The Pre-Qualification and Pre-Approval Process
Many buyers apply for a loan and obtain approval before they find the home they want to buy.
Why? Pre-qualifying will help you in the following ways:
- Generally, interest rates are locked in for a set period of time. You will know in advance what your payments will be.
- You won’t waste time considering homes you cannot afford.
Pre-approval will help you in the following ways:
- You can select the best loan package without being under pressure.
- If you are applying for Government assistance program this is a requirement.
How Much Can You Afford?
There are three key factors to consider:
- The down payment
- Your ability to qualify for a mortgage
- The closing costs associated with your transaction.
Down Payment Requirements:
Most loans today require a down payment of between 3.5% and 5.0% depending on the type and terms of the loan. If you are able to come up with a 20-25% down payment, you may be eligible to take advantage of special fast-track programs and possibly eliminate mortgage insurance.
You will be required to pay fees for loan processing and other closing costs. These fees must be paid in full at the final settlement, unless you are able to include them in your financing. Typically, total closing costs will range between 2-5% of your mortgage loan.
Qualifying for the Mortgage:
Most lenders require that your monthly payment range between 25-28% of your gross monthly income. Your mortgage payment to the lender includes the following items:
- The principal on the loan (P)
- The interest on the loan (I)
- Property taxes (T),
- The homeowner’s insurance (I).
Your total monthly PITI and all debts (from installments to revolving charge accounts) should range between 33-38% of your gross monthly income. These key factors determine your ability to secure a home loan: Credit Report, Assets, Income, and Property Value.
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