Mortgage FAQs

How much home can I afford?

The amount of home you can afford is based on the amount of mortgage loan you can comfortably support. Generally, the amount of mortgage you qualify for is based on three factors:

  • Your monthly payments as a percentage of income
  • How much cash you have for the down payment and closing costs
  • Your credit history

Curious about how much you can afford? Log in to our mortgage website or set up a new account using just your email address and password. This site features mortgage rate calculators to help you in your home-buying process.

How can I lock my interest rate?

You must complete a full mortgage application in order to lock in a rate. After you submit a request online or in person, a Northstar Bank mortgage officer will call you to discuss your mortgage options. He or she will also help you complete the application and lock in a rate if you're ready.

What is an escrow account?

In addition to the principal and interest payment on your mortgage loan, you may elect to escrow additional funds each month in an escrow account to pay for property taxes and insurance. With some mortgage payments, escrowing for taxes and insurance may be required. Having an escrow account allows you to put aside a portion each month toward these costs. You send the additional funds each month when you mail your mortgage payment. The lender holds the money in an escrow account and makes the payments from the account when they are due.

When will I receive my year-end statement of interest paid for tax purposes?

Year-end interest-paid statements (IRS Form 1099) are mailed out by the end of January. You should expect to receive your statement in early February. Contact us about your statement if you do not receive it by February 10th.

Should I get prequalified for a mortgage before I shop for a home?

Getting pre-qualified for your mortgage is an important step before you shop for a home. It tells you how much home you can buy and makes applying for your mortgage easier. A mortgage pre-qualification can also give you additional leverage with a seller in negotiating the best possible terms of the sale.

What are third party fees?

Third party fees are fees charged for services rendered by parties other than the borrower or the lender. Such fees may include appraisal, credit report, title and flood certifications.

When will I be approved?

Once we receive all the required items and review the information, your loan may be approved depending on several factors, including your credit history, income and loan amount.

What is a lock period?

A lock period refers to the amount of time prior to closing that you can secure an interest rate for your loan. Lock periods range from 30 days to more than 90 days. Generally, the longer the lock period, the more you pay in points or interest.

Will I need hazard/homeowner insurance? What are the coverage requirements?

Yes, you will need hazard insurance for at least the value of your loan. You should also think about coverage for the cost to re-build the home and the value of its contents. Contact your insurance professional for the best advice.