Frequently Asked Questions
Most frequent questions and answers
When you rent, you write a monthly check and it’s gone. When you buy, you’re investing in your future. In addition to the personal satisfaction that owning a home brings, there are other benefits to owning your own home.
- You can deduct the cost of your mortgage loan interest from your federal income taxes. During the first half of your mortgage, nearly all of each monthly payment goes to paying interest. This adds up to hefty savings at the end of each year.
- You can deduct the property taxes, as well as repairs your insurance does not cover, that you pay as a homeowner.
- Over the years, it’s likely that the value of your home with increase – providing financial security for you and your family.
When you come in to meet with us and bring the documentation we need to go over together, we’ll be on the path to determining how much money you are qualified to borrow. We look at your family size, income and bills, and then we calculate those numbers into calculations called front-end and back-end ratios to determine the percentage of your income that can be devoted to your housing payment.
We’ll take a look at current interest rates, local property taxes and homeowner’s insurance costs as well as the mortgage payment itself, as these are all factors in your housing costs.
For the USDA Direct program, your credit score will need to be at least 640 and for the USDA Guarantee program, your credit score will need to be at least 620. We use a tri-merge report, which compares credit scores from 3 major credit companies. If your credit score does not meet minimum requirements, we will work diligently to help you improve your scores. Our programs also give us the flexibility to use alternative sources of credit, such as 12-month landlord reference, utility bills, cell phone bills, etc. when you have little or no credit.
The prequalification process starts with an application, which is usually filled out in person. After you fill out an application, which covers your finances and history, we will verify the information for preapproval and that requires the supporting documents.
Once you are pre-qualified, we’ll ask for paystubs from the last 30 days, tax returns for the last two years, bank statements for the last two months, W-2s, IDs and Social Security cards.
We will also require divorce decrees and documentation to indicate other income depending on your situation. After preapproval, we will then work with you to figure out the lending program that works best for you.
Once your application has been completed, it is carefully reviewed, and all your documentation is verified. We may need to ask you for more information, but that is not unusual. The sooner you can get that information back to us, the faster your application will be processed.
Once we determine your loan amount and applicable subsidies, the construction of your home can begin.
Once your home is completed, a closing date is set up and we will review what happens and what you’ll need to do to finalize the transaction. Then you’ll be ready to move into your new home!
You must show proof of homeowners (or hazard) insurance at closing, so you must have insurance in place. Not only does this protect the lender, but also you, should you experience a loss once you accept ownership of your home. Start shopping around early in the process to get the best deal.
We hold a meeting with all parties involved. The closing agent will have a stack of papers for you and the seller to sign. Take your time, look at each page and ask any questions you may have. This is a big step involving a lot of money, so you need to be sure you understand what you’re signing!
You’ll need to provide proof of your homeowner’s insurance, and we will show proof of warranties and any inspections costs. The closing agent will go over the money you owe to Highlands Housing Corporation and any amounts, such as unpaid taxes, owed to you.
After all the paperwork is signed, you’ll get the deed to your new home, stating you are the rightful owner, and your house keys. Congratulations, you are a home owner!
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