For newcomers, it can be especially difficult. It’s easy to understand why: you’re facing the prospect of entering into an agreement that puts you on the hook for huge amounts of money over a very long period of time.
Mortgage contracts are long, complicated and filled with minutiae. The entire process can be nerve-wracking and many borrowers find themselves anxious to simply get it over with. This mindset isn’t necessarily conducive to obtaining the best home loan.
The following set of three basic tips are worth keeping in mind when engaging in the home loan process.
Fight the impulse to take the first option available to you. While interest rates don’t appear to differ all that much, a few hundreds of a percentage point can mean the difference of thousands of dollars over the lifespan of a mortgage. Additionally, there are other significant differences to consider beyond the rate of interest. The terms of mortgages vary between lenders and within the variety of different products offered by the same lender. For instance, some options may contain greater payment scheduling flexibility than others. Take the time to investigate the differences between the various choices available.
Dip into the details of the mortgage contract and make sure that you understand all of the potential fees that you may have to pay and the various features of the product. The last thing you want is to find out about some hidden expense or penalty that you’re likely to incur after you’ve signed all the papers.
Establish Your Priorities
Look beyond the rate and the regular payment estimate and take the time to think about what’s most important to you in terms of the mortgage outline and features. For instance, if cost certainty is critical to you, you may want to go with a longer-term fixed rate loan, even at a higher rate of interest, rather than a variable home loan. If your goal is to fulfill the mortgage as quickly as possible, you may want to look into a loan with a shorter term of maturity and one that won’t bring penalties for early repayment. The point is to prioritize your goals and be sure to select the mortgage product that will best meet your needs and lifestyle.
Photo Credit: US Department of Agriculture