Top 20 Conventional Mortgage Questions and Answers

  1. What is the first step in the home buying process? The first step is getting pre-approved for a mortgage. This helps you understand how much you can afford before you start looking for a home and strengthens your position when making an offer.  Click here to see if you qualify.
  2. How do I determine how much I can afford? Lenders use your income, debt, credit history, and the down payment amount to determine affordability. A general rule is that your monthly home expenses should not exceed 28% of your gross monthly income.   Click here to see if you qualify.

  3. What is a mortgage pre-approval? A mortgage pre-approval is a lender’s offer to loan you a certain amount under specific terms after evaluating your financial background. It’s more thorough and indicative of your actual buying power than a pre-qualification.  Click here to see if you qualify.

  4. What type of mortgage is best for me? The best mortgage type depends on your financial situation and goals. Fixed-rate mortgages offer stability with a constant interest rate and monthly payment, while adjustable-rate mortgages may start with lower rates but can change over time.  Click here to see if you qualify.

  5. How much down payment do I need? The traditional down payment can be 20% of the home’s purchase price, but many loans allow for lower down payments, sometimes as low as 3-5% or 0% depending on the situation.  There are many down payment assistant programs (DPA) especially for first-time homebuyers.  Click here to see if you qualify.

  6. What are closing costs and how much are they? Closing costs are the fees associated with finalizing a mortgage, including loan origination fees, appraisal fees, title insurance, and more. They typically range from 2% to 5% of the loan amount.

  7. Can I buy a home with bad credit? Yes, but your options may be limited, and you’ll likely pay a higher interest rate. Some government-backed loans, like FHA loans, are more lenient with credit scores.  Click here to see if you qualify.

  8. What documents do I need to apply for a mortgage? You’ll need proof of income (W-2 forms, pay stubs), proof of assets (bank statements), credit history, and other financial documents.  Click here to see if you qualify.

  9. What is PMI and do I need it? Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is required if your down payment is less than 20% of the home’s purchase price. It protects the lender in case you default on your loan.

  10. What are the current mortgage rates? Mortgage rates fluctuate based on market conditions and your personal financial situation. It’s best to consult a lender for the most current rates.  Click here to see if you qualify.

  11. How long does the mortgage application process take? The process can take anywhere from a few weeks, depending on your ability to find the right home for you. Click here to see if you qualify.

  12. What is the difference between interest rate and APR? The interest rate is the cost of borrowing the principal loan amount. The APR (Annual Percentage Rate) includes the interest rate and any other costs or fees involved in procuring the loan, providing a more comprehensive cost measure.  Click here to see if you qualify.

  13. Can I negotiate my mortgage rate? Yes, you can negotiate your mortgage rate, especially if you have a strong credit score or choose to buy points to lower your rate. Shopping around with broker.  We have over 80 different lenders to compete for your loan, this can also help secure a better rate.  Click here to see if you qualify.

  14. What are the benefits of a 15-year vs. a 30-year mortgage term? A 15-year mortgage usually offers lower interest rates and allows you to pay off your home faster but comes with higher monthly payments. A 30-year mortgage has lower monthly payments, making it more affordable short-term but costs more in interest over the life of the loan.  Click here to see if you qualify.

  15. What happens if I miss a mortgage payment? Missing a mortgage payment can lead to late fees and negatively impact your credit score. If you continue to miss payments, you risk foreclosure. It’s important to contact your lender early if you anticipate payment difficulties.

  16. Can I refinance my mortgage later? Yes, you can refinance your mortgage to potentially secure a lower interest rate, change the loan term, or switch from an adjustable-rate to a fixed-rate mortgage. It’s important to weigh the costs of refinancing against the benefits.  Click here to see if you qualify.

  17. What are points, and should I buy them? Points are fees paid directly to the lender at closing in exchange for a reduced interest rate. Buying points can save you money over the life of your loan if you plan to stay in your home for a long time.

  18. What is an escrow account, and do I need one? An escrow account is used by the lender to pay property taxes and homeowners insurance on your behalf. It’s often required to ensure these expenses are paid on time.

  19. How does my credit score affect my mortgage? Your credit score influences the interest rate you’re offered. Higher scores typically secure lower rates because they indicate lower risk to lenders. Click here to see if you qualify.

  20. What homeownership costs should I be aware of beyond the mortgage? Beyond the mortgage, homeownership costs include property taxes, homeowners’ insurance, maintenance and repair costs, utilities, and possibly homeowners’ association (HOA) fees.  Click here to see if you qualify.