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    The First Few Steps for Homebuyers to Take

    Together, Jim Maurer from Ruoff Mortgage and I will provide some must-know information for homebuyers entering our spring or summer market.


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    What steps will ensure that your home buying experience goes smoothly this spring or summer? With the help of my guest, Jim Maurer from Ruoff Mortgage, we’ll answer that question for you today.

    Without question, the first step is to get pre-approved by Jim or another lending professional. This is as simple as filling out an application. 80% of applicants call Jim directly and he receives their application over the phone; online applicants make up about 10%, and the remaining 10% meet with Jim in-person.

    For the quickest results, calling him directly is the way to go—on average, he can process applications over the phone in just five minutes.  

    From there, Jim will do conduct a credit check. If the applicant’s score isn’t up to par, it becomes a two-tiered check, whereby Jim will turn to a credit analysis. This method will illuminate what steps the applicant will need to take and provide a timeline for how they can be on track to qualify for a home loan. Though they may not be eligible at that time, this will help them chart a course for qualifying in the future.

    On average, Jim can process applications over the phone in just five minutes.

    Jim also gave us some insight into what qualifies as an approvable credit score: With an FHA loan, an applicant can put 5% down and qualify with a score as low as 580. With a 3.5% down payment, they’ll be required to have a 600 or better.

    As for other programs, an Indiana Housing Next Home Program loan, a VA loan, and a conventional loan will require scores of 660, 620, and 700 or higher, respectively.

    Another question Jim is no stranger to is in regard to the kind of a down payment buyers will need to come up with. On a conventional loan, he says, you’ll only need to come up with 3%, an FHA is typically 3.5%, and both USDA and VA loans require no money down.

    The Indiana Housing New Home Program is a special grant-funded program Jim participates in. This program asks for 3.5% down, but is modeled after 100% financing, so the payment is actually covered by a state grant. Once the homeowner has lived in a property for two years, the grant is entirely forgiven, and there are no locational limitations within the boundary lines of the state of Indiana.

    If you’re a buyer who’d like to be pre-approved for a home loan, go ahead and give Jim a call on his cell phone at 812-499-1424. And, as always, for any other questions related to real estate, please reach out to my team and me by phone at 812-777-4611. We’d be happy to help!

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