Loans — FAQsWhat is the difference between pre-approved and pre-qualified? When a homebuyer is pre-qualified, he or she has provided the lender with the basic information to determine which loan program the homebuyer may qualify for. Whereas, when a homebuyer is pre-approved, the lender has collected, verified and presented the information needed for underwriting and approval. What is the difference between interest rate and APR? Your interest rate is the monthly cost you pay on the unpaid balance of your home loan. An Annual Percentage Rate (APR) includes both your interest rate and any additional cost or prepaid finance charges such as the origination fee, points, private mortgage insurance, underwriting and processing fees (your actual fees may not include all of these items). While your interest rate is the rate at which you will make your monthly mortgage payments, the APR is a universal measurement that can assist you in comparing the cost of mortgage loans offered by different mortgage lenders. What are the closing costs? Closing costs include items like appraisal fees, title insurance fees, attorney fees, pre-paid interest and documentation fees. These items are usually different for each customer due to differences in the type of mortgage, the property location and other factors. You will receive a good faith estimate of your closing costs in advance of your closing date for your review. Which amounts are included in my monthly payments? If you have a fully amortizing mortgage, portions of your monthly mortgage payment go toward loan principal and interest. Interest-only mortgage payments include only the interest that is due on the outstanding principal balance. If your mortgage carries mortgage insurance, a portion of your monthly mortgage payment will pay this also, unless the lender has paid your mortgage insurance or you have paid your mortgage insurance upfront. If you have set up an escrow account for your mortgage, then portions also go toward your property taxes and homeowners insurance. What is PMI? Private Mortgage Insurance is provided by a private mortgage insurance company to protect lenders against loss if a borrower defaults. Private Mortgage Insurance is generally required for a loan with an initial loan to value (LTV) percentage in excess of 80%. In most cases, this will mean that you will have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance if your down payment is less than 20% of the value of the home you are purchasing or refinancing. The cost of the mortgage insurance is typically added to the monthly mortgage payment. Can I lock my interest rate when purchasing a home? Absolutely. Gesa Credit Union provides a variety of options to lock in your interest rate. Locking your rate means that the lender is agreeing to provide you with your mortgage at that particular rate, and that it won’t go up (or down) between the time you lock it and the time that you close on your home. If your mortgage is fixed-rate, your interest rate will remain the same throughout the life of the loan. Mortgage interest rates fluctuate constantly, and you don’t want to start shopping for a house operating under a certain interest rate assumption, only to be unpleasantly surprised that interest rates have risen during your house hunt. What will my rate be? Rates are based on a variety of factors such as the loan purpose, your credit history and ability to repay, the value of the collateral and the loan amount. How do I start the application process for a mortgage? Ready to apply? Head over to our application page to begin the process today. Start your applicationWhat is an FHA mortgage? FHA loans are government-insured loans through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, also called HUD. FHA loans offer an excellent start to first-time home buyers, with options such as a low down payment or a low closing cost option. How does my escrow account work? An escrow account is a separate account that holds funds for the purpose of paying bills such as homeowner’s insurance and property taxes. The lender collects the funds to be deposited into the account each month along with your monthly payment and then pays the bills for you when they come due. By taking the annual amounts charged for homeowner’s insurance, property taxes and other annually paid items and dividing them by 12, a payment amount is determined and is added to your monthly principal and interest payment. Spreading the cost of these expenses over 12 months makes it easier for you to budget those expenses and you won’t have to come up with additional cash when bills are due. For some loans, escrow accounts are a requirement. When is my due date? Your mortgage payment due date is listed on your monthly billing statement or coupon. A late charge is assessed if the payment has not been received and processed by the date noted. It is very important that you establish and maintain good credit by making sure your payment reaches us by the due date each month. Late payments can affect your credit record.