Wooden house shaped key ring with key on table

Congratulations on your decision to buy a new home! There are many important things to consider throughout the process, especially if you are a first-time homebuyer. Here is some information that will keep you on track.

In General…

A home purchase may be your largest financial transaction to date. It is important to make the right decisions and to keep an eye on the details. With the assistance of your real estate agent and loan officer, it should be an efficient, pleasant and ultimately rewarding experience.

Count On Your Real Estate
Agent To:

  • Preview available homes to weed out those that do not meet your criteria.
  • Present the homes that suit your needs as you’ve defined them.
  • Help you determine the best locations for you to look based on what you’re looking to achieve, including the type of neighborhood you want, school systems you want to be part of, etc.
  • Advise you on what your initial offer should be and how to proceed accordingly when the seller responds.
  • As a buyer, you should hold your agent to high standards. You are making a huge purchase that could quite possibly be the biggest of your life. Make sure you hire an agent you will like enough to consider a friend when all is said and done.

Count On Your Mortgage Broker and Loan Officer To:

  • Assist you in selecting the best loan to meet your personal situation and goals.  This single decision can save you thousands of dollars throughout the years!
  • Keep you informed of your loan status throughout the entire process.
  • Keep your real estate agent informed of your loan progress (Note: Your personal information is always kept confidential between you and us; only deal points and progress are shared).
  • Get the appropriate loan for you at the best rates and fees. This will save you significant money up front and throughout the loan term.

Count On Yourself To:

  • Keep your real estate agent informed of any questions or concerns as they develop.
  • Keep the process moving by providing documentation to your loan officer as soon as  possible. 
  • Don’t keep your loan officer in the dark! Tell us immediately if your financial picture changes.  Your loan officer is on YOUR team  and wants to help YOU get approved.
  • Ask a LOT of questions!  We are here to provide the answers.
  • Make sure you are pre-approved as early as possible. This will put the power of financing behind you so you can concentrate on selecting your home.
  • Enjoy purchasing your home but do remain objective throughout to make the business decisions that are best for you.

With a Pre-Approval letter from us in hand, your real estate agent will be able to demonstrate that you are a qualified and capable buyer. This may strongly influence the Seller. The pre-approval may make the difference between the Seller accepting your offer or someone else’s!

A: A qualified mortgage broker will work with you to choose the best loan program and interest rates available to you. You then need to provide the documents/documentation needed to complete your loan application

A: Generally speaking, you can purchase a home with a value of two or three times your annual household income. However, the amount that you can borrow will also depend upon your employment  and credit history.  Your current savings and debts, and the amount of down payment you are willing to make are also important factors. Give us a call, and we can help you determine exactly how much you can afford.

A: A credit score is an indication of your credit history and assists in measuring your ability to repay a debt in the future. Get your true credit score here.

A: Yes. Your credit doesn’t have to be perfect to purchase a home. Difficult financial situations are often because of illness, divorce or temporary unemployment. You will need to  demonstrate that the problem was in the past and that you have been able to re-establish a good credit payment history for at least 12 months.  Call us to discuss your circumstance.

A: Good question! You should at least have:

  1. Driver license or government issued ID for each borrower
  2. Consecutive pay stubs for the last month
  3. Copies of  complete bank statements for the most recent  2 months
  4. Evidence of any other assets like bonds or stocks or 401K/IRA
  5. W2’s and/or 1099’s for the last two years
  6. Copies of your income tax returns for the last 2 years
Smiling young couple applying for a mortgage at home

A: We offer special loan programs for non-traditional borrowers. Contact ELP to discuss your options.

A: Yes, there are loan programs that do not require a down payment. If you and/or the property you are purchasing meet certain criteria, a zero-down payment loan may be an option for you. Contact Express Loan Process to see if this is an option for you.

A: A loan estimate (LE) is an estimate that outlines the costs you will incur during the mortgage process. This is provided to you when you apply for your loan.

A: With a fixed rate mortgage, the interest rate and the amount you pay each month remain the same over the entire mortgage term. With an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM), the interest rate fluctuates according to a particular index. Initial interest rates of ARMs are typically offered at a discounted (“teaser”) interest rate. This is typically lower than a 30 year fixed interest rate. Over time, when initial discounts are filtered out, ARM rates will fluctuate as general interest rates go up and down. Different ARMs are tied to different financial indices, some of which fluctuate up or down more quickly than others. To avoid constant and drastic changes, ARMs typically regulate (cap) how much and how often the interest rate and/or payments can change in a year and over the life of the loan.

A: Pre-qualification is a lender’s judgment of your ability to make payments on your mortgage, based on your verbal statement of income, assets, and employment history. Pre-approval is the underwriting decision that you are conditionally qualified for a specific mortgage amount.  With a pre-approval, the underwriter has already reviewed your income, assets, and credit. This is great for you, your realtor and the seller because they know you are approved for the mortgage. You just need to find a house and the property needs to meet certain conditions for the loan.  Contact us for a pre-approval and more information.

A: To determine whether you should refinance, compare the following:

  • Current interest-rates compared to the rate you are currently paying.
  • Your current payment compared to what your payment would be at the new interest rate 
  • The amount of time you expect to live in your home.
  • The cost to refinance your mortgage.


A credit score assists in measuring your ability to repay a debt in the future.


Still have questions? Check out these useful links!


Fill out our online application to get pre-approved.