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Financing Tips

Finding the right home for you is your primary goal, but enjoying it with a lower payment and better mortgage terms is a very important secondary goal. We’ve researched and worked with many mortgage brokers and lenders in the Grand Forks and East Grand Forks real estate markets and can help you to contact those that are the best fit for you and your financial picture.

The normal mortgage for working families – Just because there’s nothing special about your income stream, and you’re getting a paycheck every week, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be differences in mortgages and lenders for your needs. Every mortgage broker and most lenders tend to work within their own requirements and procedures, and these may or may not be the friendliest terms for a salaried or hourly wage earner. 

The self–employed borrower – Since the mortgage and housing crisis that began in 2007, it’s become a grueling process for a business owner or self–employed person to get a mortgage. Documentation of income and expenses is much more detailed, and we’re up–to–date on all of it. We’ll steer you toward multiple sources for great mortgages for the self–employed.

Less than stellar credit – All types of lenders have become tougher in our new financial environment, and it’s easy to get a ding or two on your credit these days. It doesn’t even take a mistake or late payment, as credit scores are reduced for the amount and ratio of debt, as well as types of debt. Millions of people pay their bills on time and still don’t have those high end credit scores. We know the lenders in the Grand Forks and East Grand Forks real estate markets ready to provide good mortgages for less than high end credit scores

ARMs and When They’re Appropriate   Though most residential home buyers are buying a home they intend to occupy for a number of years, on average around the country at least eight, this isn’t always the case. Also, investors may be looking at a shorter ownership time frame. ARMs, Adjustable Rate Mortgages, are appropriate if the plan is to own a home seven or fewer years, particularly five or fewer. Because the lender is tying up their money for a shorter defined time period, they loan at lower interest rates. ARMs can result in hundreds of dollars a month in lower payments in some cases. They can also allow a buyer to qualify for a larger home. However, this isn’t generally a great practice, as once the ARMs fixed rate interest period is over, rates can escalate more than expected.

Financial Disclosure and Before Closing Considerations – Especially after the mortgage and housing problems that began in 2007, lenders and their underwriters are scrutinizing financial, income and expense information much more closely than ever before. Be prepared to dig out a lot of documentation, and it’s best to be forthcoming with any financial information that impacts your ability to pay the mortgage payment. Even if it’s not asked for early in the process, be prepared for questions and requests for documents throughout the process. Also, it’s highly recommended that you not add any credit card or other debt between the purchase contract and the closing. Just before closing, most lenders will do another credit check and a check for any liens or encumbrances.

Watch the Fees and Question Them –  There are a number of fees associated with getting a mortgage, and the total of origination and other fees is usually the highest closing cost aggregate item in the deal. Never hesitate to ask about all fees, why they’re charged and why they’re a certain amount and how they’re calculated. It’s your money, and you’re the customer.

What’s the difference between being pre-qualified and pre-approved for a mortgage? 
Typically you will first pre-qualify for a mortgage, then get pre-approved before you have found the specific home you wish to purchase. What is the difference?

Pre-qualification: An informal determination by a lender or mortgage broker stating how much mortgage you can afford.

Pre-approval: A guarantee in writing by a lender to grant you a loan up to a specified amount.

What are the advantages of being pre-approved? 
There are two advantages of being pre-approved for a loan as early as possible in your home-buying process:

  1. Sellers will find any offer you make more attractive if you are pre-approved for a mortgage.
  2. The length of time before closing can be shorter if you’ve completed the steps to securing mortgage approval prior to signing a contract on a property.

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