The Home Buying Process
Buying a home is a huge and time consuming process. So, where do you start?
Searching for a home or house hunting may not be the best place to begin. Therefore, here are some suggested steps in the home buying process to help you get started:
- Review your credit report and scores, and fix any errors, delinquent inquiries.
- Get pre-qualified for a mortgage loan by speaking with a ZABE loan officer or apply online.
- Find a real estate agent – ZABE has a series of Real Estate Agents in your area we can refer you to once you’re pre-approved for a mortgage loan with ZABE.
- Shop for a home
- Make an offer
- Apply for a mortgage by completing and submitting documents provided to you by your ZABE loan officer.
- Once your mortgage is approved, get an appraisal, home inspection and other necessary certifications
- Prepare for closing and make a moving checklist
- Attend closing
- Move in
Check Your Credit
Your credit score is based on several factors, including how much debt you have, your credit history and whether or not you pay your bills on time. Your credit score can affect whether or not you’ll meet the requirements for a mortgage loan and, if so, what types of loan programs you will qualify for.
You can find out about your credit score by obtaining your credit report:
- You can get one free credit report each year at www.annualcreditreport.com; read through it carefully and make sure there are no mistakes, as that could affect your score
- If you have already obtained a free credit report within the last 12 months, you may have to pay a fee to obtain your credit score
- You may also monitor your credit FREE at www.creditkarma.com
ZABE Mortgage Group can help determine how much you can afford to pay on a mortgage and develop an achievable plan towards homeownership. We will ask you information about your specific financial situation to determine your pre-qualification status. While a pre-qualification estimate is not a guarantee to lend, it does help you set your price range, your budget, and how much you can put toward a down payment.
During this process we will also ask you a series of questions to determine if you qualify for any down payment assistance programs. These programs require additional documentation and enrollment processes which will be discussed during your meeting with a ZABE Loan Officer.
If you would like to make a rough estimate yourself, use our Mortgage Affordability Calculator. Your monthly mortgage payment will be comprised of principal, interest, taxes and insurance (PITI).
Find a Real Estate Agent, Shop for a Home, Make an Offer
When you are pre-qualified for a mortgage, you are in a stronger position to shop for a home because you will know your price range. Also, when you make an offer to buy a home, it’s likely the seller will take your offer more seriously because they’ll know that you’ve done your homework by estimating how much you can afford.
- Whether you’re moving to a new location or just across town, you may want to contact a real estate agent who is familiar with the area
- Your real estate agent will appreciate the fact that you are already pre-qualified for a mortgage
When you are shopping for a home, you may want to consider not only the price and location but also the school systems, safety of the neighborhood, and access to services such as medical care.
Once you select a property with your real estate agent, you will make an offer and negotiate with the seller on a final sales price.
Apply for a Mortgage
You can apply for a mortgage once you have selected a property. While you can get pre-qualified just by speaking with a loan officer on the phone, the actual process of applying for a mortgage requires reading, signing and supplying a number of supporting documents. ZABE recommends being proactive in the process.
ZABE Mortgage Group wants to make the mortgage process as easy as possible. We recommend that you review our Application Checklist and start gathering the documents you need as early as possible.
Get an Appraisal
If you are working with a real estate agent, they may recommend service providers for an appraisal, a home inspection and other certifications. You will be given a list of services that need to be done in order to close on your loan. Here are several examples:
- An appraisal is a written report showing how much a property is worth.
- A home inspection may discover problems affecting the safety or resale value of the property; if this occurs, the seller may be required to make repairs.
- If you choose an FHA loan, an FHA appraiser must confirm that the property meets FHA standards.
ZABE Mortgage Group can assist you through this loan process to help you close as fast as possible.
Prepare for Closing and Moving
Once your offer has been accepted by the seller and your mortgage has been approved, you can begin to prepare for your move by reading our Moving Checklist. Next, get ready for closing. This is the final step in any real estate transaction.
How Should I Prepare for Closing?
First you should know one of the biggest risks to closing on time is a change in a borrower’s financial circumstance. You may want to avoid opening a new credit card account, buying a car or making any other large purchase prior to closing.
Then you should start making sure you have all the documents you need to bring to closing:
- Government-issued photo ID for borrower and co-borrower
- Cash necessary for closing costs (typically a cashier’s check; not a personal check)
- Binder for homeowners’ insurance (hazard insurance) and paid receipt
- There may be other items as well
Although closing may only take an hour, consider setting aside extra time. There are many documents to sign. Your closing agent will explain what you are signing and you will have the opportunity to ask questions.
The borrower and any co-borrowers attend closing in person. Other people at the closing table may include:
- A closing agent (also called a settlement agent or escrow agent)
- The title company representative
- The seller and any real estate agents involved
- In some instances, an attorney
Learn more about closing. You can rely on ZABE Mortgage Group to guide you through the closing process.
Keep our Moving Checklist at hand to make sure you haven’t missed any Moving Day to-dos. You’ll feel great when you get your keys and unlock the door to your new home. Congratulations!