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How to Buy a House in Wisconsin

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Does it seem like the process of finding the right lender and house in Wisconsin is long and confusing? The truth is that you can break down the buying process into 5 simple steps. We’ll take a look at the process you’ll go through when as you learn how to buy a house in Wisconsin. 

Step 1: Consider Current Wisconsin Mortgage Rates

When you take out a mortgage loan, you agree to pay your lender a percentage of interest on the amount of money you borrow. Locking into the lowest interest rate possible can save you a significant amount of money by the time you end up paying off your loan. 

For example, if you take out a 30-year mortgage loan with a $150,000 balance and a 4.5% interest rate, you’ll pay $123,610.11 in interest by the time you fully own your home. If you take out the exact same loan with a 4% interest rate, your total interest paid is equal to $107,804.26. Taking an interest rate just half a percentage point lower saves you almost $16,000.

Mortgage interest rates change over time, sometimes on a daily basis. Your local housing supply and demand, current bond market interest rates and the overall state of the economy can all influence what you’ll pay for a loan.

You can see a sample of what you might expect to pay for a mortgage loan in Wisconsin today. We update this information regularly to ensure that you have the most up-to-date data available. 

Loan Type Rate APR
30-year fixed 3.74% 3.834%
15-year fixed 2.895% 3.112%
7/1 ARM (adjustable rate) 0% 0%
5/1 ARM (adjustable rate) 3.125% 3.181%
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 Wisconsin

There are dozens of mortgage lenders that offer loans in Wisconsin and the best mortgage for you will vary depending on your individual needs. If you aren’t sure where to begin your search, consider a few of our favorites below.  

Avg. Days to Close Loan
30
Minimum Credit Score
620

1. Best Overall: Quicken Loans®  

No matter what type of mortgage loan you’re looking for, chances are high that Quicken Loans® has what you need. From FHA loans with lower credit requirements to high-value jumbo loans, Quicken Loans offers almost every type of mortgage. The company’s YOURgage program even allows you to customize your own term, between 8 and 29 years.

Quicken Loans is one of the best lenders for first-time buyers because it offers an exceptionally easy application process. When you apply for your loan through Quicken Loans, you’ll enjoy a simple and intuitive process that’s easy enough to complete on your phone or tablet. Most buyers who aren’t self-employed will receive a decision instantly — no waiting for weeks on end to hear back from your lender. 

Avg. Days to Close Loan
30
Minimum Credit Score
620

2. Best for Veterans: Veterans United

If you’ve served in the armed forces, you might want to consider using a VA loan to buy a home. VA loans are special mortgage loans for active-duty service members and veterans that may allow you to buy a home with 0% down.

Veterans United is the country’s top lender for VA loans and has been consistently highly rated by veterans. Veterans United employs a team of veterans from each branch of the military who can help you get your proof of service and determine whether you qualify. If you don’t currently qualify for a VA loan, the team at Veterans United can also help you find a conventional loan that works for you.  

Avg. Days to Close Loan
21
Minimum Credit Score
620

3. Best for Low Interest Options: Better.com

Better.com is a new online lender that offers low interest rates and a streamlined mortgage preapproval process. Like Quicken Loans, Better.com’s application is so intuitive that you can easily complete it from your smartphone. Better.com also offers an easy online rate calculator that you can use to calculate your loan interest rate without making a commitment.

Better.com guarantees you won’t find a more affordable loan with another lender, thanks to the company’s Better Price Guarantee. If you find a lower interest rate from another lender that Better.com can’t beat, the company gives you $1,000 toward your closing costs.

Step 3: Find a House

When you receive your preapproval from your mortgage lender, it should tell you about how much you’re approved for in a loan. Many homeowners use this as a jumping-off point when hunting for homes by price. Your mortgage value is far from the only thing you should consider when it comes to shopping for a home. Other questions you should ask yourself include:

  • Which neighborhood do I want to live in?
  • How much can I afford to pay each year in property taxes?
  • How many bedrooms and bathrooms does my family need to be comfortable?
  • Do I need a backyard? How much land can I manage?
  • Do I need a property that’s in perfect condition? Or do I have the time and budget to make repairs?
  • If I have children, how will the ZIP code I buy my home in change their education options?

You may also want to hire a real estate agent at this point to assist you in narrowing down your home search. A real estate agent can assist you in finding homes that fit your budget and needs that may not be available on public real estate databases. An agent can also help you decide how much to offer for your home and what is reasonable to ask for when you find the property you want to buy. 

Step 4: Make an Offer

After you find the perfect property, it’s time to submit your offer letter. An offer letter is an official statement from a buyer that tells the seller that he or she is serious about buying the home. Your offer letter will also often include an earnest money deposit equal to a small percentage of the home’s sale price.  If the seller rejects the sale, you receive the money back. If the seller accepts it, your earnest money deposit usually goes toward your down payment and closing costs.

Most buyers allow their agents to write their offer letter and submit it on their behalf. However, you may choose to write your own letter if you don’t have an agent. If you do decide to create your own offer letter, be sure to include the following information:

  • The address of the home you want to buy
  • Your name and the name of anyone else who will be included on the home’s title
  • The amount of money you want to offer for the home
  • The amount of money in your earnest money deposit
  • Any contingencies and concessions you’re requesting before the sale goes through
  • Details on anything not attached to the home that you want included in the sale (for example, window treatments or appliances)
  • Your mortgage preapproval letter (so the seller knows you can afford the home)
  • The date you expect to close on your loan
  • The date you want to move into the home
  • A date to respond to your offer by

If the seller accepts the offer, you can close on your mortgage. If the seller rejects the offer, you can submit a new offer or move onto another property. The seller may also offer you a counteroffer with an adjusted price or set of terms. If you receive a counteroffer, it’s now up to you to accept it, reject it or create another counteroffer. 

Step 5: Closing Time

Once you and the seller reach an agreeable set of terms, it’s time for you to close on your mortgage loan. Most closing processes include 3 steps:

  • Appraisal: An appraisal offers you an estimated value for your property. Your mortgage lender will schedule an appraisal for you before you close because it cannot loan you more money than your home is worth. If your appraisal comes back lower than what you offered, you might need to renegotiate with the seller.
  • Inspection: During an inspection, a home inspector will walk through your property and test the home’s systems and major appliances. He or she will then write a report telling you about everywhere they found problems in the house. Though most lenders don’t require an inspection to get a mortgage loan, you should still schedule one to be sure that your home doesn’t have any unexpected repair needs.
  • Underwriting: While you’re getting your home inspection and appraisal, your lender will underwrite your loan. Your lender will take a look at your financial information, verify your assets and check your credit report. The lender will also prepare your loan paperwork if everything looks correct.

After all closing steps are completed, the only thing left to do is attend a closing meeting. At your closing meeting, you’ll pay your down payment and closing costs, sign on your loan and receive the keys to your new home. 

Move-in Day in Wisconsin

Buying your first home can be one of the most exciting experiences of your life. Though you should enjoy the shopping process, it’s important to spend just as much time finding the right loan as you do deciding on a property. If you aren’t familiar with the many different types of mortgage loans available, talk to a lender in your area or do some independent research before you apply for a loan. A mortgage can have a term of up to 30 years — the last thing you want to do is rush into a loan that isn’t right for you.