Chris Lorenzen's Blog
If buying a home is something you’re considering, you might be curious about the different types of mortgages that are available to you. After all, the interest rate on your loan could have a huge impact on your finances over time, saving you thousands of dollars.
In today’s post, I’m going to demystify the home loan by explaining the most common types of mortgages. That way, you’ll be able to approach a lender with a bit of context and knowledge to help make the best mortgage decision for you and your family.
The most common types of home loans in the United States today are fixed-rate mortgages. A fixed-rate mortgage has the benefit of stability in terms of its interest rate--year after year, or the lifetime of your loan, you know exactly what percent of interest you’re going to pay.
Fixed-rate mortgages most frequently come with repayment terms of 15 or 30 years. However, some lenders offer different repayment periods.
As with any debt, paying off a mortgage in a shorter term typically amounts to paying less interest over the lifespan of the loan. For this reason, buyers who can afford higher monthly mortgage payments often opt for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage.
If you can’t afford higher monthly payments, a 30-year loan will typically have lower mortgage payments, but at the expense of paying more interest over the life of the loan.
The 30-year option is the most often in the United States, where first-time buyers typically have too many other monthly bills to afford a high mortgage payment.
Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) were once an ideal option for first-time buyers who could purchase a home at a very low interest rate and then refinancing once that rate was set to rise. However, after the housing crisis of 2007, trust in the housing market drastically declined.
In recent years, ARMs have begun to make a comeback. However, they currently still only account for around 5% of home loans.
Adjustable-rate mortgages come with one important advantage and one huge disadvantage over fixed-rate mortgages. The upside is the ability to borrow money for a home at a lower interest rate than other mortgage types. The down side? Your interest rate isn’t locked in for the length of the loan, meaning your rate could, in theory, rise dramatically before you sell or pay off the home. This is exactly what happened to borrowers during the subprime mortgage crisis.
There are a number of special loan programs that have been sponsored by the government over the years. Among them are USDA rural development loans, VA loans for veterans and their spouses, and FHA loans offered by the Federal Housing Authority.
All of these loans make it easier to buy a home with little or no down payment or a credit score that’s less than perfect. That makes these options great for first-time homeowners.
Buying a condo may seem like an uphill climb, particularly for those who are browsing the real estate market for the first time. Lucky for you, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of finding the right condo.
What does it take to locate a high-quality condo at an affordable price? Here are three tips that every first-time condo buyer needs to know.
1. Explore a Wide Range of Condos
The real estate market is filled with many first-rate condos, and the sheer volume of properties that are available may feel overwhelming at times. Therefore, you should allocate the necessary time and resources to find a condo that suits you perfectly.
Don't be afraid to check out several condos over the course of a few days or weeks. By doing so, you can better understand what you'd like to find in the ideal condo.
Of course, if you fall in love with a condo, you should be ready to submit an offer. That way, you can avoid the risk of missing out on a great condo that matches or exceeds your expectations.
2. Determine How You'll Pay for a Condo
Many property buyers get pre-approved for a mortgage, and for good reason. With a mortgage in hand, you'll know exactly what you can afford as you review the real estate market.
Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These lenders will be able to provide you with multiple mortgage options and respond to your financing concerns and queries.
Also, keep in mind that the price of a condo may extend beyond your monthly mortgage payments.
In many instances, condo communities have homeowners' associations (HOAs) in place that will charge monthly fees. Learn about any HOA fees in advance, and you'll know exactly what you'll need to pay each month to live in a particular condo community.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
No one should be forced to evaluate condos on their own. Fortunately, you can hire a real estate agent to streamline the process of finding a terrific condo.
A real estate agent with condo experience understands the hurdles that may arise during a condo search. As such, he or she will do whatever it takes to ensure you can get the best results possible as you look for the perfect condo.
For instance, a real estate agent will set up condo showings and keep you up to date about open houses. This real estate professional will even negotiate with a condo seller on your behalf, which means you won't have to worry about breaking your budget to purchase a stellar condo.
Employing a real estate agent enables you to get expert advice at each stage of the condo buying process too. Thus, you can receive instant responses to your condo buying questions at any time.
Simplify the process of buying your first condo – use the aforementioned tips, and you can boost your chances of acquiring a superb condo at a budget-friendly price.
As a homebuyer, it is paramount to establish realistic expectations for the homebuying journey. That way, you can take a step-by-step approach to achieve various goals along this journey and acquire your ideal residence faster than ever before.
Setting realistic homebuying expectations can be simple. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you set realistic homebuying expectations.
1. Assess Your Home Must-Haves and Wants
Dozens of homes are available in cities and towns nationwide. If you establish realistic homebuying expectations, you may be better equipped than others to determine exactly what you want to find in your dream house. As a result, you could reap the benefits of a quick, seamless homebuying experience.
Oftentimes, it helps to create a list of home must-haves and wants prior to searching for a house. This list can be updated as you proceed along the homebuying journey and will serve as a guide to help you discover your ideal residence.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
With a mortgage in hand, you can narrow your home search to residences that fall within your price range. Then, you can speed up the homebuying journey and find your ideal residence in no time at all.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you'll want to meet with banks and credit unions. These financial institutions generally offer a broad array of mortgage options. Examine all of your mortgage options closely, and you're sure to find a mortgage that matches your finances.
Also, don't hesitate to ask mortgage questions when you meet with potential lenders. Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who are happy to help you in any way they can. Thus, you can gain expert insights from these mortgage specialists that could help you make an informed mortgage decision.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent understands what it takes to purchase a home in any housing market. Therefore, he or she can help you prepare for the real estate market and establish realistic homebuying expectations from day one.
Typically, a real estate agent first will learn about your homebuying goals. He or she then will help you map out a successful homebuying journey, one that concludes with you discovering your dream house at a budget-friendly price.
A real estate agent offers plenty of support at each stage of the homebuying journey too. This housing market professional will set up home showings, keep you updated about new residences that become available and help you evaluate houses. And if you want to submit an offer on a home, a real estate agent will make it easy for you to put together a competitive homebuying proposal.
Achieving the optimal results during the homebuying journey sometimes can be difficult. But if you establish realistic homebuying expectations, you may be able to streamline the homebuying journey and ensure that you can purchase a great house that suits you perfectly.
Want to own a house? Enter the real estate market today, and you can take the first step to make your homeownership dream come true.
Ultimately, there are many reasons to launch a home search sooner rather than later, and these include:
1. You can search for houses in cities and towns across the United States.
There is no shortage of top-notch homes available in cities and towns nationwide. Regardless of whether you want to live in a small town or a big city, you should have no trouble discovering a great residence at a price that you can afford.
Of course, it often helps to establish homebuying criteria prior to starting a home search. With homebuying criteria in hand, you can accelerate the homebuying journey and find your ideal residence faster than ever before.
2. Many home financing options are available.
Although you've always dreamed of owning a home, money might have been a problem. Lucky for you, banks and credit unions offer many home financing options to make it easy for anyone to purchase a residence.
Lenders are happy to meet with you, explain different mortgage options and respond to your mortgage concerns and questions. Then, once you review all of your mortgage options, you can make an informed home financing decision.
Also, it may be beneficial to get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you receive pre-approval for a mortgage, you'll know exactly how much you can spend on a house before you start a home search. Plus, you can tailor your home search based on your budget and speed up your quest to acquire your ideal home.
3. You can receive expert help throughout the homebuying journey.
One of the biggest challenges for a homebuyer is figuring out exactly what to do at each stage of the property buying journey. Fortunately, if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive comprehensive assistance as you go from homebuyer to homeowner.
A real estate agent understands the challenges associated with buying a house. As such, he or she will do everything possible to identify and address these challenges before they escalate.
Typically, a real estate agent will learn about you and your homebuying goals. He or she next will teach you about the local housing market and help you craft a homebuying strategy. And when you're ready, you and your real estate agent can work together to find your dream house.
After you discover your dream residence, your real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to purchase this house. If the offer is accepted, your real estate agent will help you navigate the final steps of the homebuying journey. Best of all, if you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, your real estate agent will respond to them immediately.
Take the guesswork out of finding and buying your ideal residence – reach out to a real estate agent today, and you can begin your quest to find your dream house.
The process of finding and purchasing your dream house may prove to be difficult, regardless of whether you are an experienced or first-time homebuyer. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to avoid hurdles as you navigate the homebuying journey.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you quickly discover a quality home at an affordable price.
1. Narrow Your Home Search
Understand what you want to find in your dream home. Then, you can enter the housing market with a plan in hand to discover your ideal residence.
To narrow your home search, think about the features you require from a home. If you need a house that offers multiple bedrooms, for example, you can hone your house search accordingly. Or, if you want a home that boasts an outdoor swimming pool, you can search for a house that matches your expectations.
Don't forget to consider where you want to reside as well. That way, you can narrow your house search to a select group of cities and towns.
2. Establish a Homebuying Budget
If you know you want to buy a home soon, you may want to search for a mortgage. Because if you begin a home search with a mortgage at your disposal, you will know how much you can spend on a house.
To obtain a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach you about different mortgage options and help you make an informed home financing selection.
Also, you can always ask mortgage questions when you meet with financial institutions. If you receive expert insights into assorted home financing options, you can choose the right mortgage.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
If you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can receive plenty of assistance as you navigate the homebuying journey. And as a result, you could streamline your search for your dream house.
A real estate agent is a homebuying specialist who is ready to help you accomplish your desired results. For instance, if you want to acquire a budget-friendly home in the city of your choice, a real estate agent can help you do just that. On the other hand, if you are looking to buy a house that provides convenient access to your office, a real estate agent can help you map out your house search so you can quickly find your dream home.
In addition, a real estate agent can help you submit a competitive offer to purchase your ideal house. And once a seller accepts your offer to purchase, a real estate agent will help you finalize your home purchase.
Finding and purchasing a home sometimes can be tricky. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, however, you can simplify your quest to buy your ideal residence. Perhaps best of all, these tips may make it easy for you to navigate the homebuying journey like a pro.