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New to the Mortgage Scene? Here’s How They Work

The mortgage industry in USA works slightly differently than in other parts of the globe. Mortgage loans are commercial papers, a technical term by which lenders can assign and convey them freely, resulting in situations where economic institutions package mortgage loans into securities for people to invest. This system enables quick freeing up of money that is tied up, for these institutions to loan them out as new mortgages. The United States has created a number of federal sponsored institutions, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to facilitate this system. While most mortgages carry fixed interest rates, unlike the variable rates commonly found elsewhere.

What does it take to apply for a Mortgage Loan

When applying for a mortgage in the United States, you deal with a financier who generally works for banks, but you could opt for a brokerage underwriter. Mortgage brokers do not provide mortgages directly, but they do have a connections with a lot of other lenders. Despite the type of underwriter assigned to you, you are typically required to:

  • agree to and not interfere during a careful credit check.
  • authenticate your status of employment and income streams.
  • list out the various residences you have occupied in the last 2 years
  • document all checking, savings or other relevant financial information.
  • provide copies of all purchase and sale agreements.

In some instances, you are not required to furnish all this evidence. Some loans are treated as ‘low or no doc’ as you are not required to attest to the statements made to your underwriter. But these loans are often more expensive, although easier to obtain. Also, you can get pre-authorization before submitting an offer on any house you wish to purchase to hasten the process, and show the seller about your seriousness as regards the deal.

Most mortgage loans in this country require a significant down payment of 20% for traditional mortgages, but bigger amounts are usual for ‘low and no doc loans’. You can even get 100% financing if you happen to qualify for it.

Using a Competitive Marketplace to your advantage

If interested in buying real estate in USA, it is important to remember that the mortgage markets are tremendously competitive. Overall, the interest rates are comparable to that of many European countries, but a lot of competition exists between brokers and different banks and it is essential to check the available options before you settle on that one final lender.

An easy method of obtaining a mortgage loan is when you choose to work with your current bank. If you have an existing relationship with an American bank, applying for a mortgage becomes a relatively easy process. However, it is possible that your bank may not provide the most economical deal for you. It would be better for you to discuss with underwriters from different financial institutions to secure the best deal. Apart from the mortgage rates, you ought to know about the origination fees being charged and all closing fees and costs.

Mortgage brokers have dealing with many different lenders, so they are in a good position to find the best deals out there. However, it is sometimes cheaper to deal with a bank directly. When dealing with a mortgage brokerage underwriter, it is vital to ask about any additional fees charged.

Fixed Vs. Variable Mortgage Rates

Most loans offered in the United States are fixed-rate mortgages, which lock you into one fixed mortgage rate, from the start and lasts for the entire loan duration. If interest rates drop, you must refinance to benefit of the situation. Loans with varying rates are available, but you must understand the propositions of such types of mortgage.

The second kind of mortgage loan, the variable-rate loan is often called ARMs or adjustable-rate mortgages in the US, and can be availed with low interest rates, when compared to other fixed-rate mortgages. However, the ARM interest rates can increase quite radically as you take on a low initial rate but you also taken on the potential risk of an increase in interest rates.

Building Equity

After obtaining a loan, you accumulate equity in two ways. Firstly, a part of every mortgage payment you make goes towards the principal amount, which decreases the loan amount owed to your lender. Secondly, you also build equity should the worth or value of your purchased home increases over time. In either way, you can make use of that money by taking out a special kind of loan.

Home equity mortgages are called second mortgages as you are using your equity for collateral. If obtaining a home equity loan, you collect a lump sum of the loan and make monthly-equated re-payments. You could apply for something known as a home equity credit, providing you with a revolving account, which allows you to take money out and repay the loan over a pre-specified period of time.

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