Life in the USA
Mortgages and Closings
Once you find your perfect home you will need to get a mortgage. A mortgage is a secured loan on the property. If you don't pay, the bank will foreclose, seizing the house so it can sell it and try to get its money back. When you apply for a mortgage the bank will want every detail of your life and a copy of every document relating to money. A good credit rating makes the whole process easier. Many types of mortgages exist, so shop around. Many lenders charge “points,” one time fees for making the loan, in addition to the interest you'll have to pay over the course of the mortgage loan. Personal financial magazines such as Money often have excellent articles about mortgages and mortgage strategy. As the economy changes and interest rates go up and down, the mortgage picture changes also. More and more, Internet sites are springing up that allow you to get the best deal on a home mortgage.
House Closings. Once you have the right mortgage for you, you will have to “close” on the house. You'll pay fees for a title search, which makes sure the seller really owns the house and that no one else has any rights, or “liens,” on the property. A lawyer will coordinate this. The lawyer may charge a high fee and seem to do nothing or very little, but you need a lawyer's knowledge and expertise to make sure no problems come up. Bring a full checkbook to the closing, since closing costs can be substantial.
Next Section: Real Property Tax
American Community: Chapter Home
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