As you begin shopping for a new home, one question will weigh heavily on your mind: “How long will it take to get a mortgage?” For an extremely tiny minority of home buyers, it will take a few days to apply for a mortgage, get approved, and finalize the contract on a new home.

For the vast majority of home buyers getting a mortgage may take four to six weeks or even longer, if there are negative marks on your credit report or small debts you'd like to pay off before applying for a home loan. It can be very hard to be patient with the process.

Applying for a mortgage may seem mysterious (and even dangerous!), but the process is usually straightforward. Here's what generally happens, in the simplest terms possible.

First Step: Apply for a New Home Loan 

First, you'll talk to a mortgage loan officer who will explain a number of terms used in the mortgage industry: fixed rate, adjustable rate, jumbo loans, subprime, 30-year and 15-year, and a bunch of industry terms.

Keep asking questions until you understand and can make a good decision about what type of mortgage loan would be best for your situation. Remember, there are plenty of mortgage lenders in the industry. If the first one you talk to seems like a bad fit, talk to another. Plus it's always good to get several quotes as rates and closing costs can vary dramatically between lenders.

During the mortgage planning phase, you'll discuss financial details on the application and get a good idea of what your monthly payment might be. The loan officer then sends your paperwork to an underwriter who looks it over and asks questions, and may require more paperwork to approve the application to move on in the process.


Second Step: Finalizing Paperwork and Securing a Pre-Approved Mortgage?

Once you've found a good mortgage lender and moved through the prequalification process, it's time to decide on the home you want to buy. At this point, ask your realtor to step in to find an affordable property that meets your needs.

Take the information your realtor provides back to your mortgage lender and plug in the numbers: the price of the home, estimated annual insurance and property tax costs, the required down payment, and any other costs that will be paid by you, the buyer.

The loan officer will give you final estimates on the interest rate and points that may apply to the loan and should be able to generate a realistic target payment and all the financial information that describes the proposed loan. This is usually called a Good Faith Estimate of Closing Costs. Make sure you understand all the terms so you're not unpleasantly surprised!


Third Step: Closing the Deal on Your New Home?

In the final stage of getting a mortgage, you'll tie up a whole bunch of loose ends. The home will need to be appraised and inspected and reports submitted to the mortgage company. A title search will be conducted, and the mortgage company will want evidence of that. You'll definitely need to secure home owners insurance before the closing date, too.

 Work closely with both your realtor and your mortgage lender at this time, and be prompt about providing paperwork at both ends of the process. Definitely pay attention to amounts you're asked to bring to the closing for down payment and closing costs. The funds you bring to closing must be in the form a certified or cashiers check. You will also need to bring two forms of indentification one of which must be a picture ID.

You've worked hard over the past few weeks to apply for a mortgage, shop for an affordable home, and get to the moment of closing the deal. It might feel like a journey of a thousand miles, but if you ask for help along the way the process is much less frustrating.

At this stage, you're days away from owning a new home! Celebrate your accomplishment and look back on the past few weeks with pride. You've done it!

At the Brad Long Real Estate Group will will walk you through the process from begining to end.

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