Mortgage FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Home Loans

Buying a home can be a little intimidating. It’s likely one of the largest purchases you’ll make in your lifetime. Our team of mortgage experts gets dozens of questions every week about home loans and we’re happy to provide answers and help people navigate through the home buying process. We’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions below.

If you are interested in learning more about the mortgage process, contact one of our mortgage team members or visit your local American Bank & Trust for more information. Happy house hunting, future homeowner!

What type of home loan is my best option? How do I choose?

Mortgages are not one size fits all. There are lots of options, so it is important to sit down with one of our Mortgage Loan Officers to determine the one that best fits your situation. Getting help from someone who understands the complex details of the different programs is key to choosing the right mortgage.

Should I talk with a Mortgage Loan Officer before looking at homes?

Absolutely! Getting pre-qualified puts you in a better position when making an offer on a house you want to buy. It also prevents you from looking at what you consider your dream home only to find out it is out of your price range. Your Mortgage Loan Officer can also identify any issues with your credit history that could be an obstacle to being approved for a home loan.

What information will I need to fill out a home loan application?

The information you will need to provide on the loan application is fairly straight forward and will likely be easy to collect. Have the following items handy:

  • Date of birth of applicants
  • Social Security number of applicants
  • Income documentation such as 2 years of W-2’s and current paystubs. If you are self-employed, the most recent two years of tax returns.
  • Your income amount from your current place of employment
  • Bank Statements
  • Other assets such as divorce decree or child support agreement if applicable

Will I have a down payment and if so, how much?

It depends on the type of loan. Some loans, such as Rural Development and VA, require no down payment. Others require as little as 3% down. Many people have the misconception that they need to have 20% down, but there are plenty of options available where a much smaller down payment is required. There are also several down payment assistance programs that you may qualify for.

How much will my house payment be?

Your house payment will consist of principal and interest (the amount needed to pay back the amount borrowed over the term of the loan), property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and in some cases, mortgage insurance. Those vary in each specific scenario, so everyone’s payment will be a little bit different. One of our Mortgage Loan Officers can help give you an estimate of what your payment might look like for a specific home loan. You can get an idea of what your house payment might be by using a payment calculator.

I’m just starting a new job. Do I need to be working there very long before I buy a new home?

Time on the job is one thing that factors into your overall credit profile. However, it is often acceptable to be starting a new position as long as your employer does not indicate there is a probationary period or you are paid on a commission basis.

What is earnest money? Will I get that back at closing?

Earnest money is a deposit that a buyer makes that shows the seller you are committed to the transaction. As long as you complete the home buying process, that money is credited to you at time of closing.

Will American Bank & Trust sell my home loan?

At American Bank and Trust, we do not sell the majority of our loans, though many other banks do. That can be very important when you have questions about your loan after closing, so it is something you should think about when choosing which bank to get your home loan at.

Why shouldn’t I make any large deposits right before trying to find a mortgage?

Lenders need to make sure you didn’t recently borrow money for the down payment, or that the seller hasn’t provided you with an incentive to purchase their home. Deposits like your paychecks are fine because they are regular credits and can easily be explained but any unusual large deposits must be sourced. Large deposits might cause difficulties or delays in securing a loan, so it is best to wait until after a loan is secured to avoid problems.

Should I use a REALTOR®?

Most certainly. Realtors are a very important part of a successful transaction. They know what other homes in the neighborhood have sold for and can present your offer to the seller in the best possible light, which is so important in this seller’s market environment. Typically, the seller pays the realtors so there is little or no cost to you as a buyer.

Should I take a Home Buying Education Class?

Yes! Homebuyer Education classes are beneficial, especially for first time homebuyers. Even if it is not a requirement for your loan program, this kind of education will be invaluable over the life of your loan. The class teaches you about the loan process, the additional costs of owning a home, etc. You may actually qualify for some discounts if you complete a course. Several non-profits offer online and/or in-person options, as well.

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