Types of Loans & Home Purchase Basics to Get You Started

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Congratulations on your decision to buy a new home! There are many important things to consider throughout the process, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. Here’s some important information to know and a few things that will help keep you on track.

A home purchase may be your largest financial transaction to date, so it’s important to make the right decisions and to keep an eye on the details. With the assistance of your Real Estate Agent and Loan Officer, it should be an efficient, pleasant, and ultimately rewarding experience.

First, let’s discuss the various types of loans.

Types of Home Loans

Thirty-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage

The traditional 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has a constant interest rate and monthly payments that never change. This may be a good choice if you plan to stay in your home for seven years or longer. If you plan to move within seven years, then adjustable-rate loans are usually cheaper. As a rule of thumb, it may be harder to qualify for fixed-rate loans than for adjustable rate loans. When interest rates are low, fixed-rate loans are generally not that much more expensive than adjustable-rate mortgages and may be a better deal in the long run, because you can lock in the rate for the life of your loan.

Fifteen-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage

This loan is fully amortized over a 15-year period and features constant monthly payments. It offers all the advantages of the 30-year loan, plus a lower interest rate—and you’ll own your home twice as fast. The disadvantage is that, with a 15-year loan, you commit to a higher monthly payment. Many borrowers opt for a 30-year fixed-rate loan and voluntarily make larger payments that will pay off their loan in 15 years. This approach is often safer than committing to a higher monthly payment, since the difference in interest rates isn’t that great.

When it comes to ARMs there’s a basic rule to remember…the longer you ask the lender to charge you a specific rate, the more expensive the loan.

2/1 Buy Down Mortgage 

The 2/1 Buy-Down Mortgage allows the borrower to qualify at below market rates so they can borrow more. The initial starting interest rate increases by 1% at the end of the first year and adjusts again by another 1% at the end of the second year. It then remains at a fixed interest rate for the remainder of the loan term. Borrowers often refinance at the end of the second year to obtain the best long-term rates. However, keeping the loan in place even for three full years or more will keep their average interest rate in line with the original market conditions.

Annual ARM

This loan has a rate that is recalculated once a year.

Monthly ARM

With this loan, the interest rate is recalculated every month. Compared to other options, the rate is usually lower on this ARM because the lender is only committing to a rate for a month at a time, so his vulnerability is significantly reduced.

Your Loan Officer

Count on your Mortgage Banker/Loan Officer to: 

  1. Assist you in selecting the best loan to meet your personal situation and goals. (This single decision can save you thousands of dollars throughout the years!)
  2. Keep you informed of your loan status throughout the entire process.
  3. Keep your Real Estate Agent informed of our loan progress (Note: your personal information is always kept confidential between you and the loan officer; only deal points and progress are shared).
  4. Get the appropriate loan for you at the best rates and fees. This will save you significant money “up front” and throughout the years to come.

Your Real Estate Agent

Count on your Real Estate Agent to: 

  1. Preview available homes to weed out those that are overpriced, or undesirable in some other way.
  2. Present the homes that suit your needs as you’ve defined them.
  3. Help you determine the difference between a “good buy” and a property which, because of its nature (neighborhood, market appeal, etc.), might have to be discounted if you decide to sell in the future.
  4. Negotiate the best deal for you. With a Pre-Qualification in hand, your Real Estate Agent will be able to demonstrate that you are a qualified and capable borrower. This will strongly influence the Seller, and may make the difference between the Seller accepting your offer or someone else’s — even if your offer is lower!

Help From You

We are counting on you to:

  1. Keep your Real Estate Agent informed of any questions or concerns as they develop.
  2. Keep the process moving with the loan officer by providing documentation and decisions as soon as reasonably possible. By doing so, many of the details are taken care of early in the process so you can comfortably concentrate on any last-minute details or events that require your attention.
  3. Enjoy purchasing your home, but do remain objective throughout — to make the business decisions that are best for you.
  4. Make sure you are pre-approved as early as possible. This will put the power of financing behind you so you can concentrate on selecting your home.

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About Dana Ash-McGinty 179 Articles
Dana Ash-McGinty is the Principal Broker of ASH | MCGINTY, a Washington, DC Real Estate Brokerage. This real estate maven has 15+ years experience in residential, commercial and land sales in addition to multi-state residential renovation, re-zoning, and condo conversion projects. A sought after real estate authority, she has been featured on CNN and in various real estate and financial publications. Dana is married to the highly esteemed Dr. Dana W. McGinty, a Washington, DC based internal medicine physician. They are often referred to as "The Danas".

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