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.


Check Credit Before Buying a Home

Check Your Credit Before Buying a Home

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?" Read More

How to Search for Your Next Home

How to Search for Your Next Home

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. Read More

How to Get a Home Appraisal and Home Inspection

How to Get a Home Appraisal and Home Inspection

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. Read More

Understanding Mortgage Points: Rate vs Fee

Understanding Mortgage Points: Rate vs Fee

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. Read More

How to Find and Choose a Mortgage Lender

How to Find and Choose a Mortgage Lender

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. Read More

How to Get a Loan Fully Approved: The Mortgage Loan Approval Process

How to Get a Loan Fully Approved: The Mortgage Loan Approval Process

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. Read More

How to Determine Your Down Payment on a Home

How to Determine Your Down Payment on a Home

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." Read More

Fixed Rate Mortgage vs Adjustable Rate Mortgage

Fixed Rate Mortgage vs Adjustable Rate Mortgage

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. Read More

How to Close on a Home or Real Estate Deal and Avoid Problems

How to Close on a Home or Real Estate Deal and Avoid Problems

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. Read More

Mortgage Refinancing Guidelines

Mortgage Refinancing Guidelines

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. Read More

How to Determine Your Monthly Housing Budget

How to Determine Your Monthly Housing Budget

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. Read More

How to Negotiate the Best Price when Buying a Home

How to Negotiate the Best Price when Buying a Home

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. Read More

How to Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Home Loan

How to Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Home Loan

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. Read More

How to Find a Good Realtor or Real Estate Agent

How to Find a Good Realtor or Real Estate Agent

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. Read More

Financing Your First Investment Property

Financing Your First Investment Property

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. Read More

Property Taxes and Your Mortgage

Property Taxes and Your Mortgage

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. Read More

Mortgage Glossary - Definitions of mortgage and real estate related terms

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. Read More