Several different factors are used. We suggest getting started by contacting a US Mortgages Personal Mortgage Advisor who can walk you through the qualification process for buying a home and answer any additional questions you might have including:
Get a Verified Pre-Approval: Unlike a pre-qualification, a verified pre-approval will look at your actual credit history along with verifiable income and assets to determine your true ability to repay a mortgage. Having a pre-approval helps you understand how much you can afford before you actually start looking for a home. It also carries far more weight than a pre-qualification in the eyes of a seller and can help you more effectively compete against cash buyers.
Find a Real Estate Agent: Find a real estate agent who represents the buyer and who knows the areas that you’re looking to purchase a home in. The agent advertising a property or working at an open house is usually the “Listing Agent” and represents the seller. A "Buyer’s Agent" works just for you, the buyer and represents your best interest in the transaction. You always want someone who will represent your interests as the buyer, especially in such a large transaction as buying a home.
Start Looking for Homes: Once you have your Verified Pre-Approval and have a Realtor, you can start shopping in your budget range, either through your agent or online. Think about how many houses you'll need today and how many houses you'll need in the future to determine the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, preferred location, size of the property and the style of home that you want. Compare neighborhoods, school districts, and compare the value for the money. Look at as many homes as you need to before making the decision to buy. A good real estate agent may also know about homes that aren’t even on the market yet. These are called "pocket listings" and you may be able to get the jump on your competition.
It’s important to understand the distinction between a second home and an investment property since it will most likely affect the type of home loan you'll qualify for.
A “second home” is a single family house, condominium, or townhouse that you intend to live in for part of the year, in addition to your primary residence. Usually, second homes are used as a vacation home. With a “second home loan,” you need to qualify for both your first home and your second home without consideration for potential rental income. Interest rates on second home loans are usually the same as traditional mortgages.
Equal Housing Opportunity Lender