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Woman teaching the basics of homebuying in a class for home buying basics

Mortgage Basics

Here are some key points to consider: 

Mortgage: A mortgage is a loan provided to help you finance the purchase of a home. It is typically repaid over a specified period, usually several years. 

Down Payment: This is the initial payment you make towards the purchase of the home. It is typically a percentage of the home's total value. First-time homebuyers may qualify for programs that allow for a lower down payment, but it's generally recommended to save for a down payment of at least 20% to avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI) costs. 

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI): If your down payment is less than 20% of the home's purchase price, lenders typically require PMI. PMI protects the lender in case of default but adds an extra cost to your monthly mortgage payment. Once you reach 20% equity in your home, you can typically request to have PMI removed. 

Loan Types: There are various types of mortgage loans available, including fixed-rate mortgages and adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs). In a fixed-rate mortgage, the interest rate remains the same throughout the loan term, while an ARM has an initial fixed-rate period before adjusting periodically. 

Interest Rate: The interest rate is the cost of borrowing the money and is a percentage of the loan amount. It can be fixed or adjustable, and it significantly affects your monthly mortgage payment and the overall cost of the loan. 

Loan Term: This refers to the length of time over which the mortgage loan is repaid. Common loan terms include 15, 20, or 30 years. Shorter loan terms generally result in higher monthly payments but lower overall interest costs. 

Pre-approval: It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your home search. Pre-approval helps you understand your budget and demonstrates to sellers that you are a serious buyer. 

Closing Costs: These are additional expenses associated with the home buying process that are typically due at the closing of the loan. They include fees for appraisal, inspection, title search, attorney fees, and more. It's important to budget for these costs, as they can range from 2% to 5% of the home's purchase price. 

Credit Score: Lenders consider your credit score when determining your eligibility for a mortgage and the interest rate you'll receive. It's crucial to maintain a good credit score by making payments on time, keeping credit card balances low, and managing debt responsibly.