Residential Mortgages of July 2024

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A residential mortgage is a financial arrangement where a borrower secures a loan to purchase or maintain a residential property, such as a house or condominium. This type of mortgage operates on the principle of the property serving as collateral for the loan, providing security for the lender in case the borrower defaults on payments. Residential mortgages typically involve a series of regular payments, which are divided into principal and interest, allowing borrowers to gradually repay the borrowed amount over time. These mortgages are essential for individuals and families who seek to own their homes but may not have the full purchase price upfront, enabling them to spread the cost over an extended period while enjoying the benefits of homeownership.

Prospective borrowers must meet certain requirements to qualify for a residential mortgage, including demonstrating sufficient income, assets, and creditworthiness. The application process involves thorough evaluation by lenders, who assess factors such as the borrower's credit score, employment history, and debt-to-income ratio. Residential mortgages come in various types, including fixed-rate and adjustable-rate options, allowing borrowers to choose the terms that best suit their financial circumstances and preferences.


  1. Collateralized Loan. A residential mortgage is secured by the property itself, serving as collateral for the home loan. This means that if the borrower fails to make payments, the lender can seize the property to recover the outstanding debt.

  2. Regular Payment Structure. Residential mortgages typically involve regular payments, usually every month, which are divided into principal and interest components. This structured repayment plan allows borrowers to gradually pay off the loan over time.

  3. Principal and Interest Payments. Each mortgage payment consists of two parts: the principal, which is the amount borrowed, and the interest, which is the cost of borrowing the money. Initially, a larger portion of the payment goes towards interest, with more going towards principal as the loan matures.

  4. Term Length. Residential mortgages come with various term lengths, commonly ranging from 15 to 30 years. The term length determines the duration of the loan and affects the size of the monthly payments, with longer terms generally resulting in lower payments but higher overall interest costs.

  5. Fixed or Adjustable Rates. Borrowers can choose between fixed-rate mortgages, where the interest rate remains constant throughout the loan term, providing predictability and stability, or adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), where the interest rate may fluctuate based on market conditions, potentially leading to changes in monthly payments.

  6. Down Payment Requirements. Lenders often require borrowers to make a down payment towards the purchase price of the property. The size of the down payment can vary but typically ranges from 3% to 20% of the home's purchase price, depending on factors such as the borrower's creditworthiness and loan program.

Pros and Cons


Financial Leverage. Mortgages allow borrowers to leverage their financial resources by spreading the cost of a property over an extended period, making homeownership more attainable.

Predictable Payments. Fixed-rate mortgages offer stability and predictability, as borrowers have consistent monthly payments throughout the loan term, making budgeting easier.

Potential Tax Benefits. Homeowners may be eligible for tax deductions on mortgage interest payments and property taxes, providing potential financial advantages.


Down Payment Requirements. Many lenders require substantial down payments, which can be challenging for some borrowers to afford, delaying or preventing homeownership.

Risk of Foreclosure. Failing to make mortgage payments can lead to foreclosure, resulting in the loss of the property and damage to the borrower's creditworthiness.

Potential for Negative Equity. During periods of declining property values, borrowers may owe more on their mortgages than the property is worth, leading to negative equity.

How to Get a Residential Mortgage

Apply for a loan

  1. Assess Your Financial Health. Obtain a copy of your credit report and check your credit score. Most mortgage lenders require a minimum credit score for approval. Calculate your DTI by dividing your monthly debt payments by your gross monthly income. Lenders typically prefer a DTI of 43% or lower. Aim to save at least 20% of the home's purchase price to avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI), though some lenders offer options with lower down payments.

  2. Determine Your Budget. Use a mortgage calculator to estimate your monthly mortgage payment based on various loan amounts, interest rates, and down payment sizes. Factor in property taxes, homeowners insurance, mortgage insurance, and potential homeowners association (HOA) fees.

  3. Get Pre-Approved. Research mortgage lenders, including banks, credit unions, and mortgage brokers, to find one that offers favorable terms and rates. Provide necessary documentation, such as proof of income, tax returns, and bank statements, to the lender for pre-approval. A pre-approval letter indicates the loan amount you qualify for, which can strengthen your offer when buying a home.

  4. Shop for a Mortgage. Obtain quotes from multiple lenders to compare interest rates, loan terms, and fees. Choose between fixed-rate mortgages, which offer stable payments, and adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), which have variable rates that may start lower but can increase over time. The APR includes the interest rate and additional fees, providing a more comprehensive view of the loan's cost.

  5. Choose Your Mortgage. Consider the interest rate, loan term, monthly payment, and any additional costs or fees when choosing the best mortgage offer. Once you’ve chosen a mortgage, you may have the option to lock in the interest rate to protect against rate increases before closing.

  6. Complete the Application. Provide detailed information about your financial situation, employment, and the property you wish to purchase. Some lenders charge fees to process your application.

  7. Go Through the Underwriting Process. Be prepared to submit further documentation as requested by the lender during underwriting. The lender will order an appraisal to ensure the property’s value supports the loan amount. A title company will verify the property’s title to ensure there are no legal issues.

  8. Close on Your Mortgage. This document outlines the final terms of your loan, including the loan amount, interest rate, monthly payments, and closing costs. Review it carefully. Sign the necessary documents to finalize the loan. Bring a cashier's check or arrange a wire transfer for your down payment and closing costs. Once all documents are signed and funds are transferred, you’ll receive the keys to your new home.


  1. Credit Score. Lenders typically require a minimum credit score of 620 for conventional loans and 580 for FHA loans. Borrowers with higher credit scores may qualify for lower interest rates and more favorable loan terms.

  2. Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI). Lenders prefer a DTI ratio of 43% or lower, calculated by dividing the borrower's total monthly debt payments by their gross monthly income. Borrowers with lower DTI ratios are considered less risky.

  3. Income Verification. Borrowers must provide proof of income through pay stubs, W-2 forms, and tax returns. Lenders typically require stable employment and sufficient income to cover mortgage payments.

  4. Documentation. Borrowers must submit various documents, including identification, bank statements, and proof of assets, to verify their financial stability and eligibility for the loan.

  5. Property Appraisal. Lenders require a professional appraisal to assess the property's value and ensure it meets lending standards. The appraisal helps determine the maximum loan amount and protects the lender's investment.


  1. Interest Rate. Lenders may offer fixed-rate mortgages with interest rates ranging from 3.5% to 4.5% for borrowers with excellent credit scores, while adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) may start as low as 2.5% for the initial fixed period.

  2. Loan Term. Borrowers can choose loan terms typically ranging from 15 to 30 years for fixed-rate mortgages, with adjustable-rate mortgages offering initial fixed terms of 5, 7, or 10 years.

  3. Down Payment. Lenders may require down payments as low as 3% for conventional loans, while borrowers aiming to avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI) may opt for down payments of 20% or more.

  4. Closing Costs. Borrowers should budget for closing costs, which typically range from 2% to 5% of the home's purchase price. Some lenders may offer closing cost assistance or allow borrowers to roll closing costs into the loan.

  5. Loan Amounts. Lenders may offer mortgage loans ranging from $100,000 to $1,000,000 or more, depending on the borrower's financial profile and the property's value.

Ways to Get the Money

  1. Certified Check. Some borrowers may choose to receive mortgage funds in the form of a certified check issued by the lender or closing agent. This method provides a physical form of payment that can be deposited into the borrower's bank account.

  2. Escrow Disbursement. In some cases, mortgage funds are held in an escrow account and disbursed to the appropriate parties at closing. This method ensures that all closing costs and fees are paid before releasing the remaining funds to the borrower.

  3. Direct Deposit. Certain lenders offer the option for mortgage funds to be directly deposited into the borrower's bank account on the day of closing. This electronic transfer provides immediate access to the loan proceeds without the need for physical checks or wire transfers.

Best Places to Get a Residential Mortgage

Primary Residential Mortgage (PRMI) provides a wide range of mortgage options for homebuyers and those looking to refinance. With offerings including conventional, jumbo, and government-backed loans from FHA, VA, and USDA, PRMI caters to diverse financial needs. While their website lacks comprehensive details on rates and fees, borrowers can initiate their application online before engaging with a loan officer. With branches in nearly every state and a dedicated team of over 2,000 employees, PRMI ensures personalized service and support for its customers.

Residential Mortgage has been a trusted partner in real estate since 1998, embodying a commitment to service, value, and expertise for 26 years. Operating across the Western U.S., Residential Mortgage treats customers like family, helping them achieve homeownership dreams in states such as Alaska, Arizona, California, and more. Their loan programs include conventional loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, Rural Development loans, HUD 184 loans for Alaska Natives and Native Americans, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) loans, and Veterans Administration (VA) loans for veterans and military family members.

For over two decades, RMS has assisted tens of thousands of homeowners in navigating the final stages of homeownership with simplicity and clarity. As an independent and privately held mortgage bank, RMS offers a comprehensive range of residential mortgage products. From initial paperwork preparation to settlement, RMS provides integrated loan processing, underwriting, and direct lending services under one roof, ensuring a straightforward and streamlined experience for customers.

Rocket Mortgage stands out as an online mortgage lender offering a diverse selection of purchase and refinance home loans. Noteworthy products include YOURgage, providing borrowers flexibility with loan terms ranging from eight to 29 years, and One+ By Rocket Mortgage, offering a low down payment option with just 1% down. However, while Rocket Mortgage offers flexibility, its interest rates tend to be higher than the national average, and the average time to close a purchase loan is slightly longer compared to other lenders.

Things to Pay Attention To

  1. Interest Rate and APR. Compare both the interest rate and the annual percentage rate (APR) to understand the total cost of the loan, including fees and other charges.

  2. Loan Term. Consider the length of the loan term and how it affects your monthly payments and total interest paid over time.

  3. Type of Mortgage. Determine whether a fixed-rate or adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) is more suitable for your financial situation and long-term goals.

  4. Down Payment Requirements. Understand the minimum down payment required by the lender and consider how it impacts your upfront costs and monthly payments.

  5. Closing Costs. Review the breakdown of closing costs, including appraisal fees, title insurance, and origination fees, and ensure they align with your budget.

  6. Prepayment Penalties. Check if the mortgage includes penalties for paying off the loan early and consider whether this aligns with your plans for the property.

  7. Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). Understand if PMI is required for your loan and how it affects your monthly payments, especially if you're making a down payment of less than 20%.

How to Repay a Residential Mortgage?

  1. Understand Your Mortgage Terms. Familiarize yourself with the terms of your mortgage, including the interest rate, loan amount, loan term, and any prepayment penalties or other fees. Determine the frequency of mortgage payments (e.g., monthly, bi-weekly) and the due date for each payment.

  2. Set Up a Payment Method. Consider setting up automatic payments through your bank or mortgage servicer to ensure timely payment each month. Explore online payment options provided by your lender or servicer for convenience and ease of use. If preferred, you can also mail payments to the address provided by your lender, ensuring they are received by the due date.

  3. Consider Additional Payments. Determine if you have the ability to make extra payments towards your mortgage principal to pay down the loan faster and save on interest. Explore the option of making bi-weekly payments instead of monthly payments to accelerate the repayment schedule.

  4. Communicate with Your Lender. Keep your lender informed of any changes to your financial situation that may impact your ability to make mortgage payments. If you encounter financial hardship, such as job loss or medical expenses, contact your lender to discuss potential options for assistance or loan modification.

Reasons for Getting Rejected for a Residential Mortgage

  1. Low Credit Score. A history of late payments, defaults, or high levels of debt can lower your credit score, making you a higher risk for lenders. Multiple recent credit inquiries or applications for new credit may signal financial instability to lenders.

  2. High Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI). Lenders assess your DTI ratio, which compares your monthly debt payments to your gross monthly income. A high DTI ratio may indicate that you are overleveraged and unable to afford additional debt.

  3. Insufficient Income. Lenders require proof of stable income to ensure you can afford mortgage payments. Inconsistent or insufficient income documentation may result in rejection. A short or unstable employment history can raise concerns about your ability to maintain steady income for mortgage payments.

  4. Inadequate Down Payment. Lenders typically require a minimum down payment, often around 20% of the home's purchase price. A smaller down payment may result in higher risk for the lender and increase the likelihood of rejection.

  5. Poor Property Appraisal. If the appraised value of the property is lower than the purchase price or loan amount, lenders may hesitate to approve the mortgage due to concerns about the property's value as collateral.

  6. Unstable Financial History. Past bankruptcies, foreclosures, or other negative financial events may raise red flags for lenders and result in mortgage rejection. Outstanding collections accounts, tax liens, or other financial judgments can signal financial instability and impact your ability to qualify for a mortgage.


  1. A personal loan is an unsecured loan that can be used for various purposes, including home renovations or purchases. Personal loans typically have fixed interest rates and repayment terms, providing predictability for borrowers. While not secured by the property, personal loans may have higher interest rates compared to mortgages.

  2. Peer-to-peer lending platforms connect borrowers with individual investors willing to lend money. Borrowers may find competitive interest rates and flexible terms through peer-to-peer lending, depending on their creditworthiness. Peer-to-peer lending may offer an alternative to traditional mortgage financing for certain borrowers.

  3. Some retirement plans, such as 401(k)s, allow participants to borrow against their account balance for various purposes, including home purchases or renovations. 401(k) loans typically have lower interest rates compared to other credit products and may not require a credit check. Borrowers must repay the loan according to the plan's terms or face penalties and taxes.

  4. A bridge loan is a short-term loan used to bridge the gap between the purchase of a new home and the sale of an existing property. Higher interest rates and fees compared to traditional mortgages, typically repaid within a few months to a year and secured by the borrower's existing home. Provides temporary financing for homebuyers facing timing challenges, such as contingent offers or overlapping mortgage payments.

Editorial Opinion

Residential mortgages serve as a fundamental tool for many individuals and families to achieve homeownership, providing access to housing and fostering financial stability. While they offer the opportunity to spread the cost of a property over time and build equity, they also come with considerations such as interest expenses, down payment requirements, and the risk of foreclosure. Ultimately, the decision to pursue a residential mortgage should be carefully weighed against individual financial circumstances and long-term goals, recognizing both the benefits and potential challenges associated with homeownership through mortgage financing.


Keeping your Debt-to-Income (DTI) ratio below 30-40% of your monthly income is crucial. This will help you avoid potential financial problems in the future. Additionally, always assess the necessity and feasibility of taking a loan, ensuring you can comfortably manage its repayment.

How to Choose a Mortage Lender

  1. Check Associations. Look for lenders who are members of reputable organizations, such as the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). Membership in these organizations can indicate a higher level of reliability and professionalism.

  2. Review Terms and Conditions. Carefully examine all the terms and conditions of the mortgage contract. Pay special attention to details like the loan term, fixed vs. variable interest rates, and any prepayment penalties.

  3. Interest Rates and Costs. Scrutinize the interest rates and ensure that your contract includes a detailed breakdown of the total cost of the mortgage, including closing costs, origination fees, and any other charges.

  4. Right of Rescission. Remember you can utilize your right of rescission, which typically allows you to cancel the mortgage within three days after signing the agreement. Additionally, use the "cooling-off" period to thoroughly review the contract and make an informed decision before finalizing the mortgage agreement.

  5. Compare Offers. Shop around and compare offers from multiple lenders to find the best rates and terms that suit your financial situation.

Additional resources


Are mortgage brokers better than banks?

Determining whether mortgage brokers are superior to banks or vice versa depends on various factors, including individual preferences, financial circumstances, and the complexity of the mortgage process. Mortgage brokers act as intermediaries between borrowers and multiple lenders, offering access to a range of loan products from various financial institutions. They can provide personalized guidance and help borrowers navigate the mortgage landscape, potentially securing competitive interest rates and terms. Conversely, banks offer mortgages directly to customers and may provide convenience and familiarity for those who already have banking relationships. Both options have their merits, and the choice between them often boils down to the borrower's priorities and comfort level with the mortgage process.

What are the 4 types of mortgage loans?

There are four primary types of mortgage loans commonly available to borrowers: conventional loans, jumbo loans, government-insured loans, and fixed-rate mortgages. Conventional loans are not backed by the government and typically have stricter qualification criteria, whereas jumbo loans exceed the conforming loan limits set by government-sponsored entities. Government-insured loans, including FHA, VA, and USDA loans, are backed by federal agencies and often feature more flexible eligibility requirements and lower down payment options. Fixed-rate mortgages maintain a constant interest rate throughout the loan term, providing stability and predictability for borrowers.

What is the most common residential mortgage?

Among the various types of mortgage loan loan options, the most common residential mortgage is the conventional fixed-rate mortgage. This mortgage type offers borrowers a consistent interest rate and monthly payment over the entire loan term, typically ranging from 15 to 30 years. Conventional fixed-rate mortgages are popular due to their simplicity and reliability, making them suitable for borrowers seeking long-term stability in their housing expenses. While other mortgage options may offer benefits such as lower down payments or adjustable interest rates, the conventional fixed-rate mortgage remains a staple choice for many homebuyers seeking peace of mind and financial predictability.