What does the homebuying process look like?
Depending on where you live, what kind of mortgage you’re looking for, and your credit history, the loan process will be different for every homebuyer. There’s a lot of information to absorb and important decisions to make, which can be overwhelming at times, but we’re here to help answer your questions and show you how to buy a house.
Where should you start?
Follow the steps below to start your homebuying journey. Or, to get started right away, complete our Quick Start Form and let a Summit team member guide you through every step of the process.
Understand the homebuying path ahead
Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or you’ve purchased before, it’s a smart idea to become familiar with the home buying process and everything that’s involved. Being informed prepares you for the best experience possible.
Find your Summit Mortgage loan officer
Nobody understands the mortgage process like a Summit Mortgage loan officer. They’ll get to know you, your goals, and your needs to help you find the perfect mortgage program and the most savings possible.Find a Loan Officer Near You
Check out our Homebuyer Guide
Download our Homebuyer Guide to get an idea of what the typical loan process looks like, learn about what happens at each step, and prepare for your own homebuying journey.
Calculate how much you can afford
This might seem like an obvious step, but knowing exactly how much you want to spend on your house can determine which mortgage programs you qualify for. Use our mortgage calculator to get started.
It’s not required, but if you get “pre-qualified” for a loan it will make the process easier down the road by ensuring your finances are in order and you have all of the correct documentation to complete the application process.Get Started Now
Position yourself for mortgage approval
Your credit score and credit history are the two most important factors that determine whether or not you get approved for a mortgage loan. This makes the process fair for every homebuyer and removes the possibility for biases or subjective opinions to impact the lender’s decision. Unfortunately, that means you won’t be able to explain small inconsistencies or convince a lender that those few missed payments were out of your control. So, how can you be sure that you look good on paper?
- DO: Pay all your bills on time
Missed and late payments have a negative impact on your credit score.
- DO: Pay off your credit cards
This will lower your debt-to-credit ratio and raise your credit score.
- DO: Keep records for all deposits into your accounts
Lenders want to know where your funds come from, especially if the source isn’t your employer.
- DON’T: Take on any new debt
Your credit report will be pulled for large purchases like furniture and cars, which can be seen as a risk to lenders.
- DON’T: Close any credit accounts
This will raise your debt-to-credit ratio and lower your credit score.
- DON’T: Make inexplicable deposits into your accounts
Deposits from unidentified sources are red flags and cash deposits are often subtracted from your balance if you don’t have documentation.
What mortgage program is right for you?
Every mortgage program has something different to offer, so what’s best for someone else might not be best for you. Your current needs may steer you toward one program, while your future plans suggest another. Take some time to educate yourself about the different options, then talk to a Summit Mortgage loan officer who can help you decide what’s going to work best for you.
I’m looking for a small down payment
I’m looking for a home that needs some work
I’m looking for a loan above $510,400
I’m looking for help with my down payment
I’m looking for a low interest rate
I’m looking for a home in a more rural area
I’m a veteran or active-duty serviceperson looking for a loan
I’m looking for a fixed rate with no mortgage insurance
This is how you’ll demonstrate to lenders that you receive a regular income and will be able to afford the monthly mortgage payments.
- All homebuyers must provide:
- Federal tax returns.
- Child support and alimony (if using income to qualify): court order, 12 months of canceled checks, or bank statements showing consistent deposits.
- Award letters for social security, pension, disability, etc.
- W-2 employed applicants must provide:
- Pay stubs for the last 30 days. If your income includes overtime, bonuses, or differential pay, you may need your most recent end-of-year payroll stub.
- W-2 statements from the last two years.
- Written explanation if you’ve been employed for less than two years or have a 30-day gap in employment within the last two years.
- Self-employed applicants must provide:
- Self-employment documentation.
- Year-to-date profits and losses.
- Year-to-date balance sheet.
- List of all business debts.
- Evidence that your business pays its debts.
- All homebuyers must provide:
This is how you’ll demonstrate to lenders that you’ll be able to fund your down payment and any closing costs.
- Original bank statements for the last two months (checking, savings, and investment accounts).
- Original account statements for the last two months (stocks and investments).
- Settlement statement (if using funds from the sale of a property).
- Sale of assets documentation (proof of ownership, proof of sale, proof of funds transferred/deposited).
This is how you’ll demonstrate to lenders that you manage your finances responsibly and make your debt payments on time.
- Canceled rent or mortgage checks for the last 12 months, if not available on credit report.
- Bankruptcy discharge paperwork.
- Proof of paid off collections/judgments.
Additional documents (optional)
- Purchase agreement including legal property description and any addendums.
- Discrepancies on credit including an explanation of discrepancies.