First Time Guide to Home Buying

Step-by-Step Guide to Home Buying

  1. Obtaining Pre-Approval and determining a price range on a new home
  2. Finding a real estate agent and searching for a home
  3. Making an offer
  4. Obtaining financing
  5. Closing a home loan
  6. Closing appointment

Obtaining Pre-approval

A letter of Pre-Approval from your lender verifies your ability to obtain financing.  This letter is important because it demonstrates to real estate agents your ability to make an offer on a home.

1. Call 800-Homestead-8 (800-472-6698) to set up your pre-approval meeting.

At this meeting we will answer any questions you may have, including:

  • How much house can I afford?
  • What credit score do I need to qualify for a home loan?
  • How much money do I need for a down payment?
  • Should I consider a conventional or FHA loan?

We will provide a free credit analysis and work with you to determine a comfortable price range for your new home. We’ll discuss your credit score, and if necessary, the steps you can take to improve your credit score.  We’ll also discuss the variety of loan programs available and which will best meet your needs.

2. You will need to bring the following items to your meeting:

  • Pay stubs (most recent 30 days for all parties)
  • Most recent W2s for the last 2 years (If you are self employed completed tax return for the last 2 years)
  • Complete bank statements for the last 2 months.   Bank statements include checking, savings and any other asset accounts i.e. IRA, 401K.

Finding a Real Estate Agent

The best way to find a real estate in your area is to ask people you know for recommendations, or conduct a search on-line.  Once you have narrowed down your list to a few, meet with them, and ask them questions about the housing market in your targeted areas.  Ask them what percentage of the home value they will expect to receive as payment.  Tell them your price range and what you are looking for—it is their job to listen and meet your needs.  You need to feel comfortable with your agent, as you will be working closely with them for several months.

Searching For a Home

What you should expect from your real estate agent:

  • Immediate access to all area home listings.
  • Questions about your preferences regarding location, school districts, style, and type of home you are looking for.
  • Expert assistance in matching your requirements to available properties.  They will let you know about pertinent open house opportunities, immediate new listings, and they will accompany you to select homes.

Making an Offer on a Home

Your real estate agent will assist you in determining and preparing an offer.
You will need a personal check for the required Earnest Money. The amount is usually between $250-$1,000 depending on the value of the property.  Earnest Money is necessary as your good faith intent to purchase the property. The money is held in escrow until the offer is accepted or declined.

Your real estate agent will assist you in setting up a house inspection.

You and your real estate agent wait to find out if your offer has been accepted or declined.  In today’s market this is usually 24-48 hours.

Obtaining Financing

After your offer has been accepted contact your Homestead Financial Mortgage Loan Officer to complete your loan application. During your Loan Application meeting you will discuss:

  • Types of loans and interest rates
  • Locking interest rates (if desired)
  • Homeowners Insurance
  • Private Mortgage Insurance – PMI

Important Note –After making your loan application it is important to not make any substantial changes with regard to your finances (i.e. job changes, major purchases, changing banks).  Such changes can delay the process or impact approval of your loan.  Please call your loan officer right away if any issues arise or if you have any questions.

When you receive the results of the inspection please call your loan officer.  At this time they will order an appraisal on the home.

Closing on a Home Loan

Before your Closing your real estate agent will call you to discuss the following items:

  • Obtaining an Occupancy Permit
  • Transferring utilities
  • Scheduling a final walk-through
  • The time, date, and location of your closing

Before your Closing your loan officer will advise if any Certified Funds will be necessary at your Closing.

Closing Appointment

Bring your drivers license or other photo identification to the closing.

What will be received at closing:

  • A copy of all signed documents
  • A copy of the appraisal
  • Keys to the property

In about 45 days you will receive the Warranty Deed and Title Policy.