Purchasing a home is a big investment and you should feel at ease asking questions, and discussing the process with your loved ones and your lender. The following conversation starters were taken from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Home Loan Toolkit. They are meant to help prompt important conversations you may need to have during the home buying process.
The complete toolkit, including financial worksheets and valuable tips, is available as a download (in PDF).
1. Before Buying: Deciding What You Can Afford
Ask your spouse, a loved one, or friend about what affordable means to you:
- “What’s more important—a bigger home with a larger mortgage or more financial flexibility?”
- “How much do we want to budget for all the monthly housing costs, including repairs, furniture, and new appliances?”
- “What will a mortgage payment mean for other financial goals?”
2. During Mortgage Shopping: Talking With Potential Lenders
Talking to different lenders helps you to know what options are available and to feel more in control. Here is one way to start the conversation:
- “This mortgage is a big decision and I want to get it right. Another lender is offering me a different loan that may cost less. Let’s talk about what the differences are and whether you may be able to offer me the best deal.”
3. When Comparing Offers: Discussing Terms With Potential Lenders
Rate lock policies vary by lender. Choosing to lock or float your rate can make an important difference in your monthly payment. To avoid surprises, ask:
- “What does it mean if I lock my rate today?”
- “What rate lock time frame does this Loan Estimate provide?”
- “Is a shorter or longer rate lock available, and at what cost?”
- “What if my closing is delayed and the rate lock expires?”
- “If I lock my rate, are there any conditions under which my rate could still change?”
4. While Preparing To Close: Discussing Changes To Your Loan With Your Lenders
If your Loan Estimate is revised you should look it over to see what changed. Ask your lender:
- “Can you explain why I received a new Loan Estimate?”
- “How is my loan transaction different from what I was originally expecting?”
- “How does this change my loan amount, interest rate, monthly payment, cash to close, and other loan features?”
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a federal agency that helps consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives. Have a question about a common consumer financial product or problem? You can find answers by visiting consumerfinance.gov/askcfpb.