Idaho Mortgage Lender: 15 Tips For Finding The Right Lender

October 7, 2019
Last updated:
March 27, 2024
In This Article

Are you ready to buy a home in Idaho? If so, you may be anxious to start browsing online listings and visiting homes in person. Buying a home can be an exciting time, but it can also be an overwhelming one, especially when you consider the expense of a home.

Because of such a high price tag on a home purchase, you definitely want to take your time to make sure you make the right purchasing decision. And that’s exactly why it’s important for you to have a chat with a mortgage lender before you even set your sight on the first online listing.

15 Tips for Finding the Right Lender

Here are some things you need to do before you choose an Idaho mortgage lender to guide you on your home buying journey:

  1. Identify your main goal.

    What is the long term plan for your home? Will it be your primary residence, a vacation ro second home, or a chance to make some extra income by using it as a rental property?

  2. Decide what type of mortgage you need

    The mortgage type you get will largely depend on whether you are buying the home as a private residence or for rental income, as the parameters for a loan are stricter for the latter.

  3. Know your credit score

    Access your credit score and report for each of the main reporting agencies without charge at annually, and don’t apply for new credit while house-hunting.

  4. Improve your credit score

    See bad info on your credit report? The time to dispute it is now. Also, start using unused cards for routine purchases and pay them off monthly, and reduce high balances on frequently sued cards.

  5. Search for reviews

    Look at online reviews for Idaho mortgage lenders. Ask lenders on your short list for testimonials.

  6. Demand transparency

    Your lender should be open and honest about how they arrive at their offered mortgage rates and any fees they charge.

  7. Familiarize yourself with lending rates

    Many mortgage rates posted online are reserved for lenders with large down payments and top-shelf credit. Make sure your offer takes into account your specific financials and credit.

  8. Seek a referral

    Ask friends, family, and your agent about what lender they have had a good experience with. At Sammamish, we’re proud that most of our customers are repeat or referral business.

  9. Use your common sense

    Don’t be tempted by offers for a loan that you know deep down you can’t afford. Disclose all of your monthly expenses to your lender so we can help you get the best loan, not the biggest.

  10. Gather your paperwork

    We have a secure online portal so you can upload documents including:

    • Tax returns
    • 401(k) or investment statements
    • Pay stubs
    • Bank statements

    Plan to go a few months back (or weeks if you get paid weekly) and don’t forget to include joint accounts.

  11. Rein in your spending habits

    Your lender may ask for documentation of spending that is unusual, so track everything and be prepared to account for every penny. This is a good way to identify needless spending and cut the fat, too.

  12. Look at a lot of different programs

    Choose your loan program carefully. Remember that you can pay less than 20% as a down payment — most people do. You’ll just need to come up with private mortgage insurance (PMI) in most cases.

  13. Ask about the fees

    Your fees should be clearly listed in a Loan Estimate which should closely match the Closing Disclosure. You’ll pay most of these at closing.

  14. Check for additional costs

    Ask to negotiate away any  “loan origination” fees, and get ready to pay HOA fees separately if you buy into a community with a homeowners association.

  15. Push for expertise and customer service

    You deserve the best. At Sammamish Mortgage, you will receive expert, unbiased guidance, and offer online mortgage application and pre-approval for a smooth mortgage loan experience.

Idaho Mortgage Rates

Digging Deeper Into Preparing to Buy a Home

Want to know more about critical steps in the home buying process? Here’s more detailed information.

Find Out How Much You Can Afford in Idaho

Imagine beginning the house-hunting process, visiting countless homes in Idaho, and finally falling in love with one or two. You may be so enamored with a particular home that you’re ready and willing to put in an offer right away. Your real estate agent helps you draft up your offer and finalizes all the details, and after a little back-and-forth negotiation, the seller accepts your offer.

At this point, you call your mortgage lender to help you deal with your home loan application. But while you think you’re close to celebrating a new home purchase, you find out that your finances aren’t enough to qualify for a mortgage to cover the cost of the home’s purchase price.

This is an extremely frustrating and disappointing scenario, and it happens all too often. Millennial homebuyers especially can get so caught up in the excitement of buying a home that they just assume that they can afford a home within a certain price range, only to find out that they can’t. Their lenders will end up telling them that they can only afford homes in lower price ranges, which means the entire house hunting process needs to start all over again.

You can avoid this situation by speaking with a mortgage specialist long before you start searching for homes on the market. By doing so, you can give the mortgage broker a chance to scope out your entire financial profile to determine an exact price range that you can afford. With this information in hand, you can focus only on homes that meet your financial criteria so you can avoid any disappointment that can ensue if you don’t discuss your mortgage options with a lender first.

Getting Pre-Approved

It’s highly recommended that buyers get pre-approved for a mortgage before they start searching for a new home. Not only can a pre-approval letter help you determine how much you would be able to get approved for, but it can also get the final mortgage approval process moving along faster after you’ve put in an offer on a home and it’s accepted.

At this point, your mortgage lender will already have all of your paperwork to grant you pre-approval. How long does a pre-approval take? It depends on if you’re working with an efficient lender. When the final offer and terms are accepted by both parties, final mortgage approval can proceed a little faster, as long as nothing has changed in your financial life.

It should be noted that a pre-approval does not guarantee loan approval. As just mentioned, any changes can impact whether or not you get final mortgage approval. For instance, a job change, pay cut, or low appraisal on the home could impact whether or not you can secure a mortgage to buy a home.

Further, pre-approvals don’t last forever. They typically come with an expiry date, which means you’d have to get pre-approved all over again if that expiry date comes and goes.

What You’ll Be Paying in Closing Costs

When it comes to buying a house in Idaho, the mortgage isn’t the only thing you have to worry about paying. There are also closing costs to have to pay, which typically add up to anywhere between 2% to 5% of the purchase price of the home. As such, it’s important to make sure that you save up enough to cover these costs, which are typically due when the transaction closes.

Speaking with a mortgage lender before you start the housing hunting process can help you determine what these costs are, which can help you be better informed and be able to budget more effectively to ensure that you have the funds available come closing time.

The Different Loan Products

In the world of mortgages, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all product. Every buyer is different, which means there are plenty of loan products available to suit each person’s needs. Depending on your exact financial situation, one loan product may be better suited for you than another.

For example, there are fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages out there, which simply has to do with the interest rate you get and how committed you are to that rate. In the case of a fixed-rate mortgage, for instance, the rate you are locked in at would remain the same throughout the entire term or until you refinance. An adjustable-rate mortgage, on the other hand, comes with a rate that fluctuates at various intervals throughout the life of the loan.

There are also conventional mortgages and government-backed mortgages to consider. The former is not insured by the government and typically requires a minimum of 20% down payment.

Government-backed mortgages, on the other hand, allow much smaller down payments, which means they can be a more affordable option for you if coming up with a sizable down payment is a real struggle. These home loan products also allow borrowers to have lower credit scores, making them easier to get approved for.

There are so many options to consider when it comes to mortgages, which is why you’ll want to talk to a mortgage lender sooner rather than later to see what your options are and determine which is best for you.

Standing Out to Idaho Sellers

If you want to appear more serious and qualified to sellers, having the paperwork in the works with a lender can definitely help. This is particularly helpful in a competitive buyers’ market where you’re competing with other buyers who may be vying for the same home in Idaho.

In many cases, bidding wars and multiple offer situations may arise, which means you’d be bidding against other buyers at the same time. In a case like this, you’ll certainly need to take steps to differentiate yourself from these other buyers to encourage the seller to look your way. Moreover, showing them that you’ve already pre-qualified for a mortgage to buy a home at that price point can certainly help.

With a pre-approval letter in hand, you may be able to impress sellers and stand out to them, which can hopefully nudge them in your direction.

If finding and buying a new home in Idaho are on the agenda for you, be sure to take the right steps in the appropriate order, and that usually starts with a visit to your mortgage lender. Talking to your lender before you start looking for a new home to buy can help ensure that you’re in the right financial position to put in an offer and will make sure you’re looking at homes that fall within your budget.

Loan Limit Basics

If you take out a home loan that is higher than a certain limit, your mortgage will be considered a “jumbo loan.” That’s because of loan limits, which are dollar limits placed on mortgages. For conforming loans, loan limits are caps that are placed on loans that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae will purchase or guarantee.

For FHA loans, loan limits are dollar caps on loans that the FHA backs. VA loan limits have been eliminated. But some borrowers may still be subject to them if they currently have a couple of VA loans or have defaulted on one in the past.

Loan limits are assigned to every county in the country and usually increase at the start of every year to reflect the growth in home prices.

Check out our mortgage loan limit tool for conventional, FHA, and VA loans.

Get an Instant Mortgage Rate Quote Today

Why Sammamish Mortgage?

Sammamish Mortgage is a local mortgage loan company that has been serving clients since 1992. We support borrowers all across the Pacific Northwest, including Washington, California, Oregon, Idaho, and Colorado. We are proud to offer a wide variety of mortgage programs and products with flexible qualification criteria. Please contact us if you have any questions or are ready to apply for a home loan.

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