Written by guest blogger Ryan Guina of Cash Money Life. Ryan is a writer, small business owner, entrepreneur, and professional in the corporate world. He also runs The Military Wallet.
This post is part of a special PerkStreet series about taking the next step to living in your dream home, whether you buy or rent.
Summer is the time of year most people move. It’s easier to make a major lifestyle change when the kids are out of school and the weather is nice. My wife and I are planning on putting our house on the market this summer and we’ve already started looking at mortgage options. If you are also thinking about moving any time soon, then read on. You’ll need this information!
How to get a mortgage that meets your needs
When it comes to mortgages, boring is good! When the mortgage bubble was heading full steam, banks were offering liars’ mortgages, interest only mortgages, teaser rates, balloon mortgages, Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs), and other exotic mortgages. Those are dangerous types of mortgages for the average consumer and many people on both sides of the table got burned by these exotic loans. In short – you want a plain vanilla mortgage.
Stick with a 15 year or 30 year fixed rate mortgage. As mentioned above, exotic lending terms are best left alone. The standard terms offered by most banks and lending institutions are 15 year and 30 year terms. There are pros and cons to both loans – a 15 year mortgage has less overall interest, but higher monthly payments. 30 year mortgage terms have lower monthly payments, but the longer term results in hundreds of thousands more in interest payments over the life of the loan. If you can afford it, go for the 15 year term because you will save hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the loan. Otherwise, go for the 30 year term, which may enable you to afford more home for the monthly payment.
Shoot for a 20% down payment – or higher. 20% is the magic number to avoid paying Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), which is required when you put down a small down payment. PMI is in the best interest of the bank and doesn’t really do anything for you except make you wallet lighter. It is an expense that is best avoided! The other benefit to putting down 20% is borrowing less money – reducing your mortgage payment and the amount of time it takes to pay off your home.
Shop around for interest rates. Don’t accept the first offer you receive – the lending market is super competitive right now and you may be able to save hundreds of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan by comparing mortgage rates. Be sure to check with your local bank or credit union, as well as the big lenders. You never know which will have the better rates.
If you can’t get a good mortgage rate, then wait. Mortgage rates are near an all-time low, but they may be a little more difficult to qualify for than they were a year or two ago when banks were handing out mortgages to anyone who asked for one. If you can’t get approved for a mortgage right away, it is probably a good idea to work on improving your credit score and saving for a larger down payment. Both of these will help you get more favorable mortgage terms.
Are you mortgage shopping right now? What’s your experience been like?
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