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Mortgage Finder

We’re here to help you along the way.

A mortgage is a big step toward homeownership. And the right loan can save you big in the long run. Take the time to learn how they work, the types of loans available, top interest rates and how to compare your options.

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Why we like:

Explore financing options and home shopping services all on the same website.

  • Easy to use website
  • Multiple loan options
  • Available in 40+ states

Why we like: Vylla

Explore financing options and home shopping services all on the same website.

  • Ideal for first-time homebuyers and a wide range of credit scores
  • Highly rated customer service
  • Quick loan turnaround time
  • Lending services not available in: Hawaii, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, North Dakota and Utah
Name Product Min. down payment Origination fee
3%
0.5% to 1.0%
Flexible options, fast approvals and support online backed by a trusted brand.
Vylla
Vylla
3%
Depends
Explore financing options and home shopping services all on the same website.
3.5%
Depends
Connect with vetted home loan lenders quickly through this online marketplace.
3%
0.5% to 1.0%
Streamline your mortgage from quote to final payment — all from your computer or phone.

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What is a mortgage?

A mortgage is a type of loan designed to help you buy a home or investment property. When you take out a mortgage, you agree to repay the amount you borrow from a lender along with interest, which is rolled into your monthly payments.

In exchange for low interest rates, the lender secures your loan using your property as collateral. If you find yourself unable to repay your mortgage on time, the lender can repossess your property and sell it to recoup the loss.

How does a mortgage work?

A mortgage is similar to other types of loans that are secured with collateral. A key difference lies in the way your monthly payment is allocated.

Retail and wholesale lenders

Mortgages are offered by either retail or wholesale lenders.

  • Retail lenders are banks like Citi, Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank. You can apply directly with these banks for a mortgage.

Retail lenders diagram

  • Wholesale lenders offer their mortgages through third-party lenders, such as mutual or building societies and credit unions.

Wholesale lenders diagram

  • Sometimes the lender funds loans with their own money, setting their own requirements and loan terms. This type of loan is called a portfolio loan.
  • More often, mortgages are funded with borrowed money and then sold to investors on the secondary mortgage market. This type of lender is called a mortgage banker.
  • When you apply for a loan, lenders assess their risk in taking you on as a borrower. Then often consider your credit score, down payment, assets, debt and income. Your risk ultimately determines approval and your mortgage’s interest rate.
  • The base loan amount you owe is the principal. In exchange for lending you the principal, your lender charges interest that’s applied to your principal each month. Your monthly payment is applied to both the principal and your interest based on an amortization schedule.

What is amortization?

When you take out a mortgage, you agreeing to pay principal and interest over the life of the loan. Because your interest rate is applied to the balance, as you pay down your balance, the amount you pay in interest changes.

At the beginning of your loan, a hefty percentage of your payment is applied to interest. With each subsequent payment, you pay more toward your balance.

Let’s say that you’re repaying a 30-year mortgage for $400,000 at 4.5% interest. According to your mortgage’s amortization schedule, your first payment is $2,027. But amortization means that payment allocates $1,500 to interest and only $527 to the principal. By the time you make your last payment, you’re paying only $8 in interest and $2,019 toward the balance.

What about interest-only loans?

As the name suggests, interest-only loans allow you to allocate your monthly payment only toward the interest on your loan for at least the first five or 10 years of your term. It could be an option for a property you don’t expect to own long.

Your monthly payment will be lower than for a traditional mortgage, but your payments don’t reduce your loan amount. These loans generally aren’t bought by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on the secondary market, and they require a good credit score.

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What’s the best mortgage rate for me?

You’ll find two main types of rates when you’re choosing a mortgage: fixed and adjustable. Fixed-rate mortgages offer a predictable payment each month, while adjustable-rate mortgages change with the market.

Fixed-rate mortgages

Fixed rate graph

Most people opt for these mortgages that allows you to lock in a rate for 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years. Your rate and payments won’t change over the term, giving you the security of a reliable mortgage payments you can budget around.

Who is a fixed-rate mortgage best for?

  • Those with a solid budget. Your payments won’t change for the life of the loan, meaning you can rest easy knowing exactly how much you’ll pay each month.

Read more about fixed rate mortgages

Adjustable-rate mortgages

ARM graph

An adjustable-rate mortgage — or an ARM — comes with an interest rate that fluctuates with the market. Over the course of your loan, your payments rise or fall depending on financial indices like the federal funds rate. While there’s a chance that you’ll pay less than you would for a fixed-rate mortgage, your payments could rise to an amount you can’t afford.

Another option is the hybrid ARM — also called a fixed-period ARM. These mortgages come with an initial fixed period of five to 10 years in which your rates won’t change. After the fixed period ends, your rate adjusts to match market conditions — raising or lowering your monthly payment.

Lenders typically cap how much your rate can go up or down at each adjustment period and over the life of the loan. But your rate could jump significantly during adjustment periods.

Who is an adjustable-rate mortgage best for?
  • Borrowers planning to sell their home within the fixed period. You’ll enjoy a lower rate for the initial fixed term before selling your home.
  • Those who afford significantly higher payments. If you keep the loan after the end of the initial fixed period, you could face lower rates, depending on market conditions. But you’ll want to budget for potential increased rates.

Read more about ARMs

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What types of mortgages are available?

Conventional loans

Dream home imageThese mortgages aren’t part of government programs like VA or FHA loans. Their often low interest rates and fees come with meeting standards set by government-sponsored agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Banks or private lenders consider a borrower’s credit history, debt-to-income ratio and down payment when evaluating a conventional loan application. Down payments can be as low as 5%, but putting down 20% or more can help you avoid having to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI).

To lower risk for the lender, borrowers are required to pay PMI until building at least 20% equity in their home — or until you’ve reached a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of 80%. PMI rates often range from 0.3% to 1.2% of the loan amount per year added to a borrower’s monthly mortgage payments or paid as a lump sum.

Who is a conforming loan best for?
  • Most borrowers. About 60% of people who apply for mortgages get a conventional loan.
  • Those buying a residential, second home or rental property. These loans are often easy to qualify for, even if you don’t have excellent credit.

Nonconforming loans that are over the government maximum are considered jumbo loans. They are considered a riskier loan for lenders to offer, and so they often come with higher interest rates, down payments and credit requirements than conforming loans.

Who is a nonconforming loan best for?
  • Those buying a commercial property. Commercial properties can run higher than the maximum limits.
  • Borrowers with poor credit. Nonconforming loans can help if you have trouble qualifying for a conforming loan. But they come with higher rates than their conforming counterparts.

Learn more about conventional loans

State and local programs

Many states and cities offer programs to help Americans become homeowners. Such programs tend to focus on those with low incomes, members of minority groups and other vulnerable populations. Talk with a housing counselor in your local area to learn about programs you might qualify for.

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How can I compare mortgages?

The best mortgage for your situation will meet your needs while providing the lowest rates and terms you’re eligible for.

  • Decide on a loan type. Do your homework to ensure whether a fixed or adjustable rate is best for your plans and budget.
  • Shop for a loan. Compare at least two banks and lenders based on your loan type and how much you can afford up front.
    • Compare APRs. Because it includes your loan’s fees, an APR can be a more accurate way to compare loans than fees or base rates themselves.
    • Learn about rate locks. If you find a rate you like, ask about locking it in until you settle on your home to avoid an increased rate when you’re ready to apply.
    • Consider prepayment penalties. Paying more than your minimum payment can shave years off your loan. Make sure your loan applies any extra to your principal without penalty fees.
  • Ask for a loan estimate. Lenders are legally required to provide your interest rates, payments, closing costs and key figures to compare like information across loan offers.
  • Repeat, if needed. You can ask for estimates from as many lenders as you’d like until you find a loan you’re happy with.Mortgage comparison processBack to top

How can I get the best rate on my mortgage?

Look to our six tips to landing the strongest rate on any mortgage:

  • Compare multiple lenders. Get quotes from at least two lenders for the mortgages you’re interested in.
  • Get your credit score in order. A credit score of 740 or higher can open the door to competitive interest rates, low down payments and special government programs, like FHA and VA loans.
  • Consider paying for points. Points are upfront charges you can pay to reduce the interest rate on your loan. Crunch the numbers to see how much points can save you in the long run, especially if you don’t plan on keeping your home for the full term of your loan.
  • Qualify for special programs. Government, state and local programs may offer more competitive rates and terms than traditional mortgages from your local bank.
  • Save a down payment of at least 20%. Often the larger your down payment, the lower your interest rate. And you’ll save even more by avoiding PMI.
  • Lower your debt-to-income ratio. Your total debt load affects the loans you qualify for. Try to pay down credit cards or loan balances when you’re shopping for the best rate.
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What fees will I pay on a mortgage?

Credit report fee $30–$40 Gives your potential lender an idea of their risk in taking you on as a borrower.
Appraisal fee $300–$500 Proves that your property is worth the sale price and protects the lender if it needs to sell your property to recoup the costs.
Origination fee 0.5%–1% of loan amount Administrative fee for processing your loan application.
Title insurance fee $1,000–$5,000 Paid at closing, the lender’s title insurance protects the lender, while the owner’s title insurance protects you.
Title search fee $75–$100 Determines whether a seller has the right to sell a property to a buyer.
Survey fee around $350 Required in select states to ensure that property lines and boundaries are correct.
Closing fee 2%–5% Fee to the attorney or company handling your closing.
Private mortgage insurance 0.3%–1.2% of loan Kicks in if your down payment is less than 20% of your purchase price and owed monthly.
Inspection fees $200–$400 Uncovers any nasty hidden surprises within your new home.
Homeowners insurance $300–$3,000, yearly Typically required and paid monthly.
Points 1% of the loan Optional cost that reduces your interest rate, saving you money on your monthly payments.

Other potential fees include attorney and postal fees.

See the average closing costs in select states:

How to apply for a mortgage

  1. Find a lender. Shop around until you find a lender and loan you’re comfortable with.
  2. Apply for your loan. Provide the required information for a lender to assess your risk, and wait for a loan officer to review your details. An underwriter will review your application and credit report.
  3. Schedule an appraisal. Your house is appraised and inspected to ensure it meets your bank or financial institution’s standards for lending.
  4. Review your loan estimate. Carefully consider the details in your estimate before signing for approval.
  5. Close on your house. Before your closing meeting, you’ll receive a closing disclosure that lists the fees and costs you’ll pay. Sign your documents — and get the keys to your new home.

Who’s involved in the purchase of your home?

The players can overlap but generally depend on the stage of your purchase.

When applying for a loan

Mortgage application
  • Loan officer. This person guides you through finding a loan, applying for your mortgage and keeping you updated on its progress.
  • Loan processor. Collect your documents to support the application and checks necessary calculations for your loan.
  • Mortgage underwriter. Has the final say on your application’s approval or rejection after a full evaluation.
  • Closing representative. Oversees and holds the closing meeting and transfers funds between parties.

When buying a property

  • Real estate agent. A good agent is there to help you find a home and negotiate with the seller for the best price.
  • Real estate appraiser. Your lender will likely require an appraisal to suss out the true value of your home against similar properties and recent sales.
  • Home inspector. While optional, a thorough inspection can unearth structural or safety issues you might deal with unexpectedly down the road. With an inspection report in hand, you can ask a seller to fix the problems to your satisfaction or take money off the selling price to compensate straightening them out on your own.
  • Pest inspector. These experienced inspectors look for pests like termites that can destroy your home over time.

    Loan estimates and closing disclosures

Bottom line

Buying a house is among the biggest investments most of us will make. Set yourself up for long-term success by narrowing down the type of mortgage that fits your needs, budget and property. A strong rate and term can provide peace of mind and save you thousands over the life of your mortgage.


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10 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    RhysJanuary 8, 2019

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    Any recommendations? Appreciate іt!

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ValJanuary 9, 2019Staff

      Hi Rhys,

      Thank you for reaching out to finder!

      It is nice and exciting to hear that you are aspiring to be a writer. Free platforms would not hurt to start with, reading reviews and also doing intensive research on the basics of being a writer. Also, you may want to check videos on youtube and free tutorials. Once that you have all what you need to start and might think that you need to learn more, it would not hurt to pay for additional training.

      Hope this helps!

      Please do not hesitate to contact us back is there is anything else

      Regards,
      Val

  2. Default Gravatar
    ChristianOctober 9, 2018

    I bought a house with my now ex-fiance. She is keeping the house. I am wanting to get my name off of all legal documents, loan, mortgage, everything. How can I get that started without having to go through the court system?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaOctober 13, 2018Staff

      Hi Christian,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      You would need to first talk to your ex-fiance. From there you need to come up with your terms and conditions on how you should be able to shake off all the responsibilities related to the property. You would also need to get your mortgage provider involved in your discussion. In most cases, you would be able to accomplish this without going through the court system. However, if in case you need legal advice, you might as well speak to a lawyer or someone who is an expert in handling real estate documents.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  3. Default Gravatar
    hhess8May 28, 2017

    I just started a new job and I’m looking to buy a house that is going to hit the market. The lady has agreed to hold off on posting it to the market until I can find out if I can get approved or not.

    • Default Gravatar
      LiezlJuly 29, 2017

      Hi Hhess8,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      It’s good to know that the owner has accommodated your request. Since time is of the essence with your deal with the owner, you may enlist the services of a mortgage broker who will assess your needs and help you find a suitable home loan. This may save you time and effort in finding the right lender as they have access to a range of home loans from a variety of banks and lenders.

      Kind regards,
      Liezl

  4. Default Gravatar
    BrendaFebruary 17, 2017

    My husband and I are looking to buy a home and I work a full time job but my husband is self employed who gets 1099 and paystubs monthly. However when we file taxes each year, we have a lot of deductibles which leaves very little income to show. We make enough money, but banks won’t approve us. How can we do a low doc and how does that work

    • Default Gravatar
      MarkJuly 31, 2017

      My husband and I are looking to buy a home and I work a full time job but my husband is self employed who gets 1099 and paystubs monthly. However when we file taxes each year, we have a lot of deductibles which leaves very little income to show. We make enough money, but banks won’t approve us. How can we do a low doc and how does that work

      Reply

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      HaroldJuly 31, 2017Staff

      Hi Mark,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      While we are a financial comparison website and general information service we are not mortgage experts and don’t offer any of the products or services on our website. You can compare a range of loans in the market, alternatively you can reach out to a mortgage broker who will take all your circumstances into account and offer you a range of lending options.

      I hope this information has helped.

      Cheers,
      Harold

    • Default Gravatar
      JonathanJuly 29, 2017

      Hello Brenda,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      Low doc home loans are types of loans offered as a way of meeting the requirements of small business owners. They are designed for self-employed people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to get a home loan due to their inability to show how much they earn using traditional methods. Generally, the eligibility requirements from lender to lender will differ, but in most cases you’ll be required to have a proof of your business and to supply the self-certification of your income plus good credit history. You would still need to prepare some deposit just like a regular home loan does.

      It is also of worth to check other options such as joint application, or FHA mortgages.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

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