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How to Manage the Mortgage Process As a First-Time Home Buyer

Financing a home can be a confusing process for first-time buyers. There are large sums of money exchanging hands, complex legal documents to review and sign and possibly some unfamiliar terms. With a little bit of advanced knowledge and preparation, you can manage the mortgage application process like a pro.

Here are useful tips for first-time home buyers:

Determine What You Can Afford

Before beginning your search, figure out how much of a monthly payment you can afford. Factor in costs like home insurance, private mortgage insurance, utilities, property taxes, homeowners association dues and home maintenance.

Check Your Credit Score

Know your credit score before going into the mortgage loan application process. This score determines whether or not your loan is approved, the amount for which you are approved and your interest rate.

Shop for a Mortgage Lender

The best quote is not necessarily the lowest interest rate. Look at the entire offer from any lender and evaluate all benefits. Also, consider the level of customer service you receive; you’re in this relationship for many years, so work with those who really understand your financial situation and value your business.

Preapproved Versus Final Approval

Before making an offer, you’ll want to be pre-approved by a lender. This simple process takes about 20 minutes and will tell you what a lender thinks you’ll be able to borrow based on your income, assets and liabilities. Sellers are more likely to accept an offer from a buyer who is preapproved because it increases the likelihood that the deal will close.

Mortgage Loan Approval Process

The approval process begins by filling out a loan application. You will be asked to submit standard financial documents such as bank statements, tax returns and W2s. These documents will be reviewed by the lender’s loan underwriter. This underwriter will request a home inspection and an appraisal to confirm the property’s condition and value, and they may also request additional documentation.

Be Prepared for Closing Costs

In addition to making your down payment, there are various costs associated with a loan that you will be required to pay at closing. Upon loan approval, the lender will provide a statement of these costs. You should bring a money order or cashier’s check for the total amount to the closing.


Mountain America has special First-Time Home Buyer mortgages available. You can call us for more information about buying your first home, or apply for a mortgage loan by calling 1-800-277-7703 or visiting www.macu.com.

For more information, visit www.macu.com or call 1-800-277-7703.

Loans subject to credit approval. Membership required—based on eligibility. Federally insured by NCUA.

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