On Friday, April 12, our Main Branch located at 1601 22nd Street will close at 10:00 a.m. for the move to our new headquarters.

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On Friday, April 12, our Main Branch located at 1601 22nd Street will close at 10:00 a.m. for the move to our new headquarters.

On Friday, April 12, our Main Branch located at 1601 22nd Street will close at 10:00 a.m. for the move to our new headquarters.

West Bank Logo

How Much House Can I Afford?

The VA Loan is a home-mortgage option available to United States Veterans, Service Members and not remarried spouses. VA Loans are issued by qualified lenders and guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The USDA Guarantee loan is a 100% financing mortgage for moderate-to-low income homebuyers in eligible rural and suburban areas. Loans are issued through the USDA Rural Development  Guaranteed Housing Loan Program, which was created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Q. What is the first step you should take when you want to buy a house?

A. When you start getting serious about buying a house, you should first talk to a lender you trust. There are many options out there for people who want to buy their first home and your West Banker can help you find the one that is best for you. A visit with your West Banker can also help you determine how much house you can afford.

Q. Do I need a prequalification letter?

A. Realtors or sellers will take you more seriously if you have gone through the prequalification process. To submit a prequalification application, you can do it over the phone, or you can do it in person. A West Banker would be willing to meet you at a place that’s most convenient for you if you want to meet in person.

There are two main considerations when determining how much you may qualify for:

  1. Income vs Debt – First, we look at how much income you have compared to how much debt you’ll have after you buy the house. Your West Banker can help you estimate your loan payments and  discuss if you are comfortable with that amount.
  2. Credit History – The other thing we look at is your credit to determine if you will qualify for a mortgage loan.

Q.  Many people are worried about coming up with a down payment. How can your West Banker help?

A. One of the major misconceptions with first time homebuyers is the down payment aspect. It’s important to talk to your lender before you start the process, because there are several different types of programs that have different benefits. Your West Banker can help you determine which will be the best product for you.

There are several first time homebuyer programs, such as ones that can give you a grant to help with the down payment. The requirement for the down payment varies depending on the program.

A zero percent down loan would typically be a government-backed loan, either a VA loan or a USDA loan, also known as a rural development loan. There are some areas near Des Moines where you can qualify for a USDA loan. This type of loan helps grow and keep people in rural areas. Your West Banker can help you find areas that are eligible for an USDA loan.

Q. Are the VA and USDA loans only for first time homebuyers?

A. The VA and the USDA loans can be for first time homebuyers, but are available for other qualified borrowers as well. Those two are zero percent down, if you meet the requirements, which is why talking to your banker is important to see if you are eligible.

Q. What are some ways you can get down payment money?

A. People obtain the money for a down payment from different sources, such as:

  • You can have money gifted from a close eligible relative.
  • If you have another asset, you can borrow money against that asset for the down payment.
  • You could save for it.

Q. I want to buy a new home, but I already have a home that I need to sell in order to buy the new home. How can I manage that?

A. Your West Banker can talk with you about another product we have called a bridge loan. For qualified borrowers, a bridge loan is a temporary loan that will allow you to use the equity in your current home to help finance the down payment on your new home. Once your current home sells, you must then pay off the bridge loan. One of the benefits of this type of loan is that your lender can assist you with both the temporary bridge loan and your permanent financing so things will be streamlined for you.

For more information about mortgages including a Mortgage Application Checklist, visit the Mortgage Section of this website.

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