First-time homebuyers: A guide to mortgages

by Celina Vazquez 06/09/2024

What to know about mortgages as a first-time homebuyer  featured image

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you may find yourself in need of a mortgage loan. Over 60 percent of homeowners have a mortgage, so becoming familiar with the loan process can be beneficial to your homebuying journey. 

What is a mortgage? 

A mortgage is a legal agreement between a borrower and a lender where the borrower, once approved for a set amount, pays back the lender over a specified term.  

Most mortgage loan terms range from 10 to 30 years, with the 30-year term being the most popular as it often comes with lower monthly payments. However, it’s good to note, the longer you take to pay off the loan, the more money you’ll pay in interest over the lifespan of the loan. 

Get ready for preapproval 

Getting preapproved for a mortgage loan is a great first step, as it allows you to see if you qualify. It also can give you a good idea of the financing you’ll have to work with to purchase a home. During the preapproval process, your lender will collect your financial information to see if you meet their borrowing requirements.  

You’ll most likely will need to provide W-2s, tax return info, your credit score and a few other items for preapproval verification. 

What is a mortgage composed of? 

A mortgage loan is made up of 4 primary components that include the principal, tax, insurance and interest. 

The principal amount is the amount of funds still left to pay off the loan, whereas interest is the fee your lender charges for taking out their loan. 

Your mortgage provider may also collect property taxes on your behalf through your monthly mortgage payment to be used annually. If you put down less than 20 percent on your home’s down payment, your loan provider may require you to pay for mortgage insurance to protect them if you default on the loan. 

Owning a home and paying for a mortgage is a significant commitment, so consider speaking with a lending officer. They can help you explore your options, get a better understanding of the process and find the right loan for your next home purchase.

About the Author

Celina Vazquez

Southern California Realtor with over 16 Years of Experience

Celina Vazquez

My name is Celina Vazquez and I'd love to assist you. Whether you're in the research phase at the beginning of your real estate search or you know exactly what you're looking for, you'll benefit from having a real estate professional by your side. I'd be honored to put my real estate experience to work for you.

I have experience serving clients all over Southern California in both real estate and property management. With over 16 years of experience, I can guide you from start to finish whether it be your first home or your investment.

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