Iowa, with its splendid architectural sites, such as the Capital Building topped with a 23-karat golden dome, its many rivers teeming with freshwater fish, and other breathtaking natural sceneries, attracts both residents and tourists alike. All these, combined with the fact it’s one of the safest states in the country, and that it has low utility costs and taxes, make it easy to see why consumers choose to invest in a home here. (Source: Livability.com)

There’s a long list of great cities to become a resident of, but the top-rankers include the capital Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, and Sioux City. Its low cost of living further adds to its appeal. (Source: Sperling’s Best Places)

Cost of Home Ownership in the State

How much it costs to become a home owner in the state still depends on individual factors, but on average, home buyers can spend around $138,200 for a home. And with home values in the country having a median of $195,300, this shows that real estate in the state is less expensive than many other parts of the country. (Source: Zillow)

Despite the lower expenses associated with buying a home here, almost everyone still need financial assistance to make the purchase. Thus, most of them have to take out a mortgage. This type of housing loan comes with a long-term financial responsibility, so borrowers should first educate themselves about mortgage rate influencers.

Critical Factors for Consideration

Before applying for a mortgage, it’s critical for consumers to first determine whether they can afford to buy or if renting makes more sense for their current and foreseeable future. Once they’ve established they have the means to make their monthly loan payments on time, the next step is to gauge which type of mortgage (fixed-rate vs. adjustable-rate) best suits their short- and long-term needs and preferences. They should also factor down payment requirements, and if they can meet this.  

Deciding on Which Mortgage to Get

The two main forms of mortgages are the fixed-rate and the adjustable-rate mortgages. Establishing future housing needs – whether a home owner will stay in the same house for more than a decade or so – will help borrowers make the right decision.

Of course, they should also consider their own finances, both current and future, so they can avoid becoming underwater on their payments, or worse, defaulting on their loans or even foreclosure. In addition, knowing the risks and benefits associated with both types of housing loans should make it to the top of the list of all borrowers, because even the slightest difference in mortgage rates can already make all the difference between paying off debts completely and facing foreclosure.

Availability of Mortgage Assistance

Iowa residents can seek the help of several agencies and not just for education, but also for mortgage down payment assistance as well as lower-cost mortgages.

For instance, there is the Iowa Finance Authority, which offers two different options for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages. The first one, called “FirstHome” program, is for first-time buyers. The second one is the “Homes for Iowans Program,” which both first and repeat buyers can apply for. The organization also offers these in “plus” versions. Those who qualify for these will also receive a grant amounting to $2,500, which they can use either for a down payment or to cover closing costs.

There are also certain lending areas where the Neighborhood Finance Corporation implements grant and loan programs. Qualifying applicants can receive forgivable home improvement funds amounting up to $10,000. The NFC also offers closing cost assistance of up to $2,500. A plus is that this doesn’t require private mortgage insurance, and comes with a relatively affordable fixed interest rate.

References:

Iowa Finance Authority: http://www.iowafinanceauthority.gov/Public/Pages/PC77LN10

Neighborhood Finance Corporation: http://www.neighborhoodfinance.org/