How can I find out how much I qualify for?

You can use our online pre-qualification tool to connect with our loan officer and find out approximately how much you can borrow before you start shopping for a house.

Once you have that number, you can provide more information and allow your loan officer to run your credit report to verify your assets and income.

Your loan officer can also help you obtain a complete written credit approval, subject to an appraisal, before you make an offer on a house.

Keep in mind that there’s a difference between being pre-approved and prequalified.

Is there anything I shouldn’t do before I get prequalified?

Don’t start shopping for a new home until you’ve been prequalified.

Don’t pack or ship any important documents, such as tax returns, bank statements, paystubs, and W-2s.

Do not make larger purchases during the entire loan process.

Is there anything I shouldn’t do while I’m getting prequalified?

Don’t suddenly pay off all your debts.

Don’t apply for new credit cards.

Don’t make any large purchases.

What are income and debt ratios?

Income ratio: Your total monthly housing expense divided by your pre-tax monthly income.

Debt ratio: Your total monthly housing expense plus any recurring debts, i.e., car payments, monthly minimum credit card payments, and other loan payments, divided by your monthly income.

Standard loan underwriting guidelines suggest a max 28% income ratio and 36% debt ratio, which may vary based on personal finances, loan program, and down payment.

What is mortgage insurance?

This insurance helps protect a lender if a borrower forecloses on their property.

Borrowers pay for the mortgage insurance, allowing lenders to grant loans they might not have otherwise.

Mortgage insurance may be required on some loans when a down payment is less than 20 percent.

What are mortgage points?

Also called discount points, mortgage points work as a one-time fee you can opt to pay if you’d like to get a lower interest rate.

One mortgage point equals one percent of your total loan amount and may drop your interest rate one-eighth to one-quarter percent lower.

What’s an APR?

Annual Percentage Rate: The cost of your total loan credit calculated into an annual interest rate, also called APR.

The APR includes loan points and other prepaid finance charges to reflect the true yield on the loan, which is why the APR is normally higher than a loan interest rate

To check that you’re getting the most competitive loan, you can compare “apples to apples,” or APR to APR, on different loan programs.

I just got a new job. How does this impact getting a mortgage?

Most loan programs are looking for a two-year job history in the same field — though changing jobs to move to a better position could be seen as favorable.

For recent college grads, you may still be able to get a home loan without a two-year work history.

Can I “lock in” my interest rate?

Yes! Get in touch with your loan officer, and they can lock in the interest rate you were quoted.

You’ll be provided with a written Rate and Price Determination Agreement, detailing interest rate, loan terms, and time period for the rate lock.

You could use a rate shield to lock your rate for up to 270 days, with the option to float down to a lower rate if rates drop within 45 days of closing.

What’s prepaid interest?

Just like it sounds, prepaid interest on a mortgage is paid in advance.

For most mortgages paid on the first of the month, you’re paying for interest accrued the previous month.

Depending on when you close, you may pay prepaid interest that has accrued for the days left in the month — the interest accumulated from May 15 to May 31, for example.

What are closing costs?

The extra costs paid at closing may include attorney fees, prepaid interest, insurance fees, documentation fees, and more.

Closing costs may vary by borrower based on your mortgage loan type, property location, and other factors.

You can find your closing costs broken down in your Closing Disclosure, provided by your loan officer at least three business days before your expected closing date.

What should I bring to closing?

At closing, which normally takes place at the title company, you and any other borrower listed on your mortgage agreement will need to bring in a valid driver’s license.

Any funds required at closing must be brought as a wire transfer or cashier’s check made out to the title company.

What can I do if I only have a small down payment or none at all?

Some loans will allow you to secure just a 5% down payment plus closing costs. Another similar loan option is called a piggy-back loan where you get approved for the first and second mortgage at the same time to avoid PMI.

You could also apply for a FHA loan which only requires you to put down 3.5% down. Your interest rate will probably be higher, and you will be required to buy private mortgage insurance (PMI).

What are mortgage brokers, lenders, and loan officers?

Mortgage Broker – Helps buyers find mortgage lenders and assists with loan processing.

Mortgage Lender – The company or organization that actually makes the loan.

Loan Officer – An employee of the lender or broker that is directly involved in the loan process from start to finish.