If you are starting a search for a new home, most likely you’ll need to get a home loan. The
process might seem overwhelming if you haven’t obtained a loan in a long time; even more so
for first time home buyers. The lending process doesn’t need to be difficult and by being
prepared, you can streamline the process and ensure you are able to get the best loan for your
Choose a Lender
The first step is to find a lender. You might start at your personal bank or credit union. Another
good source for referrals is your agent or family and friends. The lender should have access to
a variety of programs as well as the government options: VA and FHA programs.
Before you meet with the lender, gather the information you will need. Generally, you will
need to provide current pay stubs, W2s, bank account statements and the last 2 years of your
tax returns. If you have been divorced and/or have child support obligations, bring the final
court document with you as well.
Understand Your Limits
Typically, you will be able to borrow up to 31% of your gross monthly income. In addition, the
lender will require that you have no more than a total monthly debt of 36% of your gross
income. Be prepared to disclose all your debt, even if it does not appear on your credit report.
Your loan officer is your advocate and there to help you succeed.
Don’t Make Any Credit Changes
Once you’ve started the loan process, it’s critical that you make no changes to your credit.
Postpone any big purchase, do not apply for new credit of any kind and do not pay off any
credit cards. It’s also important not to change jobs during the approval process, even if it’s for
more money. Before you do anything, talk to your lender.
Getting a home loan is not as difficult as it was a few years ago, but it’s important to plan early
and do the right things. Once you make the decision to buy a home, speak to a lender
immediately and then follow their advice and you’ll find the loan process simple to manage.