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5 Home Buying Acronyms You Need to Know

For many, the idea of buying a new home can seem overwhelming; the reality is the process is rather simple once you understand the steps. Part of that understanding is learning the most common acronyms used in buying a home. Here is a quick reference list of the 5 most often used acronyms and how they pertain to your transaction.

1. APR (Annual Percentage Rate) – APR is the total cost of borrowing money; this includes the interest rate, closing costs and other fees associated with the loan.
2. FRM (Fixed Rate Mortgage) – A fixed rate loan is one where the interest rate remains the same over the life of the loan.
3. DTI (Debt to Income) – DTI is the percentage of your income used to service all your recurring debt; this includes your mortgage, credit cards, car loans and other loans or lines of credit.
4. PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) – Loans for more than 80% of the home’s value are subject to PMI. This is insurance which protects the lender in the event of borrower default and every loan with less than a 20% down payment will include PMI.
5. P&I (Principal and Interest) – P&I is the portion of your loan which goes to pay down the principal of the loan amount. Other monthly costs could include taxes, PMI, association fees and other costs which are included in your payment but separate from P&I.

Real estate has a lot of terms, and understanding the most common can take the mystery out of the home buying process and provide peace of mind as you search for your new home.

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Be Prepared for Closing Costs

Saving for a down payment in preparation for buying a new home is pretty common knowledge.  While FHA and VA loans still offer little to no money down, most potential homebuyers will need to save at least 5-20% of the home value.

Unfortunately, many first-time homebuyers are dismayed to learn that in addition to the large down payment, they also owe thousands of dollars in closing costs that they might not have expected. The national average for closing costs ranges from 2-4% of the purchase price, which adds considerably to the amount of savings needed to buy a home. In addition, while not a closing cost, most lenders also require a savings reserve equal to at least two months of the mortgage payment. Needless to say, it adds up.

Let’s break these costs down.

Closing costs include fees charged by the escrow or closing attorney, as well as costs associated with obtaining a home loan, including:

• Escrow fees
• Title search and filing fees
• Appraisal fees
• Home inspection fees
• Wire transfer fees
• Loan costs – These include what are termed “points”; each point is 1% of the purchase price and is used as both commission for the lending officer and as an upfront fee to reduce the loan interest rate.

These are just a few of the extra costs associate with buying and closing on a new home. It’s important to know these costs ahead of time, so potential homebuyers can save the appropriate amount of money needed to buy a home. Nobody wants to be surprised by unexpected costs and and end up missing out on the perfect property.