So, you are interested in purchasing or refinancing a home.
But whether you have just signed the contract on a purchase or you already have a home and are interested in refinancing, the next step in the loan process is to start the application. For this, you will meet with your loan officer to discuss your options for financing and decide which product will best meet your needs. There are a lot of different loan programs out there, so don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions and even shop around to other lenders to make sure you find the right fit.
To move forward, your loan officer will be requesting some documentation and information such as:
- A copy of the purchase contract, if you are buying a home.
- Income documents like your most recent pay stubs, 2 years of W2’s and your tax returns if you have any self-employment, social security or disability income.
- Asset documents like recent bank statements and any investment accounts like 401k’s, if you plan to use them to cover the loan costs.
- They will need copies of your ID’s like a drivers license or passport.
- And the contact information for your insurance company so they can order the homeowner's insurance policy.
Next, your lender will be completing the Loan Estimate and initial disclosures for you to review and sign. These documents are vital for the loan process, and your file cannot move forward until they are signed and returned. Most likely the disclosures will arrive in your email to sign electronically. While the software makes it easy to simply click, sign and move on with your day, it is highly recommended that you take the time to read through these documents, specifically the Loan Estimate.
This is a great time to ask any questions you might have about the loan such as:
- What are all of the closing costs?
- How long will it take to close the loan?
- Who will be my main contact person?
- Are there any out-of-pocket fees I should be aware of?
- Once the loan closes, can my monthly payment ever change?
Basically, take your time to make sure you understand the terms of the loan you are obtaining, the costs due at closing and what to expect during the loan process.
At some point your loan officer will probably ask how you would like to pay for the appraisal. Most mortgage loans require an appraiser to inspect the property and make sure that it's safe and meets the requirements for the loan program. The appraisal is one cost that typically needs to be paid upfront, with the fee ranging anywhere from $400 to $1000 or so, depending on the property type and location. So plan on having a conversation about this important part of the loan, and ask your loan officer any questions you might have about what to expect.
Now, once the disclosures are all signed, you have turned in your income and asset documents to your loan officer and the appraisal fee is squared away, your loan file will be moving on to processing. Be sure to check out our video on this topic so you can be ahead of the game in understanding your mortgage loan.
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Ready for the next step? Learn about Processing & Underwriting here.Home loan application process
Refinancing a home: What you need to know
Pre-qualifying for a home loan
Understanding the loan estimate
Loan application documents required
Appraisal costs for mortgage loans
Mortgage loan processing explained
Tips for choosing the right loan program
Questions to ask your loan officer during the loan process
Homeowners insurance policy for mortgage loans