Mortgage Articles: An Ever-Growing Library of Advice


In the market for a home loan? If so, you've come to the right place. We have compiled some of our best mortgage articles and tutorials from across the Home Buying Institute website, and put them in one place for your convenience. We add new articles on a weekly basis, to help you keep up with developments in the lending industry.

A Guide to 30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgages
Did you know the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is the most popular financing tool among home buyers? It's true. It is used more than any other type of mortgage product. This article explains how 30-year fixed loans work.

A Guide to Adjustable-Rate Mortgages
Some home buyers choose to use an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) instead of a fixed-rate loan, in order to save money during the first few years. It's a reasonable strategy in some scenarios. But there are certain risks you need to know about, before choosing an ARM.

How Is an Adjustable Mortgage Rate Calculated?
The mortgage rate for an ARM loan is calculated by combining the index and the lender's margin. This results in the "fully indexed rate." Not familiar with these terms? Don't worry. This article explains it all in plain English.

7 Factors That Affect Your Mortgage Rate
Your credit score. The size of your down payment. The points you pay (or don't pay) at closing. All of these factors can affect the interest rate you receive from a lender. This article explains these and other factors in detail.

5 Things to Avoid Before Applying for a Mortgage
Do you plan to apply for a home loan in the near future? If so, you might want to put that vacation on hold and keep your credit cards in your pocket. This mortgage article explains five things you should do, and avoid, before applying for a loan.

Percentage of Income to Use for a Mortgage
You're not alone in wondering this. Last month, more than 4,000 people reached our website by doing Google searches for "pre-approved" and "pre-approval" phrases. It's also one of the most common questions we receive from readers, via email.

How to Get a Home Loan, by the Numbers
The mortgage industry has changed considerably over the last few years. It has turned 180 degrees from the "easy lending" days of the housing boom. This mortgage article tells you what you need to know about current lending standards.

How to Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
The pre-approval process in helpful in several ways. First, it helps you identify potential obstacles to final approval -- a low credit score, too much debt, etc. It also makes sellers more inclined to take you seriously. This mortgage article explains how the process works.

How Long Does Underwriting Take?
Mortgage underwriting is a detailed, in-depth process during which the lender will review all aspects of your financial situation. It can take a few days up to several weeks, depending on the complexity of the loan. Five to nine business days is a good average.

What Does the Underwriter Ask for?
When your loan file moves into the underwriting stage, there's a good chance the mortgage company's underwriter will ask for additional documents. These might include letters of explanation, gift letters, deposit sources, and more.

Why Do Lenders Need Bank Statements?
Lenders will ask for many different financial documents when you apply for a home loan. For example, they often request copies of bank statements and tax returns. They do this to verify your assets and earnings, among other reasons.

What is an FHA Loan?
The government-insured FHA loan program has grown in popularity since the housing market crashed in 2008. These loans are popular among first-time home buyers in particular, mainly because of the low down payment. This mortgage article explains how the program works.

Understanding the Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
When you apply for a home loan, the lender will probably present you with two different rates. One shows how much interest you will be charged. The second one, the annual percentage rate (APR), shows the full cost of the loan and includes other charges.

How Do Mortgage Discount Points Work?
As their name suggests, discount points can be used to reduce or "buy down" the interest rate assigned to a home loan. These fees are typically paid at closing and count toward your closing costs. This article explains the pros and cons of using discount points.

Mortgage Lending Conditions and Approvals
Did you receive a list of conditions from your lender's underwriting department? You're not alone. This is a common part of the loan approval process these days. And there's no reason to panic. If you resolve all of their requests, the deal can still move forward.

Blueprint for Mortgage Criteria in 2014
In January 2014, the federal government will implement some new rules for the lending industry. Known as the qualified mortgage (QM), this set of rules will set the bar for mortgage-qualification standards in the U.S. This article gives an overview.