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
First Time Home Buyers CLICK HERE
Relocating To Austin? CLICK HERE

2100+ Client reviews!

Stacy was wonderful to work with!! We moved back to Texas in early June and met with Stacy Zellner about what we were looking for. We did not want to live in Austin and were looking at smaller cities between Austin and Houston. Stacy was very straightforward about making sure we visited the cities first before making a decision. We had a specific timeframe to find a new home and Stacy kept in constant contact with us by setting up automated searches and responding right away to any requests we had about cities or specific property information. She took us to multiple small cities around Austin and gave us an abundance of information to help narrow down our decision. Her knowledge of Austin’s surrounding cities was exactly what we needed. Stacy was always available whenever we had questions big or small and her expertise was priceless during the closing process. We are new to Central Texas and are ecstatic to have found the professional real estate services we needed through Stacy. There is no doubt we will refer her to our friends and will definitely use her in our future property searches.

It sold ! The pictures were outstanding, like a work of art. I am convinced their staging and pictures contributed to it selling. Will, our realtor, was highly knowledgeable and great to work with.

I worked with Becky Welch for buying single home in Manor, TX. She is very friendly, knowledgeable and responsive. Really recommend her to work with her if you looking for buying/ selling or renting home property.

From our very first conversation, Linda Baddour established her credibility in the Austin market. Great insights from day one really helped us build comfort towards eventually making a decision in a very challenging environment. Linda always made herself available, promptly replied to all of our questions with pointed and useful advice (and we threw some quite difficult inquiries her way), and never pressured us into making moves at any point in the process. Even while we were early stage and apprehensive to explore buying further, when we did find a property we wanted to look at or had questions come up, Linda treated us with the same respect and devoted just as much time as if we were imminent buyers. After initial contracts were signed, she walked us through every step of the process each week, resulting in an early close. I was continually surprised at how smooth everything felt despite hearing about other friends/families challenges in that time window. Part of this brings me to yet another point, which relates to Linda’s connections in the marketplace. The lender we ultimately arrived upon was critical to the early close and have been great to work with so far – one of many excellent resources we tapped via Linda.

Stacy Zellner and the Bramlett Residential team are extremely helpful. Stacy will take note of your taste and make the house hunt mission a lot easier for you. Stacy was my trusted advisor throughout the entire journey of making my first home purchase.

My husband and I were a little concerned when we decided to buy a house, we have never done this before and mostly everyone finds it a very stressful process, but we were very lucky to have Vicki helping us through out this whole time. Vicki works for Bramlett Residential and was referred to us by a friend that she also helped a few years back. We were not living in Austin so we set up a call with Vicki where she explained us the whole process and referred us some local lending agencies we could reach out to in advance to make sure the process would go smoothly. I liked Vicki on the first call, she is very professional, has a good vibe and a genuine interest in helping people. We came to Austin for only a week and half to see some houses and Vicki made this whole process so easy and smooth for us. Vicki not only booked the viewings for all the places we wanted to see in a good order of location for us, she also provided a full background, details and specifications of each house.
She was always responsive and well informed to keep us updated. We landed an offer on our favorite house and this would not have been possible without Vicki to help us with the offer and negotiations. I’d highly refer Vicki to any friend/person looking to buy a house.

It was a real pleasure working with Becky. We weren’t sure what we were looking for since we are from out of town. Becky was extremely patient and made the process stress-free. She was extremely responsive.Becky truly understands how to put her clients at ease. She made the process incredibly easy and her thorough knowledge, not only of general real estate, but of the local market made it a great pleasure throughout the whole process.

Eric was instrumental in helping me purchase my first home. Eric is not only a responsive, informative, and knowledgeable agent – he is also a very patient and kind person. I never felt rushed, and I could at all times tell that Eric was first and foremost concerned with finding me the right home – which he did. Eric helped me navigate a difficult listing agent, an unprecedented market, and a lot of firsts. I couldn’t be more grateful to him. Thank you, Eric!!

I was referred to Crystal Hirst by a close friend who is a real estate agent in Dallas. Crystal is awesome – she immediately set up a call to discuss what I was looking for home wise, price ranges, and all other aspects. She was able to setup some immediate showings of places I was interested in and had a flexible schedule to make any time frame work for my schedule. She is incredibly responsive and has a great overall personality and demeanor. Additionally, she helped me look into new construction communities and we decided that was the route for me. She helped me thorough out the entire process, outlining important aspects to review during all stages, helped with lending details, and made closing incredibly easy. I’ll definitely recommend her to family, friends, and others who are looking to buy or sell!

Yolanda was amazing and kept me on top every step of the way! She is a beautiful soul and made me feel good about my home transition and ensuring I received top dollar for the sale of my home! I highly recommend her.

We can’t speak highly enough of our experience with Yolanda. We were first-time homebuyers with very little knowledge about how to find the right place. We met with a couple of realtors before Yolanda, but we knew instantly that she was the one for us. She is honest and she really helped to take the pressure off of us. In short, she was always on our side working to make our house purchase as simple and successful as possible.

My Fiancé and I have been in our house for 3 months now and we couldn’t be happier! Yolanda was amazing to work with throughout the entire house hunting and buying process. She was available anytime we needed her whether that be scheduling last minute home showings, answering questions or communicating with our construction team! As first time homebuyers, Yolanda was a dream to work with and helped us understand everything throughout the entire process, even past closing! We would highly recommend anyone to use Yolanda as your realtor! We couldn’t have done it without her!