Navigating the Home Loan Process, part 2

Written By: Leah Chester-Davis & Alison Ball

Home loans vary, depending on many factors. Among them, whether you plan to buy an existing home, build a new home or refinance. 

There are also several different considerations such as your income, credit, debt, whether you own land, whether it's a second home or investment property, and other factors. 

As a starting point to help people begin thinking in terms of what will be needed when you visit with a lender, Alison Ball, a home loan specialist with Carolina Farm Credit in the Yadkinville, Wilkesboro and Sparta offices, offers a generic checklist to get the ball rolling and to get you thinking about getting your paperwork and information in order. Each lender will give you a specific list, depending on your circumstances and type of loan.

Possible Documents Needed

  • Do you already own the land on which you are going to build or will you be purchasing the land? If you already own the land, the lender will need a copy of the deed.
  •  If you are purchasing the land, it may be possible to wrap it into one loan with the construction portion of the loan. If you are purchasing land, the lender will need a contract to purchase the land.  We prefer the contract to be at least a 45 day contract.
  • A turnkey, fixed cost contract from a licensed builder in good standing.
  • House plans and specifications for the home.
  • Builders risk insurance on construction loans; if it is a purchase of an existing home, a copy of your homeowners’ insurance policy.
  • For refinancing, the current homeowners’ insurance policy and tax bill for the property.
  • 30 days’ worth of pay stubs. If you are self-employed, a 1099 form, personal and business tax returns and a year-to-date profit and loss statement, for example.
  • Two most recent bank statements.
  • Details on where the down payment is coming from. Do you have the money in savings? Do you already own land on which you wish to build? If so, in this case it may be possible that the land will count for some or all of the 5% down payment required.
  • In some cases, the lender may request to see 401K or IRA statements. If you receive them every month, they will need the two most recent; if you receive them quarterly, the most recent quarterly statement will be needed.
  • If you are divorced, plan to share information about alimony and child support obligations and possibly other pertinent information.
  • If you are selling another home, details on that mortgage and information concerning the sale of the home.
  • Driver's license

Process Timeframe

After you gather the specific documents your lender requests, it’s time for the application phase of the process. “When we do the application, I like to review the paperwork with the customer to make sure everyone has a clear understanding of how our product works and the loan process we will be going through. At that point we collect money for the appraisal and for the credit report. The next step is a waiting game for the customer as the application and any pertinent documents work their way through loan processing and underwriting,” says Ball. “There are a lot of hands involved in a loan. My goal is to work with the client to get all the needed information upfront to help make the process go as smoothly as possible.”

Ball recommends that people allow 30 to 45 days for the process. As soon as the underwriter reviews and approves the appraisal and anything else they have asked for, they issue a clearance to close. “That means we have the green light to move forward in setting up a closing time with the customer and the attorney.”

For the closing, customers will need their driver’s license and possibly another form of identification. If there is a down payment requirement they will either need to bring a certified check or have the money wired to the attorney.

“At this point we go over the final paperwork, which should go quickly and smoothly,” says Ball.

The key to making the whole process go smoothly is gathering all your paperwork and bringing it in at one time to your loan officer, advises Ball. “Be responsive to any additional requests for information, work closely with your loan officer and stay in touch with them and I think you will find that the process goes really smoothly.”