Reliable information and resources from Prime Financial CU and our trusted partners.
The Homebuying Journey
Here's what you can expect when you start looking to buy a home:
Preapproval is the perfect first step in your home buying journey. With preapproval, you’ll have a better idea of how much you can afford. Plus, a preapproval shows sellers that you’re serious about buying. That can even put you on the fast track to making an offer ahead of other potential buyers.
Run the Numbers
We do our best to estimate how much you can afford based on the information we received for your preapproval, but no one knows your finances quite like you. Take some time to look at your finances and determine how much of your budget you'd like to dedicate each month to mortgage payments.
In some cases, borrowers find the amount they've been preapproved for is greater than the amount they'd like to budget for each month, but that's okay! Being honest with yourself now about you'd like to budget for each month can be a financial lifesaver down the road.
Need help or have questions? Schedule an appointment with a member of our mortgage team to get answers and discuss your lending options.
Finding Your Home
Now for the fun part: house hunting! Make a list of the “must-haves” and “wish-fors” in your dream home. Must-haves are home features that you absolutely desire in a home and that can’t be easily changed, like neighborhood, number of bedrooms, or yard space. Wish-fors, on the other hand, are home features you really want, but you are willing to be flexible. For example, you may really want hardwood flooring but are willing to settle for laminate. These lists help remind you to stay firm about the must-haves while also being flexible about the wish-fors while looking at homes.
Your realtor is your partner in finding a home, so being upfront with them can really help in the house-hunting process. Tell them the price range you're most financially comfortable with and include what your must-haves and wish-fors are. These details help your realtor decide which homes to show you and which to skip.
Making An Offer
You’ve found your perfect home and you’re ready to take the next step - that's exciting!
When it comes to making an offer, your realtor will start the paperwork and may advise you on how much is appropriate to offer. Depending on the market, your realtor may recommend offering more or less than the asking price.
If the seller accepts your initial offer, you can breathe a sigh of relief! However, negotiations are common. The seller may counteroffer asking for more money or to adjust some other details of your offer. If you don’t like the seller’s counteroffer, you can submit a counteroffer back to the seller or walk away and resume house hunting.
The Home Inspection
If your offer was contingent on a home inspection, keep reading. A home inspection is conducted by a third-party inspector that will review the house from top to bottom looking for potential plumbing, electrical, roofing, heating/cooling, and other issues that may not be immediately obvious to the everyday consumer.
When it comes to the home inspection, join the inspector in their walkthrough. Being present for the inspection will not only help you understand their findings, but it will also be a good opportunity to really get to know the house and ask questions.
Submit Your Application
Your preapproval helped kickstart the mortgage process, and now that you’re purchasing, it’s time to get everything together to officially process your mortgage application. We’ll need documents like tax returns, proof of income, bank statements, credit history, and a few other pieces of information to process your application.
Didn't apply for preapproval? No worries! You can start your online application now by clicking the "Apply Now" button below.
Processing Your Application
You’ve put in a lot of hard work so far, but now it's our turn. If there’s anything else you need to do during this step, we’ll let you know.
We'll review the documents you submitted and look at details about the home you’ve made an offer on. Our goal is to put you in the best financial position, so we’ll look at things like your credit history, debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, and other components of your finances to make sure we do just that.
When we research the property, we’ll order an appraisal. An appraisal is conducted by a third-party to determine the true, or fair market, value of the home you’re purchasing; this helps us determine if the amount you’re requesting to borrow is appropriate for the home you're purchasing. We also investigate the legal status of the property. Does the seller have the legal right to sell the house? Can anyone else claim ownership? Are there unpaid taxes? Making sure these questions are addressed can help prevent legal headaches later on.
TIP: Take a final walkthrough of the house with your Realtor 24 hours prior to closing. Check for any new damage to the house, verify all requested fixes are in place, and that any items negotiated in the offer are still present.
You’re right at the finish line now! If your mortgage application was approved, the next step for you is closing. On closing day, you’ll want to bring two important things with you: a cashier’s check for the closing costs and proof of homeowner’s insurance. The paperwork signed on closing day legally acknowledges the transfer of ownership and confirms your promise to repay your mortgage.
The date you receive the keys to your new home can vary. You may receive your keys immediately after closing day, but it’s not uncommon for there to be a delay of a few days while funds are transferred and documents are recorded with local agencies.
TIP: Once you have the keys, consider changing the locks on all exterior doors, including the garage. While the homeowner may have given you their keys, they might not remember who they gave copies to.
Call up some friends or schedule an appointment with your local movers - it's time to make your house a home! Here are a few tips to help make your move easier:
- Heavy Things, Small Boxes: Putting heavy items in larger boxes not only makes for really heavy boxes, but it also increases the chance of the box breaking while carrying it. Consider packing heavy items in smaller boxes instead.
- Fill Loose Spaces: Empty spaces in boxes can allow its contents to shift in transit; while the box itself may not contain anything fragile, the box it bumps into or falls on during transit may. Pack open spaces in boxes with towels, clothing, newspaper, or packing peanuts.
- One Room Per Box: Keep boxes dedicated to a single room or area. Mixing kitchen and bedroom items in a single box might seem economical while packing, but it can make finding things while unpacking a lot more difficult.
- Be Descriptive: Label boxes with more than just a room name. Include a quick list of the box's contents, too, so if you don't get everything unpacked right away, you can easily find things among your 7 boxes all labeled "Living Room".
Take a moment to celebrate this achievement - you've earned it!
If you have any questions about your mortgage at any time, don't hesitate to reach out - we're here to help! And again, congratulations!