to state, but everyone pays property taxes.
In fact, this is usually the main source of local government funding and is generally based upon the home's value.
Appraisal: An opinion of value as of a given date of a property prepared by an expert.
The experts are usually licensed in the state. For residential loans, the report is invariably prepared on FNMA form.