Purchasing a Home
When considering how to buy a house, the first step is to get pre-qualified with GMFS Mortgage before you start your search for your dream home. Being pre-qualified gives sellers the peace of mind knowing you will be able to finance the house after the purchase contract is signed, which can improve your negotiating position over other buyers.
Home Purchase Loans:
- A Conforming Fixed Rate loan can be used to refinance your home (max. loan amount is $453,100)
- FHA loan is typically the most flexible mortgage product with lower minimums for down payment and credit score, while allowing a higher debt-to-income (DTI) ratio
- USDA Rural Development loans offer 100% financing for properties in eligible rural area designated by USDA and can be used to purchase your primary residence or refinance for rate term
- VA loans are typically the best option for first time home buyers if one of the borrowers is a U.S. military veteran
- Purchase Advantage powered by CAFA is a unique program to jump-start Louisiana homeownership through the benefit of a non-repayable homebuyers grant of up to 4% of the original mortgage amount to eligible homebuyer families in eligible Louisiana parishes.
- 100% Financing (No Down Payment) home loan options
- See more Loan Options (e.g. First Time Buyer, Second Home/Investment property, etc.)
Resources for Home Buyers
Contact a GMFS Mortgage Loan Officer today!
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Wanda and the rest of the GMFS Mortgage crew are great!! They helped me and my family get our first home!! Even with our special circumstances they worked hard to get us the loan we needed!! Thanks so much GMFS!!!!
Jacob S. GMFS Mortgage Customer
Tuesday March 19, 2019
Very friendly. Always available to answer questions. Professional. Worked with me through the whole process. Kept me updated on everything. Very smooth process with him. Would definitely recommend to friends and family.
Mathew S. GMFS Mortgage Customer
Sunday March 17, 2019
This is my second time working with Brad. I Didn’t think it could get easier than my first one, but this one was cake. They make an intimidating process very easy to accomplish. Communication and organization are top notch! The BEST! [Zillow reviews]
Justin C. GMFS Mortgage Customer
Friday March 15, 2019
Thanks so much to the awesome staff at GMFS Mortgage, especially Michelle Miller and Kristen Castille. You ladies truly made the entire home buying experience pleasant from beginning to end!
Precious E.B. GMFS Mortgage Customer
Thursday March 14, 2019
Michelle Miller and Kristen Castille have made my experience. Very quick and easy.
Eleanor B. GMFS Mortgage Customer
Tuesday March 12, 2019
Tips & Checklist for Buying a Home
1. Start saving for your down payment as early as possibleEven though there are many options that allow as low as a 5% down payment, it is significantly better to have more money up front than less. Be sure to know how much home you can afford before determining how much money you have to save. If you plan to only save 5% of your down payment, keep in mind that 5% of $200,000 is $10,000. In addition, Putting down less than 20% may mean higher costs and paying for private mortgage insurance (PMI). Know how much down payment you need, set a goal, and work hard to reach that goal.
2. Check your credit scoreYour credit score is one of the key factors in determining what type of mortgage and the interest rate for which you qualify. As soon as you know you may want to buy a home, begin work on your credit score. Dispute any errors on your credit report and get them resolved as quickly as possible. Also, do NOT open nor close any accounts within at least six months of applying for a mortgage.
3. Budget for closing costsWhether you plan to pay for the closing costs up front or are planning to roll them into your mortgage, you need to have an idea of how much your closing costs will be. Be sure to do some research yourself and shop around and compare prices for certain closing expenses, such as homeowners insurance, home inspections and title searches. Also, never be afraid to ask the seller to pay for a portion of your closing costs or negotiating your real estate agent’s commission. Closing costs typically run between 2%-5% of the total loan amount.
4. Budget for move-in costsIn addition to insurance, inspections, home title, real estate agent’s commission, and all of the other costs involved in buying a home, many people forget that the actual moving process costs money. Be sure to save enough money for things such as cleaning supplies, food to restock your cabinets and refrigerator, new rugs, paint, and anything that you would like to change cosmetically to the home.
5. Know what type of property you want to buyNow that you have your budget, it’s time to consider what type of property you want to purchase. If you already have your heart set on a single-family home, then you know you’ll be getting a lot more room with more maintenance. On the flip side of that, you may want to have less work and more amenities, which would steer you toward a condo or town-home.
6. Research mortgage optionsDid you know that a 30-year, fixed rate mortgage isn’t the only option for purchasing a home? If you can afford larger monthly payments, you can get a lower interest rate with a 20-year or 15-year fixed loan. Or you may prefer an adjustable-rate mortgage, which is riskier but guarantees a low interest rate for the first few years of your mortgage. Speak with a GMFS Mortgage Loan Officer to determine what is best for you and your future. Loan Options
7. Know the difference between mortgage preapproval and mortgage prequalificationPre-Approval: Getting preapproved for a home loan requires more documentation, verification and time than a mortgage prequalification process.
- Requires complete mortgage application (excluding property address)
- Credit report pulled
- Information submitted to automated underwriting system
- Borrower provides documentation of income and assets (e.g. paystubs, tax returns, bank statements, etc.)
- Lender reviews and verifies all information
- Lender issues a Preapproval Letter subject only to:
- a satisfactory property appraisal
- general closing conditions (e.g. evidence of hazard insurance)
- No material change in information used to issue pre-approval (e.g. new debt, job loss, etc.)
Pre-Qualification: Getting a mortgage prequalification is a simpler process than getting a home loan preapproval and yet still demonstrates you are serious about buying a home to both realtors and sellers.
- Requires discussion with mortgage lender about your monthly income and liabilities
- Credit report may be pulled
- Does NOT include submitting a full mortgage application, income documentation nor any verification
- Lender issues a Prequalification Letter based on what you have told them
At GMFS Mortgage, we find that the vast majority of our borrowers opt for getting prequalified for a mortgage because it is a faster process than getting pre-approved for a mortgage and therefore allows you to begin shopping sooner for your dream home knowing your prequalification letter allows them to make purchase offers with confidence.
8. Hire the right realtorBuying a home is stressful enough without having to do your realtor’s job. You need to hire someone who you can get along with and who will work for you! The right realtor should know exactly what you’re looking for, take you to open houses, and schedule home viewings around your schedule.
9. Stay under your preapproved or prequalified approval limit for your home loanUnderstand that while you can technically buy a home for your maximum pre-approved or prequalification amount, it is the ceiling of your mortgage limit. Instead of maxing out that amount, leave some room for unexpected expenses.
10. Consider more than the obviousHow long will this home and location meet your family’s needs?
Is the property in a flood zone?
Is there any pending new construction or zoning changes that may effect your property value or view?
Is there any pending new construction or zoning changes that may effect your commute time?
What is the area like after dark, after a heavy rain and during other seasons?
Have you researched crime reports and statistics for the area?
How important is the quality of local schools to you and to potential future buyers?
If new construction, have you properly budgeted for window treatments, furniture needs, fencing, yard care, landscaping, etc.?
If there is a Home Owner’s Association have you considered the cost of dues and understand the community rules & restrictions?
If the home is more than 9 years old, are you prepared for potential major maintenance costs (e.g. appliances, AC, pool, roof, etc.)?
11. Be prepared to compromiseDon’t get caught up in the paint color, the blind choices, or the terrible wall paper choice. These things are easily and inexpensively changed after buying a home. Think carefully about what is a need and what is a want when negotiating. You NEED to make sure the seller replaces the broken air conditioner, you WANT the color in the living room to be almond instead of yellow.
12. Make a strong offer, but prepared to negotiateYour realtor should be experienced and will guide you through the negotiation process. A lot can be up for negotiation in the homebuying process, which can result in major savings. Are there any major repairs you can get the seller to cover, either by fully handling them or by giving you a credit adjustment at closing? Is the seller willing to pay for any of the closing costs? Will it be mutually beneficial to you and the seller to either close sooner or later than normal? If you’re in a buyers market, you may find the seller will bargain with you to get the house off the market. During negotiations try to keep your emotions in check and not take things personally, keeping in mind that at some time in the future your role may be reversed and as a seller you will want to maximize the price you can get for your home.
13. Don't forget homeowners and flood insuranceBefore you close on your new house, your lender will require you to buy homeowners insurance. Shop around to compare for the best price offering the most coverage with a deductible that makes sense for you. Keep in mind that homeowners insurance is not the same as flood insurance. Even if flood insurance is not required for your property, consider the peace of mind offered for the low annual cost. Note that most flood insurance policies only cover your main home structure (not detached buildings) and that contents coverage is typically an optional add-on.
14. Know what is included on your home inspectionAfter your offer is accepted, you will need a home inspection. However, not all inspections test for mold, radon, pests, etc. Be sure to know what’s included. Don’t be afraid to ask your inspector to take a look — or a closer look — at something and ask questions. In addition to a professional home inspection, conduct your own inspection. Is the water pressure adequate upstairs? Will you need to replace some flooring? Are there any leaky faucets? Any electrical issues with lots of appliances running at the same time? Any evidence of termite damage or treatment? Any evidence of water damage to the interior/attic ceilings, walls or floors?
Additional Mortgage Resources (Calculators, FAQ, Glossary, etc.)
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