The more you know about the mortgage process, the easier it is.

Whether you're buying your first home, your next home, or a vacation or investment property, these tips and tools may help answer any home buying question.

What kind of home are you looking to buy?

It's one of the most exciting times in life, but it can also be confusing without a little help. If you can afford a 20% down payment on your home, you'll be able to avoid private mortgage insurance. Or, you can get a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan. FHA loans are backed by the government and require less down payment (as low as 3.5%). Getting pre-approved is a good first step. The first-time homebuyer's guide may be a great place to learn the basics and benefits of home buying, how much house you can afford, getting approved and more. Read the first-time homebuyer's guide

Should I rent or buy?

If you're currently renting, you may be missing out on the opportunity to build home equity with your monthly payments. Using the rent vs. buy calculator can help you see the cost of buying a new home and understand if it's a better choice than renting. Rent vs. buy calculator

Take a virtual tour of becoming a homebuyer

It helps to know what to expect each step of the way. This friendly interactive timeline walks you through all the stages and timing for buying a home. See the interactive mortgage timeline

Pre-approval vs. pre-qualification

A pre-qualification is a quick estimate of what you may qualify for, while a pre-approval means the lender has confirmed your financial information and made a commitment of how much you can borrow. Having that commitment may give you an advantage over other homebuyers. Learn more
You've already been through the process, so it should be easy, right? Not necessarily, as you have the additional step of selling your current home. To help, here are some tips that may help make the process of buying and selling at the same time a little smoother. Read about buying and selling a home at the same time

Getting your house sold

When selling your home, you're competing against all of the other homes for sale in your area. Learn how to make your house stand out. Tips for selling your home

Looking to relocate

Learn some important things to consider when looking for a home in a new neighborhood. Learn about relocating

See how much you can afford

Just how much house can you buy? Plug in your income, expenses and your potential new loan details, and get an idea. Try the affordability calculator
There are so many great reasons to consider a vacation home or investment property—a place to get away, extra rental income, or investing in a favorable housing market. See if a second home makes sense with your budget and future plans. Consider a second home

Are you ready to invest?

Investing in property beyond your main residence may be a good opportunity, but there are some questions you should ask yourself to make sure you're ready. Read about investing in multiple properties

Stay within your budget

You might want a 10-bedroom mansion, but that small house on the lake might be the way to go without breaking the bank. Plug in your income, expenses and your potential new loan details, and see how much home you may be able to afford. Try the affordability calculator

Estimate your mortgage payment

If you've found the investment or vacation property you want, get an idea of your monthly payment. Just plug in the home price, down payment and interest rate. Use the mortgage payment calculator