Learning Center

The home of the ZERO blog.
Our Mortgage Learning Center brings together information
you can use to learn how to buy or refinance your home.
How to Buy A House: A Beginner’s Guide

Purchasing real estate is not as simple as finding the right home, submitting an offer, and signing the closing paperwork; many more steps are involved. The home buying process can sometimes be lengthy, and there may be...

Buying a House

how-much-house-can-i-afford
How Much House Can I Afford? Pre-Approval vs. Your Finances

If you have gone through the pre-approval process but need to take a deeper dive into how much house to buy, follow our guide to find out what makes the most financial...

no-money-down-mortgage
Zero-Down: Is It Bad to Put No Payment Down on a Mortgage?

The vast majority of mortgage loans require you to put down a certain percentage of the selling price upfront. However, not everyone can afford to put down that much...

what-is-hoa
What Is HOA?: First Time Home Buyers Guide to HOA

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or you’ve purchased a home before, you’ve likely heard of a homeowner’s association. In fact, an in-depth study has shown that 58% of...

what is a down payment
What Is a Down Payment?

There’s a lot of expenses to keep in mind when you’re thinking about buying a home. Between the price of the home, property taxes, your mortgage payments, insurance, and...

what is a conventional loan
What Is a Conventional Loan?

Conventional loans are mortgages offered by private lenders, banks, and institutions that are not backed by the government. Unlike FHA, USDA, or VA loans, which are...

property owners association
Property Owner’s Association: POA vs HOA vs COA, the Same, Different?

Some homebuyers refuse to purchase a property if it is part of a property owner association. On the other hand, many other homebuyers intentionally seek out properties...

hoa fees
Understanding HOA Fees | Homeowner’s 2022 Ultimate Guide

Research indicates that 58% of homeowners in HOA communities and single-family homes pay an average monthly fee of $250. Despite this substantial number, homeowners lack...

mortgage insurance
Do You Have to Have Mortgage Insurance?

Private mortgage insurance is something millions of homeowners pay for each year. However, this type of insurance does not protect the homeowner.

30 year mortgage
30-Year Mortgage: Everything You Need to Know

When you first set out to buy a home, it can feel like you’re taking an exam you forgot to study for. You have to make quick decisions that can have ramifications on...

pre-qualified vs pre-approved
Pre-qualified vs. Pre-approved Mortgage: Understanding the Difference

When looking to refinance or buy a house, the pre-qualified vs pre-approved mortgage debate can be confusing. Pre-qualification is usually performed by an independent...

types of loans
What Are The Different Types Of Mortgage Loans?

It’s likely that your mortgage loan will be the largest loan you have during your lifetime. Mortgages are not a one size fits all approach, there are many different...

mortgage loans
What Are Mortgage Loans and How Do They Work?

For many people, owning a home is part of the American dream. To make this dream a reality, most people will take out a mortgage loan to help them finance the cost of ...

mortgage fees
What Are Mortgage Fees and Closing Costs?

Whenever you’re looking to buy a house, you’ll quickly realize there are a lot of fees associated with obtaining a mortgage. These fees can quickly add up, so it’s...

what is a bridge loan
What Is a Bridge Loan? Everything You Need to Know

A bridge loan is a short-term loan a borrower may use while a more long-term financing contract is finalized. Bridge loans are common in real estate when someone needs...

what is a loan estimate
What Is a Loan Estimate?

A loan estimate is crucial to obtain when looking for a loan. This estimate not only gives you the details of a mortgage but also compares offers from different lenders...

what is a mortgage broker
What Is a Mortgage Broker?: Definition, Duties, and Advantages

There are many moving parts and various people you’ll deal with throughout the homebuying process. Depending on how you decide to find your lender, one of the...

what is a mortgage
What Is a Mortgage?

If you’re looking to buy a house, and do not have a mountain of cash saved up, you’ll need to consider getting a mortgage to help you finance this large expense.

But...

earnest money
What Is Earnest Money? | Earnest Money Deposit Explained

If you find a property that you’re highly interested in buying but are concerned that the seller might choose another offer over your own, you may consider making a...

home appraisal process
What Is The Home Appraisal Process? How Appraisals Work

Buying a home? You’ll likely need to get it appraised before you receive the clear to close. If you’re wondering what is the home appraisal process, or why you should...

what is a va loan
What Is A VA Loan? Here Is What America’s Veterans Should Know

If you’re an active service member, a veteran, or the surviving spouse of a veteran, and you want to purchase a home or refinance your current home loan you should...

buying a house during coronavirus
Buying a House During COVID-19: A Pandemic’s Impact On Mortgages

There’s no doubt, COVID-19 changed the world in countless ways and took us all by surprise. From an economic standpoint, countless industries were shaken and disrupted....

what is the difference between interest rate and apr
What Is the Difference Between Interest Rate & APR?

Whenever you are borrowing money, whether it’s for a new mortgage, a refinance, credit card, or car loan, you’ll hear the terms interest rate and APR discussed quite a...

first time home buyer
Mortgages for the First-time Home Buyer: Ultimate Loan Guide

If you’re new to buying a home, you probably have quickly realized the overwhelming amount of options there are for your mortgage. To help you get your bearings as a...

closing on a house
How to Close on Your New House, Quickly

If you’ve already gone through the lengthy process of writing offers, securing financing, and arranging inspections for your potential property, you’re probably ready to...

best mortgage lender
How to Choose the Best Mortgage Lender

One of the most important steps to buying a home is deciding on a mortgage loan and deciding on a loan involves settling on a good mortgage lender. Because a mortgage...

unexpected expenses
8 Hidden Costs: Home Buyers' Guide to Unexpected Expenses

First time home buyers are often surprised when they learn about all of the expenses that are associated with purchasing and owning a home. After all, the purchase price...

how to buy a house
How to Buy A House: A Beginner’s Guide

Purchasing real estate is not as simple as finding the right home, submitting an offer, and signing the closing paperwork; many more steps are involved. The home buying...

Mortgage 101

home-appreciation-calculator
Understanding Home Appreciation: Home Appreciation Calculator

People buy their homes for a number of reasons. Affordability, stability, and comfort are some of the most important factors. However, appreciation must also be...

mortgage-broker
What Is a Mortgage Broker? What to Know Before Using One

Mortgage brokers play an integral and active role in the mortgage market, offering customers a service not made available by large banks, credit unions, or other...

what is a down payment
What Is a Down Payment?

There’s a lot of expenses to keep in mind when you’re thinking about buying a home. Between the price of the home, property taxes, your mortgage payments, insurance, and...

what is a conventional loan
What Is a Conventional Loan?

Conventional loans are mortgages offered by private lenders, banks, and institutions that are not backed by the government. Unlike FHA, USDA, or VA loans, which are...

mortgage insurance
Do You Have to Have Mortgage Insurance?

Private mortgage insurance is something millions of homeowners pay for each year. However, this type of insurance does not protect the homeowner.

30 year mortgage
30-Year Mortgage: Everything You Need to Know

When you first set out to buy a home, it can feel like you’re taking an exam you forgot to study for. You have to make quick decisions that can have ramifications on...

pre-qualified vs pre-approved
Pre-qualified vs. Pre-approved Mortgage: Understanding the Difference

When looking to refinance or buy a house, the pre-qualified vs pre-approved mortgage debate can be confusing. Pre-qualification is usually performed by an independent...

pre-foreclosure
Pre-Foreclosure? What Does It Mean & What To Do

A home doesn’t just fall into foreclosure status. There are stages and processes that take place behind the scenes before a home is sold via foreclosure. One of those...

types of loans
What Are The Different Types Of Mortgage Loans?

It’s likely that your mortgage loan will be the largest loan you have during your lifetime. Mortgages are not a one size fits all approach, there are many different...

mortgage loans
What Are Mortgage Loans and How Do They Work?

For many people, owning a home is part of the American dream. To make this dream a reality, most people will take out a mortgage loan to help them finance the cost of ...

mortgage fees
What Are Mortgage Fees and Closing Costs?

Whenever you’re looking to buy a house, you’ll quickly realize there are a lot of fees associated with obtaining a mortgage. These fees can quickly add up, so it’s...

what is a loan estimate
What Is a Loan Estimate?

A loan estimate is crucial to obtain when looking for a loan. This estimate not only gives you the details of a mortgage but also compares offers from different lenders...

what is a mortgage
What Is a Mortgage?

If you’re looking to buy a house, and do not have a mountain of cash saved up, you’ll need to consider getting a mortgage to help you finance this large expense.

But...

what is a va loan
What Is A VA Loan? Here Is What America’s Veterans Should Know

If you’re an active service member, a veteran, or the surviving spouse of a veteran, and you want to purchase a home or refinance your current home loan you should...

no-money-down-mortgage
Zero-Down: Is It Bad to Put No Payment Down on a Mortgage?

The vast majority of mortgage loans require you to put down a certain percentage of the selling price upfront. However, not everyone can afford to put down that much...

what-is-hoa
What Is HOA?: First Time Home Buyers Guide to HOA

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or you’ve purchased a home before, you’ve likely heard of a homeowner’s association. In fact, an in-depth study has shown that 58% of...

Owning a House

property owners association
Property Owner’s Association: POA vs HOA vs COA, the Same, Different?

Some homebuyers refuse to purchase a property if it is part of a property owner association. On the other hand, many other homebuyers intentionally seek out properties...

hoa fees
Understanding HOA Fees | Homeowner’s 2022 Ultimate Guide

Research indicates that 58% of homeowners in HOA communities and single-family homes pay an average monthly fee of $250. Despite this substantial number, homeowners lack...

mortgage insurance
Do You Have to Have Mortgage Insurance?

Private mortgage insurance is something millions of homeowners pay for each year. However, this type of insurance does not protect the homeowner.

recast mortgage
Recast Mortgage: Everything You Need to Know About Mortgage Recasting

A mortgage is often the largest monthly expense homeowners pay. The thought of reducing the amount of money you owe each month comes to mind for just about every...

pre-foreclosure
Pre-Foreclosure? What Does It Mean & What To Do

A home doesn’t just fall into foreclosure status. There are stages and processes that take place behind the scenes before a home is sold via foreclosure. One of those...

refinance fees
What Are Mortgage Refinance Fees & What Can You Do to Lower Them?

Refinancing your home can save you thousands of dollars per year! When you extrapolate that savings over the lifetime of your loan, it’s no secret why refinancing seems...

what is a mortgage
What Is a Mortgage?

If you’re looking to buy a house, and do not have a mountain of cash saved up, you’ll need to consider getting a mortgage to help you finance this large expense.

But...

home appraisal process
What Is The Home Appraisal Process? How Appraisals Work

Buying a home? You’ll likely need to get it appraised before you receive the clear to close. If you’re wondering what is the home appraisal process, or why you should...

home improvement
Home Improvement: 8 Budget-Friendly DIY Changes For Your Home

Innovative and cost-effective home improvement ideas are all over the internet, especially when it comes to DIY projects that will add value to your home without...

home-appreciation-calculator
Understanding Home Appreciation: Home Appreciation Calculator

People buy their homes for a number of reasons. Affordability, stability, and comfort are some of the most important factors. However, appreciation must also be...

Refinancing

recast mortgage
Recast Mortgage: Everything You Need to Know About Mortgage Recasting

A mortgage is often the largest monthly expense homeowners pay. The thought of reducing the amount of money you owe each month comes to mind for just about every...

types of loans
What Are The Different Types Of Mortgage Loans?

It’s likely that your mortgage loan will be the largest loan you have during your lifetime. Mortgages are not a one size fits all approach, there are many different...

refinance fees
What Are Mortgage Refinance Fees & What Can You Do to Lower Them?

Refinancing your home can save you thousands of dollars per year! When you extrapolate that savings over the lifetime of your loan, it’s no secret why refinancing seems...

what is a loan estimate
What Is a Loan Estimate?

A loan estimate is crucial to obtain when looking for a loan. This estimate not only gives you the details of a mortgage but also compares offers from different lenders...

what is a mortgage
What Is a Mortgage?

If you’re looking to buy a house, and do not have a mountain of cash saved up, you’ll need to consider getting a mortgage to help you finance this large expense.

But...

what is the difference between interest rate and apr
What Is the Difference Between Interest Rate & APR?

Whenever you are borrowing money, whether it’s for a new mortgage, a refinance, credit card, or car loan, you’ll hear the terms interest rate and APR discussed quite a...

refinance checklist
Mortgage Refinance Checklist

Refinancing can open up opportunities for homeowners to cash out on equity, reduce monthly mortgage payments, or renegotiate the interest rate on their home loan....

what documents do i need to refinance my mortgage
What Documents Do I Need To Refinance My Mortgage?

The interest rate on a mortgage is simply the fee a lender charges the borrower for borrowing their money. Over the lifetime of the loan, the interest expense certainly...

cash out refinance
What Is a Cash-Out Refinance?

A cash-out refinance is the process of taking the equity you have built in your home in the form of a cash deposit into a designated account or physical check. Many...

refinance process
How to Refinance a Mortgage: Refinancing Process Guide

Consider this scenario. You bought a house several years ago, and at the time, you thought you got a pretty great deal. However, since you closed on your new residence,...

Selling a House

what is a bridge loan
What Is a Bridge Loan? Everything You Need to Know

A bridge loan is a short-term loan a borrower may use while a more long-term financing contract is finalized. Bridge loans are common in real estate when someone needs...

earnest money
What Is Earnest Money? | Earnest Money Deposit Explained

If you find a property that you’re highly interested in buying but are concerned that the seller might choose another offer over your own, you may consider making a...

home appraisal process
What Is The Home Appraisal Process? How Appraisals Work

Buying a home? You’ll likely need to get it appraised before you receive the clear to close. If you’re wondering what is the home appraisal process, or why you should...

home-appreciation-calculator
Understanding Home Appreciation: Home Appreciation Calculator

People buy their homes for a number of reasons. Affordability, stability, and comfort are some of the most important factors. However, appreciation must also be...

Ultimate Guides

hoa fees
Understanding HOA Fees | Homeowner’s 2022 Ultimate Guide

Research indicates that 58% of homeowners in HOA communities and single-family homes pay an average monthly fee of $250. Despite this substantial number, homeowners lack...

what is a bridge loan
What Is a Bridge Loan? Everything You Need to Know

A bridge loan is a short-term loan a borrower may use while a more long-term financing contract is finalized. Bridge loans are common in real estate when someone needs...

Rates

what is the difference between interest rate and apr
What Is the Difference Between Interest Rate & APR?

Whenever you are borrowing money, whether it’s for a new mortgage, a refinance, credit card, or car loan, you’ll hear the terms interest rate and APR discussed quite a...