Summary: Are you looking to buy a home in Tacoma, WA? Unless you plan to buy a home in an all-cash transaction, you’ll need a home loan to finance this big purchase. And in order to get a mortgage, you’ll need to work with a mortgage company to put you in touch with the right lender that can provide you with the home loan program that best suits your situation. This article will provide some helpful tips to find the best mortgage company in Tacoma.
Located within Puget Sound in Washington State, Tacoma is a bustling city just south of Seattle. It’s considered one of the most livable and walkable cities in the entire nation thanks to its continued revitalization over the past three decades. Known for its plethora of art and history museums and a revamped waterfront, Tacoma has become a desirable place to live, work, and play.
Right now, Tacoma’s housing market is considered very hot. There is a ton of demand for housing in the city, and the price increases are reflecting this. Considering this, buyers will find themselves in fierce competition for homes. Although the price of homes is relatively low compared to other nearby cities in the state and nationwide, Tacoma’s prices have already spiked recently and are expected to do the same over the next year.
Considering the current state of the real estate market in Tacoma, WA, you would be wise to partner up with a seasoned mortgage company that is familiar with the area and can offer you many different mortgage programs.
Finding the best mortgage company in Tacoma will take the hassle out of buying a home and can help ensure a successful transaction. When you finally find the perfect home after the house-hunting process, you’ll want to have a trusted and reputable mortgage company by your side ready to help you get the mortgage you need to finalize the transaction.
This article will offer you some insight into the real estate market in Tacoma and provide you with a few helpful tips to find the best mortgage company to work with.
Overview of the Spokane Real Estate Market
The average home price in Tacoma is $348,100 as of early 2020. Compared to the cost of homes in other nearby cities, like Seattle and Bellevue, Tacoma’s home prices can be considered very reasonable and affordable. In Seattle, for instance, the median home price is currently $755,600, which is more than double that of Tacoma. The average home price in Tacoma is also lower than the statewide median of $422,400, so it’s a relatively affordable city to buy a home in Washington state.
As noted earlier, the real estate market in Tacoma is considered “very hot” right now, according to real estate research firm Zillow. Home prices have spiked 7.7% over the past 12 months and are expected to increase another 5.6% over the next year.
The average down payment on a home in Tacoma – based on the median home price and a 10% down payment amount – would be $34,810. Of course, the down payment amount can vary and be as low as $12,183 based on the FHA loan minimum of 3.5%. It can also be as much as $69,620 based on a 20% down payment needed for a conventional home loan.
Your down payment amount will also be influenced by the mortgage company in Tacoma that you choose to work with, which is one of the many reasons why it’s important to make the right choice on where you get your mortgage from.
Tip #1: Give Your Credit Score a Boost
When you apply for a mortgage, your lender will look at many aspects of your financial health, and your credit score is one of them. Your credit score is a snapshot of your financial profile and history and gives your mortgage company and lender an idea of whether or not you would be a risk.
A good credit score is usually indicative of a person who has been responsible with their finances and credit, and is a reflection of payments made on time and in full every billing cycle. On the other hand, a low credit score is usually indicative of someone who has not been responsible with their payments and credit, and would be considered more of a risk.
If your credit score is healthy, you stand a much better chance of getting approved for a mortgage. Not only that, but the terms and interest rate you would be offered would be more attractive.
But if your credit score is on the lower end of the spectrum, not only do you risk being charged a much higher interest rate, but you also risk not being able to get approved at all. If your credit score is lower than it should be, consider taking the time to improve it. There are many ways to do this, including the following:
- Make all bill payments on time
- Spend no more than 30% of your credit limit on your credit card
- Make more than your minimum payments on your credit card every month
- Don’t apply for too many loans or credit accounts in a short period of time
Giving your credit score a boost will open up more opportunities in your financial life, including securing a mortgage with the best terms and lowest rates.
Related: Check Your Credit Score for Free
Tip #2: Ask the Right Questions
Narrow your choices of mortgage companies by asking some of the tough questions. The answers you get will help you make the right choice on who to work with. Some questions you might want to ask include:
- How do you communicate with clients?
- How quickly do you reply to messages?
- What is the turnaround time on pre-approvals and closing?
- What lender fees do you charge? (These can include loan origination fees, appraisal fees, application fees, and so forth)
- Are these fees added to the mortgage or paid upfront?
- What are the down payment requirements?
- What interest rates do you offer?
- What types of home loan programs do you provide?
- What will my mortgage obligations be?
- What down payment assistance programs are available to me?
- What mortgage payment schedules do you offer?
The answers that the mortgage companies provide you with should be comprehensive. If you get a vague answer, you should probably look elsewhere.
Tip #3: Compare Interest Rates
Comparing mortgage programs from one lender to the next is important, and there are many factors that should be assessed before you make your decision on who to work with. But perhaps one of the most important things that should be looked at are the interest rates charged.
Luckily, the internet makes it very easy for buyers to be able to obtain rate quotes from various lenders and compare them side-by-side to each other. Doing this is a crucial step in the process of picking a mortgage company in Tacoma, as it could mean the difference of tens of thousands of dollars or more over the life of your mortgage.
Of course, the rates quoted should be weighed along with the other fees that may be charged with a particular mortgage program. For instance, one mortgage product may offer a lower rate, but the fees associated with completing the mortgage may be a lot higher than a mortgage product with a higher rate but much lower fees. Do some number crunching to make sure the mortgage product you choose really is the more affordable option when all is said and done.
The point here is that it is important to examine the mortgage interest rates offered by Tacoma mortgage companies you are considering before you make your final decision.
Tip #4: Get Recommendations and Check Online Reviews
While not all online reviews are necessarily reliable or truthful, many of them are. It just depends on the source of the reviews that you look at. What you want is a mortgage company in Tacoma that can provide you with impeccable customer service in addition to being able to offer you the right mortgage product for your situation. And online reviews may be able to give you an idea of what it would be like to work with specific mortgage companies.
Google reviews tend to be rather reliable. Spend some time going through reviews on reliable sites to give you an idea about how other clients have felt about their experiences.
It should be noted that online reviews should be taken with a grain of salt, as many people who are more motivated to write reviews are those who are unhappy with their experience. Online reviews are quick and simple to post, so anyone can do it. Keep that in mind when reading reviews, especially the negative ones.
Rather than putting too much weight on one recommendation, try to get a general sense of how borrowers feel by looking at many reviews of the same mortgage company. Sometimes certain are right, and other times they aren’t. So use this tactic as a component of your overall strategy to find a mortgage company in Tacoma rather than putting too much focus and weight on it.
Tip #5: Ask if Discount Points Makes Sense
Check with the mortgage company and inquire if buying discount points to reduce your interest rate is a good idea. By buying points, you would have to pay a certain amount of interest upfront in exchange for a reduced interest rate on your home loan. If you plan to stay out in your new home for the long haul, this might make sense.
Get More Info About Mortgages in Tacoma
There is a lot to know about home loans, and it’s hard to find out everything you need to know from just one article. Your best bet is to speak directly with one of the mortgage specialists at Sammamish Mortgage. Serving the Pacific Northwest since 1992, we have extensive knowledge of home loans in Tacoma, WA. We offer many mortgage programs to borrowers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Colorado, and we encourage you to give us a call today to get up-to-date about mortgages before you make the leap into homeownership!