Homeownership can be a worthwhile, yet expensive, endeavor, and many people have several questions about how to begin the process and what obtaining a mortgage will entail. Conducting research prior to speaking with a mortgage consultant can be a wise move, because it may inform buyers of what they can expect, documents they will need, credit score requirements and the type of home they can afford.
When it comes to educating themselves on the mortgage process, new data shows that the internet is most Americans’ top resource. A joint study conducted by the National Association of Realtors and Google found that real-estate related searches increased 253 percent over the last four years. This may also signify that more people are interested in taking advantage of current market conditions and purchasing a home.
“These results parallel the trends shown in NAR’s economic research reports,” said NAR president Gary Thomas. “As home sales and prices continue to trend up, more people are regaining confidence to invest in their future through homeownership.”
Consider other research options as well
While internet searches can yield a great deal of results in regards to learning about home loans, it’s also a smart idea for potential buyers to speak with a professional, who can answer some questions with more precision and provide guidance on complex issues. For example, enrolling in housing counseling or speaking with a credit counselor prior to submitting an application can help buyers learn more about how their finances and credit will be assessed.
Lenders may have different criteria when it comes to credit scores, but having pristine ratings can only help individuals when making such a large investment. Credit counselors can review applicants’ unique financial circumstances and advise them on how best to improve their credit standing before consulting a lender. The same is true when it comes to saving for a downpayment. Professionals can help buyers determine if they have saved enough based on the mortgage amount they’re considering, and give budgeting tips to help them amass a larger amount to put down.
Finally, there are several additional costs that come with purchasing a home, such as closing expenses, maintenance, title fees, homeowners insurance and hiring a home inspector. Consumers who are unsure how much additional these costs will run them should consult a professional to ensure they don’t overextend their finances and take on debt they cannot pay.