With the spring home buying season just around the corner, it’s a good time to separate fiction from fact.
Here are four common mortgage myths.
Myth: Home buyers must put down 20 percent.
Fact: “While that may have been true a long time ago, there are a number of alternatives. Federal Housing Administration-insured loans can have 3.5 percent down payments. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac both have programs with 3 percent down payments. One major lender has come up with a program with a 1 percent-down mortgage, but there are some significant restrictions on who qualifies for that program,” says David Reiss, a law professor specializing in real estate at Brooklyn Law School.
Myth: My bank knows me, loves me and will give me a deal.
Fact: “Mortgage lending is regulated by nationwide underwriting standards that all lenders must follow. Since virtually all lenders obtain money to lend from the secondary mortgage markets, the mortgage rate one can obtain will be virtually the same regardless of the lender chosen,” says Warren Goldberg, president of Mortgage Wealth Advisors in Plainview.
Myth: Prequalification means you’re approved and will get the loan.
Fact: “Pre-qualification is not a binding agreement. Lenders may require additional information before issuing the loan. Pre-qualification gives you an idea of how much you can borrow before you start looking at homes and shows sellers that you’re committed and can afford the home,” says Bob Donovan, Bank of America’s divisional sales executive for the metropolitan region in Manhattan.
Myth: I’ll close in 30 days.
Fact: “That’s rare now. The turnaround from application to closing is about 50 days,” says Sam Heskel, CEO of Nadlan Valuation in Brooklyn.