Should my husband and I pick a mortgage broker now or later, if we're using our tax refunds ($5k) for a USDA loan?

Asked by Katrina, 21133 Fri Jan 24, 2014

My husband and I want to use all of our tax returns, $5,000, for possible closing fees, repairs, etc for a USDA loan $200k or less. I have no idea what we would qualify for... he made $50k last year and I don't work and a full time student.

We already e-filed and should probably get the money in 20-25 days. None of our friends or family could recommend a nice/good broker, so we're still looking online. So, should I start trying to find someone now or wait till the cash hits our bank account?


Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Ali Qureshi, Agent, Pleasanton, CA
Sat Feb 8, 2014
It is highly advisable to get pre-approved long before you start looking for a house. In the event you like a house you will be ready to write an offer without having to process your preapproval.
1 vote
Jessica Hood…, Agent, Gambrills, MD
Mon Jan 27, 2014
You should make pre-qualification through a good local lender the very 1st (or 2nd stop) for your home hunt. If you have already chosen a Realtor, chances are they know someone in the area where you are buying that is trustworthy.

There is no obligation to get a pre-qualification and your lender will give you an outline of costs anticipated ($5k may not cover all closing costs) and give you and your agent an idea of what must be negotiated to get you in your home of choice under the $5k limit.
1 vote
Jon Wald, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, Baltimore, MD
Sat Jan 25, 2014

It is never too early to talk with a lender. Getting pre-approved is one of the most important aspects of buying a home. It is important to set realistic exceptions when looking for a house. I am a local lender here in Maryland and would love to either meet with you face to face or chat with you and your husband about your mortgage options. I have been in the business for nine years and have helped hundreds of people buy homes here in Maryland. I work for a national lender with in house underwriting, processing, closing, and funding. Though this may not mean a lot to you right now having the decision makers 15 feet away from me while working on your loan makes all the difference in the world when it comes the customer experience. Please feel free to call or email me anytime to discuss further.

How to find if the house is eligible for a USDA loan -…

Branch Manager
Primary Residential Mortgage, INC
443.384.3902 (ofc)
1 vote
Luke Reeder, , Baltimore, MD
Sun Feb 9, 2014
Hello Katrina
It's always best to consult with a mortgage broker prior. to figure out what you may need to go forward. Doing this also helps you obtain a possible price point to determine areas you may want too purchase in as well. Another avenue you want to explore is to consult with your current personal or business bank/credit union. These two others already have a relationship with you and you may be able to receive some available extra incentives.
0 votes
Bernie Alvey, Agent, White Plains, MD
Sat Feb 8, 2014

Always get pre-approved as soon as possible. You will want to know what you can and cannot do and equally as important, if there are items on your credit report, you will want as much time as possible to get them fixed. I have been using Chris Hood at George Mason Mortgage for 11 years and he is not only a great lender, but he is extremely experienced in dealing with USDA loans. Feel free to go to our website to apply, find out about financing options or just ask any questions you may have. Our site is We ware both very experienced and very well reviewed. Thanks and good luck!
0 votes
Robert Hanson, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, Olney, MD
Tue Jan 28, 2014
Hi Katrina, (same name as my youngest daughter :) ) -- Start by getting fully pre-approved with an experienced lender---- Regards,

Robert L. Hanson
Gladewater National Bank
First Time Homebuyer Specialist

Direct: 240-752-7549 Cell: 301-651-7822
NMLS# 695929

Rate quote or live chat with me at the link below:
0 votes
Brent Kluge, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, Baltimore, MD
Tue Jan 28, 2014

Always a great idea to get prequalified for your mortgage ahead of time, so you know what your budget is!

Also, you may want to buy a rehab, or fixer-upper and gain some equity. You'd want a referral to a realtor who KNOWS this process and can write a proper offer for you.

Best of luck and enjoy your HOME HUNTING process. :)

0 votes
Ron Trzcinski, Agent, Parkville, MD
Sat Jan 25, 2014
You should look for a mortgage broker now. With a USDA loan, you can finance 100% of the purchase and you can ask the seller to contribute almost fully to your settlement costs, which means that you might not even need the $5,000. If you find a home to purchase today, then you would be looking at a settlement date that would be beyond the 25 days that it may take to get the tax return, so you would still be able to use it if you so chose. I can recommend lenders who do these loans.
0 votes
James Yancey, , Annapolis, MD
Sat Jan 25, 2014
You definitely deserve to know the facts, get educated in the process of purchasing a home by someone familiar with USDA loans. You also want to be sure to get a pre-approval with the conditions that will be required for you to close on the transactions. Many lenders will simply qualify you based on your credit, don't settle for less than the complete knowledge and security that your transaction will be successful and smooth. Should you have further questions you can reach me directly at 410-656-9495 or if you're on Facebook feel free to connect with me there at
0 votes
Marlene Pais…, Agent, Linthicun Heights, MD
Sat Jan 25, 2014
Sat 1/25/2014

Hi Katrina,

There's much more to successfully completing a purchase transaction than having $5K in the bank. Understand that lenders are looking at income, assets and credit when issuing loan approvals. I wouldn't recommend a mortgage broker with the new QM changes that hit the mortgage industry recently. Do you know about QM changes? If not, CALL ME! I can offer some useful info on these changes and direct you to industry experts in the lending field for more specific help based on your situation. Depends on where you wanna buy there are many incentive programs that could help you get up to $25,000 towards down payment and closing costs and you could keep your $5K! Lol. It's a ton of variables that make each buyer's experience "unique." Feel free to call me to discuss your needs privately. I'd love to help.

Happy House Hunting,
Marlene Rogers, Broker/Owner JEMS Realty
0 votes
Hey Jonathan, thanks! You're right, it isn't much to worry about. Understanding the potential affect on buyers and their needs helps tremendously.
Flag Mon Feb 10, 2014
Merlene - Below you'll find something i sent out to my realtors about QM a few months ago. Though QM is more changes for the mortgage insdustry it really shouldn't have any impact on how lenders and quality brokers do business.

"I have been getting a lot of questions regarding Qualified Mortgage (QM). QM is due to go into effect January of 2014. QM will have a minimal impact on the real estate industry and it really is not something to be concerned about. It will have a negative impact on Mortgage Brokers (Primary Residential Mortgage, INC is Direct Lender), and a minor impact on Jumbo and Interest Only loans. Below you will find an article summarizing QM and how it will impact the consumer. If you or your clients have any questions around QM, please feel free to reach out."
Flag Sat Jan 25, 2014
Kathy Hutchi…, Agent, Huntingtown, MD
Sat Jan 25, 2014
Hi Katrina-

I can help you find a great USDA lender- You want to get started now- Please contact me and I can get you all the information!

Kathy Hutchins Broker/Owner
Hutchins Property Management
0 votes
Holly Mahan, Both Buyer And Seller, Towson, MD
Fri Jan 24, 2014
Hi Katrina. Its never to early to start your process in finding your home. A few clients/friends of mine are in the same predicament. I gave them a list of lenders to speak to to see which one best suited there needs and they were comfortable with. They started early to actually make sure nothing came up when they were in the process of actually buying. My office is in Towson and if there is anything i can do for you please feel free to contact me.
0 votes
Peggy Gayhar…, Agent, Timonium, MD
Fri Jan 24, 2014
Hi Katrina, I agree with the other responses. You should contact a mortgage broker/lender to discuss what you're looking to do and to get qualified. There are many lenders out there and many that will recommend certain ones however, it is ultimately your choice on what lender you would like to use. Not only will a lender qualify you and help you to understand the mortgage side of it a Realtor will also help guide you in the process too!
I noticed you are looking in the Baltimore area...great area with many homes on the market move in ready or with great potential.
I'm in that area quite often so feel free to contact me with any questions!
0 votes
Dan Tabit, Agent, Issaquah, WA
Fri Jan 24, 2014
It's never too early to start the process. You'll need a great agent and a great lender. USDA loans can take a while to close and finding the right home can also take some time.
Start with the lender. If anything comes up on your credit report that requires attention, the sooner you start the better off you'll be.
0 votes
Jennifer Fiv…, Agent, Red Hook, NY
Fri Jan 24, 2014
Katrina you should speak with a real estate agent who would be able to give you the names of several lenders for you to interview. How soon are you looking to purchase a home? If soon, it is not too early to consult with the lender since this consultation would let you know just how much home you can afford. The real estate agent can also start working with you to zero in on your needs.
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more