Let's find a house! The new Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) disclosure laws are in effect. As a result, good communication and adhering to timelines are critical for success. This guide contains important deadlines and checklists of what you need to know for a successful home purchase.
If you would like to download a PDF version of this Homebuyer Guide, so that you can save it to your computer, view it without internet access, and/or print a hard copy of it, please click the button below.
You can read this guide from top to bottom, or use the buttons below to jump to a specific part of the process. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. We hope you enjoy our Homebuyer Guide!
Step 1: Mortgage Pre-Approval
Before getting started with your home search, it’s a good idea to start by applying for a “Loan Pre-approval” from your Lender.
Developing a good relationship with a trusted REALTOR® and qualified Lender early in the home buying process will give you peace of mind, and ultimately will save you time and money.
The Loan Pre-approval consists of the customer’s name, income, social security number, property address, and loan amount sought. In short, a Loan Pre-approval from any Lender is only a “Conditional Loan Estimate,” meaning it is not a commitment to lend. In addition, the CFPB’s new disclosures disclaimer must clearly and conspicuously state at the top of the written estimate in 12-point or larger font: “Your actual rate, payment, and costs could be higher. Get an official Loan Estimate before choosing a loan.” There, we said it.
Why are setting expectations so important?
Today’s new financial regulatory climate sets high standards for Lender transparency to protect the Homebuyer. As a result, the home buying process requires all Homebuyers to be prepared and informed about what they can afford — and what they are paying. This requires the buyer to provide accurate and complete financial records so the Lenders can provide exact costs. Finally, the Homebuyer must anticipate a multitude of details, and respond and communicate quickly to avoid delays, and unintended expenses. Knowing what to expect is vital to a smooth transaction and satisfying experience.
Once you apply for financing, “time is of the essence." This is a term in contract law that indicates that the parties to the agreement must perform by the time to which the parties have agreed if a delay will cause material harm.
Mortgage Pre-Approval Checklist
There are a few things you can expect when applying for a Loan Pre-approval:
1) Lender will ask questions and gather information from you, including: You must fill out a loan application which requires: Government ID, Social Security Card, name(s), most recent W-2, proof of IRAs or retirement accounts, debts, and an estimate of loan amount. Here is a checklist of what to expect:
- Review your credit report (get one for free at www.AnnualCreditReport.com).
- Proof of Income — Gather your last two years of tax returns and proof of income (W2s or pay stubs)—or your year-to-date profit and loss statement if self-employed. (this includes anyone else applying for the mortgage)
- Cash Ready — Down payment money and closing money in the bank.
- Gift Money — If the down payment and closing money were gifted to you, be ready to explain it.
- Past References — If you’ve been renting, put together the last 12 months as proof (such as check copies) to show your monthly rent payments. Also ask your landlord for a written referral.
- Identification — Gather personal documents, like two forms of government identification, and other personal paperwork, like copies of divorce papers, if applicable.
- Fixed or Other Income — Provide proof of other income from all forms including Social Security, child support or government assistance.
- Financial Assets — Provide proof of account balances for IRAs and retirement accounts.
- Stock Market Funds — Disclose money held in the stock market.
- Proof of Property Ownership — Bring proof of other property currently owned.
- Disclose Bankruptcy or Foreclosure — Be ready to disclose past financial issues like bankruptcy. Provide a written explanation of what happened and what steps to correct your situation.
- Keep your credit score healthy — keep these in mind:
- DO NOT apply for new credit.
- DO NOT take on new debts or make large purchases.
- DO NOT cancel any current credit accounts.
- DO NOT ask a creditor to lower your limit.
Remember, if you apply for a mortgage loan with an excellent credit score and the score goes down during the Loan Estimate or mortgage process, you may not qualify for the loan.
When you’re all done and the pre-approval is successful, your lender will give you a Conditional Loan Estimate letter. This is a line estimate of what your general mortgage costs will be if you go with that lender. Now that you have it, there’s one final step to take.
2) You receive a Loan Estimate letter that includes an estimate of the costs:
- cash you will need for the down payment;
- closing cost;
- estimated mortgage payment
Expect to pay a credit report fee between $10-$50.
A little practical advice: you may not want to spend what you qualify for so find a price that is comfortable for your budget. As a general guide once you get an estimate, every 10,000 up or down in sales price will change your monthly mortgage by roughly $50.
Recommended Mortgage Lenders
We recommend the below great mortgage lender(s):
The lender(s) presented here has either shown great care with some of our clients or have been highly recommended by other area real estate agents that we have done business with. If you do not have a preference of your own, give one of the mortgage/lending professionals below a try for your home loan and find out how they can help you realize your dreams!
Click on any e-mail address to contact them directly or click on their web site link to apply online. Please keep in mind that your choices are yours. We are not responsible in any way for the contracts or choices that you make with your lender. The individual(s) below are listed for your convenience and they must be contacted by you with any questions or situations that may arise in the acquisition of your financing.
These trusted Correspondent Lenders* have worked with Samson Properties and/or Agent Appraiser Realty on a daily basis for years and will take care of you. They provide great service, competitive rates, and market insight.
*Correspondent lenders have their own mortgage underwriting staff and fund the loans with their own money. (This is in contrast to a mortgage broker, who doesn't do any underwriting, loan approval, or funding in-house.)
My NMLS ID: 218698 - Company NMLS ID: 56323
©Copyright 2016, Intercoastal Mortgage Company
An Equal Housing Lender
Step 2: Buyer Agency Agreement
Before we get started to look for your home, we are required by law to sign a Buyer Agency Agreement. The Buyer Agency Agreement helps you to understand what you expect from your representative. With a Buyer Agency Agreement, you can expect to be treated like a Buyer Client — to help you through the process, receive professional advice, and protect your interests. Without a Buyer Agency Agreement with a REALTOR®, you have no commitment from a trained professional to help you through the process and look after your legal and personal interests.
Finding a Home
Where do you want to live?
Once your Loan Pre-approval is set up, and you know what you can afford, we can go to work and set up a home search for you. Depending on your location, and price range preference, we can set it up with cities, zip codes, neighborhoods, or school districts and the types of homes and characteristics important to you.
We will set an automatic email feed, updating you every time a new house comes on the market or a price drops fitting your criteria. Working with us, you also get access to “Coming Soon” properties before they hit the market.
When you find a home you like, let us know and we will set up a tour. If you have identified several good choices, it’s more efficient to bundle them together — typically not more than 7 in one day. We are looking for houses that fit your requirements and the one home that feels like it’s “the one!”
Step 3: Making an Offer
When we make an offer, it’s important to consider these points:
- Are there any other offers?
- How long has it been on the market?
- What have the recent comparable sold for in the neighborhood?
- What contingencies do we want to include (we will go into more detail about those later)?
- Are you going to ask for Closing cost assistance from the seller?
When we are ready to make an offer on a home, we will work with you to put together the offer that helps you buy the house for the very best possible price.
The two things that we need to send in with the offer: Earnest Money Deposit and the Loan Pre-approval. Once the Seller and the Buyer agree to all of the terms and conditions, the offer turns into a Ratified Contract. This starts the mortgage process.
Let’s understand components of the Ratification Contract process...
Earnest Money Deposit
Earnest Money shows your Seller your contract offer is serious and made in good faith. The deposit is used as collateral to secure your Ratified Contract with the Seller in case you default on the contract. The standard amount for around Northern Virginia area is 1% of the sales price. We are required to collect and deposit the money in an Samson Properties Escrow account — either at the time of a Ratified Contract or within a couple of days (defined in the offer). This money will apply towards your down payment and closing costs at Closing or now what is referred to as the Consummation. Please note: make sure your money is in your bank account so the Escrow check doesn’t bounce.
Negotiating Closing Costs
About Closing Costs (Consummation)
Closing costs on the purchase of your home will be roughly 2.5% to 3% of the sales price. You will have Lender originations fees and appraisal fees (from $1 to $2,000 depending on the deal). Recording Taxes for your Mortgage and Deed at the County and State level (roughly adds up to 1/2% to ¾% of your sales price), as well as Settlement company fees. You are required to pay for Title Insurance, but purchaser needs to determine if they want basic or enhanced Title Insurance — CFPB guidance is to default to basic Title Insurance. For Virginia contracts, Enhanced Title Insurance is the default.
You have the option to buy Owner’s Title Insurance to protect your interest in the property from unanticipated problems. Over 95% of our clients purchase it and we strongly recommend it. It’s a one-time fee that protects your interest in the property forever. All of the title charges together add up to roughly ½% to ¾% of your purchase price. The Survey typically costs between $300 and $400 unless you are buying something with a much larger lot (Title Insurance has no exception for Survey).
Home Owner’s insurance is another Closing cost. Most companies have you pay the 1st year up front at Closing. Home Owner’s insurance typically runs between $400 and $1,500 depending on your house size and insurance taken out on it.
The last major Closing cost fee is the money that goes into your Escrow account. The Lender sets up an Escrow account as a forced savings account. When you pay your monthly mortgage, they collect 1/12th of the Home Owner’s insurance for the year and 1/12th of the property tax bill for the year. When the property tax bill comes every 6 months, they pay it from your escrow account. When the Home Owners Insurance bill comes once a year, they pay it from your escrow account.
At Closing, the Lender typically collects enough money so that they have a 2 or 3- month head start on the escrow account. As a result, you always have enough money in the account to make your payments. When you sell the house or pay off the mortgage some day, you will get the balance left in your escrow account returned to you (Maryland taxes are different).
Negotiating for Closing Costs
When deciding if you want to ask the Seller to pay for your closing costs, consider you are essentially just financing the closing costs. If the Seller would accept an offer of $500,000 with $10,000 paid towards your closing costs, then they would also accept an offer for $490,000 with $0 paid towards closing. Getting your closing costs paid helps you if you are tight on funds and want to keep extra money as a safety net – preparing for the new mortgage or you want to use the money for upgrades and repairs to the house.
Would you rather pay $50 more a month in mortgage payment and keep your $10,000 in your pocket? If you have the money and don’t want to borrow more, then don’t ask for Closing cost assistance.
Another thing to consider: if you are competing for a home in a multiple bid situation it can be damaging to ask for closing costs for several reasons:
- The seller may prefer not pay for closing costs.
- The house would have to appraise at higher amount for your loan to go through. For example: $500,000, instead of just $490,000 with no closing costs paid out.
- Your offer may not be as strong as the other bidders.
Step 4: Ratify a Contract
What happens next?
Ideally, within 3-4 weeks, the follow should happen:
- Get a copy of the Contract to the Lender
- Disclosure — Sets 3-day Clock for Disclosure: Provide a Loan Estimate – Formal Disclosure of Charges
- Begin the Mortgage Process
- 3-days prior to Closing (either in person or actual date of receipt), the Closing Disclosure must be finalized and presented to the Buyer. All terms are finalized no fewer than 3-days prior to settlement (mailbox rule is 7- days prior to closing)
TITLE (Important for the Buyer to know if the Seller’s Title is free and clear) If the Title is not good and marketable, and insurable by a licensed title insurance company with no additional risk premium, on Settlement Date, Buyer may at Buyer's option to declare the Contract void in writing....
Congratulations! We now have a Ratified Contract. This means you and the Seller have agreed to all terms – by signing the contract. Now we can proceed towards a closing, which is now called “Consummation.”
First, the Lender and title company will need a copy of the contract. Your REALTOR® will work with you in the preparation. The Lender will want all your personal documentation to process the Loan Estimate — which is due back to you in 3-business days. The Loan Estimate, by the new CFPB rules, will contain all the formal disclosure charges. Any and all changes to the Buyer’s closing costs needs to be communicated ASAP. “Time is of the Essence.”
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE (Important for the Buyer) "Time is of the Essence" means that the dates and time frames agreed to by the parties must be met. Failure to meet the stated dates or time frames will result in waiver of contractual rights or will be Default under the terms of the Contract.
If this Contract is contingent on financing, any delay of the Settlement Date necessary to comply with Buyer's lender's regulatory obligations is not a Default by Buyer; but, Seller may declare the Contract void in writing. Nothing herein prevents the parties from agreeing in writing to mutually extend the Settlement Date.
In addition, Lenders are unable to provide Loan Estimates and Closing Disclosures directly to REALTORS® without written permission from the Buyer. Ideally, anticipate 40-60 days from Ratification to Consummation Closing.
Today’s final rule requires that Lenders use the CFPB’s new disclosures, puts in place rules about when the new forms are given to the consumer, and limits how the final deal can change from the original Loan Estimate. The forms are available in English and Spanish.
Here are two important new definitions to know:
Loan Estimate: This form will be provided to consumers within three business days after they submit a loan application. It replaces the early Truth in Lending statement and the Good Faith Estimate, and provides a summary of the key loan terms and estimated loan and closing costs. Consumers can use this new form to compare the costs and features of different loans.
Closing Disclosure: Consumers will receive this form three business days before closing on a loan. It replaces the final Truth in Lending statement and the HUD-1 settlement statement, and provides a detailed accounting of the transaction.
Buyer Information Sheet
With the Ratified contract in hand, we will send you a Buyer information sheet within a few days. Please get this back to us as soon as you can. This helps the title company start working on preparing the deeds and the proper transfer paperwork for Consummation.
HOA/Condo Documents (Get Out of Jail Free Card)
If the house that you are buying is an HOA or a Condo Association the Seller will provide the documents with all the rules and regulations. This will also show if the house has any current violations. The Seller is required to fix all violations before Consummation. We will check the documents for violations and then forward them on to you for your review. Please read the sections important to you. The most important part to remember is that once you receive the documents, you have 3 DAYS TO VOID THE DEAL, no questions asked. If we received the documents on a Tuesday you have until Friday at 9:00 pm to void if unhappy. If we VOID THE DEAL after reviewing the HOA documents, you get back your Earnest Money Deposit.
Step 5: Home Inspections
7 to 14 Days of Contingency and Negotiation Period
The first thing we schedule after getting a Ratified Contract is a Home Inspection. We typically have anywhere from 7 to 14 days for our contingency.
We can set it up the Home Inspection for you or you can schedule it yourself. The Home Inspection will take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours to complete. It will cost anywhere from $325 to $600 depending on the size of the home. You pay the inspector directly at the inspection. This is the only bill (and radon if you do that) that isn’t rolled into the settlement and your closing costs.
We encourage you to attend the entire inspection. You will learn a lot about your house and the future care of it by coming to the inspection. It’s not a bad idea to take pictures as well. If you can’t make the whole thing, then please come to the last hour. It can be productive to see at least the inspection summary. You will get a great report at the end with pictures and links to more information, but taking notes is always a good idea.
One other thing that Buyers love to do during inspections is take any measurements for furniture or replacement of flooring or painting. It could save you a trip out to the house later. The Home Inspector typically has the full report the next day.
Once we have the report, we will thoughtfully review, discuss and determine what things we want to ask the Seller to fix. The Sellers don’t have to fix anything, but if we are unhappy with what they are unwilling to fix, then we are allowed to void the deal. Inspection reports are not a time to ask for cosmetic issues. We typically ask for any repairs that are hurting the functionality of the house, such as, electrical, heating and air, plumbing, appliances, roof or exterior issues.
Our response to the Sellers — with a full report and addendum — for request for repairs must be made before the deadline. Once the Sellers have the full report and addendum request, we then have until the end of the Negotiation Period to come up with an agreement. We can either come to an agreement on what repairs will be done or a credit in-lieu of repairs. The credit can sometimes work better because you can then use that money to hire your own contractors to do the repairs and make sure they are done the way you want.
If we can’t agree on a deal during the Negotiation period, we have 2 days during the “purchaser election” period to void the contract based on our unhappiness with the condition of the house. We DO get our Earnest Money Deposit back if we void the deal.
Radon Inspection Contingency
If you choose to complete a Radon test, the cost is $99. We contract with “All-Pro Services” to activate the Radon test in the home, then 2-days later come back and get the results. The Radon test monitor is placed in the basement to detect for traces of Radon in the air. If the house has a buried basement, it’s a good idea to test for Radon. If no part of the basement is underground you probably shouldn’t test for Radon. If the house tests over the 4.0 pCi/L, then we will ask the seller to remediate for Radon. If needed, the typically costs for a Radon remediation ventilation system is $800-$850. We want to make sure the new installed remediation system is working with a retest.
The Financing Contingency is a clause in a home purchase and sales agreement that your offer is contingent on being able to secure financing for the house. If you get a rejection letter from the financial institution, you can void the deal and get your Earnest Money deposit back.
In the contract, we can request after 21 days the Seller can ask us to remove the contingency or provide a Loan approval letter. We have 3 days, after written notice from the Seller, to remove the contingency to void the deal or present a Loan approval letter from the Lender.
At any time, we can switch Lenders or switch loan programs as long as we don’t delay settlement or cost the seller money. It is our STRONG recommendation that we lock in with a Lender within the first week after ratification and stay with that Lender. Switching Lender late in the process can be disastrous — and delay Settlement. We also strongly recommend against using an Internet Lender or someone from out of the area. New rules to Lenders: they must have the same compatible software as the Title company. (FYI: Intercoastal Mortgage Company, First Heritage Group and Cardinal Title Group have compatible software).
Many times we have seen Lenders from out of the area over promise and under deliver. Whenever a Closing is delayed it’s almost always with an out of town or Internet Lender. They don’t have the accountability and desire to get the job done right as a local Lender. This process goes much smoother if you have a Lender that we know and trust to get the job done.
Wood Destroying Insect Inspection (Termites, Carpenter Ants/Bees, Beetles, etc.)
Someone has to pay for the $35 inspection. It’s about 50/50 whether the Buyer or Seller pays for the inspection. If the Buyer chooses to order it on our end, then we will order it for you. The inspection has to be done within 30 days of Closing. It costs just $35. 80% of them come back clean. If they find a need for any type of treatment for termites the Seller is required to treat before closing. This is non-negotiable. This is a Lender requirement. For the $35, we recommend the Buyer to get the inspection, because it’s in the Buyer’s best interest.
You pay for a survey as part of your Closing costs. It costs between $300 and $400 typically. You are not required to get a survey done. The downside is that if you don’t have one done then your title insurance policy will have an exception on it for the boundaries of the property.
Survey’s come in handy if you plan on doing any type of fence, deck or patio work in the future as you will need it for permits and HOA applications.
The Appraisal Contingency will typically be 21 negotiable days from ratification. The Lender orders the appraisal through a 3rd party. Buyer pays for the appraisal typically as part of your Closing costs. We typically get the results around day 10 to 17 after Ratification. The Appraiser will walk the house, take measurements, a few pictures and note upgrades. They are working to assess the value of the home compared to recent sold homes around the area.
If the Appraisal comes in less than the contract price, you have the right to void the deal if the Seller won’t come down to the appraised value. The Lender will only give a loan based on the appraised value. If the Seller does not agree lower the price to the appraised value, then you would have to come up with in cash. There may be some instances that we are willing to pay more than the appraised value because we really want the house. In most instances we can get the Seller to come down to the appraised value or negotiate a deal in the middle.
Appraisers are looking at the condition, health and safety of the home, as well as, sales within a mile of the home that have closed in the last 90 days. If they don’t have enough data they will go back slightly longer and look at a slightly larger area if need be. Most houses appraise at the sales price exactly because appraiser has the sales price going into the appraisal. If we can’t come to terms then we have the option to void the deal and get our Escrow deposit back.
Step 6: Prepare for Closing (Consummation)
Home Owner's Insurance
Once we get through Inspection and Appraisal you will want to secure homeowner’s insurance. You can get recommendations from your REALTOR® or Lender if you don’t have a trusted insurance provider already. Most Insurance Agents will ask you to pay one year up front at closing. If you pay them before closing then make sure you let us know so you don’t get double charged on the closing statement.
As you prepare for closing remember to switch over the utilities. Click here for the list of all local utility companies. You want to set up service to start for the day of closing. That way you don’t have any interruption in service during the transfer.
We will do a final walk-through. It’s typically a day or two before closing: sometimes the morning of closing. It will only take about 30 minutes to an hour. We will the house and make sure that everything is in the same condition that it was at home inspection. If there were any repairs to be made, we make sure that all repairs are completed and looking good.
At final walk through the house will be empty. It has to be in broom swept condition. All appliances, lighting, fans, curtain rods, blinds typically stay unless otherwise agreed upon. The actual curtains are defined as “window treatments” in the contract. If we checked “yes” in the contract then they must stay. If we checked “no” then the seller can take the curtains with them.
Before Closing (Consummation)
Taking a few key actions can make your home closing go more smoothly. Here is a checklist to help you prepare in advance:
- Determine who will conduct your closing: Name, Title, Phone, When, Address, Time, and Date. As the Buyer, we recommend Cardinal Title Group.
- Ask “what you should expect at the closing:” What do I need to bring? How much money do I pay at Closing? How do I pay: Should I bring a Cashier’s check or Make a Wire Transfer?
- Request your closing documents three days in advance of closing According to CFPB rules, you must receive your Closing Disclosure three business days before Closing. These are some of the most important documents you’ll see at Closing:
- Closing Disclosure
- Promissory Note
- Deed of Trust
- Deed, document transfers property ownership (purchase only)
- Right to Cancel (refinance only)
- Identify people you can call if you need help during your Closing. Have contact information for an attorney or trusted friend with you, and make sure you have informed them to be available during your Closing.
- Schedule time in advance of your Closing review documents. Set aside enough time to carefully review the documents for errors and to make sure you have a clear understanding of the loan terms.
- Compare your Closing Disclosure to your most recent Loan Estimate. Look at the table on the top of page three of your Closing Disclosure. By law, only certain costs can change.*
*If the Buyer’s financing has change, then a new Closing Disclosure document must be provided by the Lender, which 3-days for you to review the changes.
New Closing Disclosure is required when:
- APR* changes below allowable limits: 1/8% or .125%
- Loan product changes (ex: 30 yr. fixed to ARM)
- Pre-payment penalty is added (Items that change an APR are: change in origination/change in loan amount/change in POC/ Change to the property type)
- Read the rest of your closing documents. Is your personal information correct on all documents? What happens if I don’t pay my loan? Do the key numbers (loan amount, monthly payment, interest rate) match exactly across all of my documents?
- Arrange your payment for the amount due at Closing. Do you have your Wire Transfer ready? (Please check to see if your Title Company accepts Cashier's check)
At Closing Checklist
Congratulations! You’re almost done with the home buying and mortgage process, but there is one last step: closing. Closing is one of the most important parts of the process. It’s when you legally commit to your mortgage loan.
We sometimes don’t get your bottom line — except for walk through — until 3-days before Closing. The best way to get an estimate is to talk to the Lender in the week leading up to Closing.
They can give the best estimate on what you will need for Closing. All funds at Closing either need to be wired to the title company or in a certified check made out to the title company. If you bring a little bit too much they can write you a refund check. If your check is a little short then you can write a personal check up to $1000 for the difference.
For Settlement you will need to bring your license and your certified check (unless you wired it). At Settlement you will get your keys. After closing the house is yours unless we have a rent back agreement in place.
The Closing Disclosure (Formally Settlement Statement - HUD 1)
The Closing Disclosure: Consumers will receive this form three business days before closing on a loan. It replaces the final Truth in Lending statement and the Closing Disclosure settlement statement, and provides a detailed accounting of the transaction.
The other notable charges on the Closing Disclosure will be prorating for taxes and HOA. If the seller has pre-paid taxes or HOA then you will credit them back for the time that you will own the house. If they have owned the house for any days that haven’t been paid for then they will give you a credit towards those future dues payments.
The last thing to remember for Closing is to make sure we get any parking space numbers, house or garage codes, mailbox numbers or any other questions you have for the Seller answered.
Below are are examples of the new Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure forms.
Your closing day has finally arrived. Here are some At Closing checklists:
- Bring these things or people with you to Closing:
- Cashier’s check or proof of Wire Transfer for the exact amount of the money you need to Close.
- List of people to call that you prepared earlier
- Your Closing Disclosure. Compare it to the final documents one more time
- If you want an advocate at the table: trusted friend, advisor, or lawyer
- Co-borrower or person who is co-signing your loan
- Check book in case of any last minute changes
- Your driver’s license or Government ID
- Get answers to these questions at your closing:
- How will I pay my property taxes and homeowners insurance? - Included in monthly payments or Pay on my own
- Where to I send my monthly payments?
- If I have Homeowners’ Association dues, how do I pay?
- Who should I call if I have any questions after Closing?
- Don’t forget these Closing tips:
- Take all the time you need. You have a right to read and understand your closing documents, not matter how long it takes.
- Trust your gut. Don’t go forward until you feel comfortable.
After Closing (Consummation)
Now that the paperwork is over, set yourself up for success as a homeowner with these final steps:
- Save your closing packet – You should save the entire set of documents, exactly as you receive it. Double check you have these:
- Closing Disclosure
- Promissory Note
- Mortgage/Security Instrument/Deed of Trust
- Deed, document that transfers property ownership (purchase only)
- Change your address
- Bank Accounts, investment accounts, and credit card companies
- Department of Motor Vehicles and car insurance
- Mortgage/Security Instrument/Deed of Trust
- Cell phone company, health/life insurance, and other bills
- U.S. Postal Service
- Revise your budget and plan for future expenses
- Include Homeowners’ Association (HOA) fees, and if you don’t have an escrow account, property taxes and homeowner’s insurance
- Settle into your new budget for a few months before making major unplanned or non-essential home repairs or renovations
- Set aside money each month in an emergency fund to cover essential repairs or loss of income
- Review your homeowner’s insurance - Contact your insurance company with questions or changes.
- Does it cover floods? Earthquakes? Other disasters?
- Could you get a discount for having smoke alarms or if you get your car insurance with the same company?
- Could you save money by increasing your deductible?
- Pay attention to:
- Changes in your monthly payment. Even if you have a fixed rate loan, your total monthly payment can change if your taxes, mortgage insurance or homeowner’s insurance go up or down
- Servicing changes. The “servicer” is where you send your mortgage payments, and your servicer might change. If your servicer changes, you’ll get a change-of-servicer notice in advance. (Contact your current servicer to confirm to avoid scams)
- Watch out for: Marketers often target new homeowners. Give yourself a chance to adjust to your new budget before applying for new credit or making large purchases.
- Offers for new credit cards or home equity lines of credit. If you want to opt-out of the offers, you can do so online or by calling 888-567-8688.
- Offers from home improvement contractors. Not only should you wait before making major investments, but scams are common. Research a Contractor’s reputation and always get three quotes before choosing a Contractor.
- Offers for “mortgage protection (life) insurance,” often sent in official looking envelopes. Most homeowners are better off with standard life insurance, which is more flexible and usually cheaper.
- Bi-weekly payment plans offered for a fee. A bi-weekly payment plan can be smart for people who get paid bi-weekly — you’ll pay off your loan quicker and save money — but you don’t have to pay for this service. You can often set it up yourself.
- Refinance offers that don’t save you money. Don’t refinance too often, or fees can really add up. When considering a refinance, make sure you’re saving money with a lower interest rate.
- Act fast to avoid foreclosure if you are struggling to make your payments. If you are struggling to make your payments, talk to your mortgage servicer and call a housing counselor. Your mortgage servicer is required to explain what options are available to avoid foreclosure. HUD-approved counselors are trained professionals who will help you at little or no charge to you.
Closing Disclosure Sample
Loan Estimate Sample
Page 1 of the Loan Estimate will show the Borrower and Property information, as well as the details of the loan transaction (loan amount, payment, etc.). Page 1 of the Loan Estimate shows the summary of the Closing costs; and Estimated Cash to Close.
Loan Estimate for these two pages shows the categories and breakdowns of the Closing costs, Calculating Cash to Close that summarizes the transaction details and Estimate Cash to Close. Two additional tables include: Adjustable Payment Table, and Adjusted Interest Rate Table. This is to show changes to the payment or interest rate after settlement.
Loan Estimate for Page 3 summarizes the overall transaction details, breaking down the whole amounts pay by or paid to the Borrower or Seller, as well as payments made to third parties, such as taxes, assessments, and lien payoffs.