How do I know I’m ready to buy a home?

The decision to become a homeowner will affect you in 2 ways: personally and financially. You may have your growing family, or want to settle into a community, or maybe you’re just ready to achieve that major milestone of being a homeowner. With that said, you may also be wondering whether or not this will be smart financially. Below are some indicators that your answer may be yes.

  1. Your budget is big enough to cover the down payment, mortgage payments and associated homeownership costs, including property taxes and maintenance fees.
  2. You plan on staying put for a while, giving your home a chance to appreciate in value.
  3. You itemize your tax deductions and are likely to benefit from writing off mortgage interest.
  4. You have good credit, which can help you get a lower mortgage interest rate.
  5. Rent in your area is higher relative to the home prices.
If I refinance, can I pay off other debts with my new mortgage?

Yes, with a cash-out refinance you can take out equity from your property and use it on other debt obligations with higher interest rates.

When is the best time to refinance?

The sooner you refinance your loan at a lower loan rate, the more money you will save. If you wait until later down the road you may be paying a higher rate for longer than you need to.

What is the difference between interest rate and APR?

The interest rate is the percentage of the loan amount that is charged for borrowing money. The APR includes not only the interest rate, but also certain other fees charged by the lender and represents the total cost of borrowing.

If I default on my loan, is my co-signer responsible for repaying my loan?

Yes. If you default on your loan your co-signer will be liable to pay it.

What is the difference between a pre-qualification and a pre-approval?

A pre-qualification is an estimate of how much you can borrow and the rates you may be eligible for (as of current rates), based only off your credit report and any information you provided. With Mutual Mortgage, there is no fee to get pre-qualified. In order to get qualified, we do a soft credit pull which means it won’t affect your credit score. A pre-approval will inform us about the exact amount you qualify for based on a complete credit check, evaluation of your employment history, and income/assets. A pre-approval allows you to submit an offer with confidence that you are personally approved for that loan.

Are interest rates going up or down?

The past few years interest rates have hit historic lows, the Federal Reserve began the process of raising its key interest rate earlier this year in 2017. While the Fed’s plan is to slowly and steadily increase rates over the next few years. For prospective home buyers considering a fixed rate mortgage, an increase in borrowing rates in the short term should only have a minor effect on monthly payments. However, acting sooner rather than later is your best bet for locking down the lowest rate possible. Prospective home buyers looking to take out an adjustable rate mortgage face a greater risk over the next several years, with the Fed forecasting a progression of interest rate hikes. If adjustable mortgage rates rise in kind with rates during this period, the monthly payment and total interest cost on an ARM could increase significantly.