What Is a Mortgage?

Mortgages are a type of home loan in which you borrow money to purchase property. You agree to repay the loan, including interest, over an agreed-upon period (usually 30 or 15 years).

Conventional mortgages are the most popular type, meeting U.S. government underwriting standards that require a credit score of at least 620 and down payment of 3% or more. These loans can be acquired from many lenders such as banks, credit unions and mortgage companies alike.

Different mortgages come with their own requirements and interest rates. To find the ideal loan for you, consult a qualified mortgage broker who can help compare lenders and find one offering you the most competitive rate.

Your monthly mortgage payment consists of the principal amount on your loan, interest, taxes and insurance payments. In some cases, lenders may also charge for an escrow account that holds money to cover mortgage, property tax and homeowners insurance bills.

Amortization: This process of repaying a loan involves making regular, equal monthly payments over its life. Part of each payment goes towards covering interest costs, while another portion goes toward decreasing your principal balance.

Your monthly mortgage payment depends on a few factors, including the size of your down payment and loan term, as well as other elements like whether you have an adjustable-rate or fixed-rate loan and your income level. A higher down payment can reduce costs significantly while increasing equity in your home over time.

The cost of your mortgage depends on the loan type and escrow account your lender sets up for you. With an adjustable-rate loan, your monthly payment may increase as interest rates rise; on the other hand, a fixed-rate loan offers some protection from this risk but may lead to future increases in payments.

When applying for a mortgage, your lender will assess your income, debt-to-income ratio and credit score to determine if you are suitable. They also review any financial history you might have, such as any debts or liens.

If you are a first-time homeowner or have difficulty qualifying for a traditional mortgage, an FHA loan or VA loan might be the perfect solution. These loans are designed to assist those with low credit scores or bad credit get approved for mortgage loans.

Additionally, you should inquire your lender about a loan modification which can help restructure your mortgage to make it more manageable. A modification could reduce monthly payments or extend the length of the loan.

Your lender can negotiate with the bank that owns your mortgage to see if they will allow you to defer some payments or get a lower interest rate. These options may be beneficial if you are facing financial difficulties such as job loss or changes in living expenses.