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 that specializes 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 the 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 the 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 of 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
Buyer Resources
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2100+ Client reviews!

Bramlett Residential, and more importantly Joe Gage were amazing at helping my wife and I buy our very first home. Bramlett & Joe made the whole process stress free, and really helped expedite the process for us. We had no idea we would find exactly what we were looking for so quickly! Joe was very knowledgable on numerous things such as market strategy, what things to look for while touring homes, and he quickly understood exactly what type of home my wife and I were looking for. He was also in constant communication with us throughout the whole process which helped us feel very comfortable in a situation that could have been stressful. I will confidently recommend Bramlett & Joe Gage to anyone in the Austin area going forward!

 

We worked with Crystal Hirst and she did an amazing job. She went above and beyond to make sure that we found the right property for us. Our search initially was all over the place and we didn’t even know what kind of property we wanted. Nonetheless, Crystal was incredibly helpful and patient while working with us to find our home. Crystal would point out all the pros and cons for any place that we would consider and we felt we could trust her. As first-time homebuyers we felt this was important because we did not know what red flags to look for in a property. Additionally, she was communicative and extremely responsive throughout the entire process. We were very satisfied with Crystal and would recommend her to anyone with no reservations whatsoever.

 

It was a pleasure working with Shaun, he is a very pro-active person and move things fast, communication was assertive and clear. As a first time buyer I could not have been in better hands and would recommend him a hundred percent.

 

Jan was wonderful to work with!  Bringing a toddler while house-hunting can be a nightmare, but Jan made it fun for all of us.  It felt more like exploring the area with family.  We didn’t feel any rush or pressure to buy, and we knew Jan had our best interests in mind.  She was always friendly, but when it came time to negotiate, she fought hard to get us the best deal.  I would highly recommend working with Jan whether you are buying or selling.  If we ever move, we’ll definitely be asking for Jan again.

Jan is fantastic!  We moved from out of town, and she was great about showing us around and researching schools and home-builders for us so we could make the right choice.  Jan showed us both rentals and new builds in a rainy, single-day house-hunting trip, and, despite the weather, her enthusiasm never wavered.  We have been in Leander for two years now, and Jan still keeps in touch and serves as a source for local info!  If we ever move again, she’ll be our first call!

Because we were first-time home-buyers, Jan was the wind beneath our wings while we worked with her.  She listened to what we wanted and made sure that we weren’t getting into something that would damage us in the long run.  She was passionate, caring, and very knowledgeable.  We were from out of town, and she taught us a lot about the area and gave us some insider knowledge that helped lead us to a great home.  She gave us advice for the future when we might become serious about homes, and she prepared us not just for purchasing our home but also for potentially reselling it years down the line.  Working with Jan was easy and enjoyable; she was on our side from day one.  She went above and beyond my wildest expectations and really raised the bar for realtors in my eyes.

Jan Daum is a realtor with panache!!!  When you sign up with her to sell your house, you can rest assured she will get it done fast, at the best possible price, and with all the tools in her toolbox put to use.  I’d no sooner signed on the dotted line than Jan showed up with a stager and a photographer.  My home went online with a very classy display and sold over asking in less than a week, and with multiple offers!  Jan did not even get a chance to hold the planned open house.  Jan was with me every step of the way and kept in touch constantly.  I would recommend Jan Daum as a realtor for any property and at any price point.  You will not be disappointed with the service or the results.

Corrine was a dream to work with. She kept us up to date and was transparent with us through our house hunting experience. She connected us with great people to work with to get our place to close quick and easy. Will definitely recommend her and was a great pleasure working with!

 

We had the pleasure of working with Elken Miller and we loved our experience working with her. She is knowledgeable in her filed and will give you her honest opinion and she held our hand the entire process and we bought in 2021 which was a very competitive market at the time and she was absolutely awesome in helping us secure the house we wanted!
She is warm and always returns your calls and is on top of things you may not have even thought of. I highly recommend Elken Miller!

 

I started working with Elken summer of 2020. I had just moved to Austin and had no idea where to start looking given my tight budget and all the bidding wars happening. Elken helped me navigate that process every step of the way with ease. She was able to find me a new built in Elgin that fit perfectly with my needs. She is incredibly knowledgeable in the housing market, has great business acumen and is very resourceful. Elken also assisted me in negotiating with builder, lenders, and third parties (e.g. alternative “buy before you sell” type of lender, etc.) and did not stop until I got a great deal. In addition, she is thorough and proactive ensuring that all your questions are answered and that your expectations are met. Lastly, she is friendly and kind and never ceased to go above and beyond for me during my home buying journey. I will absolutely work with Elken again whenever I am ready to find a new place.

 

We enjoyed working with Elken at Bramlett Residential Real Estate for buying our first home. She’s detail oriented, help us address concerns, and always willing to answer questions that we have along the way. Highly recommended and we would definitely work with Elken again when an opportunity comes in the future.

 

As first time home buyers and new to the area, Elken Miller was a true blessing. Elken went above and beyond to search for a perfect home for our growing family, before the baby’s arrival. She listened to our needs, wants and stayed within our budget. She walked us through each step and treated us like family. We are now first time home buyers of a brand new build, in a beautiful area with a large backyard where we can create memories with our baby! Elken is professional, knowledgeable, caring and will not give up on what you’re searching for until she finds it. She’s the best and we truly thank her for everything.