Miss part 1 of this homebuying series? Check out “How to know what you can afford.”
After assessing your financial situation, the next step on your homebuying checklist should be to apply for a mortgage. While this may sound intimidating, it’s not as out of reach as you might think. Before you know it, you’ll be signing paperwork, receiving your keys, and scheduling the movers!
Here’s what you need to know to navigate through the mortgage process of your home-buying journey.
Before the loan process begins, you must make initial contact with a mortgage lender. Oftentimes, your real estate agent will have a recommendation, or reach out to friends and family to see if they have a referral from their home purchase. The prequalification step involves talking with a mortgage lender about various program options – a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, a 15-year fixed rate mortgage, or an FHA loan, to name a few. They’ll take into account what you expect to have as a down payment and help you determine what is best for your situation.
The loan application
It’s a good idea to download a blank loan application to get a feel for the information you’ll need when submitting your own. Most applications will require proof of income, proof of employment for the past two years, proof of identity and residency, and your social security number.
Origination and underwriting
During this step, a loan officer reviews your financing options and helps you fill out a credit application to create an account for your loan. Then an underwriter reviews your application and determines the level of risk you present based on the information you provide (remember, we talked about your debt-to-income ratio). If necessary, the underwriter may ask you to provide additional information about your financial history.
When you settle on a home and sign a purchase agreement with the seller, the purchase agreement goes to your mortgage lender. The lender may decide to have your new home appraised to make sure you’re paying a fair price.
The lender then works with a title company to finalize the title on your new home. At the closing, you will sign all closing documents and pay closing costs to finalize your title on the home. Your mortgage lender will receive all of these documents when the process is complete.
The loan process may take some time, but once you’re in your dream home, it will be well worth your time and patience.
This blog is second in a three-part series on purchasing a home. If you missed the first one, check it out here.