Are you thinking about buying a home? Wondering about how to get started with the whole process?
The first thing you should do is talk to an experienced, trustworthy lender (aka loan officer) to get an accurate assessment of your credit status and financial fitness. A loan officer will help you determine the amount of money you can qualify to borrow, i.e. how much house you can afford.
How and where do you find a trustworthy lender? I recommend you devote a little time to this task because your choice can either save or cost you a lot of money when buying a home!
If you don’t already have a lender you trust, ask friends and family for recommendations. Real estate agents are also a great source for referrals as we work with lenders all the time and can easily identify and recommend several loan officers who have a good track record for helping our clients successfully buy a home.
Next, spend a little more time interviewing two or three lenders until you find one who fills you with confidence in his/her skills and ethics.
Here are 10 Questions to Ask when interviewing a loan officer.
- What are the most popular mortgage loans you offer?
- Which type of mortgage plan do you think would be best for us? Why?
- Are your rates, terms, fees, and closing costs negotiable? How do you get paid?
- Will I have to buy private mortgage insurance? If so how much will it cost and how long will it be required? NOTE: Private mortgage insurance usually is required if you make less than a 20 percent downpayment, but most lenders will let you discontinue the policy when you’ve acquired a certain amount of equity by paying down the loan.
- Who will service the loan? Your bank or another company?
- What escrow requirements do you have?
- How long is your loan lock-in period (the time that the quoted interest rate will be honored)? Will I be able to obtain a lower rate if they drop during this period?
- How long will the loan approval process take?
- How long will it take to close the loan?
- Are there any charges or penalties for prepaying the loan?
Used with permission from Real Estate Checklists & Systems (http://www.realestatechecklists.com)
In my next post, I will discuss step 2 in the home buying process. If you can’t wait, give me a call for a personal consultation. 206-708-9800