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Home Loans FAQs

Home Loan Membership

  • Do I need to be a member to apply for a loan?

    No. Anyone can apply for a loan with GTE Financial; you do not need to be a member first.
  • If I close on a loan, do I still need to apply for membership?

    When you finance your loan through GTE Financial, you become a member with a simple application.
  • How do I know if I am eligible to join?

    Please visit (www.gtefinancial.org/about/join) to learn more about joining GTE Financial. If you want to join our credit union, there’s definitely a way to do it! We have very open eligibility.

Home Purchase Application

  • Why would I want to apply online and be credit pre-approved?

    Pre-approval is an important step prior to even shopping for a home. Many sellers won’t take an offer or even negotiate with you if you haven’t been pre-approved for a loan.

    You may even have a hard time getting a REALTOR® to show you homes unless you’ve been approved for financing; approval indicates you a serious buyer. Pre-approval could be the difference between getting the home of your dreams and losing out to someone who has already been approved for a mortgage.

    Additionally, knowing how much a financial institution will lend you for a home loan can help when starting your search – that approval is based on an analysis of your income, assets and debts; it’s a great gauge of what you’ll actually be able to afford in the long run. When you start looking at houses, you’ll have a solid price range to work from.
  • If I apply and get pre-approved, can I change my ‘Loan Type’ and my loan amount?

    Yes. Let’s say you’ve been pre-approved for a $150,000 loan, but you end up finding the home of your dreams for $190,000, which you can still afford.

    Simply contact a GTE Financial Mortgage Specialist, and they can walk you through getting approved for the $190,000 mortgage. So, no worries! All you are doing is getting credit pre-approved for an initial amount and an initial loan option, all of which can change later on.

    There is no obligation to move forward on the loan you were initially pre-approved for; however, if you change the parameters of your loan, you will most likely need to re-apply, which can add to your timeframe. It’s best to try and be as accurate as possible early on.
  • What is the difference between pre-qualification and pre-approval?

    Below are some key differences. With GTE Financial, our process enables you to be credit pre-approved!

    Pre-qualified:
    • Getting pre-qualified for a loan provides you an estimate of how much you can get financed for. Pre-qualification serves more as a guide to you of what a lender may require.
    • It is based on information you provide your lender about income, your assets and your liabilities, or debt.
    • This is not an official loan approval.
    Pre-approved:
    • With GTE Financial’s loan application online, you can receive an instant credit pre-approval versus pre-qualification.
    • Pre-approval adds a few simple steps to the beginning of the loan process, including reviewing your salary and credit information.
    • The lender then checks your assets and pre-approves your capability to get a loan - a very useful tool to use, especially in a competitive housing market.
    • When you find your dream home, you can present the seller with your pre-approved loan document, showing them you are a serious buyer.
  • How do I decide on a loan if I don’t know what house I am buying yet?

    One of the major questions that comes up when starting the home buying process is how much can I afford per month.

    Even if you don’t know the exact home you want to buy yet, you probably have an idea of how much you can allocate towards a monthly mortgage.

    You probably know a lot more than you think, like can you afford a 15% down payment for example, or whether you need a very low entry payment to make this work or that you absolutely want your payment to stay the same for the entire term of the loan.

    These are all examples of factors that can help you decide what loan is best for you and what you can afford prior to finding the specific home you want to purchase. List these factors out and then give our free calculators and loan comparison tool a try.

    They can help determine which loan may be right for you. And remember, even if you’ve selected a loan and been credit pre-approved, you can always apply for a different loan type and term later on if needed.
  • I am asked to select a loan type and amount in the online application. How do I pick the right one?

    Selecting a loan is probably the most daunting, yet one of the most important, steps in the online application process.

    When you are asked to select a 'Loan Type', for example a 30 Year Fixed mortgage, our system will recommend loans to you based on information you provided in previous steps. You can review the details of a loan, monthly mortgage and even compare loans on this page.

    Although you will need to select a loan, you can change your 'Loan Type' and even the amount of your loan with a GTE Financial Mortgage Specialist later on; however you may have to go through another approval process, so the more accurate you can be with your loan selection early on, the better.
  • After I complete an application what happens?

    Once you complete all of the necessary steps, your loan application may receive an instant credit pre-approval online or your application may require further review. You will be emailed paperwork verifying your approved loan status.

    These documents are the ones you can show your REALTOR® and sellers to verify that you are pre-approved for financing. No matter what happens, a GTE Financial Mortgage Specialist will call you to follow-up.
  • What are the top tips when applying online?

    Below are our top hints to read before staring the application process.
    • YOU CAN’T REALLY MESS UP! If you don’t know an answer or you get stuck in the application, no problem. You can call and speak with a GTE Financial Mortgage Specialist at any time at 1.888.871.2690 ext. 40407.
    • Try and be as truthful and accurate as possible so that your loan application will be correct! Otherwise, you may be doing this over again.
    • In order to apply online, you will be creating an account, which will allow you to login to your application account at any time to finish your application or to check the status of your application.
    • Please record and save your Login ID and Password.
    If you need a home loan, GTE Financial is ready to lend! Learn more about our smart home loan solutions for today’s buyer and owner.
  • Do I need to be a member to apply for a loan?

    No. Anyone can apply for a loan with GTE Financial; you do not need to be a member first.
  • Should I talk to a Mortgage Specialist before applying?

    Most of our applicants actually start an online application without having talked to a GTE Financial Mortgage Specialist first. This website is one big resource, outlining how a mortgage and home purchase works from start to finish. But, of course, if you have questions, you can always call our 24 hour Mortgage Application Department at 1.888.871.2690 ext. 40407 or visit a Community Financial Center, conveniently located throughout Tampa Bay.
  • When I ‘Apply For a Loan’ what am I actually doing?

    When you ‘Apply for a Loan’ online, it is the first step to getting a mortgage with GTE Financial. Using our online application, you can actually receive an immediate credit pre-approval on your loan at the end of the online application. Your loan is then subject to underwriting, a fancy word for "fact-checking", as well as verification. You will receive paperwork via your email and within our online application system that will verify your approved status for a certain amount and a certain loan option. You can show these documents to the seller and your agent, proving you are credit pre-approved for financing with GTE Financial.
  • Does it cost money to apply for a loan?

    No. There are no costs to filling out the online loan application and receiving a credit pre-approval. Only once you decide on a home and put in a contract are there fees associated with processing your loan to cover items like ordering an appraisal, title report and flood certification.
  • How long does the online application take?

    This can vary a bit depending on how comfortable you are with the information you need to provide. If you’ve already purchased a house, it will probably only take you about 30 minutes. For first time home buyers, it may take an hour or so.
  • What information will I need to have to apply?

    Below is a list of some basic information and documents you may want to find and organize prior to applying:
    • Current address and social security number.
    • Name(s), and work number(s) of employer(s) for the past 2 years.
    • Monthly income for you and your co-borrower, for example a spouse. You’ll want to have your most recent pay stub(s) that shows a year-to-date income, showing bonuses, commissions and overtime income for the past 2 years. A good source for finding this information is on your tax return.
    • If you are self-employed, you will need the last 2 years’ personal tax returns (Including K-1s) as well as the last 2 years’ tax returns for the type of business you own: 
      1. Sole Proprietorship (Schedule C)
      2. Partnership (Form 1065)
      3. Corporation (Form 1120 or 1120s)
    • Check out your credit report to make sure it’s accurate.
    • Lenders will look at your current payment history. It’s usually best if you do not have a late payment within the last 12 months. If you have credit history problems, make sure you have documentation, which can be a written explanation of late payments, bankruptcy (petition and discharge papers), defaults, judgments and/or liens.
    • Know what assets you may have available to you, which really means what other money do you have available to you. For example, Bonds, Certificates of Deposit, Checking Account, Gift Not Deposited, Mutual Funds, Other Non-Liquid Assets, Retirement Funds, Savings Account and Stocks.
      1. Know any liabilities or debt that you may have, such as a car loan, credit card debt or even a mortgage for your current home. As a tip, it is usually best to not make big purchases near the time you applying for a home loan.
      2. If you currently own, how much you owe on your house.
      3. How long you realistically plan on staying in your new home. This information will help you determine the best loan for you. If you plan on living in your home for less than 10 years, you may want to consider an Adjustable Rate Mortgage, which will have a lower initial Annual Percentage Rate than a Fixed Rate home loan. Fixed Rate loans will have a higher APR; however, if you value stable payments and plan to be in your home for more than 10 years, you may prefer a loan that will have a consistent rate for the entire term.
      4. Know about how much you are able to spend on a home.
      5. Put together some initial calculations for much you would be able to put towards a down payment. Usually, loans require 15% to 20% down. However, for qualified home buyers, it can be significantly less.
      6. Know an approximate location for where you’d want to buy your new home, including City, State and Zip. You do not need to have an actual address yet.
  • Once I start an application, do I have to finish it all at once? Or, what if my application closes for some reason?

    When you begin an application, you are essentially creating a loan account with a login and password. If you need to step away from the application or if your computer goes down for some reason, you can always log back in and pick up where you left off. Once you finish the application, you can login and check the status of your loan or send emails to us via our integrated emailing system that keeps everything complete within your application.

Refinance Application

  • Should I refinance? What should I consider?

    Even though the loan process is similar to a first mortgage, refinancing is different than buying a home. Usually, people need a mortgage if they want to purchase a house. Refinancing only makes sense if it's of benefit to the homeowner - a way to save money. That's why research is really important with a refinance. Some things you may want to consider and know the answer to include:

    1 How long you plan on living in your home. Know your break-even period.

    There's something called a break-even period you need to take into account. When you refinance, there are costs very similar to when you signed for your first mortgage. When your refinance savings exceed the costs of your refinance closing - that's the break-even period. If it takes 5 years to reach that point and you're not planning on being in your home for 5 more years, it does not make sense to refinance. You will move before you realize the savings of your new mortgage.

    2. What your refinance Annual Percentage Rate will be.

    3. What your current APR is.

    When you are looking to lower your monthly payment, a common rule of thumb is to refinance when you can decrease your APR by 2%. Sometimes it is still advantageous with less of a rate reduction, but you have to consider your break-even period – when the amount you save surpasses the cost to refinance. If you are not going to be in your home past the break-even period, a refinance may not be valuable.

    4. How much will it cost for you to close on your new loan.

    How much you have to pay for your refinance is a big determinant of whether or not a refinance is an advantageous decision. Depending on the stage of your loan, there are 3 primary ways you will receive information on how much you owe at closing.

    • Good Faith Estimate (GFE): an itemized list of fees and costs associated with a loan usually provided within 3 business days of applying for a loan, but is highly subject to change.
    • Summary of Charges: another estimate that is also subject to change. When you apply online with GTE Financial, there is a page within the online system that will provide a Summary of Charges as well as Closing Cost Details. The Summary of Charges is usually a bulk number, for example $7,500, and then the Closing Cost Details specifically outline all of the line item costs that get you to your bulk sum. You can receive a Summary of Charges via our online mortgage application or using our Loan Consultant tool. By answering 12 simple questions, the Loan Consultant will calculate available interest rates, total closing costs and monthly payments.

    • HUD Closing Statement: the official and final detailing of what you owe at closing provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This will be provided to you usually 5 days or more in advance of your closing date.

      5. How much will it cost for you to close on your new loan.

      One of the major questions for a borrower who is refinancing is how much will I have to pay at closing? For a roundabout estimate, your refinancing fees may total between 3% to 6% of your principal balance – what you still owe on your first mortgage.

  • When I ‘Apply for a Refinance’ what am I actually doing?

    When you 'Apply for a Refinance' online, it is the first step to getting a mortgage with GTE Financial. Using our online application, you can actually receive an immediate pre-approval on your loan. Your loan is then subject to underwriting, a fancy word for "fact-checking", as well as verification.

    You will receive paperwork via your email and within our online application system that will verify your approved status for a certain amount and a certain loan program.
  • Does it cost money to apply for a refinance?

    No. There are no costs to filling out the online loan application and receiving a pre-approval.
  • What if my current mortgage is already with GTE Financial? Do I still need to apply online if I want to refinance?

    Yes. The online application is the first step for all individuals applying for a refinance.
  • What if I’ve refinanced before? Is there a limit to how many times I can refinance?

    No. There is not a limit to how many times you can refinance your mortgage. Although, the closer you get to paying off your mortgage, the less likely a refinance will be advantageous. Additionally, every time you refinance, you are losing equity, which can take time to build up again.
  • Once I start an application, do I have to finish it all at once? Or, what if my application closes for some reason?

    When you begin an application, you are essentially creating a loan account with a login and password. If you need to step away from the application, or if your computer goes down for some reason, you can always log back in and pick up where you started. Once you finish the application, you can login and check the status of your loan or send emails to us via our integrated emailing system that keeps everything complete within your application.
  • I am asked to select a loan type and amount in the online application. How do I pick the right one?

    Selecting a loan is probably the most intimidating, yet one of the most important steps in the online application process. When you are asked to select a 'Loan Type' for your refinance, for example a 15 Year Fixed mortgage, our system will recommend loans to you based on information you provided in previous steps. You can review the details of a loan, monthly mortgage and even compare loans on this page.
  • How much can I refinance?

    When you are applying for a refinance, select a 'Refinance Amount' that will be sufficient to pay off your existing mortgage(s), as well as any additional cash back you may want. However, you should not include the amount you need to pay in closing costs. Traditionally, the rule of thumb is that you can only refinance up to 80% of the current market value of your home (The market value today may not be what you bought the home for necessarily. You will need to use the current value though during the application). In other words, you need an 80% loan to value ratio (LTV) to qualify for a refinance.
  • How do I calculate my loan to value ratio (LTV)?

    Here are some helpful steps to calculate your LTV.

    • Find out your home's market value.

      Let's use $200,000 (Even if you bought the house 4 years ago for $250,000, use the current value.).
    • Find out the balance of your existing mortgage.

      Your original mortgage was for $250,000, and you have paid $90,000 already, so your principal balance is $160,000 - what you still owe from your first loan.
    • Then divide the balance of your original loan by your home value to get your loan to value ratio (LTV).

      Your LTV ratio would be 80% ($160,000 / $200,000), indicating you have just enough equity in your home that you may qualify for a refinance.
  • Where can I find an Estimated Home Value?

    A great place to start is online! Estimated Home Value is just that - an estimation. Prior to closing on your loan, an official appraisal will be done on the home to determine its actual value. There are several websites online that can provide you an Estimated Home Value.

    None of these sites are endorsed by GTE Financial, so we cannot guarantee their accuracy; however, they are a good place to start. Additionally, it will not benefit you to inflate your home value. It's best to try and get as realistically close to your market value as possible.
    • Step 1: On Google, search 'Estimated Home Value'.
    • Step 2: www.realestate.yahoo.com/homevalues is a website that comes up in the search results.
    • Step 3: Simply type in your address, city, state and zip, then hit search. This site will actually show you the 'Value Range 'of your home, as well as two different estimators, for example Zillow.com and eppraisals.com.
    • GTE Financial can not guarantee the accuracy of external websites.
  • After I complete a refinance application what happens?

    Once you complete all of the necessary steps, your loan application may receive an instant credit approval online or your application may require further review. You will receive correspondence from GTE Financial regarding your loan status. A GTE Financial Mortgage Specialist will also call you to follow-up.