Home sweet loan.

Frequently Asked Mortgage Questions

Whether you're buying a home for the first time or have some experience in the housing market, mortgage questions come up. Not every home sale is the same, just like not every mortgage product is the same.

Finding a Home and Applying for a Mortgage

Should I rent or buy a home?
It's important to examine your finances before deciding to buy a house, including considerations like whether you can afford a down payment and other costs such as furnishing a new home. Learn more about renting vs. buying or use our mortgage calculator to help you compare the monthly costs.

Which mortgage is right for me?
Santander Bank offers a variety of home loan products to meet your needs, including conventional loans and low down payment options. Compare mortgages or contact a mortgage specialist for help in choosing the right mortgage for you.

How much money do I need for a down payment on a house?
The traditional down payment on a home is 20% of the purchase price of the home. However, multiple mortgage programs allow you purchase a home with a lower down payment.

How can I get a lower down payment?
Speak with a mortgage specialist about loan options with a lower down payment.

What does market value mean?
Market value refers to what a seller expects to receive for their home based on its condition and characteristics, as well as how competitive the housing market is for the area. You may also hear it referred to as the value based on a number of days, which assess how much a home could reasonably sell for in 30, 90 or 120 days.

What is a comparable sale?
A comparable sale helps you determine the market value of your home by assessing the price of similar properties in the area.

How quickly can I be pre-qualified for a mortgage
After providing a Santander Mortgage Specialist with all of the necessary information, or prequalifying online, you will generally receive an answer within a few minutes.

Learn more about how to prequalify for a mortgage.

Do I need to sell my current home before applying for a new mortgage?
While you do not have to sell your home before applying for a new mortgage, it could affect your eligibility based on your debt-to-income ratio, as well as affect how much money you have to put down on a new home or if a seller accepts your offer.

What documents do you need to apply for a mortgage?
Use our mortgage application checklist to gather all of the documents you'll need to apply for a mortgage.

How can I get a copy of my credit report?
To obtain a copy of your credit report, visit annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322- 8228. The law allows you to order one free copy of your report from each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies every 12 months. Reviewing your credit report prior to applying for a mortgage will give you the opportunity to identify and resolve any credit issues or discrepancies.

At what point do I need to obtain a homeowner's insurance policy?
At least ten (10) business days prior to closing you need to provide a copy of the "Declaration Page" of your hazard (also known as homeowner's) insurance policy that insures the subject property effective as of the date of your closing. You will also need to provide evidence of payment-in-full of the policy premium for at least one year.

What is a flood certification?
Santander is required by law to obtain a flood certification on all loans secured by residential real estate. A flood certification indicates whether the subject property is located within a special flood hazard area. If the subject property is located within such an area, the borrower must obtain flood insurance.

What is PMI?
Private mortgage insurance, also known as PMI, is insurance that protects the lender from losses when a mortgage with a low down payment defaults. A low down payment is usually defined as less than 20% of the purchase price or appraised value, whichever is less.

Learn more about mortgage insurance.

What is a mortgage insurance premium?
A mortgage insurance premium, also referred to as an MIP, is required insurance for an FHA Loan, similar to Private Mortgage Insurance for Conventional Loans.

Learn more about FHA Loans.

What is a rate lock?
You can lock in the interest rate on your mortgage any time after you begin your application up until 12 days before your loan is closed. You may have to pay a fee in order to lock your rate. That means that even if interest rates rise before your loan closing, the interest rate on your loan will be no higher than the rate you locked in.

What are closing costs?
Closing costs are costs in connection with the mortgage loan. Depending on the specific loan, these costs may include an origination fee, discount points, appraisal, credit report, title insurance, survey, attorney’s fees, and pre-paid items, such as tax and insurance payments.

Learn more about closing costs

How can I estimate my closing costs?
Closing costs are different from case to case. Generally, these costs are estimated between 3% and 6% of the sale price of your new home.

What is an escrow account?
For most home mortgage loans, your monthly payment will include an amount that must be paid in addition to your loan’s scheduled principal and interest payment. This amount is set aside by your lender in an escrow account to pay other recurring payments related to your home, such as property taxes, mortgage insurance, or homeowner's insurance.

Learn more about escrow.

What are mortgage discount points?
Mortgage discount points are an additional amount of money you can pay as part of your closing costs to lower your interest rate on your mortgage. Each mortgage point is typically 1% of the total amount of your mortgage, and you can usually pay up to 3 mortgage discount points.

Learn more about mortgage points.

Should I pay discount points on my mortgage?
Paying discount points on your mortgage can help keep your costs lower over time, but only pay them up front if you can afford them.

Maintaining Your Mortgage

What fees could I get charged for my mortgage?

Common mortgage fees include:

  • Appraisal Fee - actual cost of service
  • Assumption Fee – If your mortgage is assumable, $900 or 1% (whichever is more) of the outstanding principal balance of your mortgage loan account at the time of an assumption
  • Balloon Reset Fee - $250 if loan payments are current, $350 if loan payments are delinquent
  • Construction Loan Extension Fee – 1% or 2% of the loan amount. Fee charged for loan extension
  • Easement Review Request Fee - $200 (additional fees may apply if legal counsel assistance is required)
  • Escrow Waiver Fee - 0.25% of the principal balance with a minimum of $100 if you request, and your lender agrees, not to escrow funds for property taxes and required insurance. Fee does not apply to mortgaged properties located in the State of New York. Fee does not apply for insurance only waiver. If you have an escrow account but later cancel that account (with the agreement of your lender) an escrow cancellation fee will be charged.
  • Inspection Fees - actual cost of service
  • Non-Sufficient Funds Fee (Returned Payment or NSF) - $30
  • Principal and Interest Modification Fee (principal payment over $10,000) - $150
  • Partial Release Fee - $400 (additional fees may apply if legal counsel assistance is required)
  • Payment Collection Fee - $10 to process payment using online phone system and $15 to process payment with a customer service agent
  • Payoff Faxed / Mailed Fee - $10
  • Release of Liability Fee - $900 or 1% of the outstanding principal balance of your mortgage loan account
  • Satisfaction Release of Lien Fee - actual cost of service
  • Subordination Fee - $100
  • Verification of mortgage - $20 (this fee is charged to requesting financial institution, not charged to borrower)


When is my mortgage payment due?
You will receive a First Payment Letter at closing, which will indicate when your first monthly payment is due. If you are unsure, visit your online banking profile or contact a Santander Bank representative at 1-877-768-2265.

What costs are included in my monthly mortgage payment?
In addition to principal and interest on your mortgage, your monthly mortgage payment may include amortized costs of property taxes or insurance costs.

Can I change my mortgage payment date?
Currently, first mortgages do not have an option to change the due date.

Why did my monthly mortgage payment change?
Monthly mortgage payments may change due to interest rate changes for ARMs, changes in the cost of home insurance, or changes in property taxes. Contact our Mortgage Service Team for further details about your change in payment at 1-855-241- 5700

What is a balloon payment?
A balloon payment refers to making a large payment at the end of a loan term after paying smaller or interest-only monthly payments for a period of time, instead of evenly amortized monthly payments.

How do I get a copy of my end-of-year statement?
If you are a Santander Online Banking customer, you can access your IRS Form 1098 year-end tax statement through Online Banking. You may also contact our Mortgage Customer Service Team at 1-855-241-5700or email us at: CustomerService@yourmortgageonline.com

Can I pay off my mortgage early?
Yes, you can pay off a mortgage early. Contact a Mortgage Service Specialist to receive your payoff amount and additional instructions.

What is my payoff amount?
You may obtain your payoff amount by contacting Mortgage Service Specialist at 1-855-241-5700 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday – Friday (excluding Christmas Day) and the day after Thanksgiving If a third party is requesting a payoff quote, they must mail or fax the request with the signed borrower’s authorization. Written requests must include:

  • Name of the customer and property address
  • Social Security Number or Mortgage Account Number
  • Good through date
  • Signed borrower authorization

Fax the written request to the attention of the Payoff Team at847-574-7512 or mailed to:
Santander Bank N.A.
Mortgage Pay Off Team
1 Corporate Drive Suite 360
Lake Zurich, IL 60047-8945

Is there a fee for getting a payoff statement?
There is a $10 fee to receive a payoff quote by mail, email or fax.

What happens if I can’t make my mortgage payment?
If you are having trouble making mortgage payments and are concerned about possible foreclosure, consider one of Santander Bank's Homeowner Assistance programs, or contact an Executive Management Service Representative at 1-855-241-5699 between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST, Monday-Friday.

Can I make a mortgage payment online?
Yes, if you are enrolled in online banking, you can make a mortgage payment online.

What is the principal balance on my mortgage?
You can find your principal balance on the Account Details page of your online banking profile. Not signed up for online banking? Enroll now.

What is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)?
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is legal protection with a variety of personal finance protections and benefits for active duty members of the US military. This law covers a variety of products, however specific to mortgage you can receive a reduction in interest rates or delay in foreclosure.

Learn more about the SCRA at Santander Bank.

How do I close my mortgage escrow account?
To close your mortgage escrow account, you’ll need to mail or fax a request in writing stating how you would like to update your account. Fax your request to the attention of the Escrow Team at 1-847-574-7659 or mail to:

Santander Bank N.A.
Escrow Team
1 Corporate Drive Suite 360
Lake Zurich, IL 60047-8945

There is a .25% of the Principal balance] fee for closing your escrow account.

How can I change my name on my mortgage?
Please mail or fax a written request to change your name including supporting documentation, which could include a marriage certificate, divorce decree or driver's license. Fax the request to 1-847-574-7659-or mail to:

Santander Bank N.A.
1 Corporate Drive Suite 360
Lake Zurich, IL 60047-8945

How do I notify Santander if the co-borrower on my account is deceased?
We’re sorry to hear about your loss. Please send an original death certificate to:

Santander Bank N.A.
1 Corporate Drive Suite 360
Lake Zurich, IL 60047-8945
or fax to 1-847-574-7659

If you are not a borrower on the mortgage loan account but need to notify us of a borrower’s death, please send the original death certificate and short certificate identifying the legally appointed personal representative for the deceased borrower's estate.

How do I contact Mortgage Servicing?
If you have additional questions, you may reach a Mortgage Service Specialist at 1-855- 241-5700 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday - Friday (excluding Christmas Day and the day after Thanksgiving) Or through email at CustomerService@yourmortgageonline.com For customers with hearing impairments, please call TDD 1-866-352-3684 For customers calling from outside the United States, the local number is: – 1-847-550-7300.

Santander Bank does not provide financial, tax or legal advice and the information contained in this article does not constitute tax, legal or financial advice. Santander Bank does not make any claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in this article. Readers should consult their own attorneys or other tax advisors regarding any financial strategies mentioned in this article. These materials are for informational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the views or endorsement of Santander Bank.


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