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1. How Much Can You Comfortably Afford?

After you’ve decided that you’re going to buy a house, you must determine how much you can afford in terms of home loan payments. There are a lot of tools available that may help, like an affordability calculator, which gives you a general idea of what payments you can expect. You can find out how much interest you’ll need to pay as well as the estimated principal balances. You may also determine the impact of mortgage principal prepayments for a whole year or monthly amortization schedule.

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2. Determine Which Home Loan Suits Your Needs Best

You have several options available to you when it comes to home purchase loans, from traditional FHA, conventional, and jumbo loans to first-time buyer programs. There are also 15-year and 30-year fixed loans in addition to hybrid and adjustable loans, like 3/1 ARM or 5/1 ARM. You can consider an interest-only loan if you want lower payments. With so many different options available, you should consider getting expert advice to choose the right home loan option depending on your situation.

3. Find a Real Estate Agent and Start Shopping

This is where it gets fun. After you’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage and you’ve got a good idea about the price range you qualify for, you can begin working with a real estate agent to check out homes for sale in the areas you want to live in. After finding a home you like, you can get your real estate agent to draw up an offer and complete the purchase agreement. The seller may come up with a counter-offer and you may go through several different counters before a deal is made. An escrow will be opened once you and the seller have reached an agreement on the terms and price. The standard escrow periods are between 30 days to 45 days, but it’s not uncommon to get a 60-day escrow.

4. Review Your Home Application and Update Your File

Depending on the length of time that has passed since your mortgage was pre-approved by the lender, you may be asked to provide updated documents and information to them. They probably have everything, but it’s good practice to go through all home purchase documents so that everything is in order. After they’ve updated the file, a home buying specialist will go over the details of the loan program, confirm the rate you want, and discuss the closing fees. It’s important that you understand all the details of the home loan program and ask questions you have before moving forward.

5. Lock Your Mortgage Rate

After the lender has received your signed lock deposit and lock agreement, the banker is going to provide you with a list of items you can email or fax, so that all your information is verified, and your loan is quickly approved and closed. You’ll be contacted to schedule an appraisal inspection, and if you don’t want any delays in the closing, it’s important that you schedule appraisal appointment quickly.

6. Home Inspection and Appraisal

Once the escrow is opened you shouldn’t waste any time and contact a professional to schedule a home inspection to go through the property and look for red flags like, items that need fixing, appliances that are broken, and structural damage to the property. It’s a small investment and ensures that you have peace of mind before you purchase the home. All major issues must be addressed before the closing date of the escrow.

7. Mortgage Approval, Signing, and Closing

After the lender has acquired everything they need, your account manager is going to submit your complete file to the underwriting department for approval. After it has been approved, your lender will prepare all home loan documents you need to sign. You’ll be signing your documents at the title or escrow office and it will only take you around an hour or an hour-and-a-half to sign them.

Once all your signed loan documents are submitted to the lender, they’ll review your loan file again to ensure that everything is in order. Once everything has been checked and confirmed, your loan will be funded 2 to 3 days after you’ve signed the documents, and the keys to your new homes will be handed over to you. We’ve highlighted some popular loan options and a few situations that are commonly applied to people who’re acquiring their first home loan. It’s likely that you end up qualifying for more than one, and we’re going to help you find the best possible option.

Want payment and interest rate stability?

The best option for you could be a 30-Year-Fixed loan where your monthly payments (before insurance and taxes) and interest rate will remain the same. You can make a down payment of as low as 3% to buy a home.

Don’t have a lot of credit history or worried it’s not good enough?

The best option for you could be a 30-Year-Fixed loan where your monthly payments (before insurance and taxes) and interest rate will remain the same. You can make a down payment of as low as 3% to buy a home.

Think you’ll only be in a starter home for a few years?

The best option for you would be an adjustable rate mortgage that offers you a low fixed interest rate (meaning lower monthly payments) for the first couple of years of your mortgage.

Are you currently serving or are a veteran?

The best option for you would be to qualify for a VA Loan, which helps you buy a home with a zero percent down payment.

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