Mortgages, like any other loan, are a serious endeavor to undertake. Thankfully, a mortgage is backed by a home, meaning you will have an easier time paying it off if you must, but it can still sink you if you don’t complete the process smartly. Read on to learn many mortgage tips and tricks.

Try to have a down payment of at least 20 percent of the sales price. In addition to lowering your interest rate, you will also avoid pmi or private mortgage insurance premiums. This insurance protects the lender should you default on the loan. Premiums are added to your monthly payment.

Communicate openly with your lender, even if your financial situation is not good. You don’t want to just give up if you fall behind on your mortgage payments. If you talk with the lender, you can often find a workable solution benficial to both of you. Pick up the phone, call your mortgage lender and ask what possibilities exist.

Hire an attorney to help you understand your mortgage terms. Even those with degrees in accounting can find it difficult to fully understand the terms of a mortgage loan, and just trusting someone’s word on what everything means can cause you problems down the line. Get an attorney to look it over and make everything clear.

When your finances change, your mortgage could be rejected. Avoid applying for mortgages until you know that your job is secure. You shouldn’t get a different job either until you have an approved mortgage because the mortgage provider is going to make a choice based on your application’s information.

If your mortgage has been approved, avoid any moves that may change your credit rating. Your lender may run a second credit check before the closing and any suspicious activity may affect your interest rate. Don’t close credit card accounts or take out any additional loans. Pay every bill on time.

Reducing your debt as much as possible will increase your chances of being approved for a mortgage. If you are not in a good financial situation, meet with a debt consolidation professional to get out of debt as quickly as possible. You do not need to have a zero balance on your credit cards to get a mortgage but being deeply in debt is definitely a red flag.

Although using money given to you as a gift from relatives for your downpayment is legal, make sue to document that the money is a gift. The lending institution may require a written statement from the donor and documentation about when the deposit to your bank account was made. Have this documentation ready for your lender.

If you’ve gotten approved for a mortgage, don’t make any other big purchases until after you’ve closed on your home. Typically your lender will pull your credit once again right before closing. If there are issues that crop up it could lead to problems with your closing. Be smart and curb spending until all is complete.

Lenders look at your debt-to-income ratio in order to determine if you qualify for a loan. If your total debt is over a certain percentage of your income, you may have trouble qualifying for a loan. Therefore, reduce your debt by paying off your credit cards as much as you can.

If you are able to pay more for your monthly payments, it is a good idea to get a shorter-term loan. Most lenders will give you a lower rate if you opt to pay your mortgage over 20 years instead of 30 years. Borrowers who get shorter term loans (such as 15 or 20 years terms) are considered less risky than those with longer term loans, resulting in lower interest rates.

After you’ve been approved for your home mortgage and are ready to move in, consider starting a home emergency fund right away. Being a homeowner means always being prepared for the unexpected, so having a stash of cash stored away is a very smart move. You don’t want to have to choose between paying your mortgage and fixing a hole in the roof down the road.

When it comes to mortgages, knowing all you can about the process helps you get it done right. These great tips from experts and your peers alike will ensure that you have no problems down the road. Take your time as you seek out your options and choose between them, but then take the plunge.