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9 Tips for Buying a Home

If you are going to buy a home, one of the first things to do is find out what price range you can afford. Getting pre-approved for mortgage can determine the maximum home price and the loan amount you can get, based on your credit scores, income, and down payment. A mortgage pre-approval can save time and effort in your home search, and tells others that you are ready and able to buy a home.

1. Need flexibility on credit issues?

In addition to a low own payment, an FHA mortgage allows lower credit scores than conventional home financing. A bankruptcy only needs to be discharged for two years, and three years on a foreclosure.

2. Need payment choices for a tight budget?

Some lenders offers flexible mortgage terms with a 30 year fixed rate that gives you a payment choice each month for interest only or a fully amortized payment, which could help when money is tight.

3. Do you want an option for lower closing costs?

If you need to reduce your closing costs, you typically have the choice of decreasing the points by increasing the rate. Mortgage rates are priced to allow you to buy the interest rate up or down.

4. How long will you keep your mortgage?

If you plan to keep your mortgage for less than five years, you may be able to save money on your payments with a 5 year fixed rate plan. Also consider financing your home with zero points.

5. What debts are counted in your debt ratio?

Monthly debt payments are added to a mortgage to calculate a back-end debt ratio, including: credit card minimum payments, car loans, student loan, personal loan, alimony, child support, tax liens.

6. Are you required to have an impound account?

An impound account is money collected with the monthly loan payment to be set aside in reserve to pay property taxes and insurance. It’s usually required on mortgages with less than 20% down payment.

7. Buying a condo with an FHA mortgage?

A condominium project must be FHA approved in order to get an FHA loan. If the project is not approved, the FHA spot loan program is designed to provide financing for an individual unit.

8. What about opening new credit accounts?

Applying for a new credit card, or financing the purchase of anything, just before or during the mortgage process can drop your credit scores, and lower credit scores can cause a higher rate or worse.

9. Are you planning a job or career change?

If you plan to make a job change, especially if the change involves commission or a different line of work, wait until after your new mortgage has funded, to avoid creating a potential problem.