For many things, people assume to know more than they actually do. This is especially dangerous in the home buying process. Recent Oklahoma Mortgage marketplace survey indicates that there are several aspects of the home buying process that continue to elude prospective home buyers. Here are some surprising results of our findings, along with five things most home buyers don’t know, but should:
1. FHA loans & 100% USDA Loans are available to all buyers
More than two in five (42 percent) prospective home buyers think that only first-time buyers qualify for an FHA & USDA loan, a mortgage insured by the Federal House Administration or by the United States Department of Agriculture. This is not the case. In fact, these loans are available to all buyers who meet eligibility requirements. Among the key attractions of FHA loan: a minimal or even no down payment in some cases, relaxed credit score requirements, low cost, and low interest rates. Key attractions of 100% USDA Loan zero down payment, relaxed credit score requirements, low cost, and low interest rates.
2. Mortgage rates vary daily
Fifty-five percent of prospective home buyers don’t realize that mortgage rates, which are determined by a slew of factors, can—and do—change daily (and sometimes more than once a day if certain economic reports are released). Just by monitoring rates, you could save yourself money. For example, a rate change of 0.125 percent to 0.25 percent could mean thousands of dollars in savings each year. To get the best rates, monitor them. The best indicator is the movement of the 10-year Treasury bond. And, don’t stop at the first rate you see—shop around.
3. Lender fees change and are negotiable
When you apply for a loan, the bottom line is that you’re going to have to pay lender fees. These fees—from origination fees to credit report fees to appraisal fees and more—can add up quickly. The good news, and what 34 percent of prospective home buyers don’t know, is that fees not only vary from one lender to the next, but that they’re negotiable. This is all the more reason to shop around for different mortgage rates from various lenders.
4. Interest rates on ARMs don’t always reset higher
While rates on adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) do often increase after five years, they can also decrease. Prospective home buyers may not realize this because many people (57 percent) simply don’t know how adjustable rate mortgages work. The interest rate on an ARM is made up of two parts: the margin, which is a fixed percentage and the index, which goes both up and down with the general movement of interest rates. If you’re planning on living in a home only for a few years, an ARM could be a good loan option.
5. Pre-qualified doesn’t mean much, Loan-Approved Does!
Just because you have a “pre-qualification” for a home loan doesn’t mean you’ve secured financing, yet 37 percent of prospective home buyers believe it does. Most of the time when you’re “pre-qualified,” a lender has figured out approximately how much you can afford, but they haven’t run your credit or requested any sort of documentation to support/verify the information you provide. That is why it is so important to make sure your lender has fully approved your potential loan before you go out house hunting.
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