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Buying Your Next Home

Although this isn't your first home purchase, the home buying process is constantly changing. Our goal as a top mortgage lender is to make your dream of homeownership a reality as quickly and trouble-free as possible. So we're providing all the information you need to be an educated buyer and borrower.

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Step 1 of 7 – What is my price range?

Before you start house hunting, you'll need to understand what price range you can afford. A commonly used guideline is 2.5 times your yearly gross income (income before taxes) plus the amount of your down payment.

Step 2 of 7 – How much can I afford to borrow?

To afford a new home, many times a homeowner must first sell their existing home. When this is not possible, there is the option of obtaining a Bridge Loan. If the existing home is local, the lender can combine the money owed on the existing home with the amount required to purchase the new home. This creates one larger, temporary Bridge Loan. Once the existing home is sold, the homeowner will apply the proceeds to the Bridge Loan and the bank will release the mortgage on the original home. The homeowner then has two options. The bank can reduce the loan payment to a more appropriate amount based on the lower mortgage loan. Or, the customer can refinance to a shorter term or different product that may be more beneficial such as a Conforming Mortgage which traditionally provides a better rate. (There are fees associated with refinancing.) 

The following calculation can be used as a guideline for determining how much you can afford to borrow. Your monthly gross income (income before taxes) and your debt load are used to determine how much you can borrow. Your loan payment plus your monthly debt (not including your household expenses such as heat and electric) should not exceed 30% of your monthly gross income.

Step 3 of 7 – Finding the Right Mortgage Product

A wide variety of home loans and financing options are available for the permanent mortgage. Some choices are yours to make; others are based on specific circumstances such as: 

  • The amount of money you have for a down payment
  • The availability of closing costs
  • Your credit score
  • Length of the loan (term)
  • A desire for a fixed or variable rate
  • Choice of monthly or bi-weekly payments

View our wide range of mortgages & home loans.

Step 4 of 7 – Obtain A Pre-Qualification

The Pre-Approval step allows you to validate your ability to borrow and provides an estimate of your maximum loan amount. During the pre-approval process, a credit check will be performed. A letter can be printed by you and provided to the Realtor to assure them that your bank has tentatively approved you for this loan amount. Many Realtors require this pre-approval letter so they can be sure the homes they show are in your price range and that time is not spent showing homes if you cannot get the loan. 

Obtain a pre-qualification now.

Step 5 of 7 – Finding your Home

Buying a home is an exciting time. To get started and make it easier, start by thinking about those features that are must-haves — the number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, garage, etc. Then list what you absolutely do not want. Finally, list the things that would be nice to have but something you would be willing to give up for the right house or the right price. Now you're ready to go shopping!

For your convenience, we've gathered the names, contact information and websites of realtors in our local area. You can simply click on their website to learn more about them and view the homes they have listed. 

Find a realtor.

Step 6 of 7 – Applying for your Mortgage Loan

So you've been preapproved, found your house and you're ready for the next step - getting your mortgage. You can apply for your mortgage loan by contacting a lender or you can apply online. A lender will contact you if you apply online. You will be asked to provide a list of information to your lender so they can proceed with your loan review and approval:

Loan Appointment Checklist:

  • Paystubs for all applicants for the prior month
  • W-2's for all applicants for the most recent tax year
  • Tax Returns for all applicants for the prior two years
  • Bank statements for prior two months for all deposit accounts and the last quarterly statement covering any investments listed on the application including retirement accounts
  • Copy of signed purchase agreement
  • Copy of driver's license for all applicants
  • Copy of social security card for all applicants
  • Divorce Decree (if applicable)
  • Alimony/child support documentation (if applicable)
  • Death Certificate (if applicable)
  • If a refinance, a copy of the most recent year's tax bills (spring and fall)
  • A copy of the homeowner's insurance policy if refinancing or prior to the closing if purchasing a new home

Download a loan appointment checklist (PDF).

Locking in the Rate

You may be provided with the opportunity to "lock in" a rate, which ensures you receive the rate that is quoted to you at the time of commitment (which is when you are informed of the approval of your loan). This is often a good option if you feel rates may go up.

Disclosures

Within 3 days of application, you will be provided with several documents:

  • Truth In Lending Disclosure – provides information about the proposed loan such as the annual percentage rate, total finance charges, and total payments.
  • Good Faith Estimate – Lists your closing cost. This is provided to give you some idea of the approximate costs you will need to pay at closing. Such costs could include interest adjustments, title insurance, recording fees, points, credit report fees, appraisal fees and settlement fees which are paid to the lawyer or firm who manage settlement.
  • US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) booklet to assist you in understanding closing costs and the Truth in Lending Disclosure.

Appraisal and Inspection

Once you have a signed sales agreement, the appraisal will be ordered by the bank. The appraisal is an evaluation of the property's value and is completed prior to the final loan approval to ensure the loan amount is consistent with the value of the property. The appraiser visits the house and evaluates the site, structure and physical condition of the property. The final appraisal amount also includes an evaluation of recent selling prices of similar homes in the area (often referred to as "comparables"). The process can take up to two weeks.

An inspection may be required as a result of something found during the appraisal process. It may also be requested by you, the buyer, to uncover hidden problems or to identify items that you may want the seller to repair before the final contract is signed.

Title Search

The title search is a step to uncover any possible problems with the legal ownership of the property such as a lien, an unknown heir or faulty land survey. Arrangements for the title search are made by the bank. A one-time fee is paid at closing.

Approval and Commitment

Upon receipt of a satisfactory appraisal and title search, your lender will contact you with the final approval. A commitment letter will be issued at this time.

Step 7 of 7 – The Closing

At the closing, papers are signed, keys change hands, and the home officially becomes yours! 

The lender will establish the closing date. Before closing you should review all loan documents and your purchase agreement and do a final 'walk through" inspection to ensure nothing has changed or been removed from the house.

You must pay for the rest of your closing costs and down payment at the closing. 

Obtain pre-approval now.

Download Your Home Loan Toolkit - A Step by Step Guide

Home Loan Toolkit (English)

Home Loan Toolkit (Español)

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Apply Now 

Building Your Home

Building a home from the ground up may not be as daunting a task as you may have come to believe. However, to have a smooth and trouble-free experience, it is critical to follow the right steps.

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Step 1 of 8 – What is my price range?

Before you start looking at house plans or developing your own, you'll need to understand what price range you can afford. A commonly used guideline is 2.5 times your yearly gross income (income before taxes) plus the amount of your down payment.

Step 2 of 8 – How much can I afford to borrow?

Your monthly gross income (income before taxes) and your debt load are used to determine how much you can borrow. Your loan payment plus your monthly debt (not including your household expenses such as heat and electric) should not exceed 30% of your monthly gross income.

Step 3 of 8 – Finding the Right Mortgage Product

A Construction Mortgage is used for the building stage and will be for 80% of the perceived value of your home at the time of completion. The perceived value is calculated by an Appraiser who uses estimates provided by your builder along with an evaluation of recent selling prices of similar homes in the area (often referred to as "comparables"). The homebuyer must provide 20% of the perceived value to obtain a construction mortgage. 

The contract you sign with your builder will include an "advance schedule" which will outline each phase of the building process at which a payment will be made to the builder. This schedule is typically from 3 to 12 months. At each "advance" point, the bank will verify that the appropriate work has been completed and issue a check to the builder and homeowner. Until construction is complete, the customer only pays interest on the amount of money being advanced to the builder.

Once the construction is completed in accordance with the contract, the Construction Mortgage is converted to a permanent mortgage.

A wide variety of home loans and financing options are available for the permanent mortgage. Some choices are yours to make; others are based on specific circumstances such as:

  • The amount of money you have for a down payment
  • The availability of closing costs
  • Your credit score
  • Length of the loan (Term)
  • A desire for a fixed or variable rate
  • Choice of monthly or bi-weekly payments 

View our wide range of mortgages & home loans.

Step 4 of 8 – Obtain A Pre-Qualification

The Pre-Approval step allows you to validate your ability to borrow and provides an estimate of your maximum loan amount. During the pre-approval process, a credit check will be performed. A letter can be printed by you and provided to your contractor to assure them that your bank has tentatively approved you for this loan amount.

Get Pre-Qualified Now!

Step 5 of 8 – Finding the Right Home Design and Contractor

Building your first home is an exciting time. There are multiple ways to go about finding the design that's right for you. You can purchase a pre-designed floor plan or design one yourself. But before you begin your search, think about what's important to you in a home so you can narrow down your search. 

  • Do you have a preference for the style of your home? Log home, ranch, cape cod, two-story, etc.
  • What are your must-haves? Number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, open floor plan, 2-car attached garage, and so on.
  • What are some features that would be nice to have but may not be mandatory based on the price? Hardwood floors, fireplace, Jacuzzi tub, etc. 

Find a local contractor

Step 6 of 8 – Applying for your Mortgage Loan

So, you've found your home design, got pre-approved and signed the contract with your builder. Now you're ready for the next step – getting your Mortgage. You can apply for your mortgage loan by contacting a lender or you can apply online. A lender will contact you if you apply online. You will be asked to provide a list of information to your lender, so they can proceed with your loan review and approval: 

Loan Appointment Checklist:

  • Paystubs for all applicants for the prior month
  • W-2's for all applicants for the most recent tax year
  • Tax Returns for all applicants for the prior two years
  • Bank statements for prior two months for all deposit accounts and the last quarterly statement covering any investments listed on the application including retirement accounts
  • Copy of signed purchase agreement
  • Copy of driver's license for all applicants
  • Copy of social security card for all applicants
  • Divorce Decree (if applicable)
  • Alimony/child support documentation (if applicable)
  • Death Certificate (if applicable)
  • If a refinance, a copy of the most recent year's tax bills (spring and fall)
  • A copy of the homeowner's insurance policy if refinancing or prior to the closing if purchasing a new home

Download a loan appointment checklist (PDF).

Disclosures

Within 3 days of application, you will be provided with several documents: 

  • Truth In Lending Disclosure – provides information about the proposed loan such as the annual percentage rate, total finance charges, and total payments.
  • Good Faith Estimate – Lists your closing cost. This is provided to give you some idea of the approximate costs you will need to pay at closing. Such costs could include interest adjustments, title insurance, recording fees, points, credit report fees, appraisal fees and settlement fees which are paid to the lawyer or firm who manage settlement.
  • US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) booklet to assist you in understanding closing costs and the Truth in Lending Disclosure.

Approval and Commitment

Upon receipt of a satisfactory appraisal, your lender will contact you with the final approval. A commitment letter will be issued at this time.

Title Search

A title search is required to uncover any possible problems with the legal ownership of the land such as a lien, an unknown heir or faulty land survey. Arrangements for the title search are made by the bank. A one-time fee is paid at closing. 

Step 7 of 8 – The Closing

At the closing, loan papers are signed and the rest of your closing costs and down payment are paid. 

The lender will establish the closing date. Before closing, you should review all loan documents and your purchase agreement. 

Step 8 of 8 – The Building Process Begins

After the closing, your builder can break ground and the home building process begins. Payments are made in conjunction with the advance schedule and an inspection is required before the final payment is made. 

Final Inspection

The original Appraiser will verify that the construction is complete. An inspection may be required as a result of something found during the appraisal process. It may also be requested by you, the buyer, to uncover hidden problems or to identify items that you may want the builder to repair. 

Converting the Mortgage from Construction to Permanent

After the construction is complete, the Construction Mortgage will automatically convert to a permanent mortgage. However, you may wish to refinance at that time to a conforming mortgage to receive a better rate. This refinance has fees associated with it. 

Obtain pre-qualification now.

Download Your Home Loan Toolkit - A Step by Step Guide

Home Loan Toolkit (English)

Home Loan Toolkit (Español)

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Apply Now

Buying a Modular or Mobile Home

Selecting a modular or double-wide mobile home will require a construction mortgage because, with the exception of the actual building itself, the other steps to complete the project are the same as building a home. The land needs to be prepped. If the home is a modular home, a foundation must be poured. For a double-wide, a cement pier or slab must be installed. Your home will need heat, water, septic, electric, steps and possibly a drive-way or deck. You can act as your own general contractor for the completion of these steps or one can be hired to manage the process.

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Step 1 of 8 – What is my price range?

Before you start looking at house plans or developing your own, you'll need to understand what price range you can afford. A commonly used guideline is 2.5 times your yearly gross income (income before taxes) plus the amount of your down payment.

Step 2 of 8 – How much can I afford to borrow?

Your monthly gross income (income before taxes) and your debt load are used to determine how much you can borrow. Your loan payment plus your monthly debt (not including your household expenses such as heat and electric) should not exceed 30% of your monthly gross income.

Step 3 of 8 – Finding the Right Mortgage Product

A Construction Mortgage is used for the building stage and will be for 80% of the perceived value of your home at the time of completion. The perceived value is calculated by an Appraiser who uses estimates provided by you for the completion of the home with an evaluation of recent selling prices of similar homes in the area (often referred to as "comparables"). The homebuyer must provide 20% of the perceived value to obtain a construction mortgage.

The bank will develop an "advance schedule" which will outline each phase of the building process at which a payment will be made. This schedule is typically from 3 to 12 months. In order for the bank to develop the schedule, the customer must provide estimates for each of the steps involved with finishing the project such as excavating, water and septic, installation of steps, deck, etc. At each "advance" point, the bank will verify that the appropriate work has been completed and issue a check to the contractor and homeowner. Until construction is complete, the customer only pays interest on the amount of money being advanced to the builder.

Once the construction is completed in accordance with the contract, the Construction Mortgage is automatically converted to a permanent mortgage.

A wide variety of home loans and financing options are available for the permanent mortgage. Some choices are yours to make; others are based on specific circumstances such as:

  • The amount of money you have for a down payment
  • The availability of closing costs
  • Your credit score
  • Length of the loan (Term)
  • A desire for a fixed or variable rate
  • Choice of monthly or bi-weekly payments

Step 4 of 8 – Obtain a Pre-Approval

The Pre-Approval step allows you to validate your ability to borrow and provides an estimate of your maximum loan amount. During the pre-approval process, a credit check will be performed. A letter can be printed by you and provided to your seller to assure them that your bank has tentatively approved you for this loan amount. Many contractors require this pre-approval letter so they can be sure. 

Obtain pre-approval now.

Step 5 of 8 – Finding a Modular or Mobile Home

Buying a home is an exciting time. To get started and make it easier, start by thinking about those features that are must-haves – the number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, garage, etc. Then list what you absolutely do not want. Finally, list the things that would be nice to have but something you would be willing to give up for the right house or the right price. Now you're ready to go shopping! 

For your convenience, we've gathered the names, contact information, and websites of modular and mobile home dealers in our area. You can simply click on their website to learn more about them and view the homes they have listed.

Find a local modular or mobile home builder.

Step 6 of 8 – Applying for your Mortgage Loan

So, you've been pre-approved, found your home and signed the contract. Now you're ready for the next step – getting your Mortgage. You can apply for your mortgage loan by contacting a lender Opens a New Window.  or you can apply online. A lender will contact you if you apply online. You will be asked to provide a list of information to your lender, so they can proceed with your loan review and approval: 

Loan Appointment Checklist:

  • Paystubs for all applicants for the prior month
  • W-2's for all applicants for the most recent tax year
  • Tax Returns for all applicants for the prior two years
  • Bank statements for prior two months for all deposit accounts and the last quarterly statement covering any investments listed on the application including retirement accounts
  • Copy of signed purchase agreement
  • Copy of driver's license for all applicants
  • Copy of social security card for all applicants
  • Divorce Decree (if applicable)
  • Alimony/child support documentation (if applicable)
  • Death Certificate (if applicable)
  • If a refinance, a copy of the most recent year's tax bills (spring and fall)
  • A copy of the homeowner's insurance policy if refinancing or prior to the closing if purchasing a new home

Download a loan appointment checklist (PDF).

Disclosures

Within 3 days of application, you will be provided with several documents:

  • Truth In Lending Disclosure – provides information about the proposed loan such as the annual percentage rate, total finance charges, and total payments.
  • Good Faith Estimate – Lists your closing cost. This is provided to give you some idea of the approximate costs you will need to pay at closing. Such costs could include interest adjustments, title insurance, recording fees, points, credit report fees, appraisal fees and settlement fees which are paid to the lawyer or firm who manage settlement.
  • US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) booklet to assist you in understanding closing costs and the Truth in Lending Disclosure.

Approval and Commitment

Upon receipt of a satisfactory appraisal, your lender will contact you with the final approval. A commitment letter will be issued at this time. 

Title Search

A title search is required to uncover any possible problems with the legal ownership of the land such as a lien, an unknown heir or faulty land survey. Arrangements for the title search are made by the bank. A one-time fee is paid at closing.

Step 7 of 8 – The Closing

At the closing, loan papers are signed and the rest of your closing costs and down payment are paid. The lender will establish the closing date. Before closing, you should review all loan documents and your purchase agreement.

Step 8 of 8 – The Building Process Begins

After the closing, your excavator can break ground and the home building process begins. Payments are made in conjunction with the advance schedule and an inspection is required before the final payment is made.

Final Inspection

The original Appraiser will verify that the construction is complete. An inspection may be required as a result of something found during the appraisal process. It may also be requested by you, the buyer, to uncover hidden problems or to identify items that you may want to be repaired.

Converting the Mortgage from Construction to Permanent

After the construction is complete, the Construction Mortgage will automatically convert to a permanent mortgage. However, you may wish to refinance at that time to a conforming mortgage to receive a better rate. This refinance has fees associated with it.

Obtain pre-qualification now.

Download Your Home Loan Toolkit - A Step by Step Guide

Home Loan Toolkit (English)

Home Loan Toolkit (Español)

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Apply Now