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  Mortgage Facts And Tips - Back
The Basics

There is a big difference between being pre-qualified for a mortgage and getting a pre-approval. With the housing market moving at a breakneck speed, it's wise to get pre-approved before you begin your home search process.

Pre-qualification is just a guesstimate of how much you could afford. It simply means that you have satisfied standard lending ratios.
Pre-approval is just that: You are approved for a mortgage before beginning to look for a home. Getting a pre-approval can lock in a preferred interest rate and permits you to act quickly once you find that perfect home.
Ways to Qualify

Once you've calculated your estimated mortgage payment, is it still too high for you budget? Here are other options:

Choose an ARM, which usually has a lower initial interest rate.
Consider a "temporary buy down," which can allow you to qualify for a substantially higher mortgage amount because it reduces payments during the early years of the loan.
Restructure your debt by paying it off with savings or a gift. Or reduce your monthly payments through debt consolidation or refinancing.
Add a non-occupant co-borrower to the mortgage note (usually a parent or close relative who won't live at your house, but who is equally obligated to repay the loan). Please note that a larger down payment may be required, depending on the loan type.
Cleaning Up Credit Problems

Don't be discouraged if your credit history doesn't sparkle. Lenders have a huge variety of mortgage products and special programs to help you qualify for the house you want. Let your loan officer help evaluate your credit history and provide assistance.

Here are some hints for correcting inaccuracies on your credit report:

Request a copy of your credit report from one or all three major credit reporting agencies: Experian (formerly TRW), Equifax or TransUnion. All have 800 numbers and can tell you what they need. Sometimes there are inaccuracies on the report you can correct before getting too far into the loan process. Reports usually cost $3-$8 (depending on your state and report complexity), and take between 1-3 weeks to receive.
For those credit issues that affect your ability to buy today, develop a budget to make your debt payments—and stick to it. It may take a year or more to clear everything up, but perseverance will pay off.

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