No. of Recommendations: 3
Hi KW,

Salary is $57,500 year plus a 40% bonus at year end (this is a killer - can't offer it for a salary but it is an integral part of compensation! I'm not an I-banker or in tech or anything, so the bonus is v. secure and was fully paid in 2001. grr.)

NOT TRUE!!! your bonus DOES count for regular income... just show it's a regular piece with your W2's and it counts!

I can swing a 5% down payment and am expecting to use a 80-15-5 combo loan, most likely. As I'm looking a 4-5 year holding period, a 5/1 ARM would be fine (lower rates, right?).

Right... on track so far!

Do I meet with a mortgage broker to see how much I could realistically expect to be approved for in order to wean myself from these high-priced dreams?

Sure! Can't hurt, can definitely help, and now's a good time to start the process of finding your profesional team.

If so, how do I find one?

1) Ask everyone you know who owns a home if they know of any brokers,
2) Ask for, & check the past-client references of the brokers you call,
3) Ask references about good experiences AND what's happened when the "stuff" hit the fan & went wrong, (trouble isn't guaranteed, but you want to be confident your pros know how to handle it if it shows up!)

Should I meet with a buyer's broker instead? Or do I just resign myself that I'll either be renting as long as I'm here or else buying a condo next door to the airport?

You know we'll never tell you to 'resign yourself to failure...'

Also, do explore buyer's brokers (realtors) but not in place of a mortgage broker. They really handle two different sides, and you're better off with 2 good players rather than one attempting to be "master of all."

Mortgage Fool
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