Home Buyer's Guide

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or an experienced homeowner, this guide can help you through the mortgage process. It will help make your homebuying experience much easier.  While this doesn't provide for every step, it will surely get you off on the right path.


Before you look at houses, find out how much you can borrow. The best way to do that is to get prequalified by a lender. If you have already started looking at homes be sure that you receive a conditional approval.

Here’s a list of typical documents and data you’ll need to provide:

Income Verification

  • Names and addresses of employers for two years
  • W-2s for two years
  • One to two years of tax returns
  • Most recent year-to-date pay stub reflecting a minimum of 30 days of income or other proof of income
  • If self-employed, year-to-date profit and loss statement, plus signed returns for last two years
  • Proof of pension income, if applicable
  • Social Security and Disability payments, if applicable
  • Dividend earnings
  • Bonuses
  • Child support earnings (optional)*
  • Alimony or separate maintenance (optional)*
  • Asset verification
  • Bank account numbers and balances
  • Bank statements for two to three months
  • A copy of earnest money deposit

Debt Verification

  • Information on debts such as car loans, student loans, and credit card debt

A Good Real Estate Agent Is Your Partner In The Homebuying Process

You may be working with them for several months so it’s important to find someone with whom you’re totally comfortable.

An agent will:

  • Help you find a house you love
  • Be knowledgeable about neighborhoods, pricing, local schools and public safety
  • Make your home search more efficient by narrowing down your choices based on your preferences
  • Assist you in negotiating a fair price
  • Answer your questions and provide guidance

Work closely with your mortgage lender and real estate agent once you find the perfect home and your offer is accepted.

  • Your agent will communicate the purchase agreement to your lender
  • Earnest funds agreed will be delivered to the specified location (typically the selling broker's office) within the time agreed (typically 2 business days after the purchase agreement is agreed
  • You will work with your lender to complete your application. Additional documents may be needed.
  • Do not delay in getting all requested documents to your lender.
  • You will be asked if you want to lock in your interest rate.
  • Your agent will ensure title paperwork is ordered per the purchase agreement
  • Inspection will be scheduled (you are encouraged to attend)
  • Your agent will review the inspection with you and help determine what items will be requested to be addressed by the seller
  • An inspection response will be sent to the selling agent at which point the seller is guided as to how to respond (what items they are willing to address)
  • Once agreed a specific time period to make necessary repairs is given and the process begins to move forward
  • You will be required to select and obtain a homeowner's insurance quote.
  • Your lender will provide a Good Faith Estimate (what it costs)
  • A settlement statement will be provided by the title company to your Agent and you will review to ensure all credits and debits are accurate prior to wiring funds for closing.
  • A final walk through is scheduled (typically the night before or morning of closing).


For a detailed guide visit:


Earnest Money: Earnest money is good faith measure that is given at the time an offer as accepted, typically within 48 hours. In most cases, the amount given is close to 1% of the purchase price. ($125,000 = $1250)

Money For Down Payment: This will be determined upon the type of loan you qualify for and how much money you are able and willing to put down. It can range from 3%-20% of the purchase price depending on the loan you obtain. Talk with your lender to verify what type of loan fits you best.

Closing Costs: Typically range from 1%-4% of the loan amount and some costs can be negotiated into the sales contract.

Inspection: Inspection fees vary by the size of the home. For a home ranging between 1,000-4,000 square feet, you can anticipate between a $300-$600 depending on the services you select.

Surveys and Home Warranties: If desired as part of the purchase, these can be negotiated as to whom will be responsible to pay for.

Kristin A Bergunder