People from all walks of life want to move to Texas. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the state is home to five of the nation’s fastest-growing cities, and the two largest metro areas in Texas gained more residents in the past year than any other metro area in the country.

What does that mean for homebuyers? Competition. One way to increase your chances of getting the home you want is to know the mortgage process.

Understanding different loan types and terms

With loans, there is no right or wrong choice. Instead, look at each option as good, better, or best. You need to work with a lender who can explain all your options and the anticipated outcomes before you make a final decision. The lender should identify your wants and needs and educate you on what’s available.

Mortgage rates have been near or at all-time lows, so see if you can lock in that low interest rate for the term of the loan—regardless of whether it’s a 15-, 20-, or 30-year mortgage. If your lender suggests an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM), make sure you known how the “adjustable” component affects the loan. ARMs have benefits, but the overall savings on an ARM are not usually significant enough to offset the risk of mortgage-rate uncertainty. You could also save money by selecting a shorter term, such as a 15-year mortgage, but the payments will be higher.

You’ve identified the best loan … now what?

You’ve picked the loan product, but don’t jump into the home search yet. First, seek preapproval for the loan. Remember, competition is fierce, and working with a lender to underwrite your file for preapproval will allow you to quickly submit a concrete offer. This is a competitive edge because it shaves weeks off the processing time, which is appealing for the seller.

In addition to getting preapproved for your loan, another way to make your transaction go smoothly is to work with a REALTOR®. No one understands your real estate market or the process of buying property as well as your Texas REALTOR®.

Don’t forget to enjoy the experience

The homebuying experience is sometimes described as confusing and stressful. It should really be one of the most exciting times in your life. Make no mistake, the process can be overwhelming, but that does not mean it can’t be enjoyable. Work with trusted partners that will educate you and make this a memorable event and provide a sense of accomplishment that comes from realizing the American dream of homeownership.

A native Texan, Jason Dickson is Texas regional manager for Churchill Mortgage, a prominent and financially sound leader in the mortgage industry, providing conventional, FHA, VA, and USDA residential mortgages across 36 states.

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