A lot of people assume they are ready to apply for any major line of credit at any time. But if you want to apply for mortgage pre-approval, there are some important things you need to ask yourself to determine whether you are truly ready to apply.
Where are you at in the current process of planning and saving for a home loan? FHA mortgages, conventional loans, and even some first-time homebuyer downpayment assistance plans require the borrower to make a minimum investment.
If you don’t have a down payment saved or have a plan to come up with your down payment and closing costs before seeking a lender, you may not be ready to apply for pre-approval. But what else should you be asking?
One of the first things to ask yourself? Whether you know how much monthly mortgage payment you can realistically afford. It does no good to find a house you love only to learn that it’s priced out of your reach. It pays to use a mortgage calculator to get an estimate of your possible monthly payment.
When using that calculator, don’t forget to add in property taxes, any homeowner’s association fees that may be required, etc.
Another thing to ask is how old the home is. If you make an offer to a seller without knowing the age of the home, how can you know whether the roof might be due to be replaced soon?
How do you know whether you should expect to replace appliances, heating or air conditioning equipment, etc. based on the age of them and/or the home? If the home and appliances are all relatively new, you don’t (hypothetically) have to worry about them right away. But over time, replacing these or repairing them may become an issue.
How much do you know about the area the home is located in? Will you need certain flood insurance or insurance against mudslides, forest fires, or hurricanes?
These are all very important things to know and while some borrowers already have a very good idea about these local concerns, others who may be newer to the area could be blissfully unaware.
Know before you commit.
And finally, when considering your options before getting pre-approved for a home loan, have you looked into any down payment assistance programs that may be open to you?
Getting such help could free up some of the money you have saved for a down payment, you could transfer that cash to other aspects of your home loan such as closing costs.
Don’t forget that with an FHA mortgage, you can also negotiate to have your seller contribute up to six percent of the home’s price toward closing costs–another financial resource potentially available to you.