Located near the Canadian border in the state of Washington, Bellingham is a beautiful coastal city that serves as a port for ferries heading to and from Alaska. It’s a great place for those who love the great outdoors, especially people who love hiking and gazing at incredible landscapes thanks to the likes of Mount Baker. Bellingham is one of the best places in Washington to live, as it offers residents a unique mix of urban and suburban life.
Bellingham’s real estate market is very hot right now, according to real estate research firm Zillow. Prices in the city have increased quite a bit over the past year, giving homeowners additional equity in their homes as they increase in value. If you’re hoping to buy in Bellingham in the near future, you’ll want to find yourself a reputable mortgage company to help you secure the home loan required to finance your home purchase.
In this article, we’ll go over the housing market in this city and offer some useful tips on finding the best mortgage company in Bellingham to team up with.
Overview of the Bellingham Real Estate Market
As of August 2020, Bellingham has a median home value of approximately $469,500. That’s fairly close to the statewide average of $428,900, but it’s slightly higher. That said, it’s a relatively affordable price point considering some of the nearby centers that have average home prices roughly double than that of Bellingham.
Seattle, for instance, is just over an hour drive from Bellingham, but comes with a steep average price tag of about $767,900. Given this, Bellingham’s average home prices are pretty affordable in comparison.
Considering Bellingham’s average home price, a 10% down payment would come to $46,950. Of course, you can make a bigger or smaller down payment if you so choose, as long as you put down the minimum required for the mortgage program you apply for.
For example, the minimum 3.5% down payment required for an FHA loan would equal $16,432, and a 20% down payment for a conventional mortgage (which would allow you to avoid paying for private mortgage insurance) would translate to $93,900.
In addition to the mortgage product that you go with, your down payment amount will also depend on the Bellingham mortgage company that you decide to work with. That’s why you should take the time to ensure that the right choice is made when it comes to the mortgage company you work with.
Tip #1: Inquire With People in Your Circle
One of the best and most reliable ways of finding a great mortgage company in Bellingham, WA is by asking people who you know. Whether it’s your friends, family members, or people at work, inquiring with those who have already had some experience with a particular lender can help. And if they were involved in a transaction that’s more similar to the type of deal you plan to make, that’s even better.
When you speak with people within your network, ask about things such as how the lender communicated with them, how quickly they worked to get them the mortgage they needed, and what types of mortgage products they were able to offer. The more detail you can get, the more of an informed decision you can make about whether or not the lender recommended is well suited for you.
Tip #2: Verify the Mortgage Company’s Credentials
Most lenders in Bellingham are credible, but there are some sub-par lenders out there that you will want to stay away from. The mortgage company that you settle with should absolutely have all the qualifications and licenses required to do their job, and a simple way to verify this is to simply ask the lender what their credentials are.
There are also a few sources you can check with to make sure the lender has the experience and training needed to help you with your mortgage, such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or the National Association of Mortgage Brokers. You can also check with the Nationwide Multi-state Licensing System Registry to see if the company is properly licensed in the state of Washington.
Tip #3: Ask Detailed Questions
You will want to know everything about the mortgage company you may potentially be working with, and the best way to do that is to ask all the right questions. Here are some things you may want to ask the Bellingham mortgage company:
- What mortgage programs are offered and available to me?
- What interest rate can you offer?
- What other fees will I have to pay?
- How much of a down payment amount do I need to make?
- Are there any down payment assistance programs available?
- What are the closing costs like?
- What mortgage terms are offered?
- Are mortgages originated in-house?
The answers that the mortgage company provides will tell you a lot about their professionalism and level of expertise, while also giving you an idea of what it will be like to work with them.
Tip #4: Compare Interest Rates
The interest rate that you are given when you take out a mortgage will directly determine the overall cost of the mortgage. As such, you’ll want to do your best to secure the lowest interest rate possible, and one way to do that is to compare rates among various mortgage companies.
Luckily, doing so is easy thanks to the internet. You can quickly and easily pull up a variety of mortgage companies in Bellingham and compare rates that they offer. However, it’s important to also consider any other fees that each company charges, as these can sometimes overshadow any savings you might get with a lower rate.
Tip #5: Give Your Credit Score a Boost
Your credit score plays a key role in your ability to get approved for a mortgage. It is also an important factor in the interest rate that your mortgage company offers you. Considering this, it’s in your best interests to ensure that your credit score is healthy before you apply for a home loan with a Bellingham mortgage company.
One of the first things you should do is pull your credit report from one of the major credit bureaus (which you can do for free once a year) and take a look at what your score is. If it’s on the lower end, consider taking steps to improve it, which you can do by doing the following:
- Look for mistakes on your credit report and have them rectified
- Make every bill payment on time and in full every month
- Don’t spend any more than 30% of your credit limit on your credit card
- Make more than the minimum payment on your credit card
- Keep old credit accounts open
- Don’t apply for too many loans or credit accounts within a short period of time
Get More Info on Bellingham Home Loans From Sammamish Mortgage
There’s a lot to know about mortgages in Bellingham and the mortgage companies that provide them. At Sammamish Mortgage, we can provide you with all the information required about home loans without the need to do any leg work yourself. We’ve been helping borrowers all over Washington, Idaho, Colorado, and Oregon apply for mortgages since 1992, and we’d love to help you too. We offer plenty of mortgage programs with flexible qualification criteria, and we would love to speak to you about how we can help. Contact us today to get the info you need about home loans needed to buy a home in Bellingham!