When you mention you are about to buy a house, there’s a chance that your friends and family will give you their advice on how to get a mortgage or tips they’ve heard before. While some of the advice may be helpful, you should most likely proceed with caution since rules, regulations, and programs change all the time in the mortgage loan world. Here are the top 5 mortgage myths that we hear from our clients.
1) You need excellent credit to qualify.
Typically, a credit score of 670 is “good” and higher scores will generally help keep your interest rates lower- saving you money! Each specific loan program has a different credit requirement; some FHA loans can be done with a 600 or even a 500 credit score. While your credit score is a key factor, lenders look at other items while reviewing your mortgage loan application too. Ask us what programs your score qualifies for, or how to improve it if you’re not satisfied with your current credit score.
2) If you get pre-qualified, you definitely get a loan.
It’s advised that you get a letter of prequalification before you start looking for a home, and you may think this means you’re guaranteed a loan, but that’s not the case. The mortgage pre-qualification process determines the amount of home you’ll be eligible to purchase, based off of your income, credit score and a few other factors. Your pre-qualification letter is not a binding agreement or a specific offer to lend, as you’ll have to provide further documentation once you’re ready to move forward with the loan process and have found a house!
3) You need a significant down payment to purchase a home.
It’s been programmed in our minds that a 20% down payment is needed to purchase a home. It is not a requirement, but is an ideal amount. There are many loan programs out there that work with significantly lower down payments for those who may be strapped for cash, some programs even accept 1% or 3.5% down. The government also offers a few programs that require no down payment. Both the USDA and VA Loans offer mortgage loans without down payments! Keep in mind that if you do not put 20% down, you may be required to pay mortgage insurance. Adding that additional insurance will be important to factor into your monthly mortgage payment.
4) A 30-year loan is the best option.
A loan with a 30 year term may be the best option if you are looking to keep your payments lower, however, lower interest rates are usually offered with lower term mortgages. A 15-year mortgage may be the best option because of the amount of interest you’ll save over the life of the loan, however, your payment will most likely be higher than the 30 year option because of the shorter term of the loan (must be paid off in 15 years versus 30). Another low payment, low interest rate option would be an ARM or an Adjustable Rate Mortgage, where the interest rate periodically changes to reflect the market conditions. The rate may go up, causing your payment to go up, or it may go down, causing your payment to decrease. Consider each of these options when deciding which loan option is best for you! As a local mortgage broker, we’re able to shop around and find the different loan options so you don’t have to.
5) Student debt will prevent you from buying a home.
While it may be true that student loan debt may hinder your ability to purchase a home, new guideline changes have made it a bit easier. The debt-to-income ratio was increased to 50% since many of the first-time mortgage applicants looking to buy a home currently have student loan debt. Before this increase, borrowers had to fit all of their monthly debt obligations (including the presumed mortgage) within 45% of their pre-tax income. Even though the ratio has been increased, consider if it is right for your budget to have approximately 50% of your budget going towards debt.
These mortgage myths just break the surface on all of the free-floating mortgage advice. Have further questions on your situation, give us a call!
Rainbow Mortgage Inc.
3300 Edinborough Way #550
Edina, MN 55435
NMLS# 345827 || 952-405-2090|| www.rainbowmortgageinc.com|| email@example.com