Slowing Down in a Fast Housing Market Can Pay Off

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Convenient, fast, easy. Ordering almost anything on your phone is becoming the norm as the tech and connections on all of our devices gets better and better. But for one of the largest purchases you'll ever make, it's time to slow down and make sure you are confident in your financial choices.

That's particularly true with obtaining a mortgage. Research shows that when it comes to establishing roots by buying a home - and taking on a significant financial responsibility – prospective homebuyers still favor face-to-face meetings with mortgage loan officers over the idea of getting a hefty deal approved with just a few clicks. A recent survey by the American Banker Association says 61% of respondents still prefer personal meetings with their lender to complete mortgage applications. Only 34% of those surveyed said they felt confident they understood the mortgage application process.

Both statistics make perfect sense. Digital and online has value, but it doesn’t take the human element into account. That personal interaction is important given that a mortgage is likely to be one of the most significant investments in your life.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the continued drop in mortgage rates is bringing another rise in applications and bringing more clients to the homebuying market. Mortgage applications increased 3% during the first week of August, on a seasonally adjusted basis. The current average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is now down to 4.14%.

Making sure the best rate can be reached is a top priority for those clients, according to KeyBank’s Mortgage Sales team. Client satisfaction is driving by knowing they have control, and having enough information to make educated choices about their mortgage options. By giving clients guidance based on our understanding of their needs, we are able to help them identify the right program or product.

According to KeyBank’s Mortgage Sales experts, there are three critical questions homebuyers should be asking themselves and talking about with their lender.

What do I hope to accomplish by owning a home?

How long will I be in this home?

What do I expect from the borrowing process?

The ways lenders and homebuyers work together have changed for the better in recent years. Regulatory changes are helping clients to be much more knowledgeable. All the disclosures in a closing are done in the client’s best interest. Those disclosures can affect your bottom line and budget for years to come. For example, property taxes vary from location to location. Another example is monthly assessments for homes or HOA fees, which can increase. The documentation for all these potential extra expenses can make or break the decision to buy a home.

The conversations you have with a lender are the first steps to find where you stand to purchase a new home. Talking about your expectations, lifestyle and credit reports are the key to give your full financial story. Through insight and experience, the advice from a lender can give buyers the confidence they need to make the right choice.

Aaron Reitz is central Indiana market president at Keybank.

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