Before you start searching for your new home, the first step is to speak with a lender and determine your budget. This is being pre-qualified for a loan. Once you find the right home, then your lender will order an appraisal of the property and complete your financing. If this is your first home purchase, or if it’s been awhile since you’ve purchased, understanding how to prepare for the qualifying process is the first step to success.

What do I need to qualify for a home loan?

When preparing for your meeting with the lender gather all the pertinent documentation and bring them with you. The lender will want to see 2 months of employment pay stubs and bank records as well the past 2 years of tax returns. After reviewing your income and savings, the lender will also order a credit report which shows all your recurring debt and payment history. This will be used to determine your ability to pay the proposed mortgage.

How does credit, down payment and income affect my ability to get a loan?

There are a variety of loan programs available. From 0% down VA loans to traditional 20% down loans, your lender will review all your options with you so you can determine the best program. Some government guaranteed loan programs, such as the VA or FHA, are more lenient with your credit score requirements as well as other qualifications, such as savings and income ratios.

There are also several first time home buyer programs that can help with down payment and closing costs. If you haven’t owned a home in Florida in the past 3 years then you may qualify for these programs. Discuss these with your lender. You can also often negotiate that a seller pay all or a portion of your closing costs.

Qualifying for a home loan might feel overwhelming, but your lender can walk you through the process and requirements. After learning your options, you can make the best financial decision for your new home loan.

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