The mortgage lending process can feel foreign (and often frustrating) for first-time buyers. But, if you choose the right mortgage lender and lean on them for guidance, you’ll find yourself one step closer to the home of your dreams. That’s why we’ve gone straight to the source — your local Grand Rapids branch of Old National Bank — to de-mystify 4 common myths about mortgage lending.
Myth #1: I need to have my own money for a down payment.
Many first-time buyers miss out on the home of their dreams by buying into the fear that they haven’t saved enough of their own money to make a significant down payment. Truthfully, there are several options including Rural Development Mortgages and VA Mortgages that don’t require a down payment whatsoever.
For programs that do require a down payment, there are also options, including a down payment gifted from a family member. The long and short of it is to speak to your mortgage lender long before you start your home search to ensure you understand your down payment options.
Myth #2: I should find a house before I get pre-qualified for my mortgage.
This is one of the most dangerous assumptions first-time home buyers make. Why? There are several reasons:
- What if you find your dream home, only to find out after-the-fact that you can’t be pre-qualified for the purchase price? Not only will you experience homebuyer’s heartbreak, but you will have wasted your realtor’s time and your own, simply by not having a firm grasp on your bottom-line budget.
- What if you are qualified for the purchase price of your dream home, but get intimidated by the payment? It’s best to know the breakdown of what your monthly mortgage will actually look like at various price points so you can determine where you’re comfortable long before you step inside your first showing.
- What if your home buying experience could have been enhanced just by having the advice of a lender earlier on in the process? Keep in mind, your mortgage lender is there to help guide you through the process, offering advice that can help you avoid problems and unnecessary paperwork later.
Myth #3: If a lender pre-qualifies me up to a certain dollar amount, I’m always safe to purchase at that price.
Not true. Why? Your bank or lender may not always have a grasp on your complete financial picture and all of the off-the-record future factors that may affect your ability to pay your mortgage down the line.
Will you or your spouse stop working if you start a family? If you already have little ones, do you pay for childcare or private education? Do you have private debt that isn’t on your credit report? What if one of you lost your job? Or are one or both partners simply not comfortable with what the monthly mortgage payment looks like at your pre-approved purchase price? Any of these factors can throw a wrench in the mix, so be sure to consider everything when setting your home-buying budget.
Myth #4: I should get my mortgage from my bank.
While it may seem more convenient to get your mortgage through the bank you do your day-to-day transactions with, this isn’t always necessarily the best choice. Often, the bank that holds your savings and checking accounts doesn’t have the best interest rate or the lowest closing fees.
It makes sense to ask your realtor who they recommend as a second option and be sure you are getting the best deal you can. If that ends up being your personal bank, all the better! If not, you’ll be glad you shopped around.
About Our Guest Blogger:
Michael Bartels is a Mortgage Loan Originator with Old National Bank. After earning his degree in Business Administration from Cornerstone University and spending 3 years in retail management for a nationwide company, Michael was ready for a career change. The desire for a new challenge brought him to the mortgage industry in 2003. Michael’s passion for helping people makes the mortgage industry a perfect fit, and he enjoys working closely with realtors and homebuyers to make the process as enjoyable and stress-free as possible. When he’s not helping buyers find the right fit for their mortgage with Old National Bank, Michael enjoys traveling, playing golf, and spending time with his wife and 3 beautiful children — Katelyn, Andrew, and Benjamin.
About Our Featured Partner, Old National Bank:
Since its founding in Evansville in 1834, Old National Bank has focused on community banking by building long-term, highly valued partnerships with clients. Today, Old National has over 200 banking centers located throughout Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Wisconsin.