Frequently Asked Questions
Here are questions people may ask when buying a home.
What is an FHA mortgage?
FHA loans are government-insured loans through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, also called HUD. FHA loans offer an excellent start to first-time home buyers, with options such as a low down payment or a low closing cost option.
- Low down payment is required
- Your own personal savings are not required to pay down payment or closing costs. Gift funds may be used instead
- You can buy an existing home, or build a new one
- Some geographic limitations apply
Can I lock my interest rate when purchasing a home?
Absolutely. PRMI provides a variety of options to lock in your interest rate. Locking your rate means that the lender is agreeing to provide you with your mortgage at that particular rate, and that it won’t go up (or down) between the time you lock it and the time that you close on your home. If your mortgage is fixed-rate, your interest rate will remain the same throughout the life of the loan. Mortgage interest rates fluctuate constantly, and you don’t want to start shopping for a house operating under a certain interest rate assumption, only to be unpleasantly surprised that interest rates have risen during your house hunt.
What is the difference between pre-approved and pre-qualified?
When a homebuyer is pre-qualified, he or she has provided the lender with the basic information to determine which loan program the homebuyer may qualify for. Whereas, when a homebuyer is pre-approved, the lender has collected, verified and presented the information needed for underwriting and approval.
What is escrow?
- An escrow account is a separate account that is established to collect homeownership-related expenses such as property taxes and insurance.
- Once a year, you will receive an escrow disclosure statement that details what was paid from escrow and projects the coming year expenses.
- The total annual costs for homeowner related expenses are divided equally and collected over twelve months allowing you to pay a portion into escrow each month when you make your total mortgage payment.
Should I get a fixed rate or an adjustable rate?
On a fixed-rate loan, the interest rate doesn’t change over the life of the loan. An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) has an interest rate that is fixed for a set number of years and then afterwards will go up or down based on a market index such as the LIBOR. Consider factors such as the length of time you plan to stay in your home. If you plan to stay in your home for a long period of time, a fixed-rate may be better for you. Otherwise, an adjustable-rate might be better if you plan to sell your home before the rate becomes variable, since initial ARM rates are typically lower than fixed-rate mortgages.
Do I want an interest-only loan?
Interest-only loans are not for everyone, and because of the risks, the pros and cons of an interest-only loan should be considered thoroughly. With an interest-only loan, borrowers make only monthly payments of interest for a set number of years before they begin to make principal payments. During this period, you won’t build any additional equity in your home unless the home appreciates in value. When the interest-only period ends, your mortgage payment will increase, often substantially, to ensure the outstanding principal balance is repaid before the loan term ends. If you are comfortable with managing the risks, an interest-only loan does provide some flexibility in managing month-to-month cash flow. The interest-only feature is not offered on all loan products and is only available to those who are well qualified. Contact one of our home loan originators to ask any mortgage questions and see if this option is right for you.
Why should I refinance?
There are numerous reasons customers refinance the loans they already have. Some of these are:
- To lower the monthly payment
- To lower the interest rate
- To switch from an adjustable rate to a fixed rate, or vice versa
- To refinance for a higher amount in order to pay off other debts or get cash
- To change the remaining term of the loan
Whatever your needs, we can help you determine whether to refinance and which loan is best for you.originators to ask any mortgage questions and see if this option is right for you.
What is PMI?
If you’re refinancing a first mortgage, and have less than 20% equity in your home, mortgage insurance, such as private mortgage insurance or PMI, is usually required. The mortgage insurance premium is typically included in your monthly mortgage payment.
What is a comparable sale?
A comparable sale is a property that has recently sold and is similar to the subject property in most respects, including size, location and amenities. The selection of comparable sales is an important determining factor in providing an opinion of market value. It is the appraiser’s responsibility to adequately research the local real-estate market and to determine which comparable sales best represent the value characteristics of the subject property.
What does "market value" mean?
Market value is the likely selling price of a home with a willing buyer and a willing seller on the open market.
What is the difference between interest rate and APR?
Your interest rate is the monthly cost you pay on the unpaid balance of your home loan. An Annual Percentage Rate (APR) includes both your interest rate and any additional cost or prepaid finance charges such as the origination fee, points, private mortgage insurance, underwriting and processing fees (your actual fees may not include all of these items). While your interest rate is the rate at which you will make your monthly mortgage payments, the APR is a universal measurement that can assist you in comparing the cost of mortgage loans offered by different mortgage lenders.
What are the closing costs?
Closing costs include items like appraisal fees, title insurance fees, attorney fees, pre-paid interest and documentation fees. These items are usually different for each customer due to differences in the type of mortgage, the property location and other factors. You will receive a good faith estimate of your closing costs in advance of your closing date for your review.
Which amounts are included in my monthly payments?
If you have a fully amortizing mortgage, portions of your monthly mortgage payment go toward loan principal and interest. Interest-only mortgage payments include only the interest that is due on the outstanding principal balance. If your mortgage carries mortgage insurance, a portion of your monthly mortgage payment will pay this also, unless the lender has paid your mortgage insurance or you have paid your mortgage insurance upfront. If you have set up an escrow account for your mortgage, then portions also go toward your property taxes and homeowners insurance.
How does my escrow account work?
An escrow account is a separate account that holds funds for the purpose of paying bills such as homeowner’s insurance and property taxes. The lender collects the funds to be deposited into the account each month along with your monthly payment and then pays the bills for you when they come due. By taking the annual amounts charged for homeowner’s insurance, property taxes and other annually paid items and dividing them by 12, a payment amount is determined and is added to your monthly principal and interest payment. Spreading the cost of these expenses over 12 months makes it easier for you to budget those expenses and you won’t have to come up with additional cash when bills are due. For some loans, escrow accounts are a requirement.
How do I know how much I can afford?
Our complimentary mortgage calculator can help you with this question.
Call us at (813) 956-5337 for help today!