AL and FL Mortgage News

Top 10 Pointers for Home-buyers - Secrets from a Top Loan Originator

October 2nd, 2019 7:30 PM by Devin Murray

For nearly 17 years now I have originated somewhere over $450,000,000 in mortgages on everything from $75,000 starter homes to over $1 million estates from California to Miami.  While every day is a new day I believe I have seen the best and worst situations imaginable.  Over the years I have taken all of these experiences and use that inform each customer that calls me even if I never close their loan.  I have been blessed with so many incredible relationships and opportunities I feel that it is only right to share that with you and maybe I can help you make your transaction the best it can possibly be.  I could do a Top 50 but here is my opinion of the Top 10 that come to mind.

  1. Nobody likes surprises so get pre-approved in advance and get your documents to your lender as soon as possible.  Even if you don’t use that lender have your credit, income, and assets verified first.  Ask about the experience of your originator once you get to know them.
  2. Ask the lender to provide you with a copy of your tri-merge credit report even if you must pay for it.  Typical cost is $40-50 just pay.  Know your middle score(s).  Credit Karma is nice and pulling your own scores is fine but more times than not, those are not accurate when it comes to.
  3. Know exactly the name of loan types you qualify for, what other options are out there, and why those other options don’t make sense. A natural discussion of rates, payment, and closing costs will ensue ask if not.
    1. Example 1: If you qualify for a conventional loan, it is a Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae loan
    2. Example 2: Why shouldn’t I get an FHA or USDA loan?
  4. Inquire about sub-programs or other options available
    1. Example 1: Home Ready and Home Possible are loan programs within conventional offerings that apply to people who do not own other properties
  5. Ask about what property types you can do other than a stick-built single-family home?
    1. Example 1: condos vs. duplexes vs. modular
  6. Hire an agent with rock-solid experience who really knows several markets within the area and one who listens to your needs first.  Once you narrow a few places down, witness what goes on in those areas for yourself.  Get in your car get stuck in rush-hour traffic to see a worst case.  Go walk the neighborhood and talk to your future neighbors.  See what they like/dislike about the area.
  7. Know the maximum seller concessions and seriously consider an offer with seller concessions.   Nine times out of ten, sellers are often more likely to give concessions over a price cut and this advantage gives you the options to keep savings in your pocket or put that additional money down.
  8. Ask your lender if they offer Custom Rate Locking, Lock-and-Shop Pricing, and To Be Determined Approvals.  All of these are highly customized mortgage features that will save your time and money and make your experience top notch.     
  9. Own your due diligence do not let it own you.  When you make an offer, inspection contingencies are important but be realistic and know what to focus on. Be thinking roof, foundation, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical in that order and consider these major systems if you can get a showing before the offer is made. Usually sellers try to point out anything that has been recently updated.  Many home inspectors write up as many issues as they can find but that sometimes creates more confusion.  
  10. Set-up bi-weekly payments after closing.  If bi-weekly isn’t allowed ask your LO how to fix this with equivalent extra monthly principal contributions.  It is not top secret information but one extra payment each year can shave years off a 30 year note.


Get pre-approved

How a to find a good realtor

Custom Rate Lock

Lock and Shop Mortgage Pricing

Mortgage Loan Approvals on a To Be Determined property

Bi-weekly payments

Maximum seller concessions

Maximum seller paid closing costs and pre-paid items  

maximum third-party contributions


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