Understanding and navigating the complex real estate landscape of home ownership is difficult enough as it is, but adding on to that the fact that most homeowners these days need to obtain a home loan before buying a house, and the whole idea can seem suddenly scary.

Home loans, mortgages, rates, what does it all mean? It’s important that you do your research, ask lots of questions, and take a proactive approach to obtaining your home mortgage loan. United Atlantic Mortgage in Virginia Beach is a local full-service mortgage brokering for the residential and military community in coastal Hampton Roads, VA.

We’re here to answer your questions, and if you need anything, our lending specialists are happy to lend you a hand.

What is a home mortgage loan?

A mortgage is a home financing loan, or money that a bank lends to a purchase to help purchase a new home. Home mortgage loans enable the homeowner to pay off their home over time, rather than needing to provide a single substantial payment at closing, which most home buyers cannot afford.

What kinds of loans are available to me?

Depending on your financial, marital, and military background, you may be eligible for a variety of different loans. Consult with your local home mortgage lending firm to find out from your lending specialist what kinds of loans and rates you may be eligible for:

What is the difference between a fixed rate and an adjustable rate mortgage?

A fixed rate mortgage is a loan with interest rates that remains consistent over the duration of the payments, regardless of how the market may fluctuate. While the fixed rate may be the more reliable choice, it may have a higher interest rate than other mortgage loans.

An Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) is a loan with low interest rates at first. The terms vary and will be set on a case-by-case basis, but are typically between 1-10 years. After the initial fixed rate expires, the new rate is adjusted to reflect the market. A bit like flipping a coin, your monthly payment may increase, decrease … or even remain the same.

What is the difference between prequalification and preapproval?

Prequalification involves providing some financial information to the lender, in order to estimate the amount you’ll feasibly be able to pay back. This is important to know because it helps you know what price range of houses you can afford. When it comes time to go house shopping, you’ll be prepared.

Preapproval involves providing more detailed financial documents to the lender, who will then verify your financial history and current status, including your credit score. It’s important to work on improving your credit score before applying for your home mortgage loan—and it’s critical to avoid any big purchases, significant debts, or major life changes.

What is the difference between Annual Percentage Rate and interest rates?

An interest rate is like a fee for borrowing money. By charging the buyer a percentage of the loan, the lender makes a profit on the loan. That’s why buyers seek low interest rates, because it means that the total amount to be paid back is lower. By paying off a loan early, the buyer can pay less interest overall,  lowering that total amount.

Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) are a yearly rate which encompasses your interest rate along with many other factors, fees, and variables. The APR can help you determine your total amount to be paid back—even including your interest rate.