How to Choose the Best Mortgage

How to Choose the Best Mortgage

Know how much you can afford before shopping so you can receive the best mortgage loan.

If only buying a mortgage could be as enjoyable as buying shoes, a smartphone, or a big-screen TV. It’s worth an afternoon or two to look for such deals and save a few dollars, right? The time and effort required to apply to lenders and decipher terminology when looking for a mortgage, however, might not have the same appeal.

How to Choose the Best Mortgage

Even so, you can minimize the discomfort. The best mortgage loan may be chosen in six simple steps.

1. Figure out how much you can afford

Since this is a six-figure purchase, you may be considering whether it is actually within your means. You can use a calculator to figure out how much house you can afford.

Lenders will probably be more optimistic about how much house you can afford if you have a good credit score than you are. Remember that their job is to market a loan, and your duty is to repay it. So make sure your budget includes money for enjoying life.

2. Set a savings goal for the upfront costs

Lenders want you to be able to take out a large loan, but they also want you to have money saved up for a substantial down payment and other closing costs.

The down payment usually sounds like a lot to ask, but it’s in your best interest to put down as much as you can safely afford in order to provide some initial home equity to help offset the cost of your purchase. You risk having a large loan and a home that is worth less than what you owe if you put down a tiny down payment and there is a slight decline in the value of the housing market. Not a terrific position to be in if you have to act quickly.

3. Consider the length of the mortgage loan

You probably choked a little bit when you first heard the term “30-year mortgage,” don’t you think? That requires an extended commitment. However, there are also 10- and 15-year loans available. Some lenders even have “write your own mortgage” programs that allow you to choose any loan length between 10 and 30 years, according to John Pataky, an executive vice president at TIAA Bank.

According to Pataky, you’re likely to experience two benefits if your budget can accommodate the higher payment of a shorter loan: a significantly lower overall interest expense throughout the life of the mortgage and a better mortgage rate.

4. Choose the right type of mortgage

The majority of articles usually go into a long list of tedious mortgage terminology at this point. Just be aware that there are unique loan options available to borrowers:

  • involving a military component Refer to VA loans.
  • who wants to reside in a suburban or rural region. Refer to USDA loans.
  • whose credit score is lower. (Consider FHA loans.)
  • who are purchasing a home at a price that is a bit — or a lot — higher than what is typically permitted by lending rules. Referring to jumbo loans

You may be an excellent candidate for the conventional loans that the majority of lenders prefer if you don’t exactly fit any of the aforementioned characteristics.

5. Know how mortgage interest rates work

Another important factor in selecting the finest mortgage loan is the interest rate, which is the cost you’ll pay to borrow the money for your house. Mortgage rates fluctuate significantly—in fact, they do so nonstop on days when the bond market is open. Without going all Wall Street on you, here’s what you’ll want to know: You can either allow the interest rate on your loan change with the market and adjust once a year, or you can lock it in for the long term.

A fixed-rate mortgage that is guaranteed for the duration of the loan may initially have a higher interest rate than an ARM that adjusts to the market. The lower ARM rate, however, can change anywhere — up, down, or sideways — after an initial term of three, five, seven, or ten years. It resets once a year.

You can lock in your loan’s interest rate over the long term, or let it move with the market and adjust once a year.

What are your intentions for this house, Pataky advises you to question yourself? Do you have a five-year plan that includes moving across the nation or up to a better home?

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In order to proceed, Pataky advises asking yourself “what is the [estimated period] I plan to stay in this property, or retain a mortgage on this property.”

The adjustable-rate mortgage can be a suitable choice if you’re positive you’ll relocate, refinance, or pay off the loan before the guaranteed rate on an ARM ends. However, the interest rates available for a refinance into a fixed rate loan by the time you decide to stay in the house after seven years may be significantly higher.

6. Shop mortgage lenders like you shop for shoes

The most crucial tip for getting the best mortgage was left for last: compare offers from three or more lenders. Shop as you would for shoes or whatever it is you are most prone to fervently bargain seek for.

Because the money you save on a home by looking for the lender with the lowest origination fee and mortgage rate might be used to purchase numerous pairs of shoes, cellphones, and big-screen TVs.


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