How to Buy a House in Utah

Read our Advertiser Disclosure.
Contributor, Benzinga
June 2, 2020

Thinking about making the jump from renting to owning your space? Getting a mortgage loan and buying the perfect property isn’t as difficult as it might seem. Our guide to how to buy a house in Utah will demystify the process. 

Step 1: Consider Current Utah Mortgage Rates

Every mortgage loan has 2 major parts: a principal balance (equal to the amount of money you borrow) and an annual percentage rate (APR) of interest. APRs change frequently and are often influenced by the overall state of the economy, your local housing supply and how the bond market is moving.

Locking into the lowest interest rate possible can save you thousands of dollars by the time you pay off your loan. For example, if you borrow $100,000 on a 15-year loan with 4% interest, you’ll pay a total of $33,143.82 by the time you own your home. 

If you take the exact same mortgage loan with a 4.5% interest rate, you’ll pay $37,698.77. Just ½ a percentage point difference will cost you over $4,500 more even though both loans have the exact same principal and term. This is why it’s especially advantageous to keep tabs on how average rates change to lock in at the right time.

Below, you’ll find a summary of today’s rates in Utah. We update this table regularly to provide you with the most up-to-date information available. 

Loan TypeRateAPR
30-year fixed N/A N/A
15-year fixed N/A N/A
7/1 ARM (adjustable rate) N/A N/A
5/1 ARM (adjustable rate) N/A N/A
Rates based on an average home price of $225,000 and a down payment of 20%.
See more mortgage rates on Zillow

Step 2: Pick a Mortgage Lender in Utah

The best mortgage lender for you will depend on your needs as a buyer. If you aren’t sure where to begin, consider starting with a few of our favorite Utah lenders listed below.  

Quicken Loans
Best For
  • Online Service

1. Best Overall: Quicken Loans® 

If you’re searching for the best lender for first time buyers, Quicken Loans should be at the top of your list. The nationwide lender offers an easy mortgage process. Apply for your loan online and receive a decision instantly in most cases. You can even complete your application entirely from your phone or tablet.

Quicken Loans offers one of the widest ranges of mortgage options we’ve seen. The lender’s YOURgage program allows you to choose a custom term between 8 and 29 years (30-year loans are also available).

Veterans United
securely through Veterans United's website

2. Best for Veterans: Veterans United

VA loans are a special type of government-backed loan that allows veterans and members of the armed forces to buy a home with a 0% down payment. Veterans United is the country’s No. 1 VA lender and has been a top-rated choice for the past 4 consecutive years. Veterans who have worked with Veterans United rated the company an average of 4.7 out of 5.0 stars.

Veterans United employs a full team of former servicemen and women. This means that you’ll receive firsthand assistance getting your proof of service and understanding loan requirements from veterans who have gone through the process themselves. Not sure if you qualify? Veterans United can also assist you in applying for a conventional loan if a VA loan isn’t an option right now. 

CrossCountry Mortgage
Best For
  • Self-employed Borrowers
securely through CrossCountry Mortgage's website

3. Best for Self-Employed Buyers: Luxury Mortgage

If you’re a business owner or independent contractor with a large amount of money tied up in assets, consider applying for an Asset Qualifier loan from Luxury Mortgage. Luxury Mortgage is the premier lender for self-employed men and women in Utah and the lender’s Asset Qualifier loan offers more flexible lending criteria.

Unlike other lenders, you won’t need to provide proof of income or employment with an Asset Qualifier loan. You can also use nontraditional assets in your application. This can be beneficial if you put most of your income back into your business. Asset Qualifier loans also allow you to finance up to 80% of your loan value and you may qualify for up to $6 million for your home’s purchase. 

Step 3: Find a House

After you’re preapproved for a mortgage loan, you can start searching for the home you want to buy. You might want to hire a real estate agent to help you with your search. A real estate agent can help you narrow down your search, keep your expectations realistic can give you access to private listings that you can’t find on public databases.

Before you begin looking for homes, you should define what you’re looking for in a home. You likely won’t find a home that meets every one of your ideal criteria, so it’s important to differentiate your wants from your needs.

Some of the factors you might want to consider when you begin shopping include:

  • Neighborhood: The neighborhood where you buy your home will determine how much you’ll pay in property taxes, where your children will go to school and the average price you’ll pay per square foot.
  • Ideal size: One of the first things you’ll probably look for when you start comparing homes is the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in each property. However, you should also consider the overall square footage of the property and the lot size. If you’re willing to scale down, you might be able to buy a home in a more expensive area. If your family needs more space, you may need to choose an affordable area where you can spread out.
  • Condition: Unless you’re buying a newly constructed home, chances are that your property will not be in picture-perfect condition when you move in. But how much work are you willing to put into your home and do you have the budget for a major renovation project?

Finding the right home can be a challenge. Don’t be afraid to be upfront with your real estate agent about your likes and dislikes. This will help both you and your agent by eliminating homes that don’t fit your needs. 

Step 4: Make an Offer

Once you find the right home, it’s time to submit an offer letter. Most buyers allow their agent to write their offer letter for them, but you can write your letter yourself if you really want to or if you don’t have an agent. If you do decide to write your own offer letter, be sure to include the following details:

  • Your full legal name and the name of anyone who you will be sharing the title with (like a spouse)
  • The address of the home you want to buy
  • The amount of money you’re offering for the home
  • Any contingencies you want included on the sale (for example, a requirement that the home must pass an inspection)
  • Any seller concessions you’d like (for example, help with closing costs)
  • Any items not attached to the home that you want to be included with the sale
  • The amount of your earnest money deposit
  • Your mortgage preapproval letter
  • The date you expect to close on your loan
  • The date you’d like to move into the property
  • A date the seller must respond to your offer

If your seller rejects your offer or gives you a counteroffer, you’ll need to decide if you want to try to renegotiate or search for another property. If your seller accepts the offer, you can move onto closing.  

Step 5: Closing Time

When you and your seller reach an agreement regarding the sale of the home, it’s time to close on your mortgage loan. Before you sign on your loan and start working with your lender, you’ll usually want to get an inspection for your new property. During an inspection, a property condition expert will test your home’s systems and appliances. At the end of the inspection, you’ll receive a list of everything broken or in need of repair in your home. Though inspections are optional, they give you an in-depth look at your home’s true condition.

When you move to close on your mortgage loan, your lender will schedule 2 processes on your behalf:

  • Appraisal: During an appraisal, a home value expert called an appraiser will visit your property and give you a rough value of how much your home is worth. Mortgage lenders require appraisals because they cannot loan you more money than your home is worth.   
  • Underwriting: During underwriting, your lender looks through your finances and ensures that you qualify for your loan. If everything is in order, you’ll finalize your loan paperwork.

After the entire closing process concludes (usually about 30 days after you begin) your lender will schedule a closing meeting. At your closing meeting, you’ll have an opportunity to ask any final questions about your loan. You’ll also pay your down payment and closing costs, sign on your new loan and walk away with the keys to your new property. 

Move-in Day in Utah

As soon as you walk away from closing, you can officially call yourself Utah’s newest homeowner! But owning a home comes with responsibilities and rewards. Mark your mortgage payment due date each month and be sure to put away enough money each month for property taxes and insurance. Keeping yourself organized and on track toward repayment to help you avoid the risk of foreclosure.  

Get Ready for Take Off

Rocket Mortgage® is an online mortgage experience developed by the firm formerly known as Quicken Loans®, America’s largest mortgage lender. Rocket Mortgage® makes it easy to get a mortgage — you just tell the company about yourself, your home, your finances and Rocket Mortgage® gives you real interest rates and numbers. You can use Rocket Mortgage® to get approved, ask questions about your mortgage, manage your payments and more.

You can work at your own pace and someone is always there to answer your questions — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Want a fast, convenient way to get a mortgage? Give Rocket Mortgage® a try.

About Sarah Horvath

Sarah is an expert in the insurance, investing for retirement and cryptocurrency space.