published feb. 2, 2023
Don't believe everything you hear.
So, you’re thinking about buying a home? Congratulations! It’s one of the most important (and expensive) decisions to make.
While researching what you need to know, there’s a good chance you’ve come across some not-so-accurate information.
Don’t worry, our team of real estate experts weighed in on what you should know.
1. You need a 20% down payment.
Yes, having a bigger down payment may help you qualify for a higher home purchase price and give you more equity in your home from the start.
But, it’s not the only way to do it. First-time homebuyers can qualify for down payments as low as 3%, with down payment match programs that could help you meet the 3% minimum. There are even some 0% down options1.
2. It’s cheaper to rent than to own.
There’s a good chance the monthly payment is cheaper when it comes to rent, so that’s not a total myth. However, rent payments can increase over time, while mortgage payments with a fixed rate are more stable.
Plus, when you have a mortgage, you’re paying yourself and building equity, instead of building equity for your landlord.
3. All lenders are the same.
Sure, most lenders offer similar loan products. Where they can vary is in fees and interest rates they offer.
Some lenders are local and will keep your mortgage services for its entire lifetime. That’s not always the case, and it can be frustrating when your lender hands over servicing to another company. That company might sell it to another company, and so on.
The best lender is going to take the time to get to know you. They’ll keep your financial needs and goals in mind when they recommend the best loan programs for you.
4. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage means you automatically get a loan.
Pre-approval doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a mortgage from a lender. You’ll still need to go through the lending process. If anything changes before the loan closes, such as credit, employment or income, your loan could be denied.
Pro-tip: Hold off on changing jobs or making large purchases during the application process if you can help it.
5. You need to have worked at the same job for two years.
There are lenders (including STCU) that can work with you to get pre-approved when you have two consecutive years of employment and stable monthly income. It doesn’t necessarily need to be the same job.
Hopefully, this helps you feel a little less overwhelmed with information as you start your homebuying journey. Wherever it takes you, our team is here to help.
All loans subject to approval, including a credit check. View all terms, rates, and find payment examples.
This article is intended for educational purposes. It does not replace the advice of a loan officer, financial advisor, or similar profession.
1 Assuming a $0 down purchase for a $180,000 loan, with a 30-year term at 5.776% APR, your monthly payment on a single-family home would be $966.28. Payment examples do not reflect taxes, insurance, or other charges you may incur.