BASIC TIPS for GETTING a MORTGAGE
A home purchase can seem like a daunting task, so it’s important to take it step by step and know that help is out there to streamline the process. Sure, you might have been saving money for years, but what else can you do to help fulfill your dream of owning a home? It starts by applying for a mortgage. Mortgages are designed to help individuals and families purchase a house when they otherwise might not have been able to.
Prepare to apply. In order to apply for a mortgage, you will want to do your homework first. This means knowing exactly where you stand financially. Assess your household budget and savings, seeing just how much you can afford to spend on a down payment. From there, you want to request your credit report. This will have a significant impact on what the interest rate will be on your home loan and whether or not you qualify for a purchase at all. Your credit score shows a lender essentially how trustworthy you are. While a poor credit score will hurt your chances of obtaining a low rate, don’t let it completely discourage you. There are ways to purchase a home even with a less-than perfect score and ways to raise your score.
Get pre-qualified. Once you know you want to purchase a home, you will want to consider getting pre-qualified for a mortgage immediately. This can help speed up the process, not to mention help you avoid potential headaches down the road. For example, you might have found the home of your dreams, but getting approved for a mortgage could take some time, something that could cost you an opportunity at purchasing. A pre-qualification will last 90 days, ensuring you are all set when you finally decide to pull the trigger on a purchase.
Finding a home. After you’re pre qualified for a loan, you’ll know how much you can afford. Now you can begin searching for the home of your dreams, without having to worry about whether you’ll actually be able to make a purchase.
Final loan approval. You will receive final approval for a home loan if you have a good credit score and debt-toincome ratio. Keep in mind that approval could depend on certain financial or property conditions that need to be met first.
What You Need for Your Loan Application
Use the following checklist to be sure you have everything you need for your loan application.
o Purchase Contract (for the purchase of your new home)
o Sales Contract (if you are selling your current home)
o Certified copy of the closing statement (if you have sold your home)
o All original paystubs for the last 30 days (showing your name, Social Security number, and year-to-date earnings)
o Original copies of your most recent two years’ W-2s and complete tax returns
o Proof of other income: Tips, Social Security payments, and investment income (if any)
o If you have a rental property: Your current rental agreement and your most recent two years’ tax returns with all schedules
o If you are self-employed or receive a 1099: Your most recent two years’ tax returns with all schedules and a year-to-date profit and loss statement and balance sheet
o If you own 25% or more of your corporation: The corporation’s most recent two years’ corporate tax returns with all schedules and a year-to-date profit and loss statement and balance sheet
o If you are commissioned: Your most recent two years’ tax returns with all schedules and year-to-date employee business expenses
o Information on residence history (for the past two years)
o Information on all outstanding loans and credit cards
o Originals of your last three months’ bank statements for all accounts
o Information on real estate you currently own
o Information about other personal property you own
o Copy of your driver’s license and another form of identification (Social Security card, passport, etc.)
o Payment for appraisals and credit report fees
o If divorced: All divorce papers
including marital termination agreement and final decree (signed by the court)
o Original certificate of eligibility and DD214 (VA loans only)
Do you know what questions to ask when you are shopping for a mortgage?
When shopping for a mortgage, you will find that most lenders’ loan products will be pretty close to each other in rates and fees. But rates mean nothing if your loan is not approved or can’t close on time! Today, with new strict lending guidelines, you really need to work with a lender who can get your loan approved and closed quickly and efficiently. How do you find such a lender? Here are some questions to ask:
1. Are you lending your own money? As a direct lender, Academy Mortgage controls the process from application through closing and funding. We lend our own money, so we make the decision to lend.
2. How many people will be involved in the loan process? At Academy, it’s the loan officer, processor, and underwriter. That’s it. You will always know what is happening with your loan.
3. Who will do the appraisal and how will it be assigned? Academy uses experienced, local appraisers whom we assign on a rotational basis. Many other lenders use third-party appraisal management companies that put the appraisal out to bid; in such cases, the appraiser with the lowest bid, regardless of experience or local knowledge, often gets the assignment.
4. How fast can you close? Because we are a direct lender, Academy can adjust priorities if necessary. This is particularly important when purchasing short sales where the time frame to close is short after the servicer of the existing loan agrees to the short sale.
5. Can your loan officers work directly with the underwriters? Academy’s loan officers work with in-house underwriters who answer questions, resolve issues, and understand that every loan has individual characteristics that DESERVE PERSONAL ATTENTION.
6. Who prepares the closing package and arranges funding? Academy has closers in our branches who make sure your loan closes on time and without surprises. Many other lenders have centralized closing departments that are unfamiliar with the file and have multiple conflicting priorities with getting packages out.
7. How many days in advance do you typically have the package to the settlement attorney? Academy strives to get packages out at least 48 hours prior to closing. Many other lenders end up sending packages at the last minute, which leads to a lot of stress. Settlement attorneys LOVE Academy because we make their jobs easy. They have a single point of contact (the closer) to get the package and resolve any last minute issues.
Today, it’s all about execution and accountability. Purchasing a home will likely be the largest financial decision you will ever make, so you need to work with a lender who will put your needs first and get things done fast!