Financing Your First Home: What You Need to Know  

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Buying a home is one of the single most capital-intensive investments you can ever make. It entails huge upfront cash aside from other expenses. As such, most Americans, especially first-time homebuyers, seek flexible financial avenues to finance their homes. One of the many options available is using a mortgage.

Even with the mortgage, there are several options to choose from a prospective homeowner can decide on. We are here to help you make the right decision when selecting a home financing plan. You may also want to read some reverse mortgage reviews to help you make informed decisions as you plan for your retirement. 

What Is a Mortgage?

A mortgage in simple terms is a loan plan, where a lender helps the borrower to acquire a home or property without paying the entire cost upfront. This helps cushion the lender from any financial stress in their quest to own a home. However, the lender has the legal right to take over the home if you default on the loan repayment agreement.

For first-time homebuyers, it is always crucial to access a mortgage for your home financing. Knowing the best options available to prevent entrapping into an unending loan payment is also critical. There are several types of mortgages with each having long-term and short-term repayment options. For these reasons, be abreast with how to select a home loan before starting the process. 

Types of Mortgage Loans

Conventional Loan

A conventional loan is a non-federal government-backed loan, which normally has fixed rates. This loan type comes with strict rules as to who qualifies since they have lower rates. You need to have a higher credit score and be ready to make a huge down payment to get this mortgage. Also, your debt-to-income ratio must be low, and you may need private mortgage insurance

Conventional loans come in two forms; conforming and non-conforming loans. The conforming loans adhere to the loan limit guidelines by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Here a lender buys the loan and sells it to a third party as securities. For 2022, the maximum conventional conforming loan you can have is $647,200. But you can have about $97,800 in some specified areas.

For nonconforming loans, conform to rules set by the regulatory bodies. The lender sets the guidelines to regulate the process, and as such, they don’t qualify to be sold to third parties.

Jumbo Loan

With a jumbo loan, you can have access to funds higher than that set for conventional loans. It is accessible in a higher-cost area where you would need more money to purchase a home. As a result, the risk is higher for lenders and you may need a lot of paperwork to qualify. With the high cost of this loan, you would surely need security technology to keep your home safe.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Loans

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has various mortgage packages for all kinds of needs. It is easier to qualify for this loan compared to the previously discussed. In addition, it provides better packages in terms of upfront payment, which is lower, making it the best option for first-time buyers. Your down payment can be as low as 3.5% and you may not need a higher credit score for this. With that being said, you need mortgage premium insurance and you can’t have more than the set statutory loan limit.

Fixed-rate Mortgage

A fixed-rate mortgage loan provides a fixed amount of monthly payments on your loan throughout its span. With this, your monthly deduction remains the same throughout the 15 or 30 years agreement.

Loan Requirements for First Time Buyers

Lenders, try their best to be on the safer side when dishing out home loans. Therefore, you may need to meet certain financial requirements to acquire a home loan. Depending on the type of mortgage, you are settling on, you would need to prove that indeed you are a first-time buyer. The requirement may include not owning any principal in a residential home for about three years among others.

To qualify for a loan, you would need a better credit score. The higher your credit scores the higher your chances of getting a loan. At least you should have a score of 620. Secondly, you need proof of earning income for at least two years, which should be enough to settle the mortgage you seek. Also, be ready to make a down payment of at least 3.5%, which gives you the opportunity to have an FHA loan.

You must also have a very good debt-to-income ratio (DTI). Lenders measure this by dividing your total debt by gross monthly income. Your DTI should not exceed 45% to 50% in most cases.

Some lenders have programs made specifically for first-time buyers. These packages may reduce the requirements needed including the credit score.

How Much Mortgage Loan Can You Get?

This depends on many factors, including your income, credit score, and the lender. Lenders wouldn’t give you a loan that exceeds a certain threshold of your gross monthly income. Different lenders have a way of calculating this and it may be subject to the type of mortgage loan you seek.

Documents Needed When Applying for a Mortgage

  • Pay stubs for at least a month
  • W-2s for the last two years
  • At least two months bank statements 
  • Federal tax returns for the last two years
  • If you are self-employed, you may need 1099 forms
  • Documents of other sources of income
  • Proof of bonus income

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