The amount of home you can afford depends on many factors including your debt, income and credit score as well as the cash that you have available for down payment, closing costs and reserves. Figure out how much you can comfortably afford to spend each month on a mortgage payment. Don't forget to factor in the additional costs of taxes, insurance and HOA fees.
You will be required to provide documentation to your lender, so start collecting these items early. Commonly requested documents are: paystubs, bank statements, tax returns, investment statements (401(k), IRA, stocks), rental statements and divorce decrees.
Once you have a clear idea of your financial picture, you can begin shopping for a loan. For tips and advice on how to select the best lender and loan for you, see our Ask Your Lender page.
Now that you have selected a qualified mortgage lender and have provided them with your financial information, they can pre-approve you for a mortgage loan and provide you with a Good Faith Estimate. This estimate will give you a clear idea as to the costs associated with your home purchase, including your required down payment, closing costs and monthly payment.
The final step in your loan process will be your closing. During this time, you will sign all of your mortgage paperwork as well as the documents that legally transfer the home to you.