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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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Thank you for visiting today. If this is your first visit, take your time and look around. I have plenty of information and resources available to you. If you are a return visitor, thank you. I would love to hear from you and tell you how I can serve all your real estate needs.

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Curtis and Patricia Sheets
16503 Booker T Washington Hwy
Moneta, VA 24121
Phone: (540) 293-1033
Fax: (888) 629-1611
Email:
Curtis@LoveToSellYourHome.com
Patricia@LoveToSellYourHome.com

Testimonials

Curtis and Pat are very courtious and professional. You'll get top of the line service and they will go out of their way to make sure you're satisfied. They treat you like family and stay in touch. We couldn't have asked for better realtors or friends! Tara Davidson Fain
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for helping us find a great home to live in. We first spoke to you two years ago. At that time, you knew that we were not yet ready to purchase a home or to move. Still, you showed us a few houses. You also took the time to show us some of the highlights of the area, such as the Roanoke Star and the Market District. Over the following two years, you always kept in touch. You sent us nearly 350 houses to review and personal notes about how we were. When we sold our house in NYC and came down to Roanoke, you took us around again and we found a dream house. We still had business to finish in NYC and you took charge, getting an inspection of the home and arranging for a closing agent to handle the purchase. Thank you for finding just the right home and for treating us as friends, not as customers. If any of our friends wants to make a move out here, we would recommend you and ReMax without reservation. Alfred and Clara Rodney
We bought our house with Patricia & Curtis. They were very knowledgeable, fair and honest and very helpful. We would highly recommend them to anyone looking to buy or sell real estate. It was a pleasure to visit houses with them. Jean-Luc and Regine Willem
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Thank you for visiting today. If this is your first visit, take your time and look around. I have plenty of information and resources available to you. If you are a return visitor, thank you. I would love to hear from you and tell you how I can serve all your real estate needs.

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