Getting a home loan in 2021 might be a challenge given the many mortgage options and the low affordability of homes. While finding the right home can be exciting; getting the loan to finance your dream home is equally important. If you’re considering taking the plunge and finally buying a home, make sure you’re doing it smartly and not getting yourself into a loan you’ll regret. Here are ten tips to help you acquire a home loan amid the 2021 real estate trends.
1. Save Early for Your Down Payment
If you want to buy a home, you need to start saving for the down payment as early as possible. Down payment can be as low as 2.25% or as high as 20% of your home’s buying price, depending on the financing option you choose. With this information, you can decide how much you can comfortably save and work on a plan that allows you to put away the amount every month.
The earlier you start saving, the more money you’ll have for the down payment and other home-buying costs such as moving expenses, closing costs, and home appraisal and inspection costs. If you are on a tight budget, consider financing options with low down payments like FHA.
2. Check Your Credit Score
Lenders use your credit score to determine your suitability for a loan. A lower credit score means you are a high-risk investment. Before you set out to buy a home, check your credit report to see what your credit profile looks like to lenders. You can then put up measures to ensure that your credit score is high enough for you to acquire the best home loan deals.
The good thing is that you can get your annual credit report from credit reporting agencies like TransUnion and Equifax. You can also get your credit score at a small fee. If your credit report has errors, you should have them corrected immediately.
When it comes to credit scoring systems that use a range of 300-850, a credit score of 700 or above is usually considered good. In the same range, a score of 800 and above is considered to be excellent. Most commonly, a credit score falls somewhere between 600 and 750. If you have a higher credit score, it means that you’re seen as more responsible to lenders. As such, they will have more confidence in you to lend you more money.
A variety of organizations use credit scores. Lenders can include banks providing mortgage loans, car dealerships, and credit card companies. All of these organizations use your score to make a choice about whether or not to offer your credit like a card or a loan, as well as what your down payment and interest should be. You may have heard of the FICO® Score, but this isn’t the only type of score there is. There are many types of credit scores, including scores by VantageScore and industry-specific scores.
3. Have All Your Financial Documents in Order
When applying for a mortgage, you will need to provide financial documents to convince your lender that you can pay back the loan. With this in mind, ensure that all the necessary financial documents are in order. These include tax return for the last two years or your recent W-2s, your previous two paycheck stubs as well as bank and brokerage statements. With your documents in order and readily available, your home loan processing will be much easier and faster.
4. Make Use of Mortgage Calculators
A mortgage calculator helps you establish what you can afford when buying a home. Use a mortgage calculator to figure out your mortgage installments, given different prices and interest rates. This way, you can plan your finances better and avoid going outside your financial comfort zone.
5. Compare Different Offers
It would help if you didn’t settle for the first quote or lender you find. Have a look at various financing options and compare them before choosing a suitable alternative. Look at factors such as the interest rates, flexibility of payment, fees involved, and even mortgage premiums when comparing different financing options. A better way is to look at the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of different lenders as it represents the overall cost of your mortgage and gives a more accurate comparison figure. There are several different types of mortgages. You can learn more about them here.
6. Track Interest Rates
Since the cost of your mortgage will be highly dependent on the interest rate, you need to know whether they are rising, falling, or stagnating. This helps you predict what you’re likely to pay for your home loan once you secure it.
7. Get Mortgage Pre-Approval
A mortgage pre-approval not only shows you how much you can borrow but the price range of the homes you should consider, too. It also improves your chances of homeownership as most real estate agents and sellers prefer working with pre-qualified buyers. What’s more, pre-approval shows your seriousness when placing offers on homes. To be pre-approved, you only need details of your income, savings, and investments.
8. Research Your Mortgage Options
Mortgage options differ from one lender to another. Some offer fixed-rate payment schedules while others are adjustable. By understanding the nature of your available loan options, you will be in a better position to choose a home loan that suits your financial situation.
9. Always Communicate Promptly with Your Lender
After applying for a loan, be sure to respond to any requests by your lender promptly. Whether your financier is looking for clarification or asking for more information to process your loan, ensure that you provide immediate feedback. Delayed responses may lengthen your loan approval process, which results in problems that may cost you your dream home.
10. Don’t Ruin Your Credit
Lenders usually take one last look at your credit status before closing to make sure your credit score hasn’t dropped, and your debt-to-income ratio is not higher than it was. To avoid ruining your credit, pay your bills on time and avoid taking new credit or applying for new loans before your home loan is closed.