First-Time Home Buyer FAQ’s Answered

How do I know if it’s time to buy instead of rent?

If you know where you want to live, have a steady and secure income, and are ready for the responsibilities of homeownership, then it’s a great time to invest in property!

Can I apply for a loan before I find a home to purchase?

Yes, applying for a mortgage loan before you find a home may be the best thing you could do! If you apply for a mortgage and qualify, we’ll issue you a pre-approval letter online instantly. You can use the pre-approval letter to assure real estate brokers and sellers that you are a qualified buyer.

Once you find the perfect home, you’ll call your Loan Specialist to complete your application. That’s when you’ll have the opportunity to lock in our great rates!

How do I know if I qualify for a loan and how much I can afford?

Click HERE to apply and get pre-approved for a loan.

What’s the difference between pre-approved and pre-qualified?

While often used interchangeably, these terms don’t mean the same thing. Pre-qualification is an estimate of what you may be approved for based only on the verbal information you provide. Pre-approval means we’ve has verified your income and debt information and run a credit check.

I’m self-employed. How will you verify my income?

Generally, the income of self-employed borrowers is verified by obtaining copies of personal (and business, if applicable) federal tax returns for the most recent two-year period to verify that your self-employment income is stable. However, based on your entire financial situation, we may not need full copies of your tax returns.

How do you decide what you need from me to process my loan?

Our local underwriters compare your financial situation with statistical data from millions of other homeowners and use that comparison to determine the level of verification needed. Gone are the days when it was necessary to verify every piece of data collected during the application. In many cases, a single W-2 or pay stub can be used to verify your income or a single bank statement can be used to verify the assets needed to close your loan.

How will my credit score affect my application?

Credit scores used for mortgage loan decisions range from approximately 300 to 900. Generally, the higher your credit score, the lower the risk that your payments won’t be paid as agreed. Keep in mind there are many other factors when making a loan decision and we never evaluate an application without looking at the total financial picture of a customer.

I was in school before obtaining my current job. How do I complete the application?

If you were in school before your current job, enter the name of the school you attended and the length of time you were in school in the “length of employment” fields. You can enter a position of “student” and income of “0.”

Do I need a home inspection AND an appraisal?

Both a home inspection and an appraisal are designed to protect you against potential issues with your new home. The appraiser will make note of obvious construction problems such as termite damage, dry rot, or leaking roofs or basements. Other obvious interior or exterior damage that could affect the salability of the property will also be reported.

However, appraisers aren’t construction experts and won’t find or report items that are not obvious. They won’t turn on every light switch, run every faucet, or inspect the attic or mechanicals. That’s where the home inspector comes in. Accompany the inspector and gain knowledge of major systems, appliances and fixtures, learn maintenance schedules and tips, and ask questions about the condition of the home.

What happens at the loan closing?

The closing will take place at the office of a title company or attorney in your area who will act as our agent. If you are purchasing a new home, the seller may also be at the closing to transfer ownership to you, but in some states, these two events happen separately.

You will review and sign several loan papers. The closing agent or attorney conducting the closing should be able to answer any questions you have or you can contact your Loan Specialist if you prefer. Just to make sure there are no surprises at closing, your Loan Specialist will contact you a few days beforehand to review your final fees, loan amount, first payment date, etc.

For more answers to frequently asked questions, visit our Resource Center HERE.


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