The day has come that you are ready to start house hunting. Before you dive into the process, there are a few things you need to do before finding the perfect home.

Choose Your Lender
The first step in the mortgage process is choosing a lender. Be sure to choose a lender you can trust, and a local lender is a huge advantage because they have local experience and can provide a more one-on-one approach. Your lender looks out for your interests and provides a variety of loan options to fit your needs.

Get Pre-Approved
Most realtors do not allow you to schedule a home tour without a pre-approval letter. This is why it is a crucial part in the process before you start your search. You will fill out a mortgage application and provide the lender with your financial information, such as your income, assets, and credit score. The lender will then pre-approve you for a loan, which means they will tell you how much you can borrow and at what interest rate.

Find a Property
Once you are pre-approved, you can start looking for your dream home. Your Realtor can help you narrow down current listings in your preferred area. Once you have a list of possible homes, you can start peeking inside. Planning to set up a private tour with your Realtor can be a good option as you are able to ask more in-depth questions and have your realtor share their own options.

Apply for the Loan
You found the perfect home! Now you will formally apply for the loan. This involves providing the lender with additional documentation, such as a purchase agreement and proof of insurance. The process is quite straightforward and if your finances are in order, it should be a simple process since you have already been pre-approved.

Underwriting
One of the last steps in finalizing your loan is having your lender review your application and documentation to make sure you meet the lending criteria. This process is where an underwriter will look over every detail of your application and ensure that there are no missing pieces.

Appraisal
The lender will order an appraisal of the property to ensure that it is worth the amount you are borrowing. If the appraisal comes in over your offer price, you’re all set. However, if the appraisal comes in less than your offer price, you will need to pay for the difference upfront before the purchase finalizes or renegotiate with the seller.

Closing
One last step and the home is yours! Once the lender has approved your loan, you will need to attend a closing. You will sign the loan documents and pay any closing costs. The most important thing is to ensure you have your final costs set aside for closing day.