How to buy a house

How to buy a house

May 5, 2020

Tagged As: Mortgage & Loans

So you’ve decided you want to buy a house.

Now it’s time to get down to the details. Here’s an overview of some of the most important things you need to consider about getting a mortgage – which lets you raise the funds to buy a home!

If you have more questions, browse our Mortgage FAQs or get in touch with a lender near you. We’ll be happy to help get you on the path to home ownership in no time!


What you need to know about mortgages

There are a few different types of loans, and it’s important to find the right one that suits your financial needs:


If you value stability, and making the same payments year over year, you’ll like a fixed-rate mortgage. This loan “locks in” your interest rate for a certain period of time (often five or seven years) so it won’t fluctuate with market conditions, then it will adjust with market conditions afterwards. You can also refinance your mortgage at a lower rate in the future – if you’re willing to pay loan costs again. You might end up paying a higher interest rate overall, but this loan gives you the peace of mind knowing you’ll pay the same amount each month.


Adjustable-rate mortgage loans feature a fixed rate and payment for a set period of time. Once the initial interest rate term has ended, your monthly payment adjusts with the market, and those interest rates can change nearly every day. In a time of lower interest rates, this can be highly beneficial. But it also carries risk, as future payments could become more and more unaffordable.

Several federal agencies offer loans for prospective homebuyers, including:

  • Veteran’s Affairs (VA): A mortgage made by private lenders, backed by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, which offers no-down-payment loans and less stringent credit and income requirements.
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA): A mortgage for low- to moderate-income borrowers purchasing in rural communities, which applies to many areas in Iowa. USDA loans offer 30-year fixed-rate financing with no money down.
  • Federal Housing Administration (FHA): If you need a mortgage, but your credit score isn’t high enough to qualify for a conventional loan, you might be able to get a loan from the FHA. If you qualify, you can pay a down payment as small as 3.5% of the home price. However, you’ll also need to pay an annual insurance premium, which often makes these loans more expensive than their traditional counterparts over time.


This likely doesn’t apply to you as a first-time home buyer, unless you’ve got a significant sum of cash that you’re eager to spend on a home! Jumbo mortgages are those that exceed the limit on traditional mortgages, which in 2020 is $510,400. If you do need a jumbo loan, you’ll have to prove that you can assume the risk. That means extensive documentation to prove you have enough savings, a high credit score (700+), and a down payment of at least 10 to 20 percent.

How do I know if I qualify for a mortgage loan?

Learn More

What is an escrow account?

Learn More

What if I’m turned down for a loan?

Learn More

Should I work with a real estate agent?

Learn More

Is a home an investment? 

Learn More

What kind of homeowners insurance will I need, and how does it work?

Learn More

Our mortgage lenders have helped prospective homeowners like you find the right loan for decades. Get in touch with a lender or schedule an appointment online to learn more.