FHA home loan resources abound–you should know about using online mortgage calculators, pre-qualification for a home loan, and the availability of free credit reports to help you in the research and planning stages of your new home loan or refinance loan.
Let’s start with those free credit reports–the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), reminds home loan applicants that they are entitled to “a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major consumer reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion)” according to the CFPB official site.
Getting your credit report from all three agencies is an excellent way to begin your planning stage of the loan. Get your credit reports a year in advance of your loan application and remember to keep monitoring your credit afterward.
This gives you plenty of time to deal with potentially outdated or inaccurate information, contest identity theft activity, and address credit score issues that might need seeing to before you apply for a new loan.
You may request your free credit reports all at once, or order them separately as you need them.
So how do you determine much to budget for on a monthly basis when preparing for a home loan? Online FHA mortgage loan calculators can help you get a rough idea of much you can borrow, how much your monthly payment might be based on a variety of factors:
…and other factors.
Using an online mortgage calculator should be considered an estimate and NOT the exact final amount; more precise numbers will only be available once the loan is approved and will include data such as your mortgage insurance premium (Will you finance the upfront mortgage insurance premium?), interest, property taxes, etc.
Prequalifying is NOT home loan approval. But getting pre-qualified a way for you and your loan officer to figure out how much you might be able to borrow based a variety of factors including income, budget, price ranges, and all with an eye on the FHA loan limits for your area.
Pre-qualifying for a loan tells the seller you are serious and not window shopping. Prequalifying also gives you and the lender a working relationship before you fully commit to purchasing the house.
How do you pre-qualify? You’ll need the zip code of your proposed new home. Also, be prepared to provide an amount you want to use as your down payment.
Also helpful? Whether or not you served in the military, and some basic information about where you live now and other details that may be required–be sure to ask if you aren’t sure about any aspect of the process.
Your actual loan approval is dependent on the appraisal, which helps determine the fair market value of the home and that the property meets FHA minimum standards.
Use a pre-qualification checklist–come to the loan process with a steady employment history, consistent income over the last two years, and be mindful of the fact that late or missed payments in the 12 months leading up to the application can interfere with loan approval process.
Learn About the Path to Homeownership
Take the guesswork out of buying and owning a home. Once you know where you want to go, we’ll get you there in 9 steps.
Step 1: How Much Can You Afford?
Step 2: Know Your Homebuyer Rights
Step 3: Basic Mortgage Terminology
Step 4: Shopping for a Mortgage
Step 5: Shopping for Your Home
Step 6: Making an Offer to the Seller
Step 7: Getting a Home Inspection
Step 8: Homeowner’s Insurance
Step 9: What to Expect at Closing