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So, you’re thinking about buying your first home? It’s an exciting time! But before you hit the payment to start shopping there’s a few things you need to know. Understanding your budget should be one of the first steps in the home buying process. You'll also certainly want to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start house hunting. 
 
Why Should I Get Pre-Approved First?
Getting pre-approved will save yourself the grief of looking at houses you can’t afford and put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house. And the good news is, getting pre-approved for a mortgage isn’t hard. It does require you to submit a number of documents to your lender. Luckily, these days you can do everything online. Greenway’s online pre-approval application takes less than 5 minutes.
 
Some commonly requested items are:
 
BORROWER IDENTIFICATION
A state-issued photo ID driver’s license or identification card. A valid passport will also suffice.
 
TAX DOCUMENTS
This is a standard document for mortgage pre-approval. So, there's a 99% chance you will have to provide tax documentation at some point. Most lenders want to see your W-2 statements and tax returns for the last two years. Among other things, your W-2s show how much money you earned over the previous year(s).
 
BANK ACCOUNT INFORMATION
Your lender will review 2 months of bank statements for each of your bank accounts. Make sure to include investment account statements and all pages of your statement, even if they are blank.
 
PROOF OF INCOME
These mortgage documents are needed to validate your income for pre-approval and underwriting. Usually, it’s your two most recent pay stubs.
 
EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION
You will need to provide the names and addresses of previous employers’ over the last 2 years.
 
PLACE OF RESIDENCE
This one is self-explanatory. For pre-approval and underwriting purposes, the lender wants to know where you've lived for the last couple of years. If you currently rent you will be required to provide your landlords name and address over the last 2 years.
 
SELF-EMPLOYED DOCUMENTS
Do you run your own business? If so, you might have to provide some additional documents during the mortgage pre-approval process. This might include balance sheets, a profit-and-loss (P&L) statement, or federal tax statements for the last two years.
 
REALTOR AND ATTORNEY CONTACT INFORMATION
 
Note: This is just a generic list of mortgage pre-approval documents. It includes some of the most commonly requested items. Depending on your situation -- and the type of home loan you are using -- you might be asked to provide additional documents that are not on this list.
 
There are many loan programs designed to help people in specific situations. Your Greenway loan officer will likely ask for a few other documents to match you with the best loan program to fit your life.
 
WATCH OUR FIRST-TIME HOME BUYER VIDEO HERE TO LEARN MORE
 
 
Helpful Resources:
 

It's always been a good idea to get pre-approved for your mortgage loan. In fact, it should be step #1.

Why should I be pre-approved for a mortgage loan?

In recent years, mortgage guidelines have been tightened. Documentation requirements have been expanded and followed more closely. A pre-approval gets you through the process and uncovers potential pitfalls long before you become obligated by a contract to purchase.

What advantages will I have once pre-approved?

You'll be certain about the price range that's best for you. You'll know how much cash you'll need to close, and you'll know your maximum monthly payment. Understanding your limits will help you negotiate with confidence. Plus, since sellers like a sure thing, you'll have an advantage over buyers who may not have been through the process.

How long is the pre-approval valid?

Your pre-approval is typically good for the "shelf life" of the documents used. These will include a credit report, pay stubs, bank statements, W2s, tax returns, etc. The usable life of these documents will vary, yet it's usually safe to say that your approval is good for up to three or four months. (Check with your Loan Officer). During this time, it pays to file all important financial documents so they're readily available for future updates.

What if I change my mind?

That's perfectly fine. There's no obligation to purchase a home or use a particular loan program once you've been pre-approved. In fact, pre-approval simply helps to assure you know exactly what's involved, that you are comfortable in a particular price range and that you are truly ready to make your move.

The process of purchasing a home is easier when you have financing in place before you make an offer. We're here to help get you started, and it's never too early to do exactly that. Give us a call when you’re ready. 908-489-4658.

 

 Helpful Resources: 

 


There are a number of loan programs available that are suitable for first time home buyers. At Greenway Mortgage, we are proud to offer many conventional home loans that are tailored to you based on your current finances. We also offer special government loan program options to help you get into your new home.

FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION (FHA) LOANS

These are government-insured loans from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that offer low down payments, making them especially attractive to first time home buyers who are looking to save where they can. The rates on these loans are often lower than conventional products and have less stringent credit requirements.

FHA loans are also often assumable, meaning you can take over the loan from the previous owner, and pass it on to someone else if you decide to move. Learn more.

VETERANS AFFAIRS (VA) LOANS

VA loans are offered by the government to veterans of the armed forces, as well as those currently on active duty, and widows or widowers of veterans. VA loans have less strict requirements and require no down payment. Learn more.

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (USDA) LOANS

For would-be home owners living in smaller towns or rural areas, USDA loans are a great option for fulfilling their dreams of buying a home. Like VA loans, they require no down payment but are subject to USDA eligibility maps. Learn more.

Check out more First-Time Home Buyer Programs Here.


The Happy Homeowner

Aug 22
3:27
AM

You’ve considered countless properties and visited many open houses, before finally zeroing in on your choice house, making an offer, securing financing and closing on the property.

Congratulations, you are now a home owner! But there are a few more things you’ll want to consider now that you’ve moved and settled into your new home. Here, we’ll detail what you’ll want to be aware of when it comes to maintaining your new property, as you continue on the path to becoming what Greenway likes to call the Happy Homeowner.


KEEP YOUR HOUSE CLEAN
You might have always wondered why your parents were so insistent on keeping a clean house when you were a kid, and now as an adult you know – not only does a spotless house look good to you and your guests, it can also be very attractive to prospective buyers should you eventually decide to sell the property. Do a little here and there to make sure your house is always ready for company, and be sure to break out the big guns occasionally for some deep cleaning.


KEEP YOUR HOUSE WELL MAINTAINED
In addition to making sure your new home is as clean as it can be, you’ll want to make sure it is well maintained. That means keeping up with the cost of repairs when they pop up, and not leaving them to fall to neglect.

Make sure to take some time to keep the fences mended, the house paint looking fresh, and the roof nice and stable. Do your best to keep the interior updated as well – putting in new fixtures, painting the rooms, even adding new flooring! If you can afford to, be sure to upgrade any items you might be changing out, such as lighting and fixtures.

Again, not only will these help keep your house looking as good as when you bought it, they’ll also help you build home equity and make the house attractive when you decide to sell.

 


What does the mortgage process entail? Here is your guide to understanding the mortgage process from start to finish. 

1. APPLICATION

You'll need to submit some documents, including, but not limited to:

  • Pay stubs – last 30 days
  • W2s – last 2 years
  • Federal tax returns – last 2 years, all pages/schedules
  • Bank statements – Last 2 months, all pages
  • Purchase contract – All pages
  • Realtor and attorney contact info
  • Copy of photo ID – must be legible
  • Appraisal payment

The required documents can vary based on the type of loan you're getting and your lender's underwriting requirements. To keep things moving, be ready to respond quickly to any requests for additional documents or details.

2. PROCESSING
Loan file is turned into the processing department. Loan processors gather documentation about the borrower and property, review all information in the loan file and assemble an orderly and complete package for the underwriter. The processor will immediately order your appraisal and begin to process your loan file.

3. APPRAISAL
Appraiser contacts realtor to schedule appraisal. Report available 3-5 days after the appraisal is performed.

4. UNDERWRITING
The underwriter is the key decision-maker. Appraisal is reviewed and file submitted for underwriting. Approval is typically available within 3 days.

5. APPROVAL
Once your loan is approved, the Mortgage Commitment is sent to you, your Realtor and attorney. Processing will contact you to discuss any outstanding documentation (conditions).

6. CLEARING CONDITIONS
Once outstanding conditions are supplied to processing, the file returns to underwriting for final review. Typically takes 48 hours.

7. CLEAR TO CLOSE
Once underwriting reviews the conditions, they clear the loan for closing. The closing department will contact your attorney to set up a closing date. Closing can take place any time after this point.

A FEW THINGS TO KNOW...

  • Do not make any large purchases without consulting your loan officer. Spending cash or incurring new debt could negatively impact your ability to qualify for a mortgage.
  • After closing, your loan may be transferred to a new servicer. You will receive a notice in the mail when this happens. It is normal and everything is okay with your account.

 

Watch our Introducton to the Mortgage Process Here.

 


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