Step 8: Secure Your Financing
Even if you’ve been pre-approved, you still need to take a few additional steps to officially submit the mortgage application. Once you’ve completed the following steps, assuming everything checks out, you should receive the “clear to close,” which means that the lender has approved your purchase.
If you decide to officially apply for your loan with the same lender that did your pre- approval, they already have some of the documents you’ll need for your application. Likely, you’ll need to provide updated financial statements. The most important thing you can do during this process is to respond to requests quickly. For example, if the lender asks for your W2, send it promptly to avoid a delay in your closing. If you decide to move forward with a different lender, they will tell you the list of documents they need in order to complete your application.
Your lender will hire the appraiser, so there’s not much for you to do here. Your real estate agent should work with the seller’s agent and the appraiser to schedule the appraisal. After the appraisal is complete, you and your agent will receive copies of the appraisal report, so you can see the appraised fair market value and check out the comps that were used in the calculations.
If the appraisal matches your offer price: You should be clear to close.
If the appraisal comes in above your offer price: Even better! This means not only are you clear to close, but you’re purchasing the home for a price below market value, giving you instant equity.
If the appraisal comes in low: Your lender won’t approve the full loan amount, as in their eyes, you’re overpaying for the property. You’ll need to either make up the difference between the appraised value and the offer price in cash or try to re-negotiate the offer price with the seller. If you believe the appraisal was incorrect, you can try to request a new appraisal from your lender.
Step 9: Purchase a Homeowners Insurance Policy
You’ll need to have proof of a homeowners insurance policy before closing, so if you already own a home, ask your existing agent to help you open a new policy. If you don’t own a home, shop around for a policy that works best for you. Your lender may be able to help you coordinate a policy that can be paid through your monthly escrow account.