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The Mortgage Process

Welcome to the world of homeownership with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Warren Residential! We understand that securing a mortgage can seem daunting, whether you're a first-time homebuyer or an experienced real estate investor. That's why we've created this comprehensive guide to help demystify the mortgage process. From understanding mortgage basics to the step-by-step procedures to secure your home loan, our guide is designed to equip you with the knowledge and confidence to navigate your home financing journey. Let's embark on this exciting path together, turning your dream of homeownership into a reality.

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The Mortgage Process

Budget and Preparation

Budgeting and Preparation: Before you begin the mortgage process, you need to know where you stand financially. Your credit score, a numerical representation of your creditworthiness, plays a significant role in determining the kind of mortgage rates you'll be offered. It's also crucial to understand how much you can afford to spend on a home. This includes considering your income, existing debts, and living expenses, as well as potential home-owning costs like homeowners insurance, property taxes, and maintenance costs. Figuring out your budget will also help you decide on the amount of down payment that you can afford, which is typically between 3.5% to 20% of the home's purchase price.

Mortgage Pre-Approval

A pre-approval is a written statement from a lender stating that you qualify for a particular loan amount based on your financial history and current income. This process involves the lender checking your credit, verifying your financial and employment information, and confirming your ability to qualify for a mortgage. Once pre-approved, you’ll receive a pre-approval letter that can be used as a strong negotiation tool when placing an offer on a house. It shows sellers that you're a serious buyer with strong financial backing.

We have an assortment of lenders that we can recommend for this part of the process!

House Hunting

With a pre-approval letter in hand, you can start the exciting process of searching for your dream home. At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Warren Residential, our real estate professionals will guide you, helping you to identify suitable properties within your budget and preferences. We understand that buying a home isn't just about the numbers - it's about finding the right fit for your lifestyle and needs.

Understanding the Mortgage Commitment Letter

After you've applied for a mortgage, the culmination of the process is receiving a Mortgage Commitment Letter from your lender. This document is significant as it represents the lender's official agreement to lend you a certain amount of money to finance your home.

A Mortgage Commitment Letter is more than just an agreement; it's a legally binding contract between you and the lender. It signifies that your loan application has passed through the underwriting process, where your financial history and current financial status have been thoroughly reviewed and approved.

Here's what you can expect to find in a Mortgage Commitment Letter:

  • Loan Amount: This indicates the maximum amount the lender has agreed to lend you.
  • Interest Rate: This section will disclose your loan's annual percentage rate (APR), a measure of the total cost of the loan including interest and fees.
  • Term: This outlines the length of the mortgage, typically ranging from 15 to 30 years.
  • Type of Mortgage: The type of loan (fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, interest-only, etc.) will also be stated in the letter.
  • Conditions: These are any requirements that must be met before the loan can close. This could include purchasing homeowners insurance, an acceptable property appraisal, or other specific lender requirements.
  • Expiration Date: A commitment letter isn't open-ended. It comes with an expiration date. If the loan isn't closed by this date, the offer may no longer stand, and you'll need to reapply or renegotiate.

Once you receive and accept your Mortgage Commitment Letter, you're one step closer to closing on your home. However, it's important to note that you must continue to maintain your financial status until the loan closes. Major changes, such as taking on new debts or changing jobs, can affect your mortgage approval.

At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Warren Residential, we're with you every step of the way to ensure you understand each stage of the process, including the significance of the Mortgage Commitment Letter. We're here to make your journey to homeownership as smooth and enjoyable as possible.

Closing the Loan

The closing process, also referred to as "settlement" or "escrow," is the final step in the home buying process. This is when you'll sign all the necessary paperwork to legally transfer the property from the seller to you, and when the funds from your mortgage are transferred to the seller. Let's break down this process into a few key steps:

  • Preparation for Closing: Once you've received your Mortgage Commitment Letter, it's time to prepare for the closing. During this period, you will review the Closing Disclosure, a document that details your loan terms, final closing costs, and any outstanding charges or fees. It's essential to compare this document with your Loan Estimate (which you received after applying for the loan) to ensure the numbers align.
  • Final Walkthrough: A day or two before closing, you will typically perform a final walkthrough of the property to ensure it's in the agreed-upon condition and that any required repairs have been made. This is your last chance to confirm that everything is as expected.
  • Signing Day: On closing day, all parties involved — which usually includes you (the buyer), the seller, your respective real estate agents, and a representative from the lender — will meet (in-person or virtually) to sign the necessary documents. These documents will include the loan agreement, promissory note (your promise to the lender to repay the loan), and deed of trust (which secures the promissory note). In some cases, a settlement agent or closing attorney will be present to oversee the process and ensure all documents are in order.
  • Closing Costs Payment: At closing, you'll also need to pay your closing costs, which can range from 2% to 5% of the loan amount. These costs may include loan origination fees, appraisal fees, title insurance costs, and more. This is also when you'll pay your down payment.
  • Title Transfer: Once all documents are signed and payments are made, the title of the property is transferred from the seller to you, officially making you the homeowner!
  • Recording of the Deed: The final step is the recording of the deed by the local county or city. Once the deed is recorded, the home is officially yours.

The closing process is a pivotal time in your home buying journey. At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Warren Residential, we'll be with you through every step, ensuring a seamless transaction and an exciting conclusion to your home buying journey.

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Federal 30-year interest rate: 6.95% last updated on Jun 13, 2024
* All Figures are estimates. Check with your bank or proposed mortgage company for actual interest rates.
This product uses the FRED® API but is not endorsed or certified by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

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Mortgage Calculator and Process

This mortgage calculator can be used to figure out monthly payments of a home mortgage loan, based on the home's sale price, the term of the loan desired, buyer's down payment percentage, and the loan's interest rate. This calculator factors in PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) for loans where less than 20% is put as a down payment. Also taken into consideration are the town property taxes, and their effect on the total monthly mortgage payment.

How to Get a Morgage:

STEP 1: DETERMINE HOW MUCH YOU CAN AFFORD.

Speak with your lender about your situation. Lenders will usually determine what you can afford based on your total debt being a percentage of your monthly pre-tax income. This percentage is usually between 28-36%, but this varies depending on the lender.

Other things to consider are:

  • Do you have money to use as a down payment?
  • Do you have other sources of income from investments?

STEP 2: CHECK YOUR CREDIT.

The first thing a lender will do is check your credit. It is best to clear up any problems and pay down as many debts before you apply for a mortgage. Get your credit reports from Equifax (800-685-1111), Experian (888-397-3742) and Trans Union (800-888-4213).

STEP 3: PRE-QUALIFICATION AND PRE-APPROVAL.

Many sellers will not consider an offer unless accompanied by a pre-approval letter. This should be the first thing you talk about with a lender. It is not a commitment and you can still use a different lender if you so choose.

How to get a pre-approval or pre-qualification letter:

The process can be done entirely over the phone if you choose. You will speak with a lender about what you are hoping to do and give them some of your financial and personal information. They will then analyze the information and see what size of a loan you are pre-approved for. You should get an answer as quickly as 24-48 hours.

STEP 4: GATHER ALL THE NECESSARY PAPERWORK.

Below is a list of paperwork you will most likely need when applying for a mortgage or pre-approval letter:

  • W-2's from at least the previous two years
  • Federal tax returns from at least the previous two years
  • Investment records such as real estate titles, automobile titles, stock certificates, and records of other assets and investments

A complete list of your creditors along with minimum monthly payments such as:

  • Student Loans
  • Credit Cards
  • Car Loans
  • Child Support Payments
  • Alimony Payments

Documents showing provable income such as:

  • Pay Stubs
  • Commissions and bonuses
  • Interest and Dividend Income
  • Social Security Payments
  • Alimony
  • Child Support

STEP 5: DECIDE ON A LENDER AND GET A MORTGAGE COMMITMENT

After applying with multiple lenders and getting them to compete for your business, you should be ready to choose the final one who will fund your loan.

Sometimes the lowest rate does not mean it is the best loan for you. In addition to the rate, you need to check on points (pre-paid mortgage interest), APR, and other fees associated with a given loan.

We know all this information can seem confusing and frustrating, especially to first time buyers. Ask your Warren Residential Group agent about getting started and using some of our preferred lenders.

Contact Our Mortgage Department