1. What does my credit score need to be to qualify to purchase a home?

The minimum credit score to qualify for a home loan will depend on the type of loan program you choose and your unique situation.

2. How much of a down payment do I need?

Depending on the program, it can be as little as $0.

3. Does HOMESTAR have access to any Down Payment Assistance programs?

Yes. This depends on several factors, such as where you would like to live and the annual income of your household.

4. What is HOMESTAR’s interest rate?

The rate has variables depending on credit score, debt-to-income ratios, and loan amount. We can help determine this based on your specific situation.

5. Are there any mortgage loan programs for buyers with little or no credit?

Yes. You can look at our FHA program, where non-traditional credit can be used.

6. My spouse’s credit is not the best, what can we do? We need both incomes to buy a house; my spouse makes more money than I do.

Your loan is based on the middle of the three credit scores and on the lower of the two co-borrowers. Is there a possibility of another co-borrower who will sign with you?

7. I admit I have a foreclosure in the past; how does that affect me buying a house now?

It depends on how long ago it was, as there is a grace period of three to seven years. If it has been over three years, you may qualify for first-time homebuyer assistance.

8. What programs do you have for first-time homebuyers?

HOMESTAR has several options available! We specialize in USDA, FHA, Conventional, and DPA programs.

9. How much will I need for a down payment?

HOMESTAR will provide you with an “estimated” dollar amount based on your loan program and pre-approval amount. In addition, the cash to final close will depend on seller contribution, etc. Once you find a property, a Mortgage Loan Originator will provide you with a complete loan estimate, which will detail the costs of the loan and will be based on the terms of the sales contract.

10. How much is my final mortgage payment going to be?

HOMESTAR will quote you an “estimated” payment based on your pre-approval amount and what the payment consists of (PITI). In addition, the homeowners insurance and property taxes are estimated based on average costs. However, once you decide on a property and we are able to verify the property taxes, as well as know how much you will be paying for the homeowners insurance, we will be able to determine a more accurate payment amount.

11. Will my payment ever change?

If you have a fixed-rate loan, then the loan payment (principal and interest portion of your loan) would not change. However, if you escrow for property taxes and homeowners insurance, it may change as the cost for these items change. If you have private mortgage insurance (PMI), your payment normally decreases over time depending on which type of loan you have. The mortgage insurance (MI) on some FHA loans does not disappear. Homeowners association (HOA) dues are generally not escrowed into the payment and change over time.

12. What is the best way to buy a home with the least amount of money?

The USDA home loan is an option for buyers on a strict budget. Benefits include:

  • No down payment required
  • Closing costs payment can come from any source
  • Easy qualification
  • Lower upfront funding fee, along with a low monthly USDA fee

13. Is a home appraisal necessary?

On the majority of loans, an appraisal is required. An appraisal protects your investment and makes sure you are getting the home of your dreams at the right price. There are occasions where the appraisal may be waived. Please contact your HOMESTAR Mortgage Loan Originator for details.

14. What is the difference between an appraisal and an inspection? Which do I need?

An appraisal by a professional appraiser is required for most loans. It is an opinion of the value of your home compared to others like yours in the same area. A home inspection is not always required. It is a wise investment for a home you intend to live in for many years; the inspector will look at the plumbing, electrical, HVAC, roof, etc., the systems of the house, and see what needs repair or replacement.

Well and septic system inspections may be required if they apply to your home. A Structural Engineer Report on a manufactured home is required to ensure the property meets safety requirements.

15. What is MI and why do I have to pay it?

MI is “mortgage insurance” and it is required on all loans where the down payment is less than 20 percent. MI gives people with only a small amount of savings the opportunity for homeownership.

16. Is an escrow account required?

An escrow account for taxes and insurance is generally required for Conventional loans that have an LTV over 80%. However, LTV is not the only factor in allowing escrows to be waived. Underwriting will make the final determination.

If you were to fall behind on your property taxes, you could end up with a lien on your home – and eventually lose it. If your homeowners insurance lapsed and your home was seriously damaged, the lender’s investment would be in jeopardy.

An escrow account offers two benefits for you:

  • You’re automatically putting money away for expenses each month instead of having to budget for a few big payments.
  • Someone else is managing those taxes and insurance bills for you.

How can we help you?

Find the best mortgage option for you! Learn more about the home loan options available to help you purchase a new home or refinance your current one.