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TIPS & RECOMMENDATIONS

IMPROVE YOUR CREDIT SCORE

If your credit is low, you need to know why. If you have collections, you might need to repair your credit to remove them. Pay all your bills on time. Leave your credit card balances between 1 and 19% of the credit limit after your monthly payment. Use credit wisely and pay cash when possible, especially if you cannot seem to get a handle on your credit card debt. If things spiral out of control contact a professional for help as soon as possible. Check out our preferred partners section for a link to operationhope.org, which offers free credit repair services and has offices all over the country.  

INHERIT CREDIT

A good way to improve your credit score is to inherit credit. This means having someone close to you that has a credit card account in good standing with a low balance for at least a year add you as an additional card holder. The additional card does not need to be used to inherit the credit history. After a month that the additional card is reported on your credit history, you will inherit the score that each line of credit has generated since it existed. You could potentially get a higher credit score in a short period of time.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

This is probably the most important factor in a home’s value. Unless you are making your next home purchase your forever home, you will need to consider the resale value of the home. When it comes to resale, the location is one of, if not the most important factor in determining a property’s value. A home in a thriving community will have more value than a home in a city where the economy is failing, the roads are uncared for and schools are on the decline. All other things being equal, a home in a desirable location is more valuable than an identical or similar home in a less desirable location. So when deciding what you “need” in a home versus what you “want” in a home, sometimes it makes sense to settle for what you need in a desirable location and let go of what you want. At the end of the day, the most important factor to consider is the resale value, which almost always equates to location, location, location.

HOME INSPECTION

A thorough home inspection by a licensed inspector will help you identify any issues with a home once there is a signed purchase agreement and prior to closing. The inspection is done during the Option Period which is a period of time after the purchase agreement is signed that the buyer uses to get any inspections performed and to make any final decisions on purchasing the home or exercising their option to back out of the purchase agreement without penalty. The inspector is independently hired by the buyer and works exclusively for the buyer. Therefore, upon completion, the inspection report is given only to the buyer and never to the seller or seller’s Realtor, unless there are issues and the seller’s Realtor asks to see the report or a portion of the report. This is a delicate and complicated subject that opens up many areas of liability for the seller, so it is best to discuss the sharing of the inspection report with a licensed Realtor or an attorney.

APPRAISALS

Appraisals tell you and the lender the market value of the property and are used to determine whether the home's contract price is appropriate given the home's condition, location, and features. A licensed appraiser creates a report based on a visual inspection, using recent sales of similar properties, current market trends, and aspects of the home to determine the property’s value. Regular maintenance such as keeping the trees trimmed, gutters cleaned, fresh paint, etc., goes a long way in maintaining a property’s value and can help get the home to appraise for the necessary value. Another tip that can help in getting the home to appraise is curb appeal. For seller’s, this means fresh cut green grass, trimmed bushes, weeded, beds and fresh mulch. Think of it as dressing your home up in its finest and making it look sparkly for pictures or a job interview. Appraising for at least the desired amount means your home got the job.   

BROKER, LENDER OR BANK?

Banks and lenders do not have to disclose what they make on your loan, so you could pay more than you should if you do not shop around. If your application involves challenges, a good broker has access to many lenders, not just one, and would know which lenders do not apply tougher standards and are more likely to approve your application.

FAQ

DO I NEED 20%DOWN TO BUY?

NO! It will depend on the type of loan and if you’re a first-time homebuyer. But the minimum down payment to buy a home is between 3% to 5%. 3% for first-time homebuyers and 3.5% or 5% for everyone else, depending on the type of loan.

WHAT IF I’M SELF EMPLOYED?

If you’re self-employed, lenders will count only your net income, not your gross. There are some expenses that can be added back to your income for home loan purposes like depreciation, depletion, and mileage. But there are others that need to be subtracted from your net like meals and entertainment and taxable income from an 1120 form.

WHY DO I NEED A REALTOR?

Realtors are experts in the industry, and buying a home involves legal documentation and transactions. A real estate agent can represent you, guide you through the process and look out for your interests because they have legal knowledge. They also have a license from the state proving that they have a good record and have good moral character. A real estate agent should not charge you anything if you are a buyer. They also have access to show you the houses inside. Many times, the photos do not show the reality of the houses and seeing them inside is important. 

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WHAT DOCUMENTS WILL I NEED FOR A HOME LOAN?

The documents needed will depend on your situation, but generally here is a list of basic documents that are required:- Personal tax returns for the past 2 years- Business tax returns from the last 2 years (if applicable)- W2 or 1099 's from the last two years- Last 30 days of pay stubs (if applicable)- Last 2 bank statements- Driver's license and social security cardIf you already have another property or several in your name, you will also need:

- Last mortgage statement, HOA statement or invoice and insurance policy for all properties owned

If you receive other types of income such as retirement savings, child support or have rental properties, you will also be asked for documentation to prove that income. If you are divorced or divorced you will also have to provide the divorce decree.

WHAT TYPE OF HOME LOANS ARE OUT THERE?

NO! It will depend on the type of loan and if you’re a first-time homebuyer. But the minimum down payment to buy a home is between 3% to 5%. 3% for first-time homebuyers and 3.5% or 5% for everyone else, depending on the type of loan.

WHAT AFFECTS MY MONTHLY PAYMENT?

There are several things that can affect the monthly payment. The loan amount and interest rate will define the first part of the payment which everyone has on a home loan. There can be other parts added to the payment like mortgage insurance, property taxes and property insurance if the down payment was less than 20%.

HOW CAN I GET THE BEST INTEREST RATE?

The interest rate is defined by the loan amount, amount of down payment, credit score and type of loan in most cases. The higher the credit score, the lower the interest rate. Some lenders penalize the interest rate based on the loan amount or amount of down payment. The type of loan will have a high impact on the rate also.

WHAT DO I NEED TO QUALIFY FOR A HOME LOAN?

There’s 4 components of a home loan that get analyzed by lenders. Credit, Income, Assets and Property. For credit, the lender will run a credit report. The credit score will either qualify you or disqualify you, and the credit history will get analyzed. Collections, charge-offs, bankruptcies, foreclosures, short sales, and judgements have different guidelines depending on the type of loan. The income must be calculated by your loan officer to determine how much you can qualify for. The debts on your credit report will count against your income. And finally, your assets will be your savings and other properties owned.

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