A mortgage is the financial tool that allows most people to buy a home, even if they dont have a large savings account or high income. When lenders issue mortgages, they evaluate prospective borrowers to ensure that they will be able to repay the loan. This includes examining their credit score, debt-to-income ratio and other financial factors.
Mortgages come from many sources, including banks, savings and loan associations, credit unions and specialized mortgage companies. You may also use a mortgage broker to help you shop around for the best loan terms and rates.
The mortgage process involves a variety of steps, from applying for the mortgage to closing on the home. During the application and underwriting stages, youll be asked to provide a lot of personal information and documents, such as pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements and credit card bills. This can be tedious and time-consuming, but it helps lenders make sure that youre a good fit for their mortgage products.
Before you start the mortgage application process, decide what type of home you want to purchase. This will determine what loan amount you can afford and how much you need to save for a down payment.
When you have an idea of the home youre interested in buying, your lender will give you a Loan Estimate, which shows you all of the costs involved with getting your mortgage, such as interest rate, fees and closing costs. The information in this document makes it easy to compare offers from different lenders and choose the best deal for you.
Once youve made a decision, your lender will begin the loan processing stage. In this phase, they will verify all of the information you submitted in your application and double-check that the title on the property is clear. They will also request a final credit report and check your income to make sure you can afford the monthly payments.
After the lender has reviewed all of your paperwork, they will issue a mortgage. In this case, theyll use the appraised value of your home to calculate your new loan amount. Once youve been approved for the loan, youll sign the papers to complete the process.
The loan process ends with a mortgage closing, when you sign the final mortgage documents and pay your down payment and other costs. After the closing, youll take possession of your home and move in.
A mortgage is a major commitment. If you dont carefully plan out your finances, you could find yourself with a huge loan payment that you cant afford.
In addition to the principal, which is the amount you borrow, your monthly mortgage payment will include other costs, such as interest, taxes and insurance. These will be bundled into one bill, usually called PITI (principal, interest, taxes and insurance).
The principal portion of your monthly mortgage payment will go toward paying off the original balance of the loan, while the interest and taxes and insurance will be used to cover additional costs associated with owning the property. Each payment will decrease your principal balance, which builds equity in your home. The equity youve built in your home can be a great asset when it comes time to sell the house or refinance the mortgage.