Taking out your first mortgage presents a major financial commitment, possibly the biggest one you'll ever make, so it's crucial that you get the best deal available. Getting a mortgage is often not a quick and straightforward process either, particularly since the options available to you will vary depending on factors such as your income, credit score and any past or current borrowings you might have.
#1. Save Up a Large Deposit
In almost all cases, you'll need to have a substantial deposit to pay towards the home you want to buy. Fortunately, those with higher deposits will be able to take advantage of better interest rates and a wider range of borrowing options.
#2. Choose the Right Mortgage Type
There is a broad range of mortgage options available, particularly to those with larger deposits and excellent credit ratings. Most importantly, you'll be choosing between a fixed- and variable-rate package. Fixed-rate mortgages lock you into a specific interest rate for a period of up to five years, making them the best choice during periods of low interest rates across the board.
#3. Understand the Extra Costs
When determining how much you need to borrow, you'll need to factor in the additional costs involved, most of which are unavoidable. Additional costs may include home inspections and real estate fees.
#4. Don't Borrow Too Much
It can make sense to borrow as much as you can if interest rates are at an all-time low, but only if you have something to invest the money in. After all, there's no point in having your borrowed money sitting in the bank while you're paying interest on it. If the home you're interested in buying needs a substantial amount of work done on it, make sure you get some estimates to find out how much you need to borrow.
#5. Check Your Credit Score
Your credit score determines your borrowing power, and this is one of the first things that potential lenders will examine when considering your application. You can check your credit score online for free using agencies like Equifax or Experian. If you have a bad or neutral credit score, your borrowing options will be fewer or even none at all, so it makes sense to work on improving it before buying a home.
#6. Don't Change Jobs
Potential lenders are likely to be turned off by applicants who have recently changed jobs, so it's wise to apply for a mortgage only once you've been in the same job for at least six months. If you're unemployed or still on a probationary period in your job, many lenders will not accept your application unless you have an excellent financial record. Once you have your application accepted, you're free to do what you want.
#7. Eliminate Debts
If you have any existing debts, they may reflect badly on your credit score, in turn making it more difficult to get a good mortgage deal. You may also find yourself in a situation later where your debts have reached such a level that you can no longer afford your monthly mortgage payments. As such, you should always make certain your financial situation is stable and debt-free before making an application.
#8. Provide Proof of Income
All mortgage lenders require applicants to present proof of income so they can decide whether or not the client is able to make the monthly payments. Your monthly pay stubs should provide all of the information you need. If you're self-employed, things can get more complicated, particularly if you haven't been self-employed for a long time.
#9. Overpay When Possible
When choosing a mortgage deal, it is essential not only that you can afford the monthly payments, but also that you will have plenty left over. Since a mortgage is typically a very long-term commitment, you should try to overpay as much as comfortably possible, in order to eliminate the debt earlier on. Paying your mortgage off sooner will look better on your credit score and improve your long-term finances.
#10. Contact a Mortgage Broker
A Mortgage Broker's primary expertise is locating funding for mortgage financing. They know where the best rates can be found. What's more, they have the knowledge required to present a proposal for financing to lenders in the best way possible to successfully obtain mortgage financing.
Although you should dedicate plenty of time to researching the best deal, it is important to remember that you're not locked in for the entire duration of the mortgage. You can always remortgage your home later on with a more attractive deal should the opportunity arise. There will be charges involved in transferring your mortgage debt, but the long-term savings can be substantial.