Get a Mortgage Loan the Right Way

Get a Mortgage Loan the Right Way


Mortgage Loans Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Need Good Credit To Get A Mortgage?

Debt-free with a credit score of zero? Congratulations! Churchill Mortgage offers zero-credit-score loans. So they can still provide a home loan to you. Even better? They can guide you through how to pay off your home as soon as possible.

What is a pre-qualification?

It’s a quick-and-dirty calculation that let’s you know roughly how much mortgage you’d be approved for. Here’s what it’s not: it’s not a step toward getting approved for a mortgage. Why not? Because all you need to do to be prequalified is share some financial numbers (real or fake) with a lender who can let you know if you’re “pre-qualified.” So while it’s an essential first step, don’t let your prequalification mislead you into months of research and high hopes, only to have those dreams dashed against the reality of the hard numbers. Speaking of which…

What is a pre-approval?

A standard pre-approval is a step beyond pre-qualification. Submitting your financial documents for your lender to review means this step takes a little more time. But doing the math is worth it because you’ll be able to see what you can truly afford before you start looking for a house. Notice that “pre” in front of approval? It’s there to remind you that even if you get it, a mortgage underwriter hasn’t reviewed your file yet. To reach the best long-run outcomes for your money, there are two guidelines to keep in mind as you head into the mortgage process: put at least 10% down (20% is even better because it let’s you avoid Private Mortgage Insurance); and make sure your monthly payments are 25% or less of your take-home pay. Have those amounts worked out before house hunting, so you don’t get lured into a house outside your comfort zone. Just because you’re approved for a big loan doesn’t mean you can afford it.

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What does it mean to lock or cap your interest rate? When is the best time to do this?

Thinking about buying a home in the next three months? Capping your interest rate means you’re guaranteed today’s mortgage interest rate for up to 90 days through the Churchill Rate Secured program. That’s a great move, because it protects you from fluctuating interest rates as you shop. But what if you don’t find a home in that initial 90-day period? No sweat. You can reset your rate for another three months.

What is an escrow account?

Many mortgage lenders hold money that you’ve paid in an escrow account to cover three things: your property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and in some instances even your homeowner’s association (HOA) fees. We compare an escrow to a referee in a football game—the neutral third party who takes no sides and makes sure everyone is following the rules until the game is over.  The goal of an escrow account is to make your life as a homeowner as easy as possible. So how does it work? Your lender will first calculate how much your property taxes and homeowner’s insurance premiums are for the entire year. Next they’ll divide the total by 12 to show how much escrow payment you’ll owe per month. Then each month you’ll pay that amount along with your standard mortgage payment. your lender will manage the escrow account and submit payments for your property taxes and homeowner’s insurance when they are due. It’s a great way to allow you to make one mortgage payment a month while saving you the hassle of remembering to make ongoing annual payments for your insurance and property taxes. Be aware that in some states such as Hawaii and California, escrow is referred to as impounds.

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