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Your Savings and Down Payment

Your First Step Toward Buying a Home

When preparing to buy a home, the first thing many homebuyers do is look at the real estate ads in newspapers, magazines and listings on the Internet. Some potential buyers read how-to articles like this one. The next thing you should do - before you call on an ad, before you talk to a REALTOR®, before you shop for interest rates - is look at your savings.

Why?

Because determining how much money you have available for down payment and closing costs affects almost every aspect of buying a home - including how you write your purchase offer, the loan programs you qualify for, and shopping for interest rates.

Mortgage Programs

If you only have enough available for a minimum down payment, your choices of loan program will be limited to only a few types of mortgages. If someone is giving you a gift for all or part of the down payment, your options are also limited. If you have enough for the down payment, but need the lender or seller to cover all or part of your closing costs, this further limits your options. If you borrow all or a portion of the down payment from your 401K or retirement plan, different loan programs have different rules on how you qualify.

Of course, if you have enough for a large down payment, then you have lots of choices.

Your loan choices include such varied programs as conventional fixed rate loans, adjustable rate mortgages, buydowns, VA, FHA, graduated payment mortgages and all the varieties of each.

Shopping for Rates

A very important reason you need to have at least some idea of your down payment is for shopping for interest rates. Some loan programs charge a slightly higher interest rate for minimal down payments. Plus, the interest rates for different loan programs are not the same. For example, conventional, VA, and FHA all offer fixed rate loans. However, the rates vary from one program to another.

If you shop lenders by phone, the loan officer will be able to tell you which programs fit and quote your rates accordingly. However, if you are shopping on the Internet, you have to develop some idea of your loan program on your own.

Writing Your Offer

Another reason you need to have a clue about your down payment is because it affects how you write your offer to purchase a home. Not only are you required to put your down payment information in the offer, but also different loan programs have different rules that also affect how you write your offer. This is especially important when dealing with FHA and VA loans.

If you are asking the seller to pay all or part of your closing costs, you have to be certain your loan program allows what you are asking. For smaller down payments, lenders allow the seller to pay less closing costs than for larger down payments. Some loan programs will allow a seller to pay certain types of costs, but not others.

Finally, your down payment also affects your ability to qualify for a loan. When you make a small down payment, lenders are fairly strict about having you conform to their underwriting guidelines. For larger down payments, they will tend to make allowances or exceptions to the rules.

Conclusion

As you can see, the down payment affects every choice you make when you buy a home. Although you should look at ads, familiarize yourself with neighborhoods, learn about prices, and read as much as you can - when you get ready to take action - the first thing you should do is figure out how much money you have available for the purchase.

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Pine Point Realty
1226 Lincoln Street
Rhinelander, WI 54501
Phone: 715-365-6000
 

Testimonials

"When Our bank turned us down for our home loan, we felt that all hope was lost, but Carol Shattuck and Kathy Dolch came through with another lender that was able to get us into our first home." Terry H.
I had met with Kathy a month earlier to discuss my situation and possible sale of my home. Once I knew for sure that I was going to list, I was comfortable with Kathy's input, so I signed up with Pine Point. Julie H.
Kathy and her team go above and beyond to make sure your experience is amazing. Kathy was amazing and made sure we knew what we were looking at, and we should know, we have been working with her for 2 years to find the perfect home. M. Wilmot
As a first-time home owner, Kathy was excellent to work with! The home I purchased was a foreclosure and there were lots of hoops to jump through, but Kathy was very patient and optimistic. Deb H.
Ashlei Highfill was so patient and kind. She always answered every question we had right away. She really showed us some great properties and ultimately found us our perfect starter home. Would highly recommend Ashlei Highfill to anyone looking to purchase a home. Definitely will not be disappointed! Laina Miller , Rhinelander
We moved from out of state and were unable to look at homes in person and Ashlei went out of her way to look at homes for us, she took many pictures and was extremely honest with us, which was what I valued most. She was very punctual at getting back to me, and made my first home purchase an enjoyable one. Kempkens - Rhinelander
I trust Pine Point. Sharon worked well with us and kept us informed. Virginia Taft
My experience with Ashlei was beyond excellent. Her excellence in keeping me informed at all times was very important to me and she went above and beyond my expectations. She is most professional and advised me of her opinions when asked. I would definitely recommend Ashlei to friends, family, or associates who are in the market for a real estate professional. David Dohe
We want to thank and express our appreciation to Ashlei and Team Dolch for all the help and support through the process of buying our home. We've made new friends at Pine Point Realty!! C. McDonald
Ashlei was the greatest!! I could not have asked for a better, more genuine person to help us with our purchase. You have a wonderful agent on your hands! Al & Kathy Reinke
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