Intro: Learn how to figure out mortgage programs. If you are struggling to pay your mortgage in today’s weak economy, which is decorated with surging foreclosures, sinking property values, and vanishing home equity, then you must understand the mortgage system and its programs as soon as possible. A mortgage is a lawful means for promising to make payments on a home or other real estate property as security for repayment of a loan. By offering a guarantee that you will pay the loan back to the lender, a mortgage enables you to buy property without having all the funds to pay for it today.
However, if you fail to repay the loan, the lender may foreclose on your property, which forces the sale of the house to recover the amount of the loan. Therefore, understanding mortgage programs is one of the most important things you must learn before you buy a home.
Step 1: Study the mortgage lending process because the mortgage lending process includes two parts: a mortgage and a note. The mortgage includes a legal description of the property and a statement that pledges the property as security for the loan. The note specifies the financial terms of a loan agreement. The word mortgage, however, usually refers to both portions of the loan agreement.
Step 2: Learn about the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) because the APR is an interest rate that is different from the note rate. It is commonly used to compare loan programs from different lenders. The Federal Truth in Lending law requires mortgage companies to disclose the APR when they advertise a rate.
Step 3: Ascertain the strengths and weaknesses of an Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM) because If you are in an ARM program, then your interest rate can change at the end of pre-determined periods, such as every six months or every 12 months. Your interest rate is connected to changes in a published index that reflects the current interest rate. A widely-used index is the interest rate of United States Treasury bonds. When the index has gone down, the mortgage rate goes down, and the mortgage payment goes down.
However, when the index has gone up at the end of the adjustment period, the mortgage rate goes up, and thus the borrower’s payment also goes up. Neither the borrower nor the lender can effect or forecast precisely where the index will move. Many ARM programs have a maximum interest rate limit. Additionally, many ARM programs require no down payments before buying a home, which allows many low income families to become first time home owners. So, ARM programs are not always a bad program, but sometimes a fixed rate mortgage is a better mortgage program.
Step 4: Aggressively seek a Fixed Rate Mortgage (FRM) because FRM programs have a fixed interest rate over the life of the loan. The monthly mortgage payment never changes. Although these loans are more expensive, they don’t included the same risk of an increasing monthly mortgage payments, which as an adjustable rate mortgage. Many FRM programs are for 30 years, but fewer are for 40 years. Additionally, many FRM programs require a significant down payment when buying the home; therefore, you should begin saving your money now or you may never get a good FRM program.
Step 5: Investigate other less commonly known mortgages because although you hardly read about them in economic news journals, these mortgages are the graduated payment mortgage and the balloon mortgage. The graduated payment mortgage starts out with low monthly payments, which gradually increase over time before stabilizing, while a balloon mortgage is a short-term loan. The borrower makes small payments for some period of time before he or she makes a large final payment.
Step 6: Study your Escrow Account (EA) system because your EA is best known in the United States of America (USA) in the context of real estate payments. In the USA, the mortgage company establishes an escrow account to pay property tax and insurance during the term of the mortgage. Therefore, an EA is an account held in the name of borrower to make payments on insurance premiums and property taxes.
Step 7: Lean the mortgage amortization schedule because it is a calendar that shows a timetable which identifies how much of each monthly payment goes to principal and how much to interest. It reveals your balance after every payment. The amortization can be calculated either at work or at home by accessing a free online mortgage calculator.
Step 8: Finally, find out as much as you can about the economy and mortgage terminology because this will prevent you from getting tricked into accepting a bad mortgage program and you should always look for the economic definition of mortgage words that is unclear before making financial decisions related to any mortgage program. If you are paid twice a month from your job, then you should be able to pay your monthly mortgage with one paycheck and use the other paycheck for other expenses because owning a home requires making payments on other bills such as gas, electricity, water, and mortgage fees.
Related Resources: The Mortgage Encyclopedia E-book and Mortgages 101 by David reed.