Buying a Home: The 5 Steps to a Perfect Loan


We’re putting the focus on the parts of the home purchase process that more directly involve you. Because after all, this is your house that you’ll be buying and living in! Here’s some info on the five steps that will have you thinking about paint colors and new furnishings in no time.

Step 1: Mortgage Application

For starters, you need to fill out Guaranteed Rate’s online mortgage application (credit report included) and provide the following, most up-to-date documents:

  • 2 months paystubs
  • 2 months asset statements
  • 2 years federal tax returns
  • Contact information for employment verification

You’ll likely need to provide more documents depending on your specific situation, but these are the essentials.

Step 2: Home Shopping

Here’s the fun part: With your pre-approval in hand and your real estate agent in tow, you can begin shopping for your dream home! Keep in mind that during the pre-approval process, your estimated taxes, HOAs, assessments and insurance costs were assumed. So, if you find a home with home ownership costs that exceed your assumed liability, you’ll want to reconnect with your Guaranteed Rate mortgage professional right away.

Step 3: Signing the Contract

Next, it’s dotted line time. After signing the contract, your loan file will be primed and sent to the underwriter. Submitting the stuff below in a timely manner will ensure a much smoother process:

  • Executed contract
  • Earnest money
  • Updated income and asset documents
  • Other relevant documents your mortgage team will request (they will order your appraisal, property title, tax transcripts and many other verification reports)

Step 4: Conditional Approval

You’re almost there! When your loan is submitted and underwritten, you’ll get a conditional approval returned. This is an approval subject to items an underwriter needs to clear your loan to close. Documentation requests can range anywhere from an updated pay stub to a letter from your CPA explaining your self-employed earnings. Every loan scenario is different, so requested documents will vary from loan to loan.

Step 5: Closing

High five! You did it! When your final documentation is approved and your loan cleared to close, your closing mortgage team will:

  • Confirm your closing date and time
  • Prepare your closing package
  • Confirm all fees
  • Send your file to title company to prepare for closing day

Congratulations, you’ve joined the wonderful world of home ownership! We may have exaggerated a bit when we said that shopping for your dream home is the fun part. Receiving the keys is the really fun part, because that’s when you can start planning your housewarming party. And be sure to hit Pinterest for some new appetizer recipes stat!

Visit Guaranteed Rate often for consumer-friendly mortgage education.

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All information provided in this publication is for informational and educational purposes only, and in no way is any of the content contained herein to be construed as financial, investment, or legal advice or instruction. Guaranteed Rate, Inc. does not guarantee the quality, accuracy, completeness or timelines of the information in this publication. While efforts are made to verify the information provided, the information should not be assumed to be error free. Some information in the publication may have been provided by third parties and has not necessarily been verified by Guaranteed Rate, Inc. Guaranteed Rate, Inc. its affiliates and subsidiaries do not assume any liability for the information contained herein, be it direct, indirect, consequential, special, or exemplary, or other damages whatsoever and howsoever caused, arising out of or in connection with the use of this publication or in reliance on the information, including any personal or pecuniary loss, whether the action is in contract, tort (including negligence) or other tortious action.