Answers to frequently asked questions about mortgages.
How do I get started?
The first step before selecting a property or even a neighborhood is to meet with our mortgage lenders about pre-approval. When you are pre-approved for a mortgage loan, you know exactly how much you can borrow. This gives you a better idea of your price range, and also makes the subsequent steps much easier.
After I'm pre-approved, can I start looking at homes?
The best advice is to start by making a list of features that are "must-haves," "would-be-nice-to-haves," and "cannot haves." Keep a copy of this list and give a copy to your real estate agent. Now that you have a price range and an idea of the kinds of things you're looking for in a home, this eliminates the stress of sifting through hundreds of listings.
Why wouldn't I just start by telling my agent the area of town I want to live in?
Many people start their home search by looking in the area where they want to live. Keep in mind, however, that you may miss other neighborhoods within your price range that may have more desirable benefits-a park, for example, or schools that may be a better fit for your children. You'll also want to drive through the neighborhood at different times of the day to get an idea of the noise level and unique personality of the community
How do I make an offer when I find a home that I like?
When you are ready to make an offer on a home, your real estate agent will help guide you through the process. Typically, making an offer on a home involves submitting a formal offer letter to the owner(s) or their agent(s) with the amount of your offer and any stipulations. Before you make an offer on a home, consider the following:
- Is the asking price in line with similar homes in the area?
- Is the home in good condition, or will you have to spend a substantial amount of money to make improvements?
- How long has the home been on the market? If it's been on the market for a long time, the owner might be more motivated to accept a lower offer.
How do I go about selecting the mortgage that's best for me?
Visit First American Bank & Trust and sit down with one of our professionals to discuss your borrowing options. We will ask you questions such as:
- How long do you plan to live in your home?
- Are you planning to pay cash for your down payment and/or closing costs?
- Are you comfortable with a lower variable interest rate, or would you prefer one that remains the same for the life of the loan?
We will spend time getting to know you-your lifestyle, your goals, your concerns. From there, we will be able to recommend the right mortgage loan for you.
How long does it take to close on a home?
It can take several days and sometimes weeks from the time you apply for your loan to the time the house is officially yours for a number of reasons. We move the process as quickly as we can by working to set a closing date and time that works best for you. We will also help you estimate your closing costs based on your agreement with the seller. At that point, you will need to schedule a final walk-through of the home-and get ready to move in!
Would a bigger bank offer more mortgage loan options?
Not necessarily. One of the benefits of First American is that we're your friends and your neighbors. We know your community because we are your community. We have all the lending capabilities and services typically offered by regional banks,but our distinguished service picks up where they leave off.