Here is a general overview of the mortgage loan process in Pennsylvania. Use these helpful links to jump ahead to any section and learn more about each stage of the loan process.
Pre-qualification starts the loan process. Once a lender has gathered information about a borrower's income and debts, a determination can be made as to how much the borrower can pay for a house. Since different loan programs can cause different valuations a borrower should get pre-qualified for each loan type the borrower may qualify for.
In attempting to approve homebuyers for the type and amount of mortgage they want, mortgage companies look at two key factors. First, the borrower's ability to repay the loan and, second, the borrower's willingness to repay the loan.
Ability to repay the mortgage is verified by your current employment and total income. Generally speaking, mortgage companies prefer for you to have been employed at the same place for at least two years, or at least be in the same line of work for a few years.
The borrower's willingness to repay is determined by examining how the property will be used. For instance, will you be living there or just renting it out? Willingness is also closely related to how you have fulfilled previous financial commitments, thus the emphasis on the Credit Report and/or your rental payment history.
It is important to remember that there are no rules carved in stone. Each applicant is handled on a case-by-case basis. So even if you come up a little short in one area, your stronger point could make up for the weak one. Mortgage companies could not stay in business if they did not generate loan business, so it is in everyone's best interest to see that you qualify.
With so many programs from which to choose, each with different rates, points and fees, shopping for a loan can be time consuming and frustrating. An experienced mortgage broker and recommend the most suitable mortgage program, thus allowing the borrower to make an informed decision.
The application is the true start of the loan process and usually occurs between days one and five of the start of the loan process. With the aid of a mortgage professional, the borrower completes the application and provides all Required Documentation.
The various fees and closing cost estimates will have been discussed while examining the many mortgage programs and these costs will be verified by the Good Faith Estimate (GFE) and a Truth-In-Lending Statement (TIL) which the borrower will receive within three days of the submission of the application to the lender.
Once the application has been submitted, the processing of the mortgage begins. The Processor orders the Credit Report, Appraisal and Title Report. The information on the application, such as bank deposits and payment histories, are then verified. Any credit derogatories, such as late payments, collections and/or judgments require a written explanation. The processor examines the Appraisal and Title Report checking for property issues that may require further investigation. The entire mortgage package is then put together for submission to the lender.
If you are purchasing or refinancing your home, and you are salaried, you will need to provide the past two-years W-2s and one month of pay-stubs: OR, if you are self-employed you will need to provide the past two-years tax returns. If you own rental property you will need to provide Rental Agreements and the past two-years' tax returns. If you wish to speed up the approval process, you should also provide the past three months' bank, stock and mutual fund account statements. Provide the most recent copies of any stock brokerage or IRA/401k accounts that you might have.
If you are requesting cash-out, you will need a "Use of Proceeds" letter of explanation. Provide a copy of the divorce decree if applicable. If you are not a US citizen, provide a copy of your green card (front and back), or if you are NOT a permanent resident provide your H-1 or L-1 visa.
If you are applying for a Home Equity Loan you will need, in addition to the above documents, to provide a copy of your first mortgage note and deed of trust. These items will normally be found in your mortgage closing documents.
You'll be better prepared if you get a copy of your Credit Report before you apply for a mortgage. That way, you can take steps to correct any negatives before making your application.
If you have had credit problems, be prepared to discuss them honestly with a mortgage professional who will assist you in writing your "Letter of Explanation." Knowledgeable mortgage professionals know there can be legitimate reasons for credit problems, such as unemployment, illness, or other financial difficulties. If you had problems that have been corrected (reestablishment of credit), and your payments have been on time for a year or more, your credit may be considered satisfactory.
The following items are some of the ways that you can improve your credit score:
A borrower with a score of 680 and above is considered an A+ borrower. A loan with this score will be put through an "automated basic computerized underwriting" system and be completed within minutes. Borrowers in this category qualify for the lowest interest rates and their loan can close in a couple of days.
Your lender may require a home appraisal to determine the market value of the property. An appraiser will evaluate the size of the home and the location and compare it to recent sales to arrive at a market value. Not all mortgage loans require an appraisal, but many do. An appraisal is ordered by the lender and is at the buyer/borrower's expense.
Once the processor has put together a complete package with all verifications and documentation, the file is sent to the lender. The underwriter is responsible for determining whether the package is deemed an acceptable loan. If more information is needed, the loan is put into "suspense" and the borrower is contacted to supply more information and/or documentation. If the loan is acceptable as submitted, the loan is put into an "approved" status.
Once the loan is approved, the file is transferred to the settlement services provider. In Pennsylnvania, the borrower has the right to select their own settlement services provider. The settlement company will also provide the title search. A title agent will order the required title insurance policies, review the fees on the closing documents and schedule a time for the borrower to sign the loan documentation.
At the closing the borrower should:
After the documents are signed, the closing attorney returns the documents to the lender who examines them and, if everything is in order, arranges for the funding of the loan. Once the loan has funded, the closing attorney arranges for the mortgage note and deed of trust to be recorded at the county recorders office. Once the mortgage has been recorded, the closing attorney then prints the final settlement costs on the HUD-1 Settlement Form. Final disbursements are then made.
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