Tulsa’s Mortgage Guide: Frequently Asked Questions

First-Time Homebuyers

The first step in the homebuying process is to contact a loan originator in your area and get get pre-approved. Many buyers start by shopping around for a home, but it’s best to have a pre-approval letter in hand before you begin the home search process.


To get pre-approved, your loan originator will have you complete a loan application and do a limited review of your finances – things like your income, assets, etc. The results of this review will let you know what loan amount you’re pre-approved for. That amount, in conjunction with whatever amount you have for a down payment, will determine your official budget for a new house. Use our Mortgage Payment Calculator to estimate a comfortable monthly mortgage payment.


To ensure that you have the strongest pre-approval possible, we recommend getting a Platinum Credit Approval (PCA). Especially as a first-time homebuyer, it’s important to make yourself stand out from other buyers in a competitive market. Receiving your PCA before starting your home search will help you shop with confidence and make a compelling offer.

Providing a down payment might be the best option for some homebuyers, but it might make more sense not to put any money down for others.

With that said, not all loan programs require a down payment. Some do, some don’t. Some require a low down payment (think 5% or less). Some even fund 100% of the home’s cost, and others allow you to finance closing costs.

With Oklahoma Mortgage Gruop, you have options.

Benefits of a Down Payment

Lower monthly payments
The more money you put down, the smaller your loan amount will be. In most cases, this means a lower monthly payment. 

Eliminate PMI

If you have a conventional loan and put 20% down, you won’t have to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Benefits of No Down Payment

Purchase your dream home sooner

Saving for a down payment takes time. If you don’t have as large of an amount to save for, you may be able to purchase your new home sooner.

Keep more money in your pocket

If you choose not to put any money down on your home, that means you can keep more funds on reserve. This can be particularly beneficial to help first-time homebuyers ease into new expenses they might not have had when renting!

If you’re thinking about buying a house, you’ve probably seen or heard of some of the main types of loan programs, like conventional vs. government. Let’s demystify some of the basics.

Conventional Loans

These are your standard home loans, not backed by the government. There are many types of conventional loans with down payment requirements ranging from 0%-20% or more.

One time close construction loans

Simplify your project with Oklahoma Mortgage Group’s new construction loans, combining your land loan, construction financing, and mortgage into one.

Government Loans

(HUD-184 Native American Loans)

These loans are insured by the government, which means they often have lower credit score or down payment requirements. FHA, USDA, and VA loans are examples of government loans.

Once your offer has been accepted and you’ve submitted your mortgage application, the last thing you want to do is wait an unnecessarily long period of time to move into your new home. We’ve created a tool that maps it all out for you, showing exactly what needs to happen between application and closing for you to hit your projected closing date.

Refinance Your Loans

Refinancing is the process of replacing your mortgage loan with a new one to reduce monthly payments, lower your interest rates, or use equity for extra cash to make large purchases. Sounds like a win-win situation, right? It absolutely can be! Chat with a local mortgage expert in your area to discuss how a refinance could benefit your financial situation. 

This option involves taking out a mortgage greater than the remaining balance on your current loan; this allows you to use your equity as a cash advance to put toward home renovations or other expenses. A cash-out refinance is ideal for anyone who has built some equity and is looking to make major home improvements, pay off credit card debt, or make a large purchase.

A rate-and-term allows you to refinance the remaining balance on your current loan, which means you can take advantage of lower interest rates or a shorter term.  A rate-and-term refinance is ideal for anyone looking to pay off their mortgage sooner, build equity faster, or save money overall.  And really, who wouldn’t be interested in that?

Many homeowners wonder if a refinance might be a good decision. It’s really a personal choice but, in general, it may be a swell idea if it can help you save money on your monthly payments or over the length of your loan, and if you plan to stay in the home long enough to recover the closing costs associated with refinancing – referred to as the break-even point.


A pre-approval is an essential step in the homebuying process that can help you determine the price range of homes you can afford. However, numerous factors can affect your pre-approval, and it’s crucial to know all of them before you start the application process. A few of the most critical factors for a mortgage pre-approval include: your credit score and credit history; your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio; and your employment history and income.  

Many potential homebuyers are concerned about getting pre-approvals and how they might impact their credit. The truth is: pre-approvals can affect your credit, but there are steps you can take to minimize any negative effects.


First, it’s important to understand the difference between hard and soft credit inquiries. Soft inquiries occur when a lender or creditor checks your credit report for informational purposes, such as when you check your own credit or when a company pre-approves you for a credit card. Soft inquiries do not impact your score.


On the other hand, hard inquiries occur when a lender or creditor checks your credit report because of your credit application. This can include applying for a mortgage loan pre-approval, credit card, car loan, or any other type of loan. Hard inquiries typically do impact your score, although the effect is usually small and temporary.


According to the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO), credit inquiries generally have a “small impact” on your overall credit score. In addition, credit scoring bureaus typically acknowledge what is known as “rate-shopping,” which occurs when you are looking for a mortgage, auto loan, or student loan. If you are in the process of searching for the right home loan, FICO advises doing your rate-shopping within a defined period such as 30 days — to minimize any significant impact on your overall credit score.  

Getting a mortgage loan pre-approval letter varies by the mortgage lender and can depend on a number of factors – but, typically, it takes anywhere from several hours to a few business days to get a pre-approval letter.


Your credit score and debt-to-income (DTI) ratio can also affect how long it takes to get a pre-approval letter. If you have a good score and a low DTI, you may be able to get a pre-approval faster. However, if you have a poor score or a high DTI, the lender may need more time to review your application.


To ensure a smooth process, it’s important to gather all the necessary documentation and be prepared to answer any questions the lender may have. 

Typically, a mortgage pre-approval letter is valid for around 90 days. However, the exact period of validity can vary by lender and may be affected by factors such as changes to credit, income, or residence. Other factors that may fluctuate are mortgage interest rates, proposed loan terms, and loan programs. It’s important to remember that the pre-approval is not a guarantee of a loan and the lender may change its offer or terms based on these factors.


Using an expired pre-approval can have consequences for homebuyers. If the pre-approval has expired, the lender may no longer honor the terms or offer a loan at all, leaving the homebuyer at a disadvantage in a competitive market. Because of this, it’s crucial for homebuyers to keep track of the expiration date of their pre-approval and act accordingly.


In case of an expired pre-approval, the homebuyer still has plenty of options. It’s possible to renew a pre-approval online or in person by contacting the lender. 

Homebuying FAQs

Get pre-aporoved! A ore-aporoval will strenathen vour position in a comoetitive market and
help you close faster. Once pre-approved, you can go house shopping and know what you can comtoraelv artore.

Waterstone Mortgage offers loan programs for buyers with FICO scores as low as 585.

Only you can determine what si a comfortable monthly payment amount, but as a general rule of thumb: spend a fixed percentage of vour income on housina. The general recommendation is to
spend about 30% of your gross monthly income (before taxes). For example fi you make $4,000 per month, then your mortgage should be $4,000 x 0.3, or about $1,200.

Drivers license, tax returns and W2’s from the past two years, two consecutive months of bank
statements, one month of paystubs, and additional documentation on assets or income that you wish Waterstone Mortgage to consider in your application.

Down payments vary by loan program. Waterstone Mortgage offers programs that require no,
and low, down payments. In addition to your down payment, there are third party costs to closing your loan. Oftentimes, buyers negotiate for closing costs to be covered by the seller. Your loan originator will discuss all costs with you in great detail

Money in your checking or savings account; vested assets in stock, bonds, or mutual funds; retirement (401(k) or IRA) funds, including loans against these assets; and personal gift funds from a family member (please discuss gift options with vour loan originator before accepting gifts/depositing gifts in your bank account) are all acceptable forms of a down payment. Cash on hand is not acceptable.

Depending on your loan and your situation, your mortgage payment will most likely include principal, interest, taxes, mortgage insurance, homeowners insurance, and HOA (Home Owners Association) fees, if applicable.