Tomo’s Guide to Home Buying Part 5: How to Get a Mortgage

February 9, 2024

Who we are

Susie Chow is Tomo’s lead writer based in Atlanta, Georgia. We present our first-ever Tomo’s Guide to Home Buying, broken into five sections, as a tool for all homeowners. Susie is also a contributing writer for Eater Atlanta, and has written for global brands, Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts, Airbnb, Uber, and many more.

In This Section: How Long Does it Take to Close on a House

Applying for a mortgage is a time of both excitement and stress. On one hand, it signifies a significant step toward homeownership, bringing you closer to your dreams. On the other hand, the mortgage process is often complex and demanding, involving much paperwork, financial scrutiny, and important decisions. In Part 5 of Tomo’s Guide to Home Buying, we’ll shed some light on how to apply for a mortgage and how long it takes to close on a house to get you there a little more smoothly.

How to Get a Loan for a House: The Application Phase

Navigating the mortgage application phase can vary based on your pre-approval status. If you have an underwritten pre-approval, you’ve likely already provided a significant amount of required documentation, simplifying the process. However, if you’re in the pre-qualification stage, you may need to gather additional information to meet lender requirements and secure your home loan.

Tomo Tip: One of the biggest challenges homebuyers face right now is affordability. They are getting hit from both sides; high home price appreciation and high interest rates. Because of this it’s important to know EXACTLY how much home you qualify for with certainty. Gather all your relevant income and asset documentation and send it to your lender as early as possible. Ask them to review everything in detail upfront and to provide the MAXIMUM purchase price and loan amount you’d qualify for! It’s great to know your “ceiling” and what the respective monthly payment and out of pocket costs would be to help put homes into perspective.

Essential Documents & Information

When applying for a mortgage, you’ll need to provide several key pieces of information:

Personal Information: This includes legal name, Social Security number, contact details, residence history, education, marital status, and dependents.

Employment Verification: Lenders will need your employer’s details, job title, and proof of income like pay stubs or W-2s.

Assets & Liabilities: Document your assets (savings, stocks, life insurance cash value) and liabilities (debts, alimony, job-related expenses).

Property Details: Details of the property you intend to purchase, including address, type, and purpose.

Other Considerations: Include declarations like bankruptcies or judgments, military service information, and legal obligations relating to the mortgage.

Home Appraisal & Inspection

The appraisal process considers various factors such as location, property condition, and recent sales in the area to determine the home’s fair market value. The inspection thoroughly examines structural and functional aspects of the property to uncover any potential issues, providing you with a comprehensive view of your prospective home.

Homeowner’s insurance is not only mandatory but also provides you with peace of mind, protecting your investment against unforeseen events like fire or natural disasters. Additionally, title insurance safeguards your property ownership by thoroughly researching its history to identify any hidden legal claims, ensuring a smooth and secure transaction.

Tomo Tip: Ask your real estate agent or loan officer if they recommend any homeowners insurance providers. Or, if you know anyone in the area, their personal experiences are very important. Get quotes from at least three and compare the price to coverage ratios.

The Decision & Closing

After you’ve submitted your mortgage application, the decision can vary, ranging from an immediate approval to a request for more documents, or in some instances, a denial. Obviously, these factors heavily influence how long it will take to close on a house. Approximately three days before the closing date, you will receive a Closing Disclosure, which provides comprehensive information about your loan terms and the associated closing costs. As part of the final steps, a final walk-through of the property will be conducted to ensure it aligns with your agreed-upon terms. It’s crucial to prepare the necessary documents for the closing, including a valid ID and proof of insurance.

Congrats! You’re a Homeowner

You’ve done it! And now it’s time to make this house a home; and we’re not just talking design and decor, it’s about making great memories that will turn this house into your special place that gives you a sense of comfort and belonging.

And remember, your home doesn’t end where the sidewalk starts, so make sure to say “hello” to your new neighbors, try out some local shops and restaurants, and maybe even find out when your neighborhood association meets. Your new home comes with a new community to connect with as well! It is this exact moment — when homebuyers reach their goals with the least amount of anxiety and frustration — why Tomo exists.

We believe the joy and promise of a new home should never be overshadowed by the hassle of buying one. So if you’ve gotten this far in the home buying journey, you did it! Welcome home.

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