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Your first mortgage

Buying your first home is a major decision: one that requires planning, preparation and research. As the single largest purchasing decision in most people’s lives, it’s worth taking some time to understand the mortgage process.

Here are some quick and helpful steps you need to take before getting your first mortgage:


Evaluate your work history

A lender will need to know your job history, and it will be a major factor in whether you qualify for a loan. If you worked continuously for two or more years, you are considered to have steady employment. However, if you worked less than two years at the same job, the mortgage lender will look for an explanation. So, be prepared as this will impact your eligibility.


Evaluate your credit score and history

How you paid your bills in the past indicates how you will pay them in the future. When you apply for a mortgage, you will be asked to list all your debts, the amount of your monthly payments, and the number of months or years left to pay on the debts. It’s important to disclose all debts and any difficulty you may have had in repaying them.


Save for a down payment

When you buy a home, you will need money for a down payment and any associated transactional fees or “closing costs.” The amount of the down payment varies from state to state, but in Hawaii the typical down payment is approximately 20% of the purchase price, as well as closing costs and reserves.


Assess how much of a mortgage you can afford

The amount of your monthly payment depends upon the amount you borrow, the interest rate, and the repayment period or “term.” If you pay rent each month, you have a general sense of how much in monthly mortgage payments you can financially support.


You have done your research and you are ready to buy a home

If you have read all of the information above, received a copy of your credit report, done the calculations, and have the down payment you need, you are ready to begin the process of buying a home. You will want to start by making an appointment with a mortgage lender to begin the process, as well as a licensed real estate agent to assist you in your search.