Close this search box.
Close this search box.


Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or you’ve done this before, the home buying process can be complicated. Police Mortgage is here to help you through this process with answers to frequently asked mortgage questions. Don’t see your mortgage questions answered here? Reach out to a Police Mortgage Loan Officer today.

How can we help?

What is the minimum credit score I need to be pre-approved?

  • The minimum credit score required for a Conventional loan is 620. The minimum credit score required for an FHA or VA loan is 580.

How do I apply for a pre-approval?

We will need a completed loan application, your two most recent paystubs, your last two years of W2s, your two most recent bank statements, and a photo ID. Please see the Mortgage Application page for full instructions on submitting this information.

What is the difference between a mortgage pre-qualification and a mortgage pre-approval?

  • A mortgage pre-qualification is essentially just a conversation between you and a loan officer regarding your financials, assets, and down payment. This information is all stated, and not verified, so it does not carry a lot of weight when making offers on properties.
  • A pre-approval, on the other hand, requires the loan officer to verify the information by receiving a completed loan application , viewing your paystubs and W2s, and pulling your credit. For this reason, a pre-approval is more accurate and is more important to realtors and sellers.

What is the minimum required down payment?

  • Conventional Loans
    • First-time homebuyer: 3% down payment is required
    • Non-First-time homebuyers: 5% down payment is required
  • FHA Loans
    • 3.5% down payment is required for all buyers, regardless of whether or not you have owned a home previously.
  • VA Loans
    • There is no required down payment for VA loans.

What is the difference between a fixed-rate and an adjustable-rate mortgage?

  • On a fixed rate mortgage, your interest rate will stay the same for the life of the loan. Your monthly principal and interest payment will not change.
  • On an adjustable-rate mortgage, your interest rate will be fixed for a certain time period (usually 5 or 7 years) and then will fluctuate every 6 months after this period based on market conditions.

How long is my pre-approval valid for?

  • Your pre-approval is valid for 90 days. This is because your credit report expires after 90 days. At that point, if you would like to update your pre-approval, we would need to pull your credit again.

I received my mortgage pre-approval, now what?

  • Once you have received a pre-approval letter, you can start working with a real estate agent to view homes and make offers!

After my offer is accepted, what do I do next?

  • You will need to send the signed contract to your loan officer to begin working on getting your new home loan fully approved.

After I have an accepted offer, how long does it take to close on the home?

  • It typically takes about 30 days from receiving the contract to closing.

What is PMI?

  • Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is a type of insurance that is often required for Conventional mortgage loan borrowers. When you buy a home and make a down payment of less than 20% of the home’s purchase price, PMI may become a part of your mortgage payment. It protects your lender if you stop making payments on your loan. You can contact your lender about removing PMI when you reach 20% equity in your home, or it is automatically removed once you reach 22% equity in your home.
  • FHA loans also include a Mortgage Insurance Premium, which is similar to the PMI on Conventional loans. The upfront mortgage insurance premium (MIP) on FHA loans is 1.75% of your loan amount. This amount can be paid out-of-pocket in full at the closing, or it can be added on to your loan amount and paid over time.
  • VA loans do not require mortgage insurance.

When should I consider refinancing?

  • Refinancing your home loan is a great idea if it allows you to do one of the following:
    • Lower your monthly payment
    • Shorten the loan term
    • Refinance from an adjustable rate to a fixed rate
    • Refinance from an FHA loan to a Conventional loan to remove mortgage insurance
    • If you would like to cash out some of your equity in the home through a cash-out refinance
Vivian Abraham
NMLS #2451439

I have my bachelor’s in business administration and have been involved in the banking industry for over 10 years. During that time, I managed two of the Chicago Patrolmen’s Federal Credit Union branch locations prior to transitioning to Police Mortgage. I have family members who are police officers with the Chicago Police Department. My work has been very rewarding, and I take pride in having assisted countless members and their families with their financial needs and financial wellness. My hobbies include exploring new restaurants in the city and running in marathons that support pediatric cancer foundations and Chicago Police Memorial Foundation’s Run to Remember. I come from a large family primarily from the south side of Chicago and love to share all the diversity and beauty the city has to offer with my two children.

Patrick Doah
Loan Officer
NMLS #2025761

I am honored to grow up in a multi-generational family of Chicago Police Officers. I joined Police Mortgage in the summer of 2020 and love the opportunity to help both first-time buyers and repeat clients alike achieve their dreams of purchasing a home. Having been born and raised in the south suburbs of Chicago, I happily live in the Lakeview neighborhood today. Along with my two younger sisters, I am a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a lifelong Chicago Bears fan. I have a strong passion for food and love exploring the vast array of restaurants throughout our city. Nothing makes me happier than spending a summer afternoon on a golf course with family and friends!

Connor Walsh
Loan Officer
NMLS #2221708

I joined my brother at Police Mortgage as a loan officer in August of 2021 after a 10-year career in sales and marketing. Most recently, I worked as a Senior Account Executive for Ricoh North America, an office electronics company, where my main responsibilities were building new client relationships and maintaining over 400 existing customer accounts. I believe my work experience has transferred over to the mortgage industry well, because I am able to multi-task effectively while working with multiple customers. The skillset I learned in my previous employment allows me to stay organized and to manage my time well for my customers. My number one goal is always to make the loan process as quick and painless as possible for our borrowers. I am excited to further develop the Police Mortgage brand with my brother. It is a unique situation, and I believe working in an office together allows us to help our borrowers even more due to streamlined communication and our ability to help each other with our respective files. I like to spend my free time relaxing, watching sports, exercising, going out to eat with my wife, and trying to keep up with our three daughters – all under five years old!

Dylan Walsh
Loan Officer
NMLS #180970

After graduating from the University of Missouri in 2015, I moved to Chicago where I began a career in marketing at a firm called Ansira. I sought a career change and contacted Police Mortgage, where I was first introduced to the mortgage industry. I have spent the last 5 years training with our CEO, John Aretos, who has taught me all of the intricacies of the mortgage process. I love finding solutions for our clients to help them purchase the home of their dreams. I feel a huge sense of accomplishment when helping homebuyers, especially first-time homebuyers, all the way through the loan process, from pre-approval to closing day. I recently moved back to my hometown of St. Louis, where we opened a new office. I am excited to help start this new chapter for Police Mortgage. My wife, Megan, and I are happy to be back in our hometown. We are always checking out new outdoor events such as music or food festivals – anywhere we can take our dog, Remy!

John Aretos
NMLS #268165

As the CEO of an organization associated with serving the Police and their loved ones, I am privileged to play a role in helping our clients achieve their life’s financial goals. Our mission is to make the home buying or refinancing process as comfortable as possible, providing our clients with competitive products and excellent service.

I was born and raised in the Chicago metropolitan area, and I have a deep-rooted love and appreciation for the diverse culture which makes our city so special. My two older siblings and I grew up working in our parent’s restaurant, which instilled a work ethic and sense of family that I carry with me to this day.

I am a graduate of Indiana University and have been involved in the mortgage industry for nearly 25 years, helping thousands of clients save money or finance the home of their dreams. My passions are passing down my love of food, music, art, snow skiing, and red wine to my three children, who motivate me to be a better person each and every day!