Home Loans: Where Do I Begin?

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So you've finally decided you've had enough of paying rent and want to jump into home ownership. Well you've got your work cut out for you. Plumbing problems are now your responsibility, not your landlord's. A nice, clean yard is also your responsibility, not your landlord's. The air-conditioning goes out in August, who do you call. Not the landlord, you're now responsible. Yep - a lot of work.

But none of that matters if you can't get into the house in the first place. Unless you just won the lottery or your dead Uncle Fred left you a small fortune, you will have to take out a loan to get your dream home. But where do you start. It's more complicated than going to the bank and asking for a loan. There's 100% financing loans for those with no down payment. Government loans for those who qualify. Conventional loans where you, as the buyer has to come up with a substantial down payment. And that's just the beginning. So let's take a quick look at what is out there to help you get started on the most important financial purchase you will ever make.

A conventional loans is the type of home loans most people think of when they think of borrowing money. The conventional loan requires good credit and at least a 3% down payment. That's at least $3,000 down, WITH good credit, on a $100,000 home. And how many of us out there have a completely clean credit report? If you've ever been late on a car payment or a credit card payment, or even if you've been late returning a movie, this may not be the kind of loan for you. Anything can show up on your credit report and keep you from getting a conventional loan. But you have options.

Two of the more popular alternative home loan programs are 100% financing and government loans. One-hundred-percent financing loans are available through the VA, FHA and conventional means. But if you try to get a 100% financing loan through conventional means, your credit report had better be so spotless that it's opaque. Not an option for most people.

The Veteran's Administration and the Federal Housing Authority both offer 100% financing loans - which means you don't have to come up with a down payment. But you will pay a price. Both the VA and the FHA consider 100% financing loans high risk and offset that risk with a higher interest rate.

But that's just the beginning. You have numerous options available to you if you put in the work to really research home loans. In addition to conventional, VA and FHA loans, there is a whole host of other options available depending on where you fall on the perfect-to-lousy sliding credit scale. Following are just a few:

  • A no income verification loan allows those with good credit but no verifiable income or assets to get out of their apartment and into a home.
  • Imperfect credit loans allow borrowers with less-than-perfect credit to qualify competitive interest rates to buy a home. This kind of loan can also be used to consolidate debt, lower payments or make home improvements.
  • Pre-approval programs allow you to assess how much house you can afford, as well as get you the information and conditional approval you will need to purchase a house, even before you have a property picked.
  • First time homebuyer programs are popular because they allow consumers with good credit, but not a long credit history or a lot of money to put down, to get into a home.

New construction loans allow the buyer to get a fixed interest rate while the home is being built and to keep that loan after they move in, even if the interest rates have changed. But beware; this is an advantage if the interest rates go down. But if you lock in a certain rate and the interest rates go down during construction, you will still be paying the interest rate you locked in.

    So as you can see, you have your work cut out for you. Don't jump into the first deal you come across. "Research, research, research" should be you motto on this new endeavor. Find out every type of loan that you qualify for and decide which is better for your situation. But remember, you can't wait for the maintenance man to come fix your toilet anymore. Go buy a plunger. The toilet is now your responsibility. After all, it's your house. Good Luck!

    Allen Shaw is a successful author who provides tips and information on home loans and refinance loans. "I am the news director at USA News Network and have been working as freelance writer for 2 years. I've been published in a few magazines, newspapers and websites and my specialty up to this point has been movie and music reviews."

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