Zahra Zoglauer's Blog
Ready to buy a home? You'll likely need a mortgage to ensure you can afford your dream residence. Lucky for you, many banks and credit unions are happy to help you discover a mortgage that suits you perfectly.
Ultimately, meeting with a mortgage lender may seem stressful at first. But this meeting can serve as a valuable learning opportunity, one that allows you to select a mortgage that is easy to understand and matches your budget.
When you meet with a mortgage lender, here are three of the questions to ask so you can gain the insights you need to make an informed decision:
1. What mortgage options are available?
Most lenders offer a broad range of mortgage options. By doing so, these lenders can help you choose a mortgage that meets or exceeds your expectations.
Fixed-rate mortgages represent some of the most popular options for homebuyers, and perhaps it is easy to understand why. These mortgages lock-in an interest rate for a set period of time and ensure your mortgage payments will stay the same throughout the duration of your mortgage.
Meanwhile, adjustable-rate mortgages may prove to be great choices for many homebuyers as well. These mortgages may feature a lower initial interest rate that rises after several years. However, with an adjustable-rate mortgage, you'll know when your mortgage's interest rate will increase and can plan accordingly.
2. Do I need to get pre-approved for a mortgage?
Pre-approval for a mortgage usually is an excellent idea, and for good reason.
If you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you may be able to enter the homebuying market with a budget in mind. That way, you can pursue houses that fall within a set price range and avoid the risk of overspending on a home.
On the other hand, you don't need to be pre-approved for a mortgage to submit an offer on a home. But with a mortgage in hand, you may be able to gain an advantage over the competition, one that might even lead a home seller to select your offer over others.
3. How long will a mortgage last?
Many mortgages last 15- or 30-years – it all depends on the type of mortgage that you select.
A lender can explain the length associated with various mortgage options and highlight the pros and cons associated with these mortgages.
Moreover, you should ask a lender if there are any prepayment penalties if you pay off your mortgage early. This may help you determine whether a particular mortgage is right for you.
When it comes to finding a lender, don't forget to meet with several banks and credit unions. This will allow you to discover a lender that offers a mortgage with a low interest rate. Plus, it enables you to find a lender that makes you feel comfortable.
If you need assistance in your search for the right lender, be sure to reach out to a real estate agent. This housing market professional can provide details about local lenders and ensure you can accelerate your push to acquire your dream residence.
Few people can save up the cash required to buy a house. If you're contemplating buying your first house, your first stop will probably be your local bank to inquire about a mortgage. When you talk to the mortgage officer, they will ask you to provide several documents.
Various documents will be required at different stages of the application process, from pre-qualification to the final closing of the real estate deal.
What you need for mortgage pre-qualification
Getting pre-qualified for a home loan allows you to gauge how much you are eligible to borrow based on your income. It will help you be more realistic when shopping for a home and frees your real estate agent to scan through listings with confidence. Homeowners or listing agents will give your offer priority if backed by a pre-qualification letter. It is comparable to the bank vouching for you, saying you have the power to make the purchase. In order to become pre-qualified, your bank will ask for:
- Your full names and the names any co-buyer
- Your current address
- Your net worth
- Sources of income
- The estimated annual income of your household
- The estimated yearly household debt expenses
What you need for mortgage pre-approval
Pre-qualification is optional, though it comes with several advantages and literally costs you nothing to do. Once you're through with that step, you can move on to the actual mortgage application. The first step of that is to apply for pre-approval by filling the full mortgage application form. Below are some of the critical bits of information you will need to supply for this:
- All of your checking and savings bank account statements for the past few months
- Asset statements for items you will use as security for the loan
- Your current residential address
- Address history over the past two years
- Addresses and names of your landlords over the past two years
- Paycheck stubs over the past few months
- W-2 or I-9 forms for each of the past two years from your employer
- Two years of tax returns if you're self-employed
After submitting this information, there will be a waiting period at the end of which your application will be approved or rejected. If their response is positive, you can begin the process of closing the deal.
Contact your local bank and find out what you need to do to get a loan.
Ginnie, Freddie, and Fannie are friends of the real estate mortgage and housing industry. You hear about them whenever you read very deeply about how mortgages work. But who are they? And what do they have to do with you?
What’s in a name?
These three entities are nicknames for mortgage agencies established by the United States Government. Freddie and Fannie are siblings, while Ginnie is more of a cousin.
- Fannie Mae is the nickname for FNMA-the Federal National Mortgage Association.
- Freddie Mac is the nickname for FHLMC-the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation.
- Ginnie Mae is the nickname for GNMA-the Government National Mortgage Association.
A little family historyBoth Fannie and Freddie are what is commonly known as a GSE, or government-sponsored entity. That means that while federal law established Fannie in 1938 to provide home loans backed by the US government, it later sold Fannie in 1968 to investors, making it privately owned. Freddie, established in 1970, formed to create competition for Fannie in the mortgage market. Fannie and Freddie don't lend money. Instead, they undergird the home loan market by purchasing loans made by banks. They repackage the loans into securities to sell to investors. They make various guarantees to investors in the event that homeowners default on their mortgages. This market is called the secondary mortgage market, while primary means the loans to homeowners directly.
Both Freddie and Fannie trade in the public market with investors owning shares of each of the mortgages rather than shares of the company. In the market, this is called mortgage-backed securities (bonds). If a homeowner defaults on their mortgage, it affects the value of those securities.
Cousin Ginnie, formed in 1968, is a government agency, but performs similar functions to the siblings, except only with government-insured mortgages, like FHA and VA loans—those backed by the Federal Housing Administration. While she does not supply initial funding, she does insure the loans. So, if a borrower with an FHA loan defaults, both the Federal Housing Agency and Ginnie Mae continue to pay out monies due to the investors that bought Ginnie Mae-backed securities.
During the subprime lending crisis in 2008, both Freddie and Fannie lost tremendous value. People that invested in Freddie or Fannie bonds lost tons of money. At that time, in an effort to stabilize the housing industry, the federal government took over as conservator of both Freddie and Fannie, providing money to bail out much of the debt and pay investors. Conservancy means that the government controls the operations of both entities, although it does not own them.
Why does it matter?
Mostly, what happened to Freddie, Fannie and Ginnie matters more to investors than to borrowers. But the healthier Freddie and Fannie are, the greater the variety of loan types available to borrowers. The less Ginnie has to pay out to cover defaulted mortgages, the more money available to loan to first-time borrowers.
If you’re wondering which loan-type is best for you, contact a qualified mortgage broker to discuss your options.