What should I do first, talk to an agent or talk to a lender?
Talking to a lender first can help you to better understand your qualifications, the loan programs that are available to you and terms. It also makes you more attractive to agents to know that you have been prequalified. Good local lenders can also connect you with good local agents.
Why is my payment higher than I see on the mortgage calculator?
Mortgage calculators often only give you principal and interest payments, but there are other monthly obligations that are added to your mortgage payment such as real estate taxes, homeowners insurance and mortgage insurance. These costs are recurring and the lender may require an escrow account to house this portion of your payment for the future disbursement of all property related expenses.
How much are closing costs?
Closing costs can vary by county/state and are directly related to the purchase price. An experienced loan officer should be able and willing to give an informal workup of closing costs, but a good placeholder would be 4-5% of the purchase price. Closing costs are in addition to any required down payment. Grants and seller help can be used to pay your closing costs.
What is the minimum amount down?
Down payment requirements can vary by loan type, with some loan types allowing for no money down such as USDA Rural and VA, but conventional loan programs require a down payment of at least 3% purchase.