How to Get a Mortgage
A mortgage is a loan that allows you to buy a home or other real estate without paying cash. Generally, you pay a down payment upfront and then repay the rest over time — including interest. In the event of a default, the lender can take possession of your property (or “foreclose” on it) and sell it to recoup the money you owe.
Getting a mortgage typically starts with applying to lenders for pre-approval. You’ll have to provide a variety of financial information, such as bank and investment statements and tax returns. The lender will also run a credit check.
You’ll get a complete breakdown of the costs associated with your mortgage when you apply for pre-approval, called a Loan Estimate. This will include all fees and rates and will allow you to compare different options. It’s important to understand that although you can lower your rate by buying points, doing so increases your total cost over the life of your loan.
After you’ve applied for a mortgage, the lender will verify your information and conduct a thorough analysis of the property. The process includes obtaining an appraisal, a property inspection and an evaluation of the title to make sure there are no issues that could prevent the sale or cause problems later on.
Once the mortgage lender approves your application, you’ll finalize all of the details and sign your paperwork. Then, your lender will transfer the funds to your escrow account so you can begin making payments for taxes and homeowners insurance. The escrow account is a special account that’s managed by your lender and functions like a checking account, but doesn’t earn interest. Your lender will use the funds in your escrow account to pay these bills on your behalf each month.
There are many types of mortgages available, from traditional banks to nonbank sources such as Better, loanDepot and Rocket Mortgage. Each mortgage has its own set of requirements, but most lenders require a down payment, a steady income and a good credit score. Some lenders may accept co-borrowers, who are required to submit their own financial information and agree to be jointly responsible for the mortgage.
The lender will usually issue a deed of trust to the homebuyer in exchange for the mortgage. The deed of trust outlines the terms of the mortgage and gives the lender rights to seize the property in case of default.
A key piece of information that you can review when shopping for a mortgage is the annual percentage rate (APR), which is calculated to include all loan fees and costs. Seeing the APR can help you determine which lenders offer the best deals.