Your journey should start with finding the right mortgage lender!
Choosing the right mortgage lender is a critical part of your home buying plans; a professional lender with a proven record of excellence and customer care is the right way to go. MidCountry can offer such attributes, and much more.
Pre-approved marks the beginning of your mortgage process.
When you first contact your MidCountry mortgage expert, he or she will look into financial information that includes your income level, savings, time on the job, and what kind of debt you have. With this information, your expert will know which loan options are most beneficial for you.
Lenders Look at the Big Picture
MidCountry will work with you to discover the "big picture" of your mortgage plan. The underwriter of your loan will review your overall financial history (including savings and credit history) and your job stability. (This also applies if there is a co-signer on the loan.) The simple question the underwriter wants to answer through this process is whether you are a reasonable risk—if you'll be able to pay off your mortgage by the end of its term.
Should it happen that you do not qualify for a mortgage currently, MidCountry wants to keep working in a professional relationship with you; we will stay in contact with you and offer guidance on when you should try again, depending on your situation.
Working with You to Bring You Home
MidCountry mortgage experts know that in today's complex world, sweeping life changes are a common phenomenon. Divorce, child support payments, bankruptcy, and unexpected shifts in the economy add to this scenario. Our experts want to work with you through these challenges by offering mortgage products with little down and manageable monthly payments.
The process of becoming a new home owner may seem a bit overwhelming at times. Keep in mind these four easy tips for staying on course!
1. Go Easy on those High-ticket Items
Keep your mortgage buying power strong by avoiding the purchase of major appliances and furniture. (It's best to buy these items after you have closed on your mortgage.) Buying or leasing a new car can put your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) into overdrive; and buying that new boat may be very nautical, but not at all nice, as your DTI may capsize qualifying for a lower mortgage interest rate. All it takes is an extra payment of a few hundred dollars a month to reduce that mighty mortgage buying power by tens of thousands of dollars. You also want to maintain the credit rating/FICO score that helped you qualify for the mortgage in the first place. Making a major purchase any time before you close on the mortgage can affect the terms of the agreement—the loan amount or interest rate, for example—or may even disqualify you from mortgage approval.
2. Embrace the Paper Chase
Liquid assets are stable and easily-accessible funds: Cash, savings accounts, money market accounts, stocks, investments, and government bonds are common examples. Availability of liquid assets and showing proof of cash ownership means providing your mortgage expert with a "paper trail," or physical copies of account statements, cancelled checks and deposit records. Keep in mind, too, that it's easier to keep track of your liquid assets if they stay put (stay in the same accounts) during the mortgage process.
3. Rules of Employment
While not really a hard-and-fast rule, a minimum two-year engagement at a place of employment, where you receive bonuses and overtime pay, is a near-ideal situation if you're looking for a mortgage. While starting a new job that offers a better salary is obviously a terrific move, a stop-and-start work history has the opposite effect. Job stability—it's the name of this game.
4. Bills Are Faithful Things
It's absolutely guaranteed—your regular bills will continue to be a part of your life while you move into your new home buyer status. Keep up the good payment habits, and your credit score (and mortgage interest rate) will be the best your mortgage lender can offer.
By applying the above "Fast Forward 4" tips to your mortgage process, you will stay on the right track for your first mortgage.
Hunting for a new home can be stressful. Here are a few tips to consider when looking for your dream home.
Location, Location, Location
You've heard the mantra, "when it comes to real estate, its location, location, location." And the saying is true. When you think about it, you can change your home, but you can't change where you put it.
When analyzing location, look at factors that will add value:
- A good school district
- Close proximity to outdoor recreation
- Scenic views
- Convenient entertainment and shopping
- Economically stable areas
Avoid areas with depreciating factors:
- Industrial buildings
- Railroad tracks
- Heavy traffic
- Hazards such as landfills, power plants, or transformers
Pre-qualification will tell you how much a particular financial institution is willing to lend to you.
The pre-qualification process typically requires completion of a mortgage application and will involve an in-depth review of your finances.
A pre-qualification will help to focus your hunting efforts, narrowing down your options to those that meet your pre-qualified loan amount. This step can also help with price negotiations, as you are pre-qualified for the loan.
Use a Check List
It's important when house hunting to compare. You may find the perfect home on your first walk through, but it is a good idea to visit at least three to five properties before making a selection.
Be patient, you may need to walk through many, many homes before you find a winner.
So, how do you keep track of the pros and cons for each house in a process that could stretch over days or weeks? The best method is to use a checklist. With a checklist, you can record important information about each house and compare apples-to-apples.
Record items like:
- The asking price
- Estimated real estate taxes
- Square footage of each room
- The age of the home
- Your likes and dislikes
- Necessary improvements
- Commute distance or time
- Notes about nearby schools, entertainment, and shopping
Keep in mind that you will likely be making some compromises. Few buyers ever find a perfect home, but a checklist will help you determine the best one that you've seen for the money you can spend.
Be Ready to Move Fast
Depending on your market, you may need to make an offer quickly. By knowing the location that you're interested in, the amount you are pre-qualified to spend and having a detailed checklist of the homes you've seen to quickly reference, you'll be prepared to act quickly when the right home comes along.
The Importance of a Realtor
When purchasing your first home, a friendly, knowledgeable realtor can be an undeniable asset.
A good realtor is client-focused, results-oriented, and in good standing with the National Association of Realtors®. The right realtor can make your first home buying experience a pleasant one.
You'll want your realtor to be a consummate professional who understands the current housing market, knows you unique style and financial capability, and above all else, keeps your best interests in mind!
How to Find a Realtor
Ask friends, family members and co-workers if they can recommend a good realtor. Word of mouth is perhaps the most valuable referral you can get in regard to a good real estate agent. Also, ask your potential realtor if he or she gets a lot of work from referrals.
Attend an Open House
Use the Internet to find a location in an area you want to live. At the open house, you can engage in a one-on-one conversation with a solo realtor to get the scope of his or her career stripes.
Attend a Home Buying Seminar
You'll see a number of real estate agents in action, and can ask questions of many, evaluating which agent's communication style works best with yours.
See a "Neighborhood Specialist"
Some realtors hang their shingle on a specific neighborhood or section of town. They know the area's history of the homes, how long homes have been listed, and other real estate agents in the neighborhood who will share "insider" information about local trends.
What to Expect from a Realtor:
After you have been pre-qualified or pre-approved by a mortgage lender, your realtor should meet with you to discuss your requirements for a new home. He or she will set up house showings and will work with you until you have found one that suits your needs (and matches your budget).
A Realtor Should Assist you as a Homebuyer by:
- Completing a Market Analysis, ensuring the house is reasonably priced
- Negotiating the offer with the seller
- Working as a friendly "go-between" for buyer and seller
- Drawing up the purchase contract for all parties to sign
- Delivering your purchase contract and earnest money to your mortgage lender and the title company
- Coordinating inspection
- Walking through the property with you
Happy closings mean both parties (buyer and seller) leave the table feeling like they've struck a fair deal. A realtor with the right "can-do" attitude will act as a friendly conduit between the buyer and seller in house purchase negotiations, keeping his or her clients' interests in mind.
A homebuyer should understand what an earnest money deposit means, what a down payment is, and the amount and purpose of the cash required at closing—before you find yourself the perfect home.
Earnest money is the deposit check you write when you commit to purchasing a particular home, and your down payment and cash-to-close encompass the money you must have when you come to the closing table. In every case, the new home buyer should be aware of how much cash will be needed to navigate through the "rules" of down payment, cash-to-close, and earnest money. The amount of your down payment is dictated by your loan program, your available savings or your desired monthly payment. Your closing costs include all the fees you pay to get your mortgage. Some of these costs can be negated to be paid by the seller.
Buying a home can require a lot of planning, legwork, and saving. Being knowledgeable and prepared with the cash reserves you'll need is a great way to keep the home buying process moving forward.
Buying your home will be a more positive adventure when you are well-informed of the differences in earnest money, down payment and cash-to-close during the mortgage process.
You are welcome to call MidCountry Bank with any questions in regard to your mortgage servicing needs at any time.
Getting your credit "mortgage ready" involves understanding how your credit works, and your rights involving credit information.
To be mortgage ready in regard to your credit report score, let's look at what each credit score component means:
Making timely payments has the most impact on your credit report (at over one-third of the total evaluation). It refers to prompt payoffs of debt vs. late payments, or any financial judgments or delinquencies accrued. Delinquencies of any kind in the past two years are the smartest risks to avoid.
Outstanding balances on your credit lines determine how much available credit you have. Having a 30% or below (of credit you are using) is a good outstanding balance.
The longer you have a good credit history, the better candidate you are for obtaining a mortgage. (But this is not, by any means, a requirement for a good credit rating.)
Auto, credit card, and student loans make a good mix of credit types.
Past credit applications
When you apply for credit, each inquiry impacts your credit score. Be sure to hold off and apply for credit only when you are ready. This includes applying for credit cards, student loans, or buying a car.
During the mortgage process, it's important to keep your credit rating as strong as possible.
Due to guidelines of some mortgage programs, your credit score is subject to a second review just before your mortgage closes. This means that if you used your credit for something after the initial mortgage application (and first credit score review), you will lower your credit score. This can complicate matters, possibly delaying your scheduled closing, decreasing your mortgage amount, increasing your interest rate, or risking denial of the mortgage altogether.
Don't max out credit cards, close paid off accounts, take a self-funded trip to the Bahamas, quit your job, make late payments, co-sign on a loan, or change your name or address.
Opt out on risky mortgage leads: Solicitations from unfamiliar finance companies (called "trigger leads") may promise "great deals" on mortgage loans. See the web site Opt out Prescreen.com, to avoid unwarranted businesses that buy your name and information without your specific instructions.
Be sure to ask your mortgage expert any questions you may have about your credit score. MidCountry mortgage experts know how credit works, and they are here to help in the pursuit of your dream of new homeownership!
Moving to a new city is both exciting and stressful. You have the opportunity to expand your life experiences, but you also want a healthy dose of normalcy...
The following are tips to make yourself at home in your new city...
Before you pack your first box, you can begin new-city reconnaissance. Get online and research the city by searching for the local newspaper's site, finding a neighborhood or entertainment publication, and reading the local business publication. As with anything else, the largest contributor to fear and anxiety is a lack of knowledge. Learn all you can before you move.
Find the Essentials
Before you start exploring too far, set up a base camp around your new home. Find the nearest grocery store, gas station, gym, and place of worship. Collect carry-out phone numbers and find the best shopping.
Also, research multiple routes for your work commute and try to understand traffic patterns. There may be roads that you want to avoid at rush hour – you'll feel like a local when you know alternate routes.
Stick With What You Know
The fastest way to make yourself at home is to get back to life as normal. If you're a regular at the gym, make it a priority to find a similar gym nearby. If you eat sushi every Thursday night, find the closest or best sushi restaurant. You'll be surprised at how much of daily life you can re-create in your new environment.
Every city has a unique character, those special spots that make it special. Spend some time and be a tourist. Visit historical monuments and local museums. Hike, run, or walk your dog in the parks. If the city is known for a particular food, become a connoisseur. When you spend some time visiting the sites and learning the culture, you'll discover the heart and soul of your new city and begin to love it for what it is.
No city will ever feel like home without a support network. You may already have friends or family in your new city. Use them as a base and build your network around them.
Concentrate on your interests and find people who share them. Take classes, join clubs or get involved in church activities. Nearly every city in America has a running club or book club.
Give it Time
Most importantly, give yourself time to acclimate to your new hometown. Try not to dwell on the things you miss, but rather focus on what makes your town great. Before you know it, this too will be "home" and you'll never want to leave.
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