As a prospective home buyer, navigating the loan process can sometimes feel overwhelming and confusing. We helped 1,134 families buy a home over the last year, and we at the Potempa Team are here to serve as your trusted mortgage advisor. Our team is dedicated to providing highly personalized service and guiding you through every step of the loan process. We’re committed to exceeding your expectations, ensuring your satisfaction, and earning your trust.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through each stage of the home loan process, giving you a better understanding of what to expect from the Potempa Team and how we can help you achieve your homeownership goals.
1. Get Pre-Qualified
Pre-qualification is the initial step where our team reviews your information to estimate how much you can potentially get approved for without diving too deep into your finances. This step is a great way to understand the range of mortgages you may qualify for. Once pre-qualified, the next natural step is to lock in a pre-approval.
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2. Get Pre-Approved
Pre-approval is important because it shows home sellers that you’re a serious buyer and can provide you with more confidence when shopping for homes. Once pre-approved, you’ll receive a letter to present to sellers, indicating that you’ve started working with a lender who is willing to work with you. However, it’s important to note that a pre-approval isn’t a final approval and doesn’t include a property appraisal, which is necessary for final financing. Additionally, all pre-approval letters have an expiration date, typically 60 to 90 days, after which you’ll need to update your paperwork to get a new one. During this step, you’ll also be paired with a dedicated loan processor who will work with you throughout the entire process.
If you are denied pre-approval, we will work with you to review your options and help you find the best path forward, which may include disputing inaccuracies on your credit report or exploring non-conventional loan options.
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3. Speak to Our Preferred Realty Partner
Once you’re pre-approved, the next step is to speak with our preferred realty partner, Valley Dream Team. With thousands of Realtors in any given area, finding an experienced, skilled, and successful agent can be a daunting task. That’s why we’ve established a connection with trusted real estate professionals that we can refer our clients to. Our preferred realty partners have been carefully selected based on their experience, skills, and proven success in helping buyers find and purchase homes. By working with our preferred realty partner, you’ll benefit from their expertise and local market knowledge, ensuring you find the perfect home for your needs and budget.
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4. Shop for Your Dream Home
Now it’s time for the fun part – house hunting! Once pre-approved and connected with our preferred realty partner, you’ll begin searching for the perfect home. Your real estate agent will work closely with you to understand your wants, needs, and budget. They’ll then search for available homes that match your criteria. They’ll arrange showings, take you to view properties, and answer any questions you may have. As you view homes, your agent will work with you to refine your search, ensuring you find the perfect property for your unique needs.
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5. Make an Offer
Found a great home? Now it’s time to make an offer! Your real estate agent will work with you to craft a competitive offer that includes a copy of your mortgage pre-approval letter. The offer process can often involve a series of counteroffers, so it’s important to be patient and to trust your agent’s advice and guidance. If your offer is successful and the seller accepts, you’ll move on to the next step in the purchase process with the Potempa Team.
6. Complete the Loan Application & Sign Initial Disclosures
Completing the loan application and signing initial disclosures is a critical step in the process. During this stage, your dedicated loan processor will work closely with you to ensure that all necessary paperwork is in order so that we can move forward with underwriting. The initial disclosures will provide important information about the home you’re buying and the loan. Our team will help you review and understand these documents, and we’ll be here to answer any questions. It’s important to complete this step as quickly as possible to keep the loan process moving forward.
7. Get a Home Inspection
Next, a home inspection is ordered. Your real estate agent will help you with this step. It’s important to know the condition of the home you’re purchasing, and many types of loans require a home inspection to be completed in order to fund and close. Your real estate agent will work with you to arrange the home inspection at a time that works for you. Once the inspection report is completed, your agent will submit it to your dedicated loan processor at the Potempa Team for review. Your agent will negotiate on your behalf to get any necessary repairs taken care of. Depending on the issue and the seller, your agent may also negotiate a seller credit for you.
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8. Order Title & Appraisal
Step Eight is to complete the home appraisal and request a title report. The appraiser provides a report on the home’s current market value, which is a crucial factor in securing your loan. Ideally, you want the home to appraise “at value,” meaning that you’re under contract to pay what the home is worth. If the appraisal comes back under value, you may need to make up the difference in order to secure the loan. In addition to the appraisal, your lender will also request the title report. This report verifies that there are no issues or “clouds” on title that may prevent the home from being sold. If any issues are found, they will need to be resolved before you can close on the home. Depending on the results of the home inspection, appraisal, and title report, you may decide not to move forward with the purchase.
If you confirm that you would look to move forward with the purchase to both your agent and your dedicated loan processor, you’ll move on to the next step. During the processing stage, we will review your loan application and supporting documentation to ensure everything is complete and accurate. Your dedicated loan processor will also request any necessary items, such as employment or income verification. Once all of the requisite information is gathered, the loan will be submitted to underwriting for review and conditional loan approval.
10. Initial Underwriting
During the initial underwriting process, the underwriting team will review your loan application and check it for accuracy, completeness, and adherence to lending guidelines. They’ll also verify your employment, income, credit history, and assets. Based on this review, the underwriting team will determine whether your loan can be conditionally approved, or if additional documentation or clarification is needed.
11. Conditional Approval
Once the underwriting team has completed their initial review, your dedicated loan processor will work with you to gather any additional needed information and address any concerns outlined by the underwriting team. Once all requested documents and internal conditions (such as the appraisal, title report, and signed initial closing disclosure) have been received, your loan will be submitted back to underwriting for final approval.
12. Closing Disclosures Sent
Almost there! Next, you’ll receive your initial closing disclosure (CD) which must be acknowledged at least 3 days prior to the closing date. It’s important to review the figures on the initial CD but note that they are not final. Once your loan receives final approval, our closing department and the closing agent will balance the final figures and provide your dedicated loan processor with your final CD and cash to close numbers. This step is crucial to ensure that all parties involved in the transaction are aware of the financial details of the sale and that there are no surprises at closing.
13. Final Underwriting
During the final underwriting stage, our underwriting team will review all of the documentation your dedicated loan processor provided and ensure that all conditions have been met for the loan to be approved. This includes verifying that all information on the loan application is accurate, all requested documentation has been provided and reviewed, and that the property meets all requirements. If everything is in order, the loan will be approved for funding and closing.
14. Signing & Closing
Home stretch! During this final step, you will sign all closing documents. Your real estate agent and the title/escrow company will arrange a time for all signers on the loan to be there to sign while a notary is present. They will also communicate the final amount of money due from you at closing along with what options you have to deliver the funds (cashier’s check or a wire from the bank account you used to prove the funds for closing). Meanwhile, our team will get the final funds ready to deliver to title. Once the loan has been funded and all closing documents have been signed, the seller will hand over the keys to your agent, who will welcome you to your new home!
Congratulations! You have successfully completed the home-buying process and now own your new home. While the process can seem overwhelming, with the right team of professionals guiding you along the way, it can be a smooth and stress-free experience.
The Potempa Team is here to help make your dream of homeownership a reality. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for all of your future real estate needs.