Mortgages are the most popular way to finance the purchase of a home, and for many borrowers it is their key route to homeownership. But before applying for one, there’s plenty to understand about how mortgages work and what you should look out for when doing so.
Mortgages are loans that allow you to purchase real estate without having to pay the full purchase price upfront. They help cover any difference between the sale price and your down payment, with repayment taking place over a specified number of years with interest included.
When you obtain a mortgage, your home becomes the collateral for the loan; if you fail to repay it, the lender has the right to seize and take possession of your property. This could occur if you default on payments or decide to sell your house.
You can obtain a mortgage from various sources, including banks, credit unions, online-only lenders and mortgage brokers. It is important to compare rates from all these sources in order to get the best possible deal.
Mortgages are an excellent way to save money on your home loan, as they typically feature lower interest rates than other forms of loans. Plus, even people with poor credit can qualify for a mortgage!
Fixed rate mortgages offer the simplest financial management, with your monthly payment remaining constant throughout the life of your loan. This makes it easy to stay on track financially and ensure you’re not paying more in interest than necessary.
Another option is an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), which begins with a lower interest rate and then changes annually. These mortgages usually feature shorter reset periods and may be more cost-effective than 30-year fixed rate mortgages.
Some ARMs feature a “balloon payment” at the end of the term that’s equal to your principal loan balance. While this could be beneficial for people looking to reduce monthly payments, keep in mind that adding on this extra charge will raise overall interest paid on the loan.
Mortgages can be an expensive financial commitment, but if you pay it off over time, you could potentially save thousands of dollars in interest fees. Utilize a mortgage calculator to estimate how much money you will save over the life of your loan and how long it will take to pay off the mortgage.
To qualify for a mortgage, you must demonstrate that you can afford both the payment of your loan plus any associated expenses such as homeowner’s insurance or taxes that typically come out of pocket each month. Your debt-to-income ratio and credit score are two important factors mortgage lenders will look at when determining if you’re an appropriate candidate for one.
Before beginning the mortgage application process, make sure you are equipped with documentation of your income, assets and debts. Most lenders will run a background check to assess creditworthiness; some even ask about employment history or financial status. As this step can take time, make sure all documents are organized beforehand.