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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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Shawn Ramsey
Brokers Real Estate
1602 Forest Glen Ct.
Pantego, TX 76013
Office: 682-233-0224
Cell:    817-360-9045
Email: sramsey@dfwbre.com

Testimonials

"Shawn made buying my first home a breeze! He took the headache out of all the paperwork, the inspection process, and the endless search for the perfect house. In two weeks of working with him, we found exactly what we were looking for. He is knows the ins and outs of foreclosures. I'm thankful for the referral! " Jennifer Shoemaker
"Hey Shawn! I was just thinking about you today because I noticed it was the 23rd - its been 4 months since we've closed. I can't believe its already been that long. I don't know if I thanked you enough for everything you did for me and Josh. So, here's another "thank you." We were pretty clueless on the process because it was our first home purchase, and you made us feel so comfortable. We love our house! Our summer was sort of crazy, so we're still making it our "home." But its still wonderful even if I still have some boxes here and there. Anyways, I'll let you go because I know you're busy busy! Oh, thanks so much for the fridge! You saved us some money and shopping! Thanks again for everything!!" Julie Calahan
"We were relocating from Pennsylvania to Dallas and had a very short window in which to find a house. We selected online the houses we wanted to see prior to our arrival and Shawn arranged and mapped out three days worth of houses to view. By the time we left we had a house. While still in Pittsburgh Shawn helped us finalize our closing from a far and assisted us with finding numbers to utility companies and or anything we needed. We have moved every year for the past 5 years and this by far was the best experience yet!" Withheld
"Shawn was extremely helpful, efficient and organized. He respected our busy schedules, only requested necessary information and worked well with our schedules to assist us in finding the perfect home." Rick Ybarra
"It was a great experience. Shawn was an outstanding communicator and went above and beyond to make us feel comfortable throughout the process. He kept our best interest in mind at all times and made the purchase of our home the easiest real estate transaction we've ever had. Simply outstanding." Chris Hill
"He worked with me very well and explained how the purchase process works." Withheld
"I can't begin to tell you how FANTASTIC Shawn is! Shawn always had my best interests in mind. He never tried to force anything on me and ALWAYS told me when things weren't up to par. I grew to trust and value Shawn's opinions and expert knowledge of not only the real estate biz but also this neighborhood and the real estate market. I was totally terrified of buying a house by myself, but Shawn was there by my side from the beginning to the end and STILL called to check up on me after we closed. Explaining every step (over and over sometimes) and calming my fears... Shawn was great. Thanks for SUCH a great time Shawn. I'm almost sorry that we're done buying a house! :-) It's been a great pleasure working with you and getting to know you!" Brenda Schumacher
"There were difficult situations that popped up and Shawn was always knowledgeable and available at all times to solve the problem." Withheld
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