Mortgage and Home Loan Basics

You’re ready to buy a home. What an exciting time! You’ve saved for and dreamed about this moment and now it’s here. You’re ready to begin the process and become a homeowner.

One of the first steps in the home buying process is talking to a mortgage lender to determine how much home you can afford. By learning the home loan basics before that meeting, you’re ahead of the game and ready to get that mortgage prequalification.

Private mortgage insurance. Private mortgage insurance typically goes by the acronym PMI. Simply put, lenders feel more comfortable giving a home loan to borrowers who can put at least a 20% down payment on the home purchase. If you don’t have the full 20%, you’ll have to pay PMI. This insurance is designed to protect the lender in case you quit making your home loan payments.

Tip — keep track of your payments and once you believe you’ve hit 20% in equity, let your lender know so they can remove the PMI from your payments.

Government guaranteed mortgages. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have home loan options that typically have lower down payment requirements and allow more people to qualify. There are restrictions on these types of loans and your lender can help you determine if one of these mortgages is right for you.

Fixed-rate mortgage. With fixed-rate home loans, you get to lock in your mortgage rate. This is a very popular option because it gives borrowers a set amount that is due monthly. If you get a fixed-rate mortgage you can pick the loan length to fit your budget. Most fixed-rate mortgages come with 30-year or 15-year term options.

Adjustable-rate mortgage. An adjustable-rate mortgage is often called an ARM. Rather than locking in a rate for the entire length of the loan, ARMs change over time. The benefit to this type of mortgage is it often starts with a lower interest rate. At set dates throughout the loan the interest rate is adjusted based on market conditions.

A little research goes a long way in the world of homeownership. You’re already on your way by taking the time to learn some of the common terms and the basics of home loans. Continue your positive momentum by talking to several different types of lenders to see who offers the best rates and conditions. Getting referrals from your friends and talking to your regular banker is also great way to start!

Once you’ve arranged financing and you’re ready to buy, connect with your American Family Insurance agent to make sure your new home is properly protected with homeowners insurance that’s customized for you. Congratulations on becoming a homeowner!

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Related Topics: At Home , Owning A Home , Selling Your Home