Mortgage Insurance

Now that you've found your dream home, you're anxious to move in and get settled — and that means getting a mortgage loan with terms and payments that fit your financial situation.

What to Look For

Begin by asking these questions:

What types of loans are available? Does the lender make privately or federally insured or guaranteed loans? Some lenders offer mortgage loans backed by a federal agency such as the Federal Housing Administration (FHA loans) or the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA loans). Loans that are not government-insured are called “conventional mortgages.” Insured mortgages usually have lower down payments but might have other restrictions; for example, being available only for certain kinds of homes or for properties valued below a specified price.

What's the length of the loan and the down payment required? In general, the longer the term and the larger the down payment, the lower your monthly payments — and the converse. What's the interest rate? The amount of the down payment might influence the interest rate (as a rule, the larger the down payment, the lower the interest rate — and the converse).

Is the interest rate fixed, adjustable, or variable? Interest rates might stay fixed for the life of the loan (fixed-rate mortgages), change (adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs), or combine fixed and variable rates (convertible mortgages). Although the initial rate of an ARM is usually lower than that of a fixed-rate mortgage, the rate might change during the lifetime of the loan.

How will the size, interest rate, and down payment on the loan affect your mortgage?

Does the lender offer special programs to help veterans, low-income, or first-time homebuyers?

The Mortgage Application Process

To figure your mortgage payment, the lender will ask how much you want to borrow, based on your financial condition and the appraised value of the property. Lenders usually will lend the borrower up to a certain percentage of this value, such as 80% or 90%, taking a down payment for the difference.

If the appraisal is below the asking price of the home, the down payment and the amount the lender is willing to lend you might not cover the price. In this situation, the lender might suggest a larger down payment to make up the difference between the price of the home and its appraised value.

Factors that might help you obtain loan approval include:

Down Payment. If your proposed down payment is too low, the lender might offer other types of mortgages with lower down payments.

Appraisal. Is the size of the mortgage you need too high, based the property's appraised value? If similar houses in the neighborhood have sold at comparable prices, suggest that the lender re-examine the appraisal to see if the appraiser might have undervalued the property.

Credit History. If the lender questions your ability to make the monthly payments, ask how your debt ratios compare to the lender's standards. If there were special circumstances surrounding old credit problems, ask for a chance to explain.

The mortgage loan approval decision is usually made within 30 days after the lender receives all the necessary information. Applications for FHA or VA loans might take longer.
get a free no-obligation Quote now!

Real Estate Terms … Translated

Charming = small

Comfortable = very small

Cozy = very, very small

Low maintenance = no lawn

Walk to stores = nowhere to park your car

Bright and sunny = Venetian blinds not included

Natural setting
= forget about planting, the deer will eat everything

Near schools = loud bells every hour on the hour.

Starter home = run down

Hurry! Won't last = about to collapse


Q: What is a mortgage?
Generally speaking, a mortgage is a loan obtained to purchase real estate. The “mortgage” itself is a lien (a legal claim) on the home or property that secures the promise to pay the debt. All mortgages have two features in common: Principal and interest.

Q: What is 'earnest money or earnest deposit'? How much should I plan to set aside?
Earnest money is money put down to demonstrate your sincerity about buying a home. It must be substantial enough to demonstrate good faith and is usually between 1%-5% of the purchase price (though the amount can vary with local customs and conditions). If your offer is accepted, the earnest money becomes part of your down payment or closing costs. If the offer is rejected, your money is returned to you. If you back out of a deal, you might forfeit the entire amount.

Q: What is mortgage insurance?
PMI, or Private Mortgage Insurance, is a policy that protects lenders against loss in the event that you, the borrower, default on your home mortgage. It is required primarily for borrowers making a down payment of less than 20%. Lenders want this insurance policy so that they are protected from losses associated with foreclosing on the property. Remember, you pay for PMI, but if you can't make your mortgage payments, the policy pays out to the bank, not to you.