What Is An Appraisal?

 

Every house is unique; appraisers are trained and licensed for expertise in putting a value on properties.

Appraisers don’t work for the buyer or the seller;  their primary mission is actually to protect the lender who’s risking money against the home’s value.

Appraisers have to weigh factors about the property and location – including size, condition and comparable properties – to appraise its current value.

They know how to focus on conditions that affect value; dishes in the sink don’t; damage and neglect do.

Appraisals lower than the proposed purchase price can affect transaction details. The seller might have to lower the price

or the buyer might have to increase down payment or fund additional escrow.

Appraisal seems a lot like inspection, but they’re not the same.

You can think of it this way:

Appraisers report on value to the lender

Inspectors report on condition of the house and major components to the buyer.

So – expect both appraisal & inspection in your transaction.

What Steps Need To Be Taken To Secure A Loan?

 

You’ll see some pictures in this video to help you remember later, but the first step in securing a loan is to complete a loan application.

To do so, you’ll need the following information.

  • Pay stubs for the past 2-3 months.
  • W-2 forms for the past 2 years.
  • Information on long-term debts.
  • Recent bank statements tax returns for the past 2 years.
  • Proof of any other income.
  • Address and description of the property you wish to buy.
  • A sales contract on the home you want to buy.

During the application process, the lender will order a report on your credit history and a professional appraisal of the property you want to purchase. The application process typically takes between 1-6 weeks.

How Are Pre-Qualifying And Pre-Approval Different?

 

Watch this video and it’ll make sense.

Pre-qualification is an informal way to see how much you maybe able to borrow. You can be ‘pre-qualified’ over the phone with no paperwork by telling a lender your income, your long-term debts and how large a down payment you can afford. Without any obligation, this helps you arrive at a ballpark figure of the amount you may have available to spend on a house.

Pre-approval is a lender’s actual commitment to lend to you. It involves assembling financial records and going through a preliminary approval process. Pre-approval gives you a definite idea of what you can afford and shows sellers that you are serious about buying.

What Is The Best Way To Compare Loan Terms Between Lenders?

 

Watch this video and take a few notes!

First, devise a checklist for the information from each lending institution. You should include:

  • the company’s name and basic information
  • the type of mortgage
  • minimum down payment required
  • interest rate and points
  • closing costs
  • loan processing time
  • whether prepayment is allowed

Speak with companies by phone or in person. Be sure to call every lender on the list the same day as interest rates can fluctuate daily.

In addition to doing your own research your real estate agent may have access to a database of lender and mortgage options or suggest a variety of different lender options.

What Is A Good Faith Estimate And How Does It Help Me?

 

You’ll see some pictures in this video to help you remember later, but a good faith estimate lists all fees paid before closing all closing costs, and any escrow costs you will encounter when purchasing a home.

The lender must supply it within three days of your application so that you can make accurate judgments when shopping for a loan.

How Do I Choose The Best Loan Program For Me?

 

The video puts this in more visual terms, but your personal situation will determine the best kind of loan for you.

By asking yourself a few questions, you can help narrow your search among the many options available and discover which loan suits you best.

  • Do you expect your finances to change over the next few years?
  • Are you planning to live in this home for a long period of time?
  • Are you comfortable with the idea of a changing mortgage payment amount?
  • Do you wish to be free of mortgage debt as your children approach college age or as you prepare for retirement?

Lenders can help you use your answers to decide which loan best fits your needs.

What Costs or Fees Are Associated With Loan Origination?

 

Yes, loan origination involves costs and fees. As you’ll see in the video, when you turn in your application you’ll be required to pay a loan application fee to cover the costs of underwriting the loan. This fee pays for the home appraisal a copy of your credit report and any additional charges that may be necessary.
The application fee is generally non-refundable.

What Is RESPA?

 

RESPA stands for the Federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. This video tells you about it all.
RESPA requires lenders to disclose information to potential customers throughout the mortgage process. By doing so, it protects borrowers from abuses by lending institutions.
RESPA mandates that lenders fully inform borrowers about all closing costs, lender servicing and escrow account practices and business relationships between closing service providers and other parties to the transaction.
For more information on RESPA, visit HUD.GOV or call 1-800-569-4287 for a local counseling referral.

What Responsibilities Do I Have During The Lending Process?

 

To ensure you won’t fall victim to loan fraud, as you’ll see in this video, be sure to follow all of these steps as you apply for a loan:

  • Be sure to read and understand everything before you sign.
  • Refuse to sign any blank documents.
  • Do not buy property for someone else.
  • Do not overstate your income.
  • Do not overstate how long you have been employed.
  • Do not overstate your assets.
  • Accurately report your debts.
  • Do not change your income tax returns for any reason.
  • Tell the whole truth about gifts.
  • Do not list fake co-borrowers on your loan application.
  • Be truthful about your credit problems, past and present.
  • Be honest about your intention to occupy the house

And do not provide false supporting documents.

How Do I Choose The Right Lender For Me?

 

There are some great tips in this video. Choose your lender carefully. Look for financial stability and a reputation for customer satisfaction.

Be sure to choose a company that gives helpful advice and that makes you feel comfortable.

A lender that has the authority to approve and process your loan locally is preferable since it will be easier for you to monitor the status of your application and ask questions. Plus, it’s beneficial when the lender knows home values and conditions in the local area.

Do your research, and ask family and friends.