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A 6 Step Guide to Getting a Mortgage

Step 1

Determine  affordability

Based on your income, debts & credit worthiness

  • Fix any credit issues/errors before you shop
  • Reduce recurring debts such as car loans
  • Use the DTI ratio to guide your home budget
NerdWallet's Affordability Calculator
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Understand loan options

Loan term, interest rates, and loan program types

  • 15 vs 30yrs or something else?
  • Fixed vs Adjustable Rate Mortgages
  • Conventional or govt. backed like FHA & VA
CFPB's Loan Type Descriptions
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Step 2

Step 3

Get pre-approved

A pre-approval is not a loan application

  • It's a lender verification letter
  • It enables you to start making offers
  • It pulls your credit & uses W2's for income
Better's 3 min Pre-approval
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Comparison shop lenders

Compare Rates, Fees, and Flexibility of Terms

  • Get quotes from banks, brokers & online
  • Compare APRs where fees can be hidden
  • Avoid risks like pre-payment penalties
CFPB's Loan Estimate Explainer
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Step 4

Step 5

Lock, submit & get cleared

It typically takes 30 days to get a loan fully underwritten

  • A lock holds your rate during underwriting
  • Submit all documents & get an appraisal
  • Underwriting will be clear you to close
Loan Documentation Checklist
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Prepare for closing day

Understand your rights and all documents before signing

  • Get your closing disclosure 3 days prior
  • Bring the cash need to close on your home
  • Read the promissory note & deed of trust
Closing Form Summaries
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Step 6

1% lower rates & up to 50% less down