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First-Time Homebuyer's Guide: Part 4

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With help from friends, online research resources and a friendly, knowledgeable real estate agent, you’ve found the home of your dreams! Now comes the crucial part of the homebuying process: applying for the loan. More than anything, a clean loan application can get you to the closing table fast. Once our underwriting department clears your file, a pre-approval letter will tell sellers and their agents that you’re a serious, committed buyer.

Reality check ----------> Find a mortgage ----------> Find a home ----------> Apply----------> Close

Streamline your home loan application

The one thing to remember going into the home loan application is to err on the side of more, not less. Though certain aspects of the application can sometimes seem trivial and unnecessary, it’s important to give your loan officer everything up front, whether you think it’s relevant or not.

New to the homebuying process? Follow these helpful tips to ensure you get your mortgage application right the first time.

Tell your loan officer everything

It’s always in the best interest of the homebuyer to communicate their complete situation, so their loan officer can put them in the right mortgage product. However, it is the loan officer’s responsibility to expand upon the application and continue to deliver helpful information. When necessary information isn’t provided up front, the loan officer has to backtrack and delays happen.

Report accurate income

Understanding which income sources can be used on the application can be confusing for homebuyers. For many programs, Guaranteed Rate Affinity can only use base income unless we have a two-year history of bonuses and commissions.

Pay attention to detail

When asked for bank statements and tax returns, both sides of every page must be submitted. We must verify all information, not just the facts deemed relevant by the borrower. When the two most recent statements are requested, one from July and one from February won’t cut it. Attention to detail is especially important for self-employed homebuyers—they’ll need more documentation than those with W-2s.

Don’t try to hide debt

Buying a new home without disclosing debts or debt history is next to impossible. Whether it’s tax liens, a judgement against you or bankruptcy, all debts and negative financial impacts need to be reported. Your lender will find them eventually. For the sake of time, it’s best to disclose everything from the start.

Apply with Guaranteed Rate Affinity’s Digital Mortgage

Guaranteed Rate Affinity’s Digital Mortgage eliminates the hassle of faxing or scanning stacks of paper—Our quick and easy online application replaces the previously convoluted process with just a few easy clicks on your computer, tablet or smartphone. You can:

  • Choose your own loan type—conventional, jumbo, FHA, VA, etc.
  • Get your free credit scores from all 3 credit bureaus*
  • Securely upload and digitally sign your loan documents
  • Get a real online approval with our automated underwriting engine**
Get pre-approved for your home loan

After you’ve submitted the mortgage application, the lender’s underwriting department will review it to determine your status as a potential borrower. If underwriting has a favorable outlook on your ability to pay the loan, they can offer you a pre-approval letter indicating that you’ll most likely secure financing. With a pre-approval letter in your hand, you can go forward with confidence, clarity and a better sense of control.

The benefits of securing a loan pre-approval letter are significant:

  • No time is spent looking for homes outside your price range.
  • Real estate agents and sellers know you’re a strong buyer.
  • Purchase offers are backed by official documentation.

Though a pre-approval letter gives you an advantage over other buyers, don’t confuse it with a final approval. Final approval is granted when you close on your home. With a pre-approval letter, real estate agents are more likely to make the extra effort on your behalf, knowing that your search for the perfect home is legitimate and serious. 

In next week’s First-Time Homebuyer’s Guide…

Part 5: Close

*If Applicant self-reports credit score as “needs improvement,” Guaranteed Rate Affinity will not run credit or provide free credit scores via the Digital Mortgage. Applicant may request credit scores by contacting Guaranteed Rate Affinity.

**“Real Approval” means an automated underwriting system approval based upon credit information supplied by applicant and subject to Guaranteed Rate Affinity’s review of loan documents. Applicant subject to credit and underwriting approval. Not all applicants will be approved for financing. Receipt of application does not represent an approval for financing or interest rate guarantee. Restrictions may apply, contact Guaranteed Rate Affinity for current rates and for more information.


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All information provided in this publication is for informational and educational purposes only, and in no way is any of the content contained herein to be construed as financial, investment, or legal advice or instruction. Guaranteed Rate Affinity, LLC. does not guarantee the quality, accuracy, completeness or timelines of the information in this publication. While efforts are made to verify the information provided, the information should not be assumed to be error free. Some information in the publication may have been provided by third parties and has not necessarily been verified by Guaranteed Rate Affinity, LLC. Guaranteed Rate Affinity, LLC. its affiliates and subsidiaries do not assume any liability for the information contained herein, be it direct, indirect, consequential, special, or exemplary, or other damages whatsoever and howsoever caused, arising out of or in connection with the use of this publication or in reliance on the information, including any personal or pecuniary loss, whether the action is in contract, tort (including negligence) or other tortious action.