The first step is simple - you need to apply. If you're not quite ready to apply, and need more information, click here to find a loan officer. To process your application through any program, we need financial information about you - your current mortgage or rent, your other loans, your income, your assets, etc. Your loan officer will be able to help you through this process.
It's up to you how we start the process. You can apply on-line here. Or, if you prefer, stop by your loan officer's office and take care of the paperwork in person. Or you can apply over the phone.
2. Preliminary Approval
In about 3 days (usually much less) we'll have an answer for you. This answer will be based on the basic information you give us as well as our work to match you with the best possible financing source and mortgage product. Your loan officer will be able to explain all the details to you at this point and present you with your options.
3. Loan Processing
Here's where you need to act again. We need to make sure you understand what's going on and its financial implications - this is a big decision! If you have questions, your loan officer will be right there to help you. As you might guess, we need paperwork completed and signed before we can go on. As always, make sure to make a copy of the forms for yourself and keep them in a safe place for your records.
Here is a summary of the forms involved:
- Good Faith Estimate of Settlement Costs;
- GThis details the loan amount and all related charges and fees.
- GTruth in Lending Disclosure;
- GThis lets you know what your estimated annual percentage rate of interest (APR) will be and any other program features that apply.
- G"Borrowers Certification";
When you sign this, you authorize that all the information you provided is correct to the best of your knowledge. It also lets us finalize the process by contacting your landlord, employer, mortgage company, etc. and getting your credit report.
Next, we'll arrange an appraisal of the property to determine its fair market value. The appraiser will visit the property and compare its features, floor plan, lot, etc. against other similar properties in the area. (You'll receive a copy of the appraisal at closing.) We also obtain a title report (an attorney's opinion) at this time. This will tell us the legal details of the property including liens against it (i.e. another loan).
5. Final Approval
Now it's time for "underwriting" to do its job. This may seem intimidating, but it's not. Basically, an underwriter looks over all the paperwork and loan details and agrees that it supports the preliminary approval issued in step 2. Ever wonder what they look for? Here are a few key items:
The Property: In this case, they review the appraisal report.
- Total Debt Ratio: This is the ratio between all your sources of income against all your debts.
- Cash Reserves: After your loan settlement costs are paid, this is the amount of money left over in your bank account. You'll still need cash to live on until the next paycheck comes.
- Credit History: Looking at your past debts and payment history is a measure of how likely and able you will be to repay your loan.
- Employment History: This isn't only how much you make, but how stable is your income.
You're finally here. This is the "mountain of paperwork" you've heard about. But don't worry - it's the closing agent's job to explain everything to you so that you know what you are signing. If you would prefer, your loan officer will try to arrange to be there as well. Bells closings go quite smoothly - especially because we make sure everything is in order on our end, and that you are educated about the process. This is where you will be expected to take care of the closing costs, and the balance of your down payment.