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Our most common questions, answered
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Get qualified for a mortgage quickly

It usually takes 5-10 minutes to complete the process online.

We'll need your:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Social security number
  • Estimated annual income
  • Rent payment amount
  • Desired property location

A pre-approval is good for 90 days. If you need more time, it's easy to extend and you can do that as many times as you want.

No. We only do a soft credit pull for pre-approvals, which has no impact on your credit score.

Typically, lenders bucket credit scores into these ranges:

  • 800-850: Excellent
  • 740-799: Very good
  • 670-739: Good
  • 580-669: Fair
  • 300-579: Poor

Technically, "good" credit would be a 670 or above. You can qualify for almost any mortgage with a 620+ and there are plenty of options available for those with a 580+.

Working with Realtors®

We work as a team to get deals done

While you certainly aren't required to, we highly recommend working with a Realtor. Real estate transactions are incredibly complex and experienced agents are well worth their commission. Also, sellers want buyers that can close quickly – not having a real estate agent is a big red flag because it usually means more risk for the seller.

We would be more than happy to recommend one of the local Realtors® that we've worked with. Please email us and we'll help you out.

First and foremost, we will only share information with your Realtor® with your consent. You can change your preference at any time. We share the following information at different points of the loan process:

  • Name and contact info (email, phone, current address) of you and any co-borrower(s)
  • Pre-approval status, limit, and conditions
  • Loan application status, amount, property address, and property value
  • Document requests and their statuses
  • Property appraisal results
  • Loan closing timeline and status
  • Any messages you send to our team related to your loan (unless you mark them as private)

We will never share your SSN, date of birth, or credit score/report with anyone.

Loan programs

We've got something for everyone

We'd be happy to help you secure a loan from any of these programs:

  • Conventional (including jumbo)
  • FHA
  • VA
  • USDA

Down payments

May be lower than you think

It depends on the type of loan, but in general here are the minimum required down payment amounts by loan type:

  • Conventional: 3%
  • FHA: 3.5%
  • VA: 0%
  • USDA: 0%

Only the VA and USDA loan programs offer zero down payment options. Most buyers aren't eligible for these programs, but if you are, you may qualify for the zero down payment feature. The best way to determine eligibility is to talk to a Loan Officer.

If you receive a gift to be used as a down payment, you'll want to ensure the following:

  • That the funds are in your bank account before you start a loan application
  • That you have a signed letter from the giver stating the amount of the gift, the date of transfer, and a statement that the money is, in fact, a gift (as opposed to a loan) and will never need to be repaid.

Interest rates

An important feature of your loan

It's impossible to say exactly what it will be up-front since rates depend on a variety of factors, but here are the high-level factors and how they generally impact rates.

  • Credit Score: A borrower with a 740 might see rates as much as 1% lower than one with a 640.
  • Down Payment: Typically, the higher the down payment the lower the rate.
  • Property Type: Single-family homes tend to have lower interest rates than condos and multi-unit buildings (2 to 4 units).
  • Property Use: Owner-occupied properties tend to have lower interest rates than investment properties.
  • Loan Amount: Very small loans (under $150,000) can have higher rates, as can very large jumbo loans (over $3 million for example). Even within conforming loans, higher loan amounts (over $647,200) can have higher rates.
  • Loan Type: FHA and VA loans tend to have lower rates than conforming conventional rates. Jumbo loan rates can often have lower rates, especially for strong borrowers.
  • Loan Duration: For a fixed-rate loan, the longer the loan duration the higher the rate. For example, a 30-year fixed will have higher interest rates than a 15-year fixed. For adjustable-rate loans, the longer the fixed-rate period, the higher the rates. For example, a 3/1 ARM (with three years of fixed rates) will usually have a lower rate than a 7/1 ARM (with seven years of fixed rates).

If you get more than one of these factors working together, your rate could change significantly.

Note: interest rates change on a daily basis – usually not by much, but in rare instances they can change by a lot. We recommend locking in the rate you receive on your Loan Estimate by requesting a "rate lock" so that there are no surprises when it comes time to close.

A lock-in or rate lock on a mortgage loan means that your interest rate won't change between the offer and closing, as long as you close within the specified time frame and there are no changes to your application. Rate locks are typically available for 30, 45, or 60 days, and sometimes longer. If your rate is not locked, it can change at any time.

For a purchase, you can lock your rate as soon as you send us a signed purchase contract that includes the property address and closing timeline.

For a refinance, you can lock your rate as soon as you've discussed terms with one of our Loan Officers.

A rate lock gives you certainty – you'll know exactly what the interest rate on your loan will be when you close. If you expect rates to increase between the time you lock and the time you close, this can be beneficial since it means your loan will be a bit less expensive than it might have been. If rates go down, though, you may end up paying a bit more than if you had left the rate unlocked. Unfortunately it's impossible to predict the future and if you're comfortable with the initial rate, we highly recommend locking it in to avoid unhappy surprises at closing time.

Points let you make a tradeoff between your upfront costs and your monthly payment. By paying points, you pay more upfront, but you receive a lower interest rate and therefore pay less over time. Points can be a good choice for someone who knows they will keep the loan for a long time.

Lender credits work the same way as points, but in reverse. You pay a higher interest rate and the lender gives you money to offset your closing costs. When you receive lender credits, you pay less upfront, but you pay more over time with the higher interest rate.

An annual percentage rate (APR) reflects the mortgage interest rate plus other charges. There are many costs associated with taking out a mortgage. These include:

  • The interest rate
  • Points
  • Fees
  • Other charges

The interest rate is the cost you will pay each year to borrow the money, expressed as a percentage rate. It does not reflect fees or any other charges you may have to pay for the loan.

An annual percentage rate (APR) is a broader measure of the cost of borrowing money than the interest rate. The APR reflects the interest rate, any points, mortgage broker fees, and other charges that you pay to get the loan. For that reason, your APR is usually higher than your interest rate.


An important step in the process

An appraisal is an independent "estimate of value" conducted by a licensed appraiser. An appraiser uses various data sources to estimate a property's value: city and county records, visual inspections of the interior and exterior, and at least three recent comparable sales in the immediate vicinity. Appraisers have standard, well-defined rules on how to value different types of property, it's not just their opinion.

An appraisal is typically required by a lender to ensure that a loan's size is appropriate for a given property based on an independent, objective evaluation of its value.

We work with a number of different local appraisers who understand the nuances of the market your property is in.

To avoid conflicts of interest and mortgage fraud, we are responsible for submitting the appraisal request. Even then, by law we can't actually pick a specific appraiser or participate directly in any appraisals. To avoid any undue influence over the appraisal, we must work with an Appraisal Management Company (AMC) that will independently assign the work to a specific person they employ and they'll deliver the final report back to us.

If it appraises for more: no issues, no changes to your loan.

If it appraises for less: you may need to increase your down payment. Because we must use the lowest of the sales price or appraised price to calculate your loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, if the value drops too much it could cause the LTV ratio to go higher than the maximum limit. If that's the case, you'd have to increase your down payment to make up the difference.

Simplified Example

You buy a house for $100,000 and want to put $3,000 down, so you'd need a $97,000 loan. Your loan-to-value (LTV) ratio based on the sales price is $97,000 ÷ $100,000 = 97%. We get you approved for a conventional loan program, which has a maximum of 97%. Now the appraisal comes in at $95,000. Unfortunately, that doesn't automatically mean you get to pay less for the house (although you could try to negotiate this with the seller). Assuming the seller won't budge, we'd have to use the lowest of the appraised value or sales price to calculate LTV, so we must use $95,000. The new LTV is $97,000 ÷ $95,000 = 102%, which is over the 97% maximum. To fix this, we need to bring LTV back down to 97%, which means we need the loan amount to be 0.97 × $95,000 = $92,150. Finally, to calculate your new down payment amount we simply subtract the new loan amount from the sales price: $100,000 - $92,150 = $7,850.

In situations like this, we always recommend trying to negotiate with the seller – oftentimes they're willing to split the difference, which makes it a bit more palatable for you as a buyer.

Closing a loan

You're in the homestretch

Usually yes. It's something we have to coordinate with the title company and it will depend on the availability of their staff, but they can almost always accommodate it.

We are happy to ask the title company, but since remote online notarization is still very new, it's not always available.

Yes, typically there are a variety of closing costs in addition to your down payment and you should set aside enough cash to cover them in advance to avoid any delays in closing. Please see Cash to Close for a full list of potential fees.

Loan servicing

All about loan payments

Servicing means handling the loan on a day-to-day basis once the loan is made—for example, accepting payments and answering questions from borrowers. The lender can choose to service your loan itself, or transfer that responsibility to a different company.

Many loans are serviced by a different company than the lender. You can see whether the lender will service your loan in the Other Considerations section (p3) of your Loan Estimate.

An escrow account (also known as an "impound account") is set up by the lender to pay certain property-related expenses, like property taxes and homeowner's insurance. A portion of your monthly payment goes into the account. If your mortgage doesn't have an escrow account, you pay the property-related expenses directly.

It depends on the loan program and loan features. You'll find out once you submit a loan application.

Didn't find an answer?

We're here to help 7 days a week.

Schedule a call

Talk to a Loan Officer over the phone at a time that's convenient for you.

Email us

You can always email us at support@affordcolorado.org and we'll get back to you ASAP.

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