A Q&A with Stanley White, Community Home Lending Advisor at Chase
Homeownership has long been a symbol of the American dream. Our homes often represent far more than just shelter – they’re central to family life and building strong communities.
While owning a home might be a goal for many, it can feel out of reach for those who’ve faced barriers to homeownership in the past. The good news is that many resources are available today to help people buy a home and stay there as long as they desire.
Chase Community Home Lending Advisor Stanley White shared some tips to help you buy your dream home.
1. How can homebuyers best prepare?
It really starts with building a strong foundation – getting familiar with the process and working on your credit, for example.
With credit, it’s important to know where you stand so you can make a plan to maintain, improve or build it. Generally, a higher credit score means you’ll be able to qualify for the most competitive interest rates, which could help you save significantly. You can get a copy of your credit report for free at annualcreditreport.com or check your score through your financial institution. Chase offers a free credit monitor service called Credit Journey. This site has credit goal planning along with credit monitoring.
Avoid opening or looking for any new credit cards or loans while in the process of buying a home, as the credit checks required will lower your score and increase your debt-to-income ratio.
2. What is one of the most common homebuying myths you hear from customers?
It’s a common misconception that you must put down 20% of the home price as down payment – but there are many lower down payment options available, such as Chase’s DreaMaker mortgage that could qualify you for down payments as low as 3%.
However, keep in mind that the more you pay upfront, the less your monthly mortgage payment will be. Look for online mortgage calculators or speak to a lending professional to get an idea of how different down payments could affect your mortgage.
3. Most of us know about 30-year conventional mortgages, but what are some other options?
One mortgage doesn’t fit all, and there are many options to suit all lifestyles and budgets. A 30-year conventional mortgage is most common, but you can also get a loan term of 10, 15 or 20 years.
Some mortgages have a fixed interest rate, which means it doesn’t change over the life of the loan. There are also adjustable rate mortgages, which usually offer lower interest rates in the beginning, but adjust at certain intervals over time, typically increasing your overall payment.
Regardless of the option you choose, it’s a good idea to lock in your rate. Interest rates can rise and fall quickly, so locking in your rate may help you avoid paying a higher interest rate. Ask your lender about offerings like Chase’s new Lock and Shop, which allows buyers to lock in their mortgage rate for 90 days while they shop around for a house.
Anything else you would add?
Yes! Look Take the time to research financial resources that may be available to you. Many state and local governments offer first-time homebuyer programs. Keep in mind, lender-backed financial resources may be available too. A good way to get started with seeing what you may qualify for is to check out the Homebuyer Assistance Finder at Chase.com/affordable. It lets you see the financial resources available in your area.
The bottom line
Starting the homebuying process can feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it alone. There are many tools, resources and professionals dedicated to helping you achieve the goal of homeownership.
For more tips and information on home buying, visit chase.com/mortgage, and try out the Homebuyer Assistance Finder at chase.com/affordable.