I am Cory McDaniel, a local mortgage lender with Bank Central Mortgage. We will open our new office just off the Lowell exit in a month, so I hope you can swing by!!
Below are a few things to consider when buying a home in NWA. This should help educate you on loan options and what to expect when purchasing.
Most buyers are sticking with a 30 yr fixed Conventional loan. This is your traditional loan offering 3% down for first-time buyers and a 5% minimum down payment for those who have owned before. This loan program is easier to get an offer accepted because inspection is less strenuous than government loans, and your private mortgage insurance will eventually drop off once the loan has been paid down to 20%. Government loans such as FHA, Rural Development, and VA are great options for qualified buyers. Each of these programs has a lot of specific requirements for buyers, so it is best to get vetted by a professional mortgage banker before looking at homes with your realtor.
The Arkansas down payment assistance program is also very popular now. This allows qualified buyers to access up to $15,000 for their down payment and/or closing costs. This program is excellent for buyers ready to get into a home but with little liquid cash on hand.
Buyers should also be aware that banks like ours offer many in-house loan programs for 1st responders, teachers, and business professionals who are accredited with higher education (engineers, CPAs, attorneys, college professors, etc., and anyone in the medical field. These loans offer a $0 down payment and no PMI!!!
First-time buyers will especially want to speak with a lender first to get a comprehensive breakdown of what to expect. Each borrower may qualify for a different loan program and have differing guidelines concerning down payments, etc. It is best to be walked through what monthly payments would look like since the market has adjusted to higher interest rates. A good lender can explain those differences and what all costs would look like, how much you could be approved for, and what to expect rates to look like at that time.
When monitoring one’s credit, it is best to have a lender run it first. Many apps that monitor credit are inaccurate and do not consider the variables used when lenders calculate a credit score. This can be very important when buying because each program allows for a different credit minimum, which can greatly affect interest rates. Qualifying credit does not always mean you can be approved, so it is best to have someone look at your entire loan profile before making an offer or looking at homes.
Many buyers believe a 20% or greater down payment is needed for a conventional loan. As I mentioned above, this is not the case. However, it is best to have cash on hand when buying a home because a program that assists with costs might not be available at the time of purchase. Another misconception is that sellers cover the buyer’s closing costs. Although this is an option when making an offer to negotiate this into the loan, a buyer will often have to cover their portion of these costs. Lenders can specify estimates for closing costs before buying, so you will know very close to an exact amount of what will be needed before buying. Another misconception is that VA and RD loans are not good programs or last-resort loans. This is not true. RD and VA have specific hoops to jump through but are great $0 down payment options for qualified buyers.