Joanne Marie Tucker

Joanne Marie Tucker
Residential Mortgage Loan Originator

o: FAX817-329-3487

Get Qualified

Getting qualified before you apply for a loan can help you understand how much you can borrow.

When buying a home, you may be pre-qualified or pre-approved. You can be pre-qualified over the phone or on the Internet in a few minutes. Pre-qualification is not as useful as pre-approval. Pre-approval requires a more rigorous process, including verification of your credit, income, assets and liabilities. It is highly recommended that you be pre-approved before you start looking for a home.

Being pre-approved will:

  1. Inform you of your maximum affordable home value, and save you from previewing properties outside your price range.
  2. Put you in a stronger negotiating position with the seller, because the seller will know your loan is pre-approved.

Discuss with your loan professional about your budget and long term financial goals.

Shop Loan Programs

What loan program is best for your situation? Lenders offer many different loan options:

  1. Think about how long you plan to keep the loan. If you plan to sell your home in a few years, you may want to consider an adjustable rate. If you plan to keep your home for a longer time, you may want to consider a fixed rate loan.
  2. Understand the relationship between rates and points. Points are considered prepaid interest and may be tax deductible. Each point is equal to 1 percent of the loan. For example 1 point on a $150,000 loan is $1,500. The more points you pay, the lower your rate.
  3. Compare different loan programs. With so many programs to choose from, it's hard to figure out which program is best for you. Consult an experienced loan officer who can help you find a loan program that best fits your short- and long-term plans.

Obtain Loan Approval

Once your loan application has been received, we will start the loan approval process immediately. This involves verifying your:

  • Credit history
  • Employment history
  • Assets including your bank accounts, stocks, mutual fund and retirement accounts
  • Property value
  • Based on your specific situation, additional documents or verifications may be required.

To improve your chances of getting a loan approval:

  • Fill out the loan application completely.
  • Respond promptly to any requests for additional documents. This is especially critical if your rate is locked or if you plan to close by a certain date.
  • Do not make any major purchases. Do not buy a car, furniture or another house till your loan is closed.
  • Anything that causes your debts to increase might have an adverse affect on your current application.
  • Do not move money into your bank accounts unless it can be traced. If you are receiving money from friends, family or other relatives, please contact us.
  • Notify your loan officer before applying for any other credit, including credit cards, personal loans or even with another mortgage company. Some loan programs have strict guidelines regarding your credit score. Credit inquiries may lower your credit score and may have an adverse affect on your loan approval.

Close the Loan

After your loan is approved, you will be required to sign the final loan documents. This will take place at the title company. Be prepared to:

  • Bring a cashiers check for your down payment and closing costs. Personal checks are NOT accepted.
  • Review the final loan documents. Make sure that the interest rate and loan terms are what you are expecting. Also, verify the accuracy of the name and address on the loan documents.
  • Sign the loan documents. The title company will require that you have your picture ID with you. Some lenders also require a second form of identification like a passport
  • On refinance and home equity loan transactions, federal law requires that you have three days to review the documents before your loan transaction can close. Purchase transactions do not have a three day rescission period.

Where should I start?

It is hard to know where to begin! There are so many options that it can be very confusing to find the right type of loan. You must first ask yourself many questions:

  • How much can I afford to pay each month?
  • Do I plan on keeping this house for only a few years or for a long period of time?
  • Is a small payment a higher priority than paying the loan down quickly?
  • Am I able to make a down payment?
  • Over how many years do I want to pay a mortgage?
  • Am I trying to find a mortgage or refinance an existing mortgage?
  • Is my income stable? Will it be rising in the future?

The answer to these questions will help you know which loan will be best for you. There are a wide variety of loan options, so it will be useful to know some of the basic tendencies. In general:

  • The larger the down payment, the better your options are for payment size, interest rate, and length of time to pay back the loan.
  • A fixed-interest rate will tend to be higher than an adjustable rate.
  • The longer the term of payback, the smaller the payment will be.
  • The smaller your payment, the larger the amount that is going to interest.
  • The more that you pay to interest, the slower that you are building equity.

It is also useful to understand the essential differences in types of loans. There are really only three basic types of loans:

  • Fixed Interest Mortgages (FRM)
  • Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM)
  • A Hybrid ( some combination of the two)

Loans are also classified as either government loans or conventional loans.

Conventional loans are further broken down into either conforming or non-conforming loans. To qualify as a conforming loan (or an A paper loan), it must fall under the guidelines established by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, corporations that have established industry standards and guidelines that govern credit requirements, down payment amounts, and maximum loan amounts.

Once you have these general types down, you will still have to look at the individual features of specific loan types to determine which one will best meet your needs.

Your loan options can be limited by poor credit. A credit score is a system of points earned based on your credit history. This three-digit number (raging from 300 to 900) is influenced by such factors, among others, as:

  • Late payments
  • Debt to credit ratio
  • Total debt amount
  • Age of accounts (the older the better)

There are three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TansUnion) that produce comparable credit scores using some version of FICO, the industry standard developed originally by Fair Isaac and Company. Because this credit score is used by most lenders to determine your qualifications for a loan, you may want to see what you can do to increase your credit score before you apply for a mortgage.

So, the bottom line: Start with your credit score; end with the specific loan type that is most appropriate to your needs.

Approval Center: Get prequalified today!