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5 Tips for Vetting Mortgage Loans in Oregon

Desk with calculator and house keychain.

When you’re on the verge of buying a house, you’re going to want a team you can trust behind you. You should choose your real estate agent carefully and specifically assess how they can improve your chances of purchasing the home you want, but you should also do the same with your mortgage lenders.

If you’re looking for mortgage loans in Oregon, you’re probably looking up annual percentage rates (APRs) and thinking that the lowest number is the best. But in order to make the right decision with your mortgage loan, you’re going to need the help of a trustworthy mortgage lender to explain that it’s more than just APR. Sure, you want to take a look at the APR rates when you’re comparing, but you should absolutely consider more factors.

At Rivermark Community Credit Union, we’re passionate about helping others thrive when making decisions for their homes. Not only do we offer competitive mortgage loans, but we also want to share these five tips for choosing the right mortgage loan.

Tip #1. Compare Annual Percentage Rate (or APR)

This percentage number was actually developed by the government so that consumers can have an easier and more successful time comparing mortgage loan interest rates from different lenders. There are a few things that factor into APR, so while one number might be lower, it doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll be paying a lower interest rate every month. However, this percentage rate does give you a very good idea of what you might be able to pay and which lenders you should pursue.

You could see a few different APR percentages when you visit a lender’s mortgage webpage. On the Rivermark Home Loans page, you’ll find APR for different loan types based on a 15-year fixed rate, a 30-year fixed-rate, an adjustable-rate (ARM), and more. So, overall, you’re going to want to look at the APR first. Check out a handful of different percentage rates you like and then learn more about what makes up each organization’s APR. That’s how you can take the smartest first step in vetting mortgage loans.

Tip #2. Ask if they offer first-time homebuyer discounts or other special deals that you qualify for

In addition to checking the APR, you’ll want to discover all the discounts and special deals that you qualify for with each lender. Lenders offer different special deals, which means you’ll want to know each lender’s deals and discounts so that you get a more accurate understanding of how much you’ll be paying.

For example, some lenders (like Rivermark) offer first-time homebuyer programs, which could potentially help lower your required down payment. At Rivermark, there are options for no down payment or as little as a 3 percent down payment. Not bad!

Some other special deals for some lenders include no down payment for active military and veterans, affordable grant options for public servants, discounts for those with student loans, and more. Rivermark even has a jumbo loan option for those who want to buy a house over $510,400.

Tip #3. Know your situation beforehand

You know what the best way to pick the right lender is? It’s knowing what you need beforehand. Ask yourself important questions and approach the process of choosing your mortgage loan with adequate research.

Are you in search of an adjustable or fixed interest rate? Sometimes people feel like they’ll need more leeway in the first few years of their mortgage and that they’ll be able to pay more in the future. Is this where you’re at? An adjustable-rate could benefit you, but it’s possible a fixed rate might be better in your situation. Do your research.

You’ll want to know the price of your house and what additional costs you might have to pay each month. If you know beforehand that you’re going to need to spend more on utilities and other homecare needs than your last living situation, you’ll want to keep in mind just how much you can afford per month with your budget. You’ll want to keep private mortgage insurance (PMI) in mind, too, when you’re thinking about how much you can afford.

Don’t forget about putting yourself in a good position to improve your credit score if needed. If you don’t think your score is very good right now, maybe consider getting another credit card and actively trying to improve it before you pursue a loan. That’ll come in handy when you’re pursuing lenders.

Tip #4. Compare points, larger down payments, and other options to help decrease your monthly fee

Did you know there’s a way for you to decrease your monthly fee? Well, it’s simple. If you make a bigger down payment or purchase additional “points” at the beginning of your loan, you could end up saving big time on your interest rate.

When choosing your lender, you’ll want to find out exactly how much you might be able to save from month to month on your interest rate if you can pay a little extra up front. Responses will likely vary from lender to lender, and it could potentially point you in the direction of an honest, caring lender who wants to help you make the right decision. It’s worth a shot.

Tip #5. Assess your lender: expertise, reliability, available financing options.

Lastly, after all of your research, you’ll want to sit down and assess each lender. Check-off boxes for which lender seems to have the most expertise, which strikes you as the most reliable, and which might be able to fit your budget effectively. As a borrower, you should feel like your lender is willing to help you select the exact right options for you.

This is a personal relationship and one you’re going to want to have faith in. That’s why you should make sure you feel comfortable asking questions, talking to them about decreasing your rates, and more. This is a big decision, and you should let people who recognize that be the ones to lead you into your next home.

Rivermark Community Credit Union is proud to offer competitive loan rates and professional home loan services from highly trained and experienced individuals. So have a look around with different lenders and include Rivermark in your search. We’re sure you’re going to love getting to know what special work we can do for you.


Have Questions About Home Loans?

Our home loan resources page can help you make informed decisions as you prepare to purchase a home or apply for a home loan. And, as always, you can call Rivermark and speak directly to a mortgage expert by calling 503.906.9497.

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