A mortgage is a loan that allows you to buy a home without paying the entire purchase price in cash. The loan is repaid over time, usually by making monthly payments. The lender takes your home as collateral, which means it has the right to sell it if you don’t make your payments.
A home mortgage works a lot like any other installment loan — you make payments on a regular basis over a set period of time to pay off the total amount borrowed, called the principal balance. However, there are some key differences that set a mortgage apart from other types of loans.
When you apply for a mortgage, you will need to prove your income and your debts with proof such as pay stubs, federal tax returns, W-2 forms and other documents. The faster you can provide these documents, the more quickly you’ll be able to get pre-approved for the mortgage.
In addition, you’ll need to show the lender that you have a stable job and a savings account that can support your expected mortgage payments. The lender will also want to see that you have a credit score of at least 600.
Getting a mortgage is a complex process, so it’s important to shop around and compare offers before you make a final decision. Ideally, you’ll choose a lender and then submit an official application.
The process can be complicated, but it’s a crucial part of buying your first home. Taking the time to understand how it works and what you need to do to get your loan approved will help you avoid costly mistakes later on, so it’s well worth the effort.
There are four components that make up a mortgage payment: the principal, interest, taxes and insurance, often collectively referred to as “PITI.” The lender will include these costs in your monthly mortgage bill, but you can save yourself money by paying extra toward the principle every month.
Property taxes are a big part of your mortgage payment, as they’re a required cost for homeowners. The lender typically collects the taxes associated with your home, puts them into an escrow account and pays them for you when they’re due.
Homeowners insurance is a requirement for most lenders, as it provides you with some level of protection in the event of a disaster or other issue that impacts your property. Your lender will collect your insurance premiums and place them in an escrow account, and then pay the insurer on your behalf when they’re due.
A deed of trust, which is a legal document that outlines the terms and conditions for the mortgage, also protects your home. In some states, the deed of trust also permits the lender to seize your property if you don’t repay the mortgage as agreed.
The amount of your mortgage payment will depend on the amount you borrow, the term of the loan and your credit score. The more you can afford to put toward your mortgage each month, the shorter your loan will be and the less you’ll pay in interest over the life of the loan. If you can’t afford to put much into the mortgage each month, try putting extra money toward your credit card bills or other debts.