The following information is provided by Bert Karrer with Regions Mortgage.
Getting preapproved for a mortgage. Preapproval was always an intelligent move, but given today’s market it is a must. Realtor’s that I have talked to say they don’t want to take someone home shopping who might not be able to get a mortgage in today’s tighter loan market.
Do some digging to find out where you will get the best rates. Check several lenders, including commercial banks, mortgage companies, and credit unions. Knowing only what your monthly payment or interest rate will be is not enough. Ask each lender to estimate what you’ll pay over the life of the mortgage for the same loan amount, loan term, and type of loan so you can compare properly.
Check your credit. Your credit score has become a bigger factor in the loan rate you get. With foreclosures expected to reach 2 million next year, lenders are examining would-be borrowers far more closely. In February and March of 2008 credit standards were tightened by the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Association (Freddie Mac), both of which purchase and guarantee mortgages for banks. Tighter credit standards are expected to be released in December of 2008.
In 2007 people with FICO scores of 680 and above received the best rates now your score has to be 720 and up to get the lowest rates. For example, if you had applied for a $300,000, 30-year fixed loan and your score was 721, you would have paid 6.5 percent recently with no points or origination, for a monthly payment of $1,896. If your FICO score were 625 instead, your interest rate would have been 7.1 percent and your monthly payment $2,016. Over the 30-year life of the loan, that would be a difference of $43,161.
Don’t forget the other costs. Before you make an offer, find out from the current homeowner what he or she pays for taxes, heating, cooling, and utilities. Also call your homeowners insurance company (or one you’re considering) and ask what it would cost you to insure the new home.
Consult with a professional. True professionals are not a commodity they are a rarity. Professional Realtors and mortgage bankers will tell you the truth and not what you want to here, they will work tirelessly for you, and help you come to a discussion that will be the best for you in the long term.
Mortgage Production Manager