Guide to Financing Your Home Purchase


Getting preapproved requires that a lender verify your financial information, and it serves as their commitment to lend a specified amount based on that information. It will give you a number of advantages. When you find a property, sellers will take your offer more seriously given that you have a lender that has committed to backing your offer.

It also gives you the assurance that you’re looking at homes you can confidently afford to finance. Your efforts will be focused on properties that match your financing abilities.

You’ll have an edge over other buyers who aren’t preapproved. In situations where there are multiple offers on a property, this can be the difference between having your offer accepted or losing the property to another buyer.


Fixed-Rate Mortgage

The interest rate stays the same for the entire term of the loan — usually 15 or 30 years — so the interest and principal portions of your monthly payment remain the same. Your payments are stable and predictable, but initial interest rates tend to be higher on a fixed-rate mortgage than on adjustable-rate loans.

Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM)

The interest on an adjustable-rate mortgage is linked to a financial index, such as a Treasury security, so your monthly payments can vary, up or down, over the life of the loan – usually 30 years. Some adjustable-rate mortgages have a cap on the interest rate increase to protect the borrower. The lower initial payments on ARMs make it easier for buyers to qualify.

Conventional Loan

A conventional loan can have as little as 3% down with mortgage insurance. To avoid mortgage insurance, you have to have a minimum of 20% down. The maximum amount for conventional loans is $424,100. Loans above $424,100 require a jumbo loan. The advantage of a conventional loan is that there is no upfront mortgage insurance payment and mortgage insurance can be removed when you have paid the loan down to 80%.


An FHA loan requires at least a 3.5% down payment. The advantage of an FHA loan is that it has lower credit score guidelines and allows higher debt to income ratios to qualify. This is generally a good choice for first time homebuyers, but be sure to talk to a trusted lender to determine if this is the right product for you.


A VA loan requires zero down payment and does not require mortgage insurance. It also has lower credit score guidelines and allows higher debt to income ratios. This loan is reserved for qualified veterans. To determine if you qualify, you can work with your trusted lender to obtain your certificate of eligibility.


USDA loans require zero down payments, but they do require guarantee insurance, which is similar to mortgage insurance. Homes are restricted to designated rural areas determined by USDA, and USDA has maximum household income limits for eligibility.

Click here to download a LOAN PRE-APPLICATION CHECK LIST

Shawna O’Brien
F.C. Tucker Geist
The Tumbarello Group

August Household “To Dos”

This time of year in mid-August has always been a weird transition for me.  It’s still summer and HOT, but with kids back in school and fall sports season started, my mind wonders to fall activities and fall maintenance.  Just last weekend we got a wild hair and cleaned out our garage.  It looks and feels amazing.

It motivated me to think – what can I tackle in August to get ready for fall so I’m ahead of the task list this year?

August Household “To Dos”:

Create a family Calendar

Last week was the first week back to school so I broke down and purchased a white board calendar.  It’s really great.  All of our appointments related to work, school, sports, meetings, etc. are all in one place.  We color coded everyone and although not Pinterest worthy, it works!

Organize and Clean Summer Items and Gear

You never know when the weather will flip and you no longer need the beach toys, towels and endless items that clutter your laundry room and garage during summer months.  During our garage clean out we pitched almost empty bubbles containers, broken shovels, and nubby sidewalk chalk. We narrowed down our beach bag collection to just a couple and took inventory of faded, thinning towels.  When our last day at the beach, pool or lake finally comes, we’re already organized for winter storage.

Clean and organize the kitchen and pantry for Fall.

My recent Sam’s Club stock up shop last week to get ready for back to school lunches and quick evening dinners forced me to clean out my fridge and pantry too.  It took some time but it was worth it and now I feel like it can carry me over until “Spring Cleaning Season”.

Clean out the car

For me, sometimes it’s easier to leave items in the trunk if they’re used so often.  Picnic blankets, camp chairs, sunscreen, sunglasses, ball caps, DVDs for the road trips.  But, when summer comes to a close, it’s a good time to give your car a thorough cleaning.  Clean out the glove box, cup holders and door cubbies and wipe them down.  I like to take my car to a local car wash company that as long as I declutter, they do an amazing job vacuuming the dirt, sand, and cookie crumbs as well as wiping down all of the interior after washing the exterior.

Organize Closets

Again, it always seems like I can’t find what I’m looking for that first day it becomes cool, windy or chilly rain.  Soon the temps will drop so take time now to purge and donate items you aren’t in love with for fall and find out if those windbreakers still fit for when the weather changes. Make a list of what you need for fall and get started supplementing (gloves, boots, jackets, etc).

Other ideas I haven’t tackled yet but it’s on my list this month:

  • Clean my baseboards.  Hoping I get another wild hair like when we cleaned out the garage.
  • Assess my Fall Décor.  A craft store ALREADY had fall and Halloween décor displayed in JULY! I just wasn’t ready to think about it yet.
  • Finish outdoor projects.  For us this includes some deck repair and most definitely inspecting the windows and roof.
  • Organize my home office.  I love working from home, especially when it’s dark and quiet in the morning. I can sip my coffee while being productive.  But, the office is suffering from our busy summer.
  • Organize summer memories.  Before the holidays come around again, I need to transfer pictures on my phone into my favorite share site where I organize by year, month and function.  Another time consuming activity that always makes me feel accomplished when it’s completed.
  • Plan Halloween costumes.  We already have a Halloween party on the calendar and the next two months always fly by with our busy sports and social calendar.  Any costume ideas you can share?

Do you have any ideas for August projects to get your home in tip top shape for fall?

Shawna O’Brien
F.C. Tucker Geist
The Tumbarello Group