The Mortgage Process

Unless you plan to pay cash to buy a house, it’s a great idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you begin looking for properties to purchase. In order to make an offer on a property, you will need a pre-approval letter from a lender, so you’ll have to go through the mortgage pre-approval process one way or another. Our real estate agents in Austin suggest starting the pre-approval process sooner rather than later; it not only gives you buying power, it also helps you narrow down your search.

1. How much will you need to put down on a property & how do different down payment amounts affect your mortgage rate & any PMI (Mortgage Insurance.)
2. What do prospective monthly payments look like for different priced homes?
3. How do different down payment amounts affect your monthly payment for a specific price point?

Answering these questions helps you determine your price range and gets us off to a great start on your search.

If you would like a referral to a great lender, just let us know.

When looking for a lender, we recommend the following:

  • Go Local!

    Local mortgage bankers rely on referrals to get most of their business, so they have to protect their local reputation. A local loan originator (LO) will be much more motivated to close your loan on time & with little hassle than someone in Hoboken, NJ.

  • Use an LO & bank who specialize in mortgages.

    These types of LO’s are typically 100% commission jobs. So, they’re highly motivated to get you approved & to make sure your loan closes on time.

  • Use someone w/ an online social media presence, specifically with reviews.

    If your lender is rated well on Yelp, Google+, or AngiesList, that lender will want to protect his/her rating (and hopefully get a new, positive review from you.)

  • Stay away from national retail banks

    Like Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Chase, etc… You might already bank w/ a national bank, and it might seem natural to go to them for a mortgage. In our experience, their mortgage departments are typically staffed with lower paid employees who aren’t heavily incentivized, which means they have little motivation to do a good job for you.


If you’re hesitant to speak with a lender now, you can get started on your own by taking the following steps:

  1. Check your credit score at CreditKarma.com. Typically, you’ll need at least a 660 to qualify (with some exceptions for FHA & VA financing.) The higher your credit score, the better rate the bank will offer you. You’ll get the most attractive rate with a 740+ credit score.
  2. Use an online mortgage calculator or download an app to your phone. Make sure that it calculates Principal, Interest, Taxes, & Insurance (PITI) which is your total monthly payment. Bear in mind that Texas has higher property taxes than most calculators will assume. For Android, we recommend using Karl’s Mortgage Calculator and we recommend Quicken Loans app (though we strongly recommend against using Quicken Loans.)
  3. Calculate your Debt to Income Ratio (DTI.) This is your total monthly debt load (student loans, car payments, minimum credit cards, etc) divided by your monthly pre-tax income. Your lender will approve you for roughly 50% DTI, so you can add in prospective mortgage payments (PITI) to get an idea for what you’ll qualify for.

As you can see, the mortgage pre-approval process can be a little complicated, which is why we think it’s best to speak with a lender early in the process. We’re happy to help in any way we can! Give us a call at 512-883-5445!


Sources:

[1] Credit Karma
[2] Bankrate – Mortgage Calculator With Taxes And Insurance
[3] Dr. Calculator – Karl’s Mortgage Calculator
[4] Quicken Loans Mortgage Calculator App
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1400+ Client reviews!

Kendall W.

My fiancé and I had the pleasure of working with Kristin from Bramlett Residential and had a great experience. Kristin made sure to keep us informed of anything that was going on through text, phone calls, and e-mails. Her experience with lenders, the title company, and of Austin as a whole made for a seamless experience from beginning to close. I already have recommended her to friends.

Aleksandra S.

This was our first time selling a home, and Ashley made it a breeze! We had complete trust in her understanding of the market and the appropriate terms/ contingencies that were necessary. We loved how responsive she was to all of our questions, and she and her team are absolute pros. Would highly recommend working with Ashley if you have the opportunity too!

Susan J.

Ashley Vavasour did an awesome job helping us with the sale of our home! She kept us informed during every step of the process and was always available to answer our questions or hold our hand. She even retrieved my favorite spatulas that I had left behind! I would definitely recommend her to anyone looking to list their house.

Brandon K.

Tara McGuire represented us in purchasing our home. To say she was amazing would be an understatement: Tara walked us through every step of the process (this was our first purchase), and provided detailed answers to every question we had, no matter how simple or complex. She helped save money where we could, pointed out things we wouldn’t have otherwise noticed, and was extremely pleasant to work with.

Janet R.

Philip Myers was great to work with and very knowledgeable of the area as well as what to look for that my wife and I were not as versed on when looking at houses, especuially since we were moving from out of state. He was exactly what we needed from a Real Estate Agent.

Brett H.

Philip Myers was great to work with and very knowledgeable of the area as well as what to look for that my wife and I were not as versed on when looking at houses, especuially since we were moving from out of state. He was exactly what we needed from a Real Estate Agent.

Lindsey K.

My Fiance and I worked with Lauren Yoder and we cannot recommend her enough!! We worked with Lauren to buy a house during the wild COVID market, when home buying was so unpredictable. Lauren is super organized and patient, which was very helpful for us as we were first time homebuyers. She was quick to respond, spent time answering all our questions (and we have a LOT of questions), quickly picked up on our style, and is very connected within the community. She is incredibly knowledgeable about the entire home buying process and has a list of trusted contractors… I’m talking Lenders, Inspectors, Handymen, Landscapers, Builders, etc., all of whom were also great to work with. I really appreciated was her willingness to talk through all the anxiety and fears that come with home buying. Lauren genuinely worked so hard to help us find the right home. I have already recommended her to friends and will continue to recommend her! You will not regret working with her and will feel like you are in great hands!

Katherine S.

Shaun was my agent and he was a pleasure to work with.  This was our first time buying a home and he helped guide us through process from start to finish. He was great with communication and answered all of my questions. He showed us multiple houses during the evenings, knowing that we had a deadline set. It was a wonderful experience! Shaun is professional, friendly, knowledgeable, and responsive. I give him a 10/10!

Ryan S.

They say the market is so hot right now in Austin that you need to be prepared to write many offers and be prepared to get your offer beat out. I have had friends tell me they have made 30+ offers and are still looking.

That is not the case with Shaun and the team at Eric Bramlett Residential Real Estate. We went and saw three homes over two weekends. We found one that we absolutely fell for but didn’t want to get to attached to it for fear of getting beaten out.

Shaun helped us quickly move and place our offer on the home. He guided us to make a competitive offer and then he took it from there. We made our offer the same day the listing came on the market. He positioned the offer as super competitive to the listing agent and was able to get the listing agent to take the house off the market before the Saturday open house. This helped us limit the competitiveness of competing with multiple bids and getting in a bidding war.

We used our option period to quickly run through all the inspectors. Being from out of town Shaun handled all of this. He even found a plumber to come out and inspect our plumbing even though everyone says plumbers are booked solid still dealing with the fallout from the ice storm back a few weeks ago. Also, because we locked the house down so quickly without other offers, we could get the concessions we were looking for after the inspections came back.

We actually have a friend who was already under contract to buy their dream home when we engaged Shaun to help us find ours. We found and closed on our house before she has been able to complete her transaction.

There are plenty of agents to pick from but if you want the best and to get the home you truly desire the option is clear. You need to go with Shaun.

Last thing to note working with Shaun. He is super laid back and you will never feel pressure from him. He uses that pressure on the counterparty to your advantage.

Bob B.

We interviewed three different realtors and were impressed immediately with Will Macintosh.  He included our input into listing price, time line for listing, and detailed the services clearly.  The whole Bramlett team was was prompt in getting forms to us, and clear in terms of expectations.  The stager was great.  The pictures were great.  The house got multiple offers on the first weekend, sold at $55,000 above list price, and closed in 30 days.  Great experience.  I couldn’t recommend them more highly.

Katie T.

My husband and I worked with Tara McGuire to find our first home in Austin. We couldn’t recommend her enough! She is so knowledgeable of all the areas in Southwest Austin and her connections with other realtors in the area helped us find our home in this crazy market. If you’re looking for a great agent, we highly recommend Tara!

Bart L.

Ashley Vavasour was very helpful in our first home purchase and helped us through the new build process.  She is professional and friendly. I do recommend Ashley to anyone looking to purchase a home!