Mortgage loans are forms of credit wherein the lender (creditor) loans money to the borrower for the purpose of purchasing real estate or other property. This debt is secured by a mortgage on the property, giving the lender legal rights to seize and sell it if repayment obligations aren’t met by the borrower.
In most jurisdictions, mortgages are used to finance the purchase of residential or commercial property; in certain countries they can also be used for refinancing an existing asset. The terms of such a mortgage are usually determined by the laws in the state where it’s situated.
Mortgages come in two primary varieties: fixed-rate and adjustable. A fixed-rate mortgage has a set interest rate for the duration of the loan, with monthly payments equal to both principal and interest. Individuals with excellent credit who can afford timely payments may find fixed rate mortgages beneficial since they avoid costly prepayment penalties.
Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) offer an adjustable interest rate which is usually lower than that on fixed rate mortgages. The interest rate on an ARM is typically determined by several factors, including a market index or benchmark and the borrower’s credit score.
Many homeowners utilize an ARM to pay off their home faster. With these, borrowers are encouraged to make extra payments towards the principal and, often, have the option to adjust their interest rate after a set period of time (such as three or five years).
There are various kinds of mortgages, with most lenders offering a selection. Popular options include conventional, government-backed and jumbo mortgages.
Conventional mortgages are those issued by private-sector lenders (banks, credit unions and mortgage companies). Typically, these loans meet the conforming loan criteria set out by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac – two government-sponsored enterprises which purchase loans from mortgage lenders to keep them solvent.
Government-backed mortgages, on the other hand, are designed to assist low-to-mid income earners and those with past credit issues in obtaining a home loan. These loans often feature lower interest rates and require less cash upfront than most privately-backed mortgages do.
When looking to purchase or refinance your current home, it is essential to become knowledgeable about the mortgage business and compare rates before signing any paperwork. By understanding key elements such as loan terms and what to look out for when shopping around, you can identify the most advantageous options tailored towards your individual situation.
The Mortgage Process: Steps to Take
The initial step in getting a mortgage is finding a mortgage broker who can assist with the application process. These professionals aren’t direct lenders, but can refer you to several mortgage providers and help find the best rate and terms tailored for your individual situation.