Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why does my realtor say I need pre-approval? And what’s the difference between pre-approval and pre-qualification?
A: Pre-qualification is used by a lender to help you determine how much of a loan you can afford. This is beneficial to you when house hunting so that you don’t fall in love with a house that you can’t afford. Pre-approval is saying that you are conditionally qualified for a loan. This is, of course, subject to the review of your completed application, verification of your income, assets, employment history, credit check, etc. Having pre-approval makes the home buying process go much smoother when you’re ready to submit an offer on a home.
Q: Is there a fee to submit my application online?
A: No, submitting your application is absolutely free. And you’re under no obligation once you submit your application.
Q: What kinds of documentation will I need to provide?
A: This varies based on the loan program. While there are several programs that require income statements and past tax filings, others don’t require any documentation at all. Once we determine what type of loan is best for you, I’ll be able to give you a complete list of the documents needed to proceed.
Q: Once I’ve submitted my application online, when will I find out if I’ve been pre-qualified?
A: Once I receive your application, I’ll review it to see if any additional information is needed. Either way, I will be in touch with you within 24 - 48 hours.
Q: Is there any way I can avoid paying a down payment?
A: There are several loan programs that don’t require down payments depending on your credit score, employment history, location, etc. Once you fill out an application, we can determine whether or not this is an option for you.
Q: What is Mortgage Insurance and why is it required?
A: Mortgage insurance protects the lender against taking a financial loss in the event that the lendee defaults on the loan (stops making payments). It is required on mortgage programs that require little or no down payment, such as a FHA or First Time Home Buyers loan. There are several ways in which mortgage insurance can be avoided, and we can explore those once we have your application on file.
Q: What if I’ve filed bankruptcy recently? Can I still qualify for a mortgage loan?
A: Yes, it's possible. Depending on several factors, including whether you filed Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, there may be a brief waiting period of 2-4 years before you can get approval for another mortgage loan. I’m more than happy to schedule a call with you to discuss your options based on your current situation.
Q: What are some of the benefits of Government loans (FHA, VA, USDA Rural Housing)?
A: Government backed loans have quickly become a great option for applicants. They are easy to qualify for and have low interest rates which are incredibly attractive to buyers. Many of these programs have incentives such as little to no down payments, no pre-payment penalties, and fewer fees and charges for establishing the loan. I will be happy to go over them all with you in detail to determine which is the best for you.
Q: What is a physician loan?
A: This is a special home mortgage, available only to MDs and DOs, with attractive terms and unique qualities not found with other traditional loans. It include benefits such as a lower, if any, down payment needed and no mortgage insurance.
Q: How is my ARM rate determined?
A: Your Adjusted Rate Mortgages have variable interest rates. These rates can change on monthly basis depending on the current market conditions. They are determined by adding a margin to an index on a specific date.
Q: What is a balloon loan?
A: This is a short term loan that includes payments that gradually reduce the total initial cost over a longer period of time. These payments won’t pay off the loan within the term, so the remaining balance (aka the balloon payment) is due in full at maturity of the note.
Q: What is the difference between the interest rate and the annual percentage rate (APR)?
A: The interest rate is the rate you agree to pay for your mortgage loan. It is used to determine the interest portion of your monthly payment. The annual percentage rate (APR) includes your interest rate and prepaid finance charges to give you an average yearly rate.
Q: What is an escrow account and why do I need one?
A: This is set up on your behalf to collect money for property tax payments and homeowners insurance in equal amounts over the course of the year. Your escrow account will pay your homeowners insurance and property taxes automatically so you don’t have to worry about it when the time comes.