5 things people get wrong about the homebuying process

5 things people get wrong about the homebuying process
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This content was created in partnership with Wyndham Capital Mortgage.

Buying a home is hard, especially now. There’s a steep learning curve and you’ll likely have a lot of questions, especially if you’re a first-time buyer.

You can’t be expected to know everything about buying a home – that’s what expert realtors, lenders and lawyers are for. Here are five common knowledge gaps you’ll need to understand so you can be ahead of the curve when it’s time to buy a home.

Make time to do your research

Even if Zillow is your favorite form of social media, you probably still have a lot to learn before you buy your first house (and it’s hard to know what you don’t know).


There are hundreds of mortgage loan options available for specific financial scenarios, credit ratings and down payment options. Lending products are always evolving.

“The best way to determine your mortgage loan options is to have an open and honest conversation with an experienced and qualified mortgage consultant who can help navigate your scenario,” says Mark Taylor, Loan Officer at Wyndham Capital Mortgage (NMLS#1504731).

Learn more:

Don’t underestimate your mortgage lender

Many homebuyers see their realtors as the ultimate source of information. And while they do know a lot, there are some questions that would be better answered by a mortgage lender.

In the survey, 53% of respondents in the South said a realtor was the person they would go to first when looking to purchase a home. While there’s nothing wrong with that, a realtor can only get you so far. A mortgage lender can help you:

  • Determine how much home you can afford.
  • Estimate your monthly payments.
  • Put a competitive offer together.

Getting pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage is recommended before you put an offer on a house. In addition, many real estate agents might not show homes to a potential buyer until one or both of these steps are completed,” says Taylor.

Get in touch with a mortgage lender.

Understand how your credit score stacks up

You probably know that your credit score is important, but it can be hard to keep all the numbers and categories straight in regards to your mortgage.

Your credit score might help you more than you expect. In the survey, 28% of respondents in the South said that a credit score between 720 to 760 was “good” when it’s actually “excellent.”

Learn more: What credit score is needed to buy a house.

Know the difference between pre-approved and pre-qualified

Confession: I was totally guilty of this when I bought my first home. It’s an easy mistake, but one that could make the difference between buying your dream home and losing it to another offer.

According to the survey, I wasn’t alone; 23% of respondents in the South said they were “basically” the same thing.

Here’s a crash course:

  • Pre-qualified: A lender took an application with limited information and believes you should be able to successfully purchase the home.
  • Pre-approved: Documents have been provided for the lender to verify credit, liabilities, income and assets.

“Take it a step further with an upfront underwritten pre-approval like Wyndham Capital’s Priority Purchase Program. This makes for a very strong offer and very smooth experience,” says Taylor.

Learn more about the Priority Purchase Program.

Don’t sweat about 20% down

More than half (53%) of respondents in the South said that you have to put 20% down. While there are benefits to a bigger down payment, 20% definitely isn’t a prerequisite to securing a mortgage.

The required minimum down payment for a conventional mortgage loan in 2021 is actually just 3%.

Private Mortgage Insurance is one drawback to a smaller down payment as it’s usually required for anything less than 20%.

  • But, Taylor pointed out that while you’re waiting to save up 20%, “interest rates could easily increase, making the purpose a moot point since the payment could ultimately be higher anyway.”

You may be able to avoid monthly PMI (without putting 20% down) through lender-paid PMI or through a single-paid or financed premium.

Learn more: Conventional loan requirements for 2021.

Have more questions about mortgages? The pros at Wyndham Capital Mortgage can help. Schedule a free consultation today.

This content was created in partnership with Wyndham Capital Mortgage.

*Wyndham Capital Mortgage commissioned Atomik Research to run an online survey of 2,342 adults in the United States for their “Mortgage 101” survey. The margin of error fell within +/- 2 percentage points with a confidence interval of 95 percent. The fieldwork took place between March 23rd and March 29th, 2021.

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