For some people, homeownership can seem like a nightmare. In the United States, many people are opting out of owning a home due to their credit issues. More often than not, they cannot get a loan at an affordable rate. However, there are some steps you can take to get approved for a mortgage and qualify for a lower rate.
The Importance of a Mortgage Interest Rate
Many prospective home buyers do hold out for a better rate. These small changes can improve your financial outlook for owning a home. For example, an interest rate reduction from 4.5 percent to 3.5 percent can save you around $200,000 in the lifetime of the loan. When you add that up, it is a lot of savings that you could use in the future.
Getting Approved for a Loan with a Low-Interest Rate
There are two things that you need to realize your dream of homeownership: approval for a mortgage loan and a low-interest rate. These two factors are not mutually exclusive. If you are thinking about applying for a loan, there are some things you should consider.
Loan officers only know you based on your credit profile. They don’t know whether you work hard or have been saving years for a home. Their bottom line coincides with the terms and conditions of their lenders. When applying for a loan, you want to present the best image. In most cases, you need to have W-2 employment. If you are a freelancer, you will have to show proof of your income and jump through more hoops. Stable employment history is better to secure a loan. Without regular earnings, you are a higher credit risk than someone with a steady job.
With any employment situation, you will need to find relevant financial documentation, including 1099s, pay stubs, bank account statements, public assistance records, retirement statements, and any other income documents reported to the IRS. All lenders set their own rules about these documents. You should be ready to produce documents from the last two years.
Get to Know Your Credit
Before you fill out your loan application, you need to obtain a credit report. You can claim a free report from one of the major credit reporting bureaus like Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Once you have received the report, you will want to inspect it for any mistakes or omissions. In some cases, these mistakes can negatively impact your credit. If you find an error, make sure to have it removed from your report.
Before and during the loan process, you don’t want to make any financial moves that might affect your credit. Make sure to avoid opening up new lines of credit or making large purchases on your credit card.
Reduce Your Debt-To-Income Ratio
One significant component of your credit score is the debt-to-income ratio. It plays a vital role in determining if you qualify for a mortgage loan. You will not be able to fix your debt-to-income overnight. However, you should start to lower it before looking for a house. As you reduce your debt, your credit score will begin to increase, and you will become more attractive to mortgage lenders.
If you have a high debt-to-income ratio, you might get approved, but at a higher interest rate. Some small lenders might not even approve you for a loan. You can start lowering your debt by paying off the largest debts first. Once you’ve accomplished that, you can focus on those smaller bills.
Get a Mortgage Quote
Once you are ready to apply, you can start to get a preliminary quote. There are many places online that will provide you with a quote from a variety of lenders. Many of these quotes are non-binding so that you can look without any obligation. However, you can get an idea about what lenders want in a prospective homebuyer. You can see your credit range and figure out your monthly payments.
Apply for FHA Loans
If you haven’t saved up enough for a down payment, you should consider applying for an FHA loan. These loans allow for a smaller down payment, and they have less stringent underwriting standards than a conventional loan. In some cases, an FHA loan will have a lower interest rate than the typical mortgage from a traditional lender. However, the rate and terms will depend on your credit score. FHA loans require mortgage insurance premiums too. When you factor the premiums into your monthly payments, you might be better to apply for a traditional mortgage.
Increase Your Down Payment
Before you start applying for a loan, you need to know what you can afford for a down payment. In most cases, the larger the amount, the better. This rationale is especially true when you want to score the lowest interest rate. For the lender, a large down payment means you are a lower risk of defaulting on the payments. If you increase your down payment from 10 percent to 20 percent, you can reduce the interest rate by 1 to 2 percent.
However, there are times when you cannot increase your down payment. In these cases, some nonprofit and government programs can help with down payment assistance. Many of these programs are grants, and you don’t need to worry about repaying them. In most cases, you will have to qualify for the programs, and some are restricted to certain buyer groups like first-time homebuyers and veterans.
A small change to your mortgage loan rate can help you improve your financial future. Whether you are looking for a loan or want to lower your current interest rate, there are ways that you can pursue your home buying dream. The process of home buying is not a sprint but a marathon. You need to prepare for the long haul. As soon as you think about buying, you will want to follow the tips in this article to improve your chances of approval or to lower your interest rate.
If you want to know more about mortgages, make sure to fill out the contact form for more information.