Here are a few guidelines to help you get through the process:
- Find out how much mortgage you can afford.
Usually, the lender will want your monthly mortgage payment to be no more than 29% of your monthly gross income. Also, look at interest rates. The lower the rate, the more home you can afford.
- Know what’s in your credit report.
As part of the mortgage process, the lender will request a copy of your credit report. Your credit score will help determine the loan amount you will be able to get through the lender. Make sure you know what's on your credit report. You can order a free copy of your report once a year from each of the credit agencies. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com.
- Create a wish list.
Do you want a three-bedroom home with a garage, or can you settle for a two-bedroom home with no garage? Knowing what you want – and don’t want – upfront can save you time when looking for your home.
- Understand the different mortgage programs.
There are many different mortgage programs available, including adjustable-rate, fixed-rate and interest-only loans.
- Find out about closing costs.
Not only do you usually need to put a down payment on a home, but you also pay closing costs at settlement. These costs can include a loan origination fee, loan discount points, appraisal fee, credit report fee, prepaid interest and escrow accounts.