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Your Savings and Down Payment

Your First Step Toward Buying a Home

When preparing to buy a home, the first thing many homebuyers do is look at the real estate ads in newspapers, magazines and listings on the Internet. Some potential buyers read how-to articles like this one. The next thing you should do - before you call on an ad, before you talk to a REALTOR®, before you shop for interest rates - is look at your savings.

Why?

Because determining how much money you have available for down payment and closing costs affects almost every aspect of buying a home - including how you write your purchase offer, the loan programs you qualify for, and shopping for interest rates.

Mortgage Programs

If you only have enough available for a minimum down payment, your choices of loan program will be limited to only a few types of mortgages. If someone is giving you a gift for all or part of the down payment, your options are also limited. If you have enough for the down payment, but need the lender or seller to cover all or part of your closing costs, this further limits your options. If you borrow all or a portion of the down payment from your 401K or retirement plan, different loan programs have different rules on how you qualify.

Of course, if you have enough for a large down payment, then you have lots of choices.

Your loan choices include such varied programs as conventional fixed rate loans, adjustable rate mortgages, buydowns, VA, FHA, graduated payment mortgages and all the varieties of each.

Shopping for Rates

A very important reason you need to have at least some idea of your down payment is for shopping for interest rates. Some loan programs charge a slightly higher interest rate for minimal down payments. Plus, the interest rates for different loan programs are not the same. For example, conventional, VA, and FHA all offer fixed rate loans. However, the rates vary from one program to another.

If you shop lenders by phone, the loan officer will be able to tell you which programs fit and quote your rates accordingly. However, if you are shopping on the Internet, you have to develop some idea of your loan program on your own.

Writing Your Offer

Another reason you need to have a clue about your down payment is because it affects how you write your offer to purchase a home. Not only are you required to put your down payment information in the offer, but also different loan programs have different rules that also affect how you write your offer. This is especially important when dealing with FHA and VA loans.

If you are asking the seller to pay all or part of your closing costs, you have to be certain your loan program allows what you are asking. For smaller down payments, lenders allow the seller to pay less closing costs than for larger down payments. Some loan programs will allow a seller to pay certain types of costs, but not others.

Finally, your down payment also affects your ability to qualify for a loan. When you make a small down payment, lenders are fairly strict about having you conform to their underwriting guidelines. For larger down payments, they will tend to make allowances or exceptions to the rules.

Conclusion

As you can see, the down payment affects every choice you make when you buy a home. Although you should look at ads, familiarize yourself with neighborhoods, learn about prices, and read as much as you can - when you get ready to take action - the first thing you should do is figure out how much money you have available for the purchase.

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Sandra Cullinan
Vice President/Associate Broker

Meybohm Real Estate
6004 Evans Town Center Blvd.
Evans, GA 30809
Office: 706-863-8218 
Extension: 2471
Fax:  706-855-7847
Cell:  706-533-3353
Email:  scullinan@meybohm.com

 

Testimonials

Sandra was very friendly, helpful and honest, she worked very hard! Mr. Schlabach
Sandra was very helpful and made sure that we understood everything that was going on during the whole process. We had a great experience with her. She also kept us very informed through the whole process. She was very friendly and knew exactly what she was talking about when it came to helping us out. We would recommend her to anyone! She is AWESOME!! Mr. Lunz
Sandra did a terrific job! We were under tight time constraints and she made sure we saw lots of homes- all of which met the criteria we provided! Mr. Guay and Mrs. Madden
Sandra Cullinan was wonderful! She made my first home buying experience wonderful as well! Great job! Ms. Altman
Sandra Cullinan is by far the best agent I have worked with in over 7 home purchases! Great experience! She is very knowledgeable in the market, best in the Augusta area! Mr. Allen T. Berry
Sandra Cullinan made our selling and buying a smooth transition. I have recommended her to several friends. She was WONDERFUL! I have dealt with other real estate companies. Meybohm has been the best! Communication was excellent!! Thank you Meybohm!! Mr. and Mrs. Chris Pryor
Sandra had excellent knowledge of the local real estate market, builders and neighborhoods. We looked at a lot of houses and I got a great house at a good price. Cannot ask for much more than that! Mr. Brett A. Paye
I would recommend Sandra because she was knowledgeable regarding short sale and other services I wanted to take advantage of. Also, she and her assistant Andrea consistantly handled themselves professionally and friendly. Not only did we give them a deadline that we had to sell due to military, there was also the added irritant of Chase Bank. With all this, yet Sandra met every challenge and excelled. Thank you. Mr. and Mrs. William T. Payne
Excellent service, friendly and knowledgeable! Mr. and Mrs. Marc Gianotli
Sandra Cullinan was a great help to us and was looking out for us with the sale. We have sold a home and purchased a home with Sandra. When we are ready to sell again (2-5 years), we will search out Sandra Cullinan. Mr. and Mrs. David A. Pierce
Sandra Cullinan is the best realtor in all of Augusta, maybe even the country. What a wonderful, caring, knowledgeable agent she is and truly an asset to Meybohm Realty- She ROCKS! Marilyn B. Altman
Sandra Cullinan went above and beyond her duties. She is a God send person. I will have her to purchase a new house in the future. Thank you for all your services. Patricia Washington
During our house hunting process we were able to see many homes without feeling the pressure of closing the deal. Our agent's goal was for us to find the right house and not just sell a house. Mr. Saman Nazar Zangana
Honest, great knowledgeable sales people Pamela B. Kennedy
Prompt service Tony E. Meade
Very early as we were simply being introduced to Augusta and the real estate market, we were not particularly pleased with service. With our connection to Sandra Cullinan however, we found energy and an accurate assessment of what our thoughts on what we bought. Mr. and Mrs. David L. Barcus
Sandra and Andrea were very helpful throughout the entire process. They constantly communicated with me via email and phone calls while I was doing my house hunting. My wife and I are very pleased with our new home! Thanks Sandra, Andrea and Meybohm! Mr. Anthony Weaver
Sandra and Andrea did a great job! Jill Churchill
Our home buying experience went very smooth. Mr. and Mrs. Hyun Ha
Excellent service, very knowledgeable and professional service, will definitely use Meybohm in the future! Ronald C. Blue
Sandra and Andrea were wonderful to work with. They made the entire process easy and stress free! Mr. and Mrs. Jansen Johnston
"It was so nice to find an agent like Sandra Cullinan. We lived out of the area and my husband was ill much of the time,This placed an added burden on Sandra to make sure that our property was always ready to show, which she handled with grace and compassion. When we needed to have repairs done she was our go between with the workers. She was always available by phone or email and was prompt in her response. I would highly recommend Sandra Cullinan to anyone needing a real estate agent. " Barbara Rollins, Orlando, Fl.
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ABR - Accredited Buyer RepresentativeASR - Accredited Seller RepresentativeCNHS - Certified New Home SpecialistCRS - Certified Residential SpecialistEqual Housing OpportunityMLS membershipREALTOR® certificationSRS - Seller Representative SpecialistMilitary Relocation Specialist

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