Financing A Home

It is essential that any potential homebuyer start the loan process before looking at the first house. You should take the needed information to your first meeting with your loan officer. If you would like a list of these items, view our Financial Considerations page. You may want to utilize online calculators and tools to get an idea of your buying power before setting your first meeting with your loan officer. Check out's own Mortgage Calculator to get started.

Some terms you will need to understand prior to this first meeting:

  • Pre-qualification: A process performed by your loan officer based on a quick in-file credit report and the financial information you disclose. It is a guideline only and is not binding. However, it will provide an idea of how much house you can afford so you may begin looking.
  • Pre-approval: The process of applying for a loan and going through a full credit evaluation and verification of all reported information to secure a home loan. This will make you appear more qualified in the seller’s eyes, which places you in a stronger negotiating position. Pre-approval will decrease the length of time it takes to get final loan approval.
  • Final loan approval: This requires a mortgage underwriter to review the pre-approval information along with the official appraisal of the home and results in granting your home loan. Final Loan approval usually requires 10 to 21 days.

When selecting a lender, consider the “big picture,” rather than merely comparing interest rates:

  • Smooth your closing process: Work with local lender with “in house” underwriters, rather than a mortgage broker serving an out of town lender.
  • Compare the bottom line: Actual closing costs between lenders may vary dramatically.
  • Consider discount points: This is basically “prepaid interest” and may affect the interest rate you are offered. Discounts points are tax deductible and must be paid at the closing.
  • Ask for a list of all fees: Be aware that some lenders do not include all charges necessary in their closing costs quote which may lower the apparent cost of closing. Common excluded fees are credit reports, appraisals and up-front fees.
  • Evaluate similar products: Be sure you are comparing the TOTAL cost to acquire the loan, when comparing lenders.
  • Request a good faith estimate: To be able to compare lenders, you should request a “good faith estimate” statement which will outline all fees associated with securing a loan and closing a home.

Jeff’s Note: If you are a Veteran or may qualify for other governmental loans visit Discuss these options with your financial officer. These loans may reduce your costs or eliminate your down payment.