As with any major investment, you can get the most out of a mortgage by understanding the lending market and terms used in this market.
With a little effort now, you could save yourself thousands of dollars in mortgage payments over the years.
Before searching for a lender, there are some general tips on mortgages you may want to consider.
Your first question is probably, how much can you afford to borrow? Lenders use a general rule of thumb that your monthly mortgage payment should not exceed 29% of your monthly gross income, before taxes or any other deductions are made.
Once you know what this figure is, you can shortlist neighborhoods with affordable houses.
The next step is to get and compare mortgage rates from several lenders.
This is always worth doing because lending rates vary greatly and shopping around can get you a better deal.
You can also go through a mortgage broker who can help you find a lender.
Ask the broker what fee is charged for the services you're considering.
For peace of mind, try to find a reputable lender.
This could be your financial institution, a mortgage company, or a government lender if you are eligible.
When you get a rate quote from a lender, find out whether it is a fixed or adjustable rate, and if adjustable, whether it will be reduced if interest rates fall.
Also ask about the annual percentage rate (APR), which factors in other costs like a broker's fee or points.
Ask your broker or lender to carefully explain all fees involved.
Other questions to ask are what the down payment is and whether private mortgage insurance is required.