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Wondering how much house you can afford?

As a first-time homebuyer, you may be wondering how to save money on your mortgage. The best and smartest way to go is by getting pre-approved for a mortgage before you start looking at homes. If you get approved beforehand, it can save time because when selecting homes for purchase, the potential buyer will only need to see houses within their price range or loan limit. Below is more information about pre-approval and its advantages.

What is the difference between Pre-approval and Pre-qualification?

When you are first getting started with the loan application process, two steps need to be completed. The first step is pre-qualification. Pre-qualification is a rough estimation of how much money a lender is willing to give you based only on the data they have at hand. This includes your income, credit score, and debts or liabilities.

However, this information may not be complete or up to date. You can continue with the second step which is pre-approval. Pre-approval means that your lender has more access to your financial data and is willing to give you a final number on how much money they will lend you for the house purchase. This is based on the information you provide to the lender.

Advantages of Pre-approval

Disadvantages of Pre-approval

Advantages of Pre-qualification

Disadvantages of Pre-qualification

When to Request for Pre-approval?

If you were already pre-qualified with a lender and had been looking at homes from a real estate agent, it is best to request a pre-approval. It can definitely help when you're purchasing a home.

Who Avails a Pre-approval?

Almost all lenders offer this service today, but it can vary depending on which company you choose. You also have the option of applying with a broker who may find a lender who offers pre-approval with lower interest rates and fees.

How to get Pre-approval or Pre-qualification?

The very first step you need to take is to check your credit score. This can be done on a free website. If your credit score falls below the minimum threshold set by the lender, you will have to improve it before applying for a pre-approval.

If you are already meeting the floor price set by the lender, you may proceed to apply. Fill out all required paperwork honestly and completely if you want to improve your chances of being approved.

Requirements for getting Pre-approval

If you want to get pre-approval for a loan, you need to have decent credit. Many lenders will require a FICO score of 640 or higher before they can approve your request.

Also, to be considered for pre-approval, you'll need to prove that you can repay the loan that you apply for. This can include having a steady income or access to funds through another source. The lender may also ask about what your total debt is compared to how much you make monthly.

Pre-approval for a home loan can help you get the best rates, but it also requires more effort than simply applying for prequalification. You will have to prove that you are serious about purchasing by showing steady income and access to funds. This can be difficult for some people to prove, but your chances of being pre-approved increase dramatically if you do it right.

If you are looking forward to getting a loan preapproval or prequalification so that you can buy a home, reach out to us. We are a team of experienced realtors and we will give you professional advice from preapproval to moving into your new home.

 

Are you ready to buy a house?

Whether it’s an investment property, a place to move and build a family, or a space to grow old in, buying a home for the first time is a big step. It’s both a major financial and emotional decision.

A house is likely the most expensive purchase of your life, so it can be a bit overwhelming. It is totally understandable. To help you feel as prepared as possible and eliminate a lot of the stress, we’ve come up with these tips that should guide you through the home-buying process.

1. Check your financial health (savings and spending)

Do you have savings? Calculate your monthly expenses and debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, which should be at a maximum of 43%. It is essential to know where you stand in your finances to strengthen your credit score – this will determine if you qualify for a mortgage. Consider having an emergency fund for three to six months' worth of expenses. When you buy a home, there will be a down payment and closing costs.

2. Save for a down payment

Save enough money for a 20% down payment (or more). Your down payment will depend on the type of mortgage you choose and the lender’s terms. Some lenders allow as low as a 3% down payment for first-time homebuyers with excellent credit scores. Also, keep in mind that as a homeowner you will be responsible for all the maintenance and upkeep costs.

3. Make a list of your home must-haves and nice-to-haves

What does your dream house look like? Write down specific features and amenities that you need for your ideal home. You can also include the location, neighborhood, and size of the house and lot. You can make a separate list of the home features that are less important, that you can do without upon purchase. This is your first home; you deserve a house that grants most (if not all) of your wishes but be realistic.

4. Understand your home loan options

Don’t worry about not being able to pay cash for a home because there are a variety of mortgages with varying down payment and eligibility requirements:

By the way, you also have options when it comes to how long you are going to pay a home loan, anywhere from 15- to 30-years.

5. Get a mortgage pre-approval

A mortgage pre-approval determines how much house you can afford. Lenders will take into consideration your financial situation, including monthly income, DTI, and credit score. They will then provide you a statement that you are qualified to take a loan and how much a lender will give you to buy your first home. With a mortgage pre-approval, your home financing is already secured, and it shows the seller that you’re a serious buyer.

8. Attend open houses and home buying assistance programs

Your mortgage pre-approval will give you an idea of how much you can spend for your first home, which will help you narrow down your house requirements. Attend several open houses in the neighborhoods you want to live in to give you the chance to learn more about the area, its facilities, and community culture. Take advantage of home buying assistance programs from local government and realtors.

6. Submit a competitive offer

First of all, hire a trained professional to do an inspection of the property you’re interested in, so you’ll know the condition of your potential new home. This way, you can negotiate your offer with the seller, such as paying for the repairs. You can also ask them to lower the price to cover the cost of repairs. There are instances that the seller will pay some of the closing costs if the offer is right.

7. Work with a real estate agent

An excellent real estate agent knows the ins and outs of the market, finds you homes that match your criteria, and guides you through the entire process. Communicate with your agent regularly. Your home-buying journey will be a lot easier when you’re working with a real estate professional.

 

Always remember...

 

9. Stick to your budget (factor in the closing costs)

Don’t go over budget. As a first-time homebuyer, it is natural to get excited shopping for a perfect house that ticks everything in your checklist, forgetting what you can truly afford. Have enough money for repairs and renovations.

Remember to consider closing costs in your budget. These fees pay for important steps in the home-buying process, including:

10. Save Physical Copies of Your Paperwork

Keep the physical copy of your mortgage statements, deed, Closing Disclosure, vendor and supplier receipts, property insurance policy, and other important real estate records. Compile them all together for easier access and lock them in a fireproof cabinet, if possible.

Now back to the first question, are you ready to buy a house? Tap a highly rated real estate agent nearest you; contact us today!

 

Rose Group, with Keller Williams Realty, is comprised of licensed REALTORS® and a dynamic support staff. We’ve focused on providing trusted, expert representation to real estate buyers and sellers in Silicon Valley since 2004—and now we’re in San Diego!
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16780-A Lark Ave,
Los Gatos, CA 95032
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