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Demystifying Mortgages

Jan 19, 2008
For the past few years mortgages have been pretty easy to obtain. Just about anyone who knew how to sign his or her name qualified and people of all income levels were snapping up property as fast as it became available. But soon a crisis ensued and property owners started defaulting on their mortgages in record numbers.

Those offering mortgages have since tightened their lending criteria making mortgages more difficult to obtain. But don't worry; this doesn't mean you've no chance of owning that piece of property you've been dreaming about.

It just means that the lending business is back to "normal" so now you'll have to prove you're an acceptable risk before you'll be approved for a property mortgage.

How do I prove I'm a safe risk?

A good way to start is to figure out how much you can afford to spend for housing. To accomplish this, it's important to itemize your expenses so you know how much money you have available to spend on your mortgage each month. Keep in mind that the typical mortgage payment includes interest as well as the prorated costs for property insurance, taxes, and miscellaneous property fees.

You also should take time to learn about the different types of mortgages currently available and carefully review the advantages and disadvantages of each. For example, fixed rate property mortgages typically have higher interest rates. But the interest rate won't ever change so for the next 20, 30 or 40 years you'll know exactly how much to budget every month for your property mortgage.

On the other hand, interest on adjustable rate mortgages fluctuates. These mortgages often start with low "teaser" rates making them more affordable - but only in the short term. Once the rates adjust, you might not be able to afford the higher payments later on. That's what's happening right now to countless property owners as their adjustable rate mortgages start to adjust.

No matter what a lender tells you, there's no guarantee that you'll sell your property or have enough equity to refinance before the rates adjust. So if you can't afford those anticipated higher payments now, an adjustable mortgage may not be your best choice.

How creditworthy are you?

Besides learning all you can about property mortgages, you should pull copies of your credit reports. That allows time to correct any discrepancies and clear up any issues that might flag you as a credit risk. Remember you've got a better chance of being offered more favorable mortgage terms if you can show you're capable of managing credit responsibly.

Once you've got your budget and your credit in order (and hopefully some money saved towards a down payment!), it's time to approach lenders. You have many choices so feel free to shop around.

Now is not the time to rush into any decisions. The more you know about mortgages and how they work, the better your chances of finding one that best suits your needs.
About the Author
Adam Labno is a UK property investor who has a passion for property and helping home-owners and sellers in providing cost cutting property solutions.Owner of U.K property business' including http://www.PropertyFlaunt.com, for which this article is marketed for, in bringing full transparency to the UK
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