It's hard to imagine a more boring (and dreaded) word than "mortgage." But if you know where to look, you might find a mortgage that will save you thousands of dollars a year or discover that you qualify for a loan when you didn't think you could — and that's exciting! You might even find free money to help with a down payment.
Here's what to remember:
— Shop around at all kinds of lenders — especially if you're a first-time homebuyer.
— Find out if you qualify for a grant to help with a down payment.
— Get preapproved for a mortgage before you start looking at houses.
— If you can afford it, get a 15-year mortgage. You will build wealth much more quickly than with a 30-year mortgage.
— Remember that adjustable-rate loans are risky.
— Shop around to see if you can avoid paying for private mortgage insurance, or PMI.
— Don't let the dreaded HELOC monster — home equity line of credit — eat your home equity.
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