Below are some of my most frequently asked questions (FAQs). If you don't see your question here, just contact me. I'm always happy to help.
FINDING YOUR DREAM HOME
Should I talk to a lender before shopping for a home?
Absolutely! A knowledgeable lender will talk with you about your home goals, review your current situation, help you determine the amount of home you likely will be able to purchase, and identify the loan program that best suits your needs. She also can get you pre-qualified or pre-approved for a loan—which is a significant benefit to you when you are ready to make an offer on your dream home.
Do I need to be pre-qualified before searching for my new home?
It is not a requirement but it definitely is in your best interest to be pre-qualified for a home loan. Not only does it provide peace of mind and confidence for you as a buyer (and guides you in finding a home that fits your price range), it also is beneficial for your realtor and to the potential seller of your dream home. Being pre-qualified makes the entire home-buying process easier for everyone involved.
Do I really need a realtor when buying a home?
While working with a realtor is not required to purchase a home, realtors have a vast amount of education, experience, and contacts in buying and selling. Also, typically, the seller is responsible for the realtors fees, so why wouldn’t you want to have someone with experience helping you find your new home?
Who pays the realtor fees when I purchase a home?
Typically, in a real estate transaction, the seller pays the realtor fees.
What is Earnest Money?
Earnest Money is a deposit made to the seller showing the buyer’s good faith in the real estate transaction. Earnest money, held jointly by the seller and buyer in an escrow account, also allows the buyer additional time to seek financing.
What is a “foreclosure?”
A foreclosure is the process of taking possession of a mortgaged property as a result of the homeowner’s/mortgagor’s failure to keep up on the mortgage payments. Often, foreclosures and short sales offer great opportunities for buyers and investors, and we have two types of renovation home loan programs available if these homes need repairs or upgrades.
What is a “short sale?”
A short sale is the sale of real estate in which the net proceeds from selling the property fall short of the debts secured by liens again the property. Simply, the house does not sell for enough to cover what is owed on it. Often, foreclosures and short sales offer great opportunities for buyers and investors, and we have two types of renovation home loan programs available if these homes need repairs or upgrades.
THE APPLICATION PROCESS
What documents will I need when I apply for a mortgage?
A complete list (and other tips for buyers) is on our Homebuyers page. Documents needed include: W-2s for the past two years, pay stubs and bank statements (savings & checking) for the past two months, account statements for other assets (401K, annuities, etc.), divorce and/or child custody documents, information on your current debt (including school loans), bankruptcy documents, rental history/landlord information if you are renting, and copies of your driver’s license and social security cards.
Can I still qualify for a loan even if I have had credit problems in the past?
Absolutely! Challenging financial situations happen to us all. Everyone deserves a second chance. There are various mortgage options for buyers with FICO credit scores of 500+. Prior to loan approval, some loan programs may require additional documentation or explanation of the circumstances. But don’t worry, we can discuss your situation, and I can help you through every step of the process.
What amount is required for a down payment?
The required down payment amount will vary by loan type, and by your income and credit profile. Check out the chart on our Homebuyers page for general information, and then feel free to give me a call for specific information.
CLOSING ON YOUR LOAN
What is Title Insurance?
Owner's title Insurance, charged as part of the closing costs on a mortgage, protects the buyer should a covered title problem arise, for as long as the buyers owns the property.
How do I know if I will be required to have mortgage insurance?
If the loan amount is more than 80% of the home’s value, you likely will be required to have mortgage insurance. There are exceptions, though, and some loans programs do not require it. And don't forget, you can pay the mortgage insurance off sooner and/or have it removed from your mortgage when the loan payoff amount is reduced to the 80-20% balance.
Will I get a copy of my appraisal?
Definitely. An appraisal is required for any loan program so buyer pays for one during the application process and prior to the closing. You will receive a copy the appraisal on or before your closing.