Marianne Leonard Cashman - William Raveis R.E. & Home Services


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Of course, you want to stay within your budget when buying a house. You certainly want value for your dollar. But a buyer should never lose sight of the fact what they truly desire is getting the home they want and that fits their needs. To that end, potential buyers may put in a “low-ball” offer on a house they truly want. They may risk losing a home that meets all of their qualifications by placing an offer that is five or ten thousand dollars less than a price the seller is willing to accept. What can be even more frustrating is that even if a buyer's offer is accepted by a seller, the buyer may just waste that money, or more, on the mortgage they acquire.

Buyers may be surprised to learn how much even a half of one-percent difference in a mortgage rate can make.

Example One

In our first example, after a down payment, a buyer gets a mortgage for $250,000 over 30 years at 4.5% interest. The monthly payment would be about $1,267 monthly. Over the course of 30 years, those payments would total $456,120. The net cost of the loan is $206,120.

Example Two

In our second example, we take that same $250,000 mortgage over 30 years, but the buyer compared mortgage rates and was able to find a lender offering that same loan at 4.0% interest, one-half of one-percent less. The monthly payment would now be $1,194, totaling $429,840. The net cost of this loan is $179,840. The difference between the two loans is $26,280. All because of a .5% interest rate difference. 

The Best Way to Save Money on a Home

Rather than chancing to lose a home you really like by making an offer that is too low, consider instead performing due diligence on mortgage rates. Seeking out a lower rate can be critical in saving you five, ten or twenty thousand dollars or more. That's a far better solution than losing a home you really wanted.

There are a lot of factors that go into determining loan rates for mortgages. These include the buyer's credit rating, work history, income to debt ratio and loan to value ratio. The bottom line is the better your credit the more options you will have in securing a mortgage loan.

One of the best ways to save money on buying a home is saving money on your mortgage rates. The best way to do that is by monitoring your credit rating and working to build it. When it comes time to buy a home, get pre-qualified and compare mortgage rates. You can even use an online calculator to compare rates on your own. Need further assistance in determining how to find the right mortgage for you? Feel free to reach out, and we can embark on your mortgage and home journey together.


Filling out a mortgage application may prove to be a long, exhausting process. Fortunately, we're here to help you streamline the mortgage application process so you can move one step closer to acquiring your dream house.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you approach the mortgage application process with confidence.

1. Be Thorough

A mortgage application likely requests a lot of information about you, your finances and your employment history. However, it is important to answer each mortgage application question to the best of your ability. Because if you fail to do so, you risk delays in getting approved for a mortgage. Or, perhaps even worse, a lender may decline your mortgage application.

In addition, be honest in all of your mortgage application responses. This will ensure that if your mortgage application is approved, you will receive a mortgage that corresponds to your finances.

2. Ask Questions

There is no need to leave anything to chance as you complete a mortgage application. Thus, if you're uncertain about how to respond to various mortgage application questions, reach out to a lender for assistance.

Remember, there is no such thing as a "bad" question, especially when it comes to filling out a mortgage application. Lenders employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who are happy to assist you in any way possible. Work with these mortgage specialists, and you can get the help you need to finalize your mortgage application.

3. Get Multiple Quotes

It may seem like a good idea to complete a single mortgage application to request home financing from a single lender. Yet doing so may be problematic, particularly for those who prioritize affordability.

Ultimately, meeting with multiple lenders and getting several mortgage quotes is ideal. If you shop around for a mortgage, you may be eligible for a low interest rate that helps you save money when you complete a home purchase.

Once you finish a mortgage application, it may be only a matter of time before you find out if you have received approval. Then, if you receive a "Yes" from a lender, you can accelerate the homebuying journey.

Of course, for those who plan to buy a home soon, it may be beneficial to employ a real estate agent. This housing market professional can put you in touch with the top lenders in your area, as well as help you complete a home search in no time at all.

A real estate agent typically learns about a homebuyer's goals and crafts a strategy to help this buyer accomplish his or her aspirations. Furthermore, a real estate agent provides recommendations and tips to help a homebuyer make informed decisions throughout the property buying journey. And if a homebuyer ever has concerns or questions, a real estate agent is available to respond to them.

Ready to complete a mortgage application? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can finalize a mortgage application, obtain home financing and make your homeownership dream come true.


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Some mortgage companies offer loans with points. In a nutshell, paying points means paying down the interest rate. One point is equal to 1 percent of the mortgage amount. On a $200,000 mortgage, one point is $2,000. The percentage the interest rate lowers depends on the mortgage company and the market. For example, one point might be equal to a quarter of a percent interest. A loan with 4 percent interest and two points might go down to 3.5 percent interest.

Pros and Cons of Points

If you do pay points, you could get a tax break. Since tax laws are constantly changing, make sure you can claim points if part of your decision is based on the tax break. Other considerations include:

  • If your mortgage is an adjustable rate (ARM), some mortgage servicers only give you the discounted rate until the mortgage rate adjusts. Some may hold the discount rate over. For example, if you have an ARM that starts at 4 percent and you buy two points for a discount of ½ percent, you may lose that discount when the loan adjusts, especially if it changes to a higher interest rate. However, if the bank carries the discount over, the new rate might increase to 6 percent, but your one-half point discount would mean that your new rate would be 5.5 percent.

  • You need additional cash to buy points. If you plan on putting 20 percent down, but you want to purchase points and do not have more cash, you could be less than 20 percent down. However, compare the scenarios to determine which method is better in the long run. If you put less than 20 percent down, the mortgage servicer may charge you PMI, which would negate any savings.

  • You may save more by putting more down. If you put $40,000 down on a $200,000 mortgage, you are going to pay interest on $160,000. If you put less money down and buy points instead, your interest rate will drop, but you may end up paying more for the loan in the long run. Enter the numbers into a mortgage calculator to determine which way you save more.

Scenario

If your mortgage is $200,000 and you put $40,000 down, thus cutting the amount you finance to $160,000, and do not buy points, the total interest you will pay over the length of the loan will be about $115,000.

Using the same scenario, you instead put $36,000 down and buy two points. This drops your interest rate to 3.5 percent from 4 percent. You will save about $16,700 over the life of the mortgage. And, you would have to stay in your house without refinancing for 49 months to break even on your savings. In this case, your $4,000 ends up saving you a net of $13,500 on interest (savings minus the $4,000 it cost you to save).

Before you agree to points or a larger down payment, discuss the scenarios with your accountant or tax attorney to determine which method is best for your situation. If you have to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI), buying points could end up costing you.


If you’re a first time homebuyer and want to start weighing your mortgage options, you’ll have much to learn. With so much at stake, you’ll want to make sure you choose the best mortgage for you now, and one that will still suit your needs years into the future.

Sometimes, first time buyers are hesitant to ask questions they may consider too basic because they don’t want to seem inexperienced to lenders, agents, or anyone else they’ll be in contact with throughout the home buying process.

So, in this article, we’ve compiled a list of commonly asked mortgage questions that first time buyers might want to ask before heading into the process of acquiring a home loan.

What is the first step to getting a mortgage?

This question may seem straightforward, however the first step can vary depending on your financial situation. For those who already have saved up for a down payment and built a solid credit score, the first step is probably contacting lenders and getting preapproved or prequalified.

However, if you aren’t sure about your credit score and haven’t saved up for a down payment (ideally, 20% of what you hope to spend on the house), then you should address those matters first.

To find a lender, you can do a simple Google search for the mortgage lenders in your area, or you can ask around to friends and family to find out their experience with their own mortgage lenders.

What does it mean to be pre-qualified and pre-approved?

If you think of the mortgage process in three steps, the first step would be getting pre-qualified. This means you’ve given the lender enough basic information for them to decide which type of mortgage you’re eligible to receive.

Pre-approval includes collecting and verifying further details. At this step, you’ll complete a mortgage application and the lender will run a credit check. Once you’re pre-approved, your file can be moved to the underwriting phase.

What are closing costs?

“Closing costs” is an umbrella term that covers all of the various fees and expenses related to buying or selling a home. As a buyer, you are responsible for paying numerous closing costs. These can include, but are not limited to, underwriting fees, title searches, title insurance,  origination fees, taxes, appraisal fees, surveys, and more.

That sounds like a lot to keep track of, however your lender will be able to give you an accurate estimate of the total closing costs when you apply for your loan. In fact, lenders are required to give you a list of these costs within three days of your loan application in the form of a “good faith estimate” of the closing costs.

What will my interest rate be?

The answer to this question is dependent upon numerous factors. The value of the home, your credit score, the amount you put down (down payment), the type of mortgage you have, and whether or not you’re paying private mortgage insurance all factor into the interest rate you’ll receive. Interest rates also will vary slightly between lenders.

You can receive a fixed-rate mortgage that does not fluctuate throughout the repayment term. However, you also typically have the option to refinance to acquire a lower interest rate, however refinancing comes with its own costs.


The process of applying for a mortgage is tedious and time-consuming; it requires you to answer personal questions about your finances. To ascertain your credibility for a mortgage, lenders structured the application process in such a way that allows them to get as much information about borrowers either directly or indirectly. 

Before you decide to apply for a mortgage; it's best you familiarize yourself with some of the possible questions the lender would ask about your finances. Because it involves a considerable amount of money, you should be prepared to answer questions about disparities in your income, why you defaulted in making any accrued payments and questions about your credit history. 

Below are some of the possible questions your lender would ask relating to your finances. 

How long have you earned your present income?

Lenders want to ascertain if you have earned your present pay for over two years. If you just got promoted or got a salary raise recently, this is good. However, what most lenders are looking out for is a consistent income amount for the last year. If they are not sure of your income, they would take a look at your W-2s for previous years and your pay stub for the present year. Before you go ahead to make an offer for a house, ensure it's an amount your current income will support.

How often you get paid?

A lender wants to ascertain how much income you earn, how your pay is derived, and the steadiness of your salary or irregularity of income. If you receive a steady means of income, your annual salary would determine how much mortgage you get – if your income varies, you might be required to provide details. 

The disparities in your income

If your income keeps changing each year either positively or negatively, come prepared to explain the reason behind the fluctuation. If your revenue decreased from the previous year, there is every possibility the underwriter would select the worst period in the last two years to determine how much you get on a mortgage. However, if your income increased in the previous year, the underwriter would take the average of the last two years to determine your mortgage value. If your income rises yearly either due to promotion or a new position, get someone from your human resource department to write a letter to that effect. 

If you are new at your job

Being new at a job doesn't affect your application for getting a mortgage – as long as you are receiving either a salary or a full-time hourly rate. Some lenders even grant loans to individuals who haven't gotten their first paycheck if they have a fully executed employment contract. 

If you earn commissions 

If you are a salesperson who earns a commission, you would need to provide two full years of tax returns to determine non-reimbursed business expenses you wrote off. 

Before applying for a mortgage, ensure you take a second look at all your finances and identified anything that could act as a deterrent so that your application has the best chance of being approved.




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