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Mistakes People Make When Buying a Home
Mistakes People Make When Refinancing Their Home
Mistakes People Make When Taking Out a Home Equity Loan
Mistakes People Make When Taking Out a Debt Consolidation Loan

1. Steps Up to Buy home without being pre-approved.

If you are purchasing a home pre-approved letter is a valuable tool for you to support your purchase offer and to document that you are a pre-approved buyer.

You can make your best deal if you go shopping for a house with a pre-approval letter from your mortgage company. That way you know exactly how much house you can buy, and you are in a better position to make an offer and have the seller take you seriously, especially if there are multiple offers on the table.

Pre-approval for a home loan is different from pre-qualification. Almost anyone can get a "pre-qualification" letter from a mortgage company. All that means is that the Loan Officer took down some information and will take down some more information in the future.  The pre-approval process is much more thorough.In this case, the mortgage company does virtually all the work associated with obtaining full-approval, except for ordering an appraisal and a title search (since there is no property identified yet).

Generally speaking there is no charge for getting a home loan pre-approved, although some mortgage companies may require payment for a credit check.

2. Choosing a home loan lender for the wrong reason (e.g., the lowest rate, recommended by your Realtor)

People choose home loan lenders for all the wrong reasons. Getting a low home loan rate is important, but it's not the only consideration. Lenders may offer the lowest rate on a home loan but charge extra fees (loan fees, origination fees, copy fees) so that in the end you'll pay more for the home loan even though your rate may be lower. The only way to protect yourself is to wait for the Good-Faith Estimate (GFE) which should list all the closing costs. Compare the GFEs from a number of home loan lenders.

But comparing GFEs is not the only story. If time is important, you want to choose a mortgage company that is capable of acting quickly to get you the home loan. Ask each company to give you their average closing time for home loans similar to yours. Be sure you specify purchase loans, since the time to refinance a home loan is much shorter.

Ask around among your trusted friends. Sometimes your Realtor will suggest a lender, but this may not be the best road for you. You want someone who has your interests at the center of what they do, and isn't necessarily beholden to your Realtor.

Once you've finally decided, there's one last step. Call the Better Business Bureau and find out if there have been complaints against this company or against this Loan Officer.

3. Using the seller's agent

Sellers want to get the highest price possible; buyers want to pay the lowest price imaginable. A dual agent can't be fair to both the buyer and the seller. Because the seller pays the commission, the dual agent usually will negotiate harder for the seller than for the buyer. As a buyer, it's better to have your own agent represent you.

4. Not getting everything about your home loan in writing.

Please insist on getting everything in writing. No matter what the Loan Officer tells you, ask him/her to confirm it in writing. Don't listen to the Realtor's guarantee: get it in writing. Don't believe someone when they tell you that your home loan rate is guaranteed. Get it in writing.

5. Buying a home without professional advice.

Before you buy that home, check with the professionals. Check with your insurance agent to see if your insurance is going to increase, or whether or not the new home will be covered (e.g., your new home has a wooden roof but your insurance company no longer issues policies for homes with wooden roofs). Check with your accountant to see whether or not the new property taxes and insurance payments will fit into your budget. Get a professional contractor to inspect the property to see what kinds of expenses you're going to have after you move in.

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