Make sure you are eligible for the mortgage you want. VA, FHA, USDA, and conventional loans have different eligibility standards.
Veterans, active duty military personnel, and surviving spouses who qualify can buy homes with a VA loan. You’ll need a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to prove you meet eligibility requirements. Learn more with our how to apply for a VA Loan article.
These loans make homebuying easier when you have a moderate income or less money for a down payment. FHA loans can be obtained with as little as 3.5% down payment. However, there are limits on the price of the house you can buy. Read more about FHA loans for first-time homebuyers.
USDA loans make buying a home more affordable in rural and some suburban communities. This map will help show which communities are eligible. USDA loans have income limits that vary by location and household size.
Conventional loans generally require higher credit scores and have more financial and down payment requirements than VA, FHA, or USDA loans. However, you can use a conventional loan to buy a second home or investment property as well as a personal loan applications primary home. And you can often buy homes that are more expensive.
Your credit score, income, and finances
You will need to meet your lender’s credit, income, and financial standards to be approved for a mortgage. Your credit score is based on factors including how much debt you have, your credit history, and whether or not you pay your bills on time. Your credit score can affect the interest rate you might get too.
Find out how much home you can afford by asking Freedom Mortgage to pre-approve you for a mortgage. We will ask you to document your income, finances, and assets. Once this is completed, we will provide you a pre-approval letter which shows sellers and real estate agents how much money you are qualified to borrow to buy a home. You can also estimate how much house you can afford using our mortgage affordability calculator.
Home buying process
Researching online homes for sale is a great place to start. It can also be a good idea to find a trusted real estate agent who is familiar with the communities where you would like to buy a house. If you are interested in a VA, FHA or USDA loan, look for an agent who is familiar with the property requirements for these types of mortgages. That will help you focus your search on houses that meet the government standards for these loans. Also it is a good idea to follow these steps!
Here are some more considerations when looking for a new home:
- point 1 Check out the school system. You can go online to the state Department of Education and see details such as test scores, graduation rate and college acceptance.
- point 2 Investigate the safety of the neighborhood. Read the local newspaper to see if there’s been any issues and drive through the area at various times of the day to get a sense of the safety.
- point 3 Take a tour. See how far it is to hospitals, shopping, schools, and recreation areas.
Once you select a property, make an offer and negotiate with the seller on a final sale price. Also check out these homebuying tips.
Get a home inspection
It is a good idea to make your offer contingent on the results of a professional home inspection. A good home inspector will check the house for safety issues and problems that may require expensive repairs. If this occurs, you might ask the seller to make repairs or reduce the price of the house.
Close on your loan & move in
The final step is to close your mortgage and the sale. Lenders typically re-check your credit and finances right before they close your loan, so avoid opening a new credit card account, buying a car, or making other large purchases before your closing day. Also be sure to bring these documents to closing.
Here are the documents you need to bring to closing:
- point 1 Government-issued photo ID for borrower and co-borrower.
- point 2 Funds necessary for closing costs (typically a cashier’s check; not a personal check).
- point 3 Binder for homeowners’ insurance (hazard insurance) and paid receipt.
- point 4 Other documents you may be asked to bring by your closing agent.
Read your closing documents and make sure you understand them. Your closing agent will explain what you are signing and answer your questions. If more than one person has their name on the mortgage, the borrower and co-borrowers will need to attend the closing in person. A closing agent (also called a settlement agent or escrow agent), a title company representative, the seller, real estate agents, and an attorney may also be present at closing.