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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1500+ Client reviews!

Alcira Zamudio

Worked with Shaun Duffenbach and as expected he did an outstanding job. He was recommended by my daughter, she used him for her home purchase 9 months ago. I can’t recommend him enough, this was my 1st home purchase in TX, and I’m beyond impressed with his service. He is very reliable, moves quickly without pressuring you to buy, he is always looking out for you, and since he is super detailed oriented, he will notice any tiny defects on properties. He is hands down the best realtor we have worked with. We’ll use use him again for our next home purchase!

Jolina Li

We worked with Vicki to help find our investment property in Austin. Even though I was overseas, she’s able to FT me to show me the house. Meet up with foundations contractor so we can get estimates, encouraged us to ask for credits, etc. it was so easy working with her that I would highly recommend anyone who is looking for a house in Austin to call Vicki! 🙂

Larette F.

As a first-time seller of my first home, I did not have any idea how to sell a house. My agent was Philip Myers and he held my hand in explaining all the process of getting the home ready for market.

As a first time seller, he had all the answers to questions I didn’t know to ask! Philip ran comps and helped us to determine the asking price, which was far more than we expected.

Philip provided us with a staging consultant for free that showed us where to place furniture and which pieces to remove to make the home more marketable. The photographer that Eric Bramlett uses for photos was phenomenal and he had so much to offer even down to which lighting produced the best results.

Throughout the entire sales process, Philip was professional and pro-active.  He made us feel like we were his only clients, which is tough in this busy market.  He was on top of all the details and negotiations and provided us with guidance I did not think was possible. All the pre-sales contract details up to the closing was painless.  I highly recommend this real estate professional to handle your buying or selling needs.

Veronica B.

Vicki Duran was our Realtor and honestly  There is not enough stars here to rate how Wonderful she is! She was so Helpful in selling and buying or house Always answering our phone calls texts an emails right away, answering a million of questions that we had and guiding us thru the entire process. But to top it off  Regardless of her amazing work you can see her Honesty and Beautiful Heart that she has. Nothing but good things to say about her, we couldn’t have done it without her help. Thank you so very Much Ms Vicki!!

Christa Schank

We had an excellent experience working with Steve Crossland as our realtor this year. The market has been so difficult to navigate, especially this year, but Steve has been incredibly in tune with the fluctuations happening each week. He was very easy to work with, both for us and our eventual buyers. Thanks largely to Steve’s guidance, we sold very quickly, for much more than expected, with quick turnaround time to close!

Andy Najjar

I have had the great pleasure of working with Lauren Yoder on selling and buying my investment properties. The team was professional helped me stage and get the place ready for a bidding war. They really navigated negotiating and closing with great experience. I have worked with Lauren 5+ years and will continue to be a customer for the years to come!

Christina Rhodes

Kasey helped me purchase my first home. She was very knowledgable and helped educate me along the way. She took the time to thoroughly answer my questions and the whole process went smoothly from start to finish.

Sujatha Suresh

Ashley Vavasour was recommended to us by our daughter. She was thorough and helped represent us well. She ensured that all our concerns were addressed and connected use to the appropriate vendors to help assuage our concerns re: the property. She was available to us and responsive to our calls. We would recommend Ashley and Bramlett.

Paul K.

We worked with Shaun Duffenbach to buy our first home! We connected with Shaun through a referral who set the bar high, but Shaun exceeded it! As a first time home buyer, we were looking for an agent who knew the process and the market. Shaun went above and beyond to connect with properties and agents to make sure our offers got seen!  Ultimately we were successful on one of our first offers made with Shaun!

Marta Bab’yak

Kristin Wellborn was an outstanding realtor to work with, particularly as a first time buyer in this crazy Austin market. She always had an informed, insightful, and honest opinion about every place we considered. Throughout the process, Kristin was also very friendly and extremely responsive. We look forward to working with her in the future.

Paulas Bhatt

My wife and I, new to Texas altogether, were extremely fortunate to be paired up with Ashley Vavasour who was just incredible, kind, and unbelievably helpful in finding us our new home. Ashley went above and beyond her duties during our search by reaching out to builders as well as listing agents to ensure that we were put in the best position for viewings , updates, and proactively provided as much information as possible on the community as well as the home. This, when you have a 2 year old and pregnant wife, saved us a ton of time and more importantly, helped us establish a trust with Ashley that we haven’t had with any agents we worked with in the past back in NY. Not to mention, on multiple occasions, she entertained our 2 year old while we chatted with agents and builders 🙂 I would highly recommend using Eric Bramlett Residential services and if you are able to, definitely ask for Ashley to be your agent. In addition to being highly effective at what she does, Ashley is also just a great person to get to know and has a wide network that can be useful when you want to get work done for your new home.

Chris Perkes

Lauren took the time to guide us through the murkiness of first-time homebuying, and we could not have asked for a better tour-guide. Her ability to distill the key steps and timelines during the process was invaluable, and helped us feel secure in our decision-making.