Friday, October 3, 2014

5 Mortgage Loan Tips for Prospective Home Buyers

The home buying process all starts with a mortgage loan. Most people don't have enough money lying around to pay cash for a new home at the Lake of the Ozarks.  Whether you're a first time buyer or just looking to refinance, Lakelender Michael Lasson is here to help!  My Mortgage Insider wrote a great article with tips from some of the most influential real estate and mortgage professionals on Google+. Here are some of the top mortgage loan tips pulled from their article:

1. Do Your Homework. 

If you're looking to refinance a home at the Lake of the Ozarks, it's important to do your homework first. You want to make sure you make the best decisions for your investment.  Here are some questions to ask your mortgage lender before getting started:
  • What are your fees? 
  • What loan programs do you offer? 
  • What interest rates are you offering? 
  • Can you lock in my rate and if so, for how long? 
  • What are my estimated monthly payments? 
  • How much can I expect to pay in closing costs? 
  • What percentage of refinance loans do you close on time? 

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Loan

When buying a home, many people think you should start with searching for a home. That's where they're wrong.  The first step in buying a home is to find a reputable mortgage lender at the Lake of the Ozarks and get pre-approved for a loan.  By getting pre-qualified, you will get a ballpark idea of how much you can afford, while a pre-approval will tell you almost precisely what you can afford.  To get pre-qualified takes about 5-10 minutes of just talking with a loan officer.  A pre-approval however takes a little longer because you have to provide all the necesssary documents showing your financial situation.  Once you've been approved, now is the time to start looking for the perfect house within your budget.  Talking to a loan officer accomplishes many things:
  • Helps you identify credit issues up front to give you time to fix things if necessary. 
  • Gives you guidance in terms of what monthly payment you qualify for. 
  • Knowing what you qualify for gives you guidance for what home pricing you should be looking at. Often what you qualify for is different than what you know you can (or want to) pay on a housing payment.

3. Keep Trying If You're Denied. 

If at first you are denied for a home loan at the Lake of the Ozarks, get your ducks in a row and apply again. For tips on re-applying after you've been denied, check out our blog titled 5 Tips to Get a Mortgage Loan If You've Been Turned Down.  Every mortgage lender uses some variation of the official mortgage guidlines. This means you could have been turned down for a credit score that was too low, maybe your debt to income ratio wasn't the best, or various other reasons could be the case.  Be sure to talk with your lender about the issue so you can correct it before you apply again. 

4. Interest Rates are More Important Than Home Prices. 

Don't put too much importance on the price of the home without considering the interest rate.  A 1-2% increase in the interest rate could end up adding an extra $50,000 over the life of the loan.  Rather than trying to wait until home prices are falling, pay attention to how interest rates are doing.  Even if you're spending a little more on the home, you could end up saving money with the right interest rate! 

5.  Be Prepared. 

Before you start looking to buy a house, you want to be prepared financially.  You need to make sure your credit and debit situation is in order.  Is your loan file the kind that mortgage lenders want to see?  You also need to ensure your credit score and credit profile are good enough.  Here are some tips to be prepared to get that loan:
  • Check your credit reports at least 6 months before you plan to start looking for a home. For this purpose it's ok to use an online service since you're just beginning the process and looking for an idea of your credit scenario. Later, you will want to talk with a mortgage professional. 
  • If you see any mistakes or errors, or missing information on your credit reports, now is the time to address them. Don't wait until you've found your dream home and are applying for a mortgage. 
  • Address all derogatory information that is pulling your credit score down. 
  • Be proactive to build up your credit score. There are ways to increase your score significantly in the 6 months leading up to your home search.Tthere are also many things that can bring your score down. Check out our blog titled Things Not To Do When Getting a Home Loan
  • If financially possible, pay down any credit card balances below 30% of your limit, called your revolving credit utilization ratio: the ratio of balance to limit.

For the complete article, please visit:

As you're Lake of the Ozarks mortgage lender, I'm here to help you every step of the way!  I would love the opportunity to help you manage your mortgage loan or refinancing at the Lake of the Ozarks.  Give me a call at (573) 746-7211 or send me an email at with any questions you may have!

For Lake area news, resources and tips on financial services, please 

Michael Lasson
Sr. Residential Mortgage Lender
NMLS #: 493712

2265 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B
PO Box 1449
Lake Ozark, MO 65049

Direct:  (573) 746-7211


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