2. Apply for Pre-Approval for Your Home Purchase
Real estate professionals and the home sellers they represent often require confirmation of your creditworthiness and your ability to purchase for a given price (at contract).
Now is the time to apply for mortgage pre-approval, either online or by contacting a mortgage lender. Pre-approval is critical and more important than pre-qualification because it utilizes credit and preliminary underwriting approval. Once you have applied for pre-approval, you will need to provide the requested documentation (see next step).
A pre-approval letter1 will elevate your home buying status and strengthen your offer. Once you have it, you’re ready to shop for a home with confidence.
3. Provide All Requested Documentation
Your mortgage lender will advise you of the specific documents required for us to underwrite and approve your mortgage. It’s important to submit the required documentation as quickly as possible to ensure a smooth process and on-time closing.
4. Find Your Home & Make an Offer
Work with a real estate agent for valuable direction and market expertise. Your pre-approval letter will help your agent negotiate with the seller on your behalf — it shows everyone that this is a “real deal.”
5. Sign the Purchase Contract/Purchase Agreement
Regardless of who writes up your purchase contract (a real estate attorney, title company, etc.), they should be fully aware of important negotiating points or contingencies to include in the contract, such as allowing you to renegotiate the contract if a major defect is discovered at inspection.
You may be required to advance a “good faith deposit” or “earnest money” when you sign the contract. This payment will be considered part of your down payment if you are making one.
When determining the closing date on your offer, talk to your mortgage lender.
5. Get a Home Inspection
We encourage you to hire a home inspector to evaluate the condition of the property. Sales contracts are usually written “as is,” so it’s important to know what you are buying.
7. Finalize the Application
When you finalize your mortgage loan application, be sure to ask your mortgage lender about anything you do not fully understand.
8. Receive and Review the Disclosure Package
Your mortgage lender will continue to work with you through loan closing.
You will be given a package of disclosures including a Mortgage Loan Transaction Loan Estimate and other information about your financing within three business days of your application. It’s important for you to review these materials and confirm that the terms shown match your expectations. After you have reviewed initial disclosures, certain fees will be due, which vary by area. We’re here to answer any questions you may have.
9. Appraisal and Title Search Ordered
Your mortgage lender will order an appraisal of the property and follow up with your attorney or a title agency representative to ensure that a title commitment is ordered. If you are refinancing, you or someone else may have to be available to give the appraiser access to the home.
You will receive a copy of your completed appraisal.
10. Communication Throughout the Process
Your mortgage lender and his/her home loan processor are here to answer questions and will be responsible for:
- Providing you with the status of your mortgage application
- Ensuring you have all the necessary contact information
- Requesting any outstanding documentation or other items to facilitate your approval
- Confirming and managing your closing date
- If applicable, provide you with a Conditional Approval Letter.
11. Receive a Pre-Closing Mortgage Loan Transaction Loan Estimate
If your initial Mortgage Loan Estimate has changed, you may receive an updated Mortgage Loan Estimate. At least three business days before your loan closing you will receive a preliminary Mortgage Closing Disclosure. If there are further changes to your Mortgage Closing Disclosure, you may receive an additional Mortgage Closing Disclosure which could require another three-business day waiting period, which may impact your closing date.
These disclosures will have your Annual Percentage Rate (APR) and Total Interest Paid (TIP). If you have any questions about any disclosures you receive, contact your mortgage lender immediately.
12. Closing Date Set & Mortgage Loan Transaction Closing Disclosure Package Prepared
All involved parties need to arrange a date, time and location for closing. Your lender must provide you with certain disclosures before your loan can close, which may impact your closing date.
13. Obtain Your Certified or Cashier's Checks
You will be notified of the exact amount of money you will be required to bring to closing. Funds may not be required if you are refinancing.
14. Attend Your Closing
At closing, mortgage and closing documents will be reviewed and explained to you.
Most customers establish an escrow account at closing with funds that will cover future real estate taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and if applicable, your private mortgage insurance. If applicable, your lender will make these payments for you from this account when they come due.
Prior to closing, inform your mortgage lender if you would prefer to make tax and insurance payments on your own. But understand that many mortgages require an escrow account, and a fee may be charged if the escrow account is waived.
15. Select your Preferred Payment Method
At closing, you will receive instructions on the amount and timing of your first payment. You’ll also receive a document explaining your choices of automatic payment options to help with budgeting and/or paying down principal faster.
Choose your preference for automatic payments at closing or any time after. You may also make payments through Merchants Bank Online Banking or by check.
Congratulations! Now that you’ve closed on your mortgage, we’re happy to help you make your house a home and continue to meet your home financing needs as your mortgage moves into the servicing process.
16. Call Your Mortgage Lender or Loan Servicing Team
Feel free to contact your mortgage lender or loan servicing team if you:
- Have questions, concerns, an issue, or if you can’t make a mortgage payment(s)
- Want to refinance to change your rate or term
- Want to borrow cash from your home’s equity
- Are moving or buying a vacation home or investment property — your mortgage loan officer may be able to help you finance a home
- Have a friend or family member who needs home financing — your mortgage loan officer may also be able to help them finance a home
- Have a question about an escrow payment
- Need to order loan payment coupons
If you’d like to learn more about how Merchants Bank Loan Servicing helps our customers after loan closing, read our Loan Servicing FAQs.