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This article first appeared on the Credible blog.
Your mortgage size depends on the home’s price and the down payment you’re making. If you buy a home priced at $255,000, for example, and put down a 20% down payment ($55,000), you’ll need a mortgage worth $200,000.
You’ll then pay off that balance monthly for the rest of your loan term — which can be 30 years for many homebuyers.
Before you start shopping around, though, you’ll want to get pre-approved. Getting pre-approved will let you know if you can afford a $200,000 mortgage and demonstrate to sellers that you’re a serious buyer. Credible’s mortgage pre-approval process is simple — it only takes a few minutes to see if you qualify for a streamlined pre-approval letter, and it won’t affect your credit score.
Monthly payments for a $200,000 mortgage
Monthly mortgage payments always contain two things: principal and interest. In some cases, they might include other costs as well.
Here’s what typically makes up a mortgage payment:
- Principal: Principal is money that goes directly toward whittling down your balance.
- Interest: This is what you pay to actually borrow the money. The amount you’ll pay is reflected in your interest rate.
- Escrow costs: If you opt to use an escrow account (or your lender requires it), you’ll also have your property taxes, mortgage insurance, and homeowner’s insurance rolled into your monthly mortgage payment, too.[/basic-box]
On a $200,000, 30-year mortgage with a 4% fixed interest rate, your monthly payment would come out to $954.83 — not including taxes or insurance.
But these can vary greatly depending on your insurance policy, loan type, down payment size, and more.
Here’s a more detailed look at what the total monthly payment (principal and interest) would look like for that same $200,000 mortgage:
Where to get a $200,000 mortgage
To buy a home, you’d traditionally research mortgage lenders, choose several, and then fill out the applications for each. Those lenders would then give you a loan estimate detailing expected costs of the loan, including closing costs, interest rate, and APR. You’d use these to compare your options and choose who to go with.
Shopping around for a mortgage can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. Credible simplifies this process, allowing you to easily compare mortgage options from multiple lenders. It’s free and only takes a few minutes.
What to consider before applying for a $200,000 mortgage
When taking out any mortgage, it’s important to analyze your upfront costs (closing costs, down payment, etc.) as well as how much you’ll be paying to borrow the money over time.
Total interest paid on a $200,000 mortgage
The longer your loan term, the more you’ll pay in interest over the life of the loan.
For example, on a 30-year $200,000 mortgage with a 4% fixed rate, you’ll end up paying $143,739.01 in interest over the full term.
On a 15-year mortgage with the same balance and rate, you’d pay just $66,287.65 — saving you more than $77,000 in interest charges. But keep in mind your monthly payment would be higher with the 15-year mortgage.
You can see what your total interest paid and estimated monthly payment will be by using a mortgage payment calculator.
How to get a $200,000 mortgage
Getting a mortgage isn’t as hard as you think. As long as you prepare and break the process down into small, manageable steps, it’s really quite simple. And we’re here to help you break those steps down.
Here are the steps to follow to get a mortgage:
- Estimate your home budget: Sit down and look at your monthly debts, expenses, and take-home pay. Then, determine what you can afford each month and consider how much of a down payment you can afford.
- Check your credit: Pull your credit report, and see where you stand. You’ll get the best interest rates with a good credit score. But if it’s not quite there, you still have options. If you have a lower score, lots of debt, or late payments, you might want to spend time improving your credit before applying for a loan.
- Get pre-approved: You’ll next need to request pre-approval with one or more lenders. You can do this by contacting each lender separately or use Credible to get an instant streamlined pre-approval letter that considers rates from multiple lenders at once.
- Compare mortgage rates: Next, determine which loan is the best one for you. You should look at each one’s origination fees, interest rate, and mortgage APR — which reflects the loan’s interest costs as well as its fees. You can also talk to lenders about paying mortgage points, which could lower your interest rate (for a fee).
- Negotiate your home purchase: Use your pre-approval letter to make an offer on a house and negotiate the purchase details. Make sure you lean on your real estate agent here, as they can help guide you throughout the process.
- Complete your mortgage application: After the seller has accepted your offer, you’ll need to fill out your lender’s full application. This requires more detailed information than your pre-approval did. If you like the terms on the lender’s loan estimate and decide to move forward with the loan, you’ll need to provide documents like tax returns, W-2s, bank statements, and more.
- Wait for full approval: Your loan will move into what’s called underwriting, which means your application is evaluated, your income is verified, and all the numbers are crunched. The lender will also have the home appraised to ensure it’s worth the money you’re looking to borrow for it.
- Prep for closing: Once you get your closing date, you’ll need to make sure you have homeowner’s insurance in place because your lender will likely require it. You should also take some time to review your closing disclosures to make sure you understand the final costs and terms of your loan.
- Close on your loan: Finally, you’ll attend your closing appointment, sign your paperwork, and pay your closing costs. And once all is said and done, you’ll get your keys.
If you’re ready to look for a mortgage, consider starting with Credible. You can compare mortgage rates from multiple lenders for free, and generate a mortgage pre-approval letter in minutes.
About the author: Aly J. Yale is a personal finance journalist with work featured in Forbes, Fox Business, The Motley Fool, Bankrate, The Balance, and more.