Home Buying Process
If you are a first-time homebuyer or haven't bought a home in a while, this guide will offer valuable information about buying a home.
Gather the information you will need to qualify for a home mortgage
Before you can buy a home, you will need to secure financing. Be ready to provide a mortgage lender with the following information:
Income and Employment
- What is your current income?
- Are you employed?
- Do you have a history of steady employment?
Your lender will ask how much money you have available for a down payment. A down payment of 20 percent or more of the home purchase price demonstrates your commitment to long-term homeownership and provides you with immediate equity in a new home.
Your lender will review your credit history - how well you've paid your bills in the past - by reviewing your credit report. The lender will consider how much you owe on credit cards, car payments, student loans and other debt. The lender will also review your ability to pay property taxes and other expenses of homeownership.
Your lender may suggest that you set up an escrow account. With an escrow account, you pay a fixed amount each month in addition to your mortgage payment to an account maintained by the lender. The lender then draws on that account to pay property taxes and homeowners insurance as those bills become due. Escrow accounts ensure that money will be available for these payments.
Learn more about Escrows
Find a Fannie Mae lender to get preapproved for a mortgage loan
Remember that you are investing not just in a home but also in the mortgage loan that will finance your home. Talk with several lenders and shop carefully for the best deal, including loan terms, interest rate and fees. You can use Fannie Mae's Find a Lender tool to locate lenders who can answer your questions and work with you to qualify for a mortgage.
The lender you choose will review your financial information and explain the preapproval process. While preapproval is not a mortgage commitment or guarantee, it will provide guidance on what you can afford to spend on your new home. Having a preapproval letter to show to a seller demonstrates that you are a serious buyer. When you are ready to buy, it will shorten the time it takes your lender to complete the mortgage application process.
Make sure your lender explains all loan fees - the up-front costs of originating, processing and closing the loan.
Select your new home
With your mortgage preapproval in place, you are ready to begin your search. You can check online and your local newspaper for homes for sale in your area. A real estate professional can help you find a home that meets your needs and your budget. A licensed agent has access to the Multiple Listings Service (MLS) which generally offers the most comprehensive list of homes for sale.
In many communities, foreclosed homes offer an affordable homebuying option. You can search Fannie Mae's foreclosed properties at HomePath.com. Many of these homes offer flexible HomePath financing, which is available only on Fannie Mae homes. Learn more about HomePath financing and find a HomePath lender.