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Your 10-step guide to the mortgage loan process

How to make sure your mortgage application stays on track

While finding a new home can be exciting, navigating the mortgage process can be overwhelming. Knowing what steps you need to take can help the process go more smoothly. Once you have an accepted offer, here’s what you need to know.

 

  1. Submit your application. Now that you’ve found the home you want to buy and a lender to work with, the mortgage process begins. At this stage, your lender will have you fill out a full application and ask you to supply documentation relating to your income, debts and assets.
  2. Order a home inspection. Schedule a home inspection as soon as you can. Doing so will give you adequate time before your closing date to negotiate with the seller if the inspection reveals any unforeseen issues.
  3. Be responsive to your lender. If you qualify for the mortgage you applied for, you’ll receive conditional approval. At this stage, your lender may require additional documentation from you. Make sure to respond promptly to keep your application moving forward.
  4. Purchase homeowners’ insurance. Your lender will require proof of insurance before the loan can receive final approval.
  5. Let the process play out. Know what is happening behind the scenes: Your lender will order a home appraisal to ensure that the value of the home you’re buying is in line with the purchase price. The appraiser will visit the home and compare it to other recently sold homes in a similar price range. Your lender also will order a title search to make sure there are no outstanding liens on the property.
  6. Avoid taking on new debt. While your loan is in process, avoid opening new credit cards or making other major financial changes. New loans or other changes that affect your debt-to-income ratio could get in the way of your mortgage approval.
  7. Lock in your rate. If you haven’t already locked in your interest rate with your lender, you’ll want to do so. Your rate must be locked in no later than 10 days prior to your closing date.
  8. Review your documents. Once your loan is approved and your inspection, appraisal and title search are complete, your lender will set a closing date and let you know exactly how much money you’ll need to bring to your closing.
  9. Arrange to pay your down payment and closing costs. You’ll need to get a cashier’s check or arrange to wire money to cover your down payment and closing costs at the closing.
  10. Close on your home. At the closing, be sure to read all the documents you receive and ask any questions you may have about the terms of the agreement. Then unlock the door and celebrate your new home.
The Home Loan Navigator can help streamline your mortgage process. You can use this online tool to track your mortgage application, receive disclosures and electronically sign and submit certain documents.