Getting the Mortgage You Want
Brought to you by PNC Mortgage

If you’re in the market for a home, learn more about what lenders are looking for so you can get the best possible rates and terms.

Before you start looking at houses, you should know:
A small percentage difference in mortgage rate doesn’t really matter.
Lenders will look at your income to see whether:
Using lots of credit is a warning sign for lenders.
Lenders are going to be concerned about the appraised value of your house.

Right!

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Calculate Your Dream Home

Are you dreaming of owning your first home, moving into a bigger one or finally getting that vacation house you’ve wanted? Take the first step by calculating how much home you could afford. Consider how much you’ve got for your down payment. Use our calculator to figure out the price range that’s reasonable. Then start shopping.

USE THE CALCULATOR

Session Q & A

  • Getting your loan application rejected can be surprising and disheartening. But you can turn it into a valuable experience. Under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, all lenders and credit providers are required by law to tell you in writing within 30 days why you were denied. Rejections can be based on a lot of things. Your income, your down payment or a poor credit score. Based on what you find in your letter, you can make some adjustments. Maybe you need to reevaluate how much you can afford, or clean up your credit. At least you’ll know what you need to do to increase your chances of success. For more info, see the Improving Your Credit Score video.

  • Getting a 15-year loan has certain advantages. Not only will it be paid off sooner, but typically the interest rate is a bit lower and you’ll save an enormous amount of interest over the life of the loan. However, all these benefits are at the expense of a higher monthly mortgage payment—usually hundreds of dollars more per month. A lender will want to be certain that you can afford it. So they’ll be looking at your qualifications a little more carefully, especially your income and how confident you are that it will be steady or continue to rise.

  • Most lenders will let you lock in an interest rate as soon as you locate a property and start the loan application process. They’re usually valid for anywhere from seven days to several months, and you may be able to pay a fee to extend for a longer period. If you’re thinking about it, you should ask your lender for an estimate of how long they think it will take to process your loan in particular. Then you have to decide whether you think interest rates will rise or fall before you close on your house. No one can predict for sure, but you can do some research before you decide.

  • All lenders have different approval standards. Banks and mortgage lenders use different criteria for application approval based on their business objectives. And the Federal Housing Association runs programs that let people who have a smaller down payment qualify for a loan. If you’ve got steady income and decent credit, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find a loan for you.

  • A bankruptcy will make it much harder to qualify for a loan, but it’s not impossible. The record of your bankruptcy will stay on your report for 10 years, but most traditional mortgage lenders will start to consider you for a loan with market interest rates four years after the bankruptcy filing. But they’ll want to see that you’ve taken steps to repair your credit. You could also apply for a Federal Housing Administration-backed loan two years after a bankruptcy filing, but you’ll pay slightly higher interest rates.

Luke Landes

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary, a blog about personal finance, money management and investing, and has been cited as a must-read blogger by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. Consumerism Commentary was listed as one of the most useful blogs by MSN Money and has received mentions in publications including The Wall Street Journal and Money magazine. Luke has also written for publications including US News & World Report and PCWorld, and his stories have been syndicated on Yahoo Finance.

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary, a blog about personal finance, money management and investing, and has been cited as a must-read blogger by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. Consumerism Commentary was listed as one of the most useful blogs by MSN Money and has received mentions in publications including The Wall Street Journal and Money magazine. Luke has also written for publications including US News & World Report and PCWorld, and his stories have been syndicated on Yahoo Finance.

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