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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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Faye Hunter, Broker
Century 21, The Hunter Group

114 South Main Street
Statesboro, GA 30458-1475
Phone: 912-489-5750
Email: fayehunter@realtor.com

Testimonials Page

I was very pleased with Jessica in every way. After our first meeting she started right away with selling my mom's house. I didn't have to worry about one thing. Jessica is an excellent agent. She is very personable but professional. I live out-of-state but she kept me well informed. She has a great personality. Jessica showed that she has morals and values which are valuable traits to me. I would definitely recommend her to anyone. The sale was very quick. You are very fortunate to have Jessica working for you. The process from beginning to end went very smoothly. Thanks to Jessica. Vicky Click,Southport, NC April 27, 2018
When you have a very patient friend who is also your real estate agent, you are doubly blessed! This entire process of prepping to sell and selling Mom's house was made much easier thanks to your guidance and patience - again, the "p" word. From letting me know what to expect, to determining what "fair" means, and all the other minute in between. I relied on your experience and advice. You did not once let me down. Thanks for not only being the trusted consummate professional, but for being a great family friend. Best always, Marianna Marianna Voiselle, February 6, 2018
Thanks for all your help in making our "dream home" a reality. We really appreciated that you went the extra mile to get us the best price for our home. You are truly a professional.
In all our dealings with Realtors over the past ten years, we have never met anyone as helpful and energetic as you have been. Without hesitation, we would highly recommend your service to anyone who is looking for an experienced Realtor who cares about getting things done and doing them right! Thanks for taking such good care of us, we couldn't have done it without you!
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