Mortgage Moves: How will you approach your search?

How will you approach your search? graphic

Note: This is the third blog in a series where you can make choices about buying your first home.

Once you have a target home price in mind, you may feel that you’re ready to start a serious search for the right home. How will you approach this search?

Looking for the right home can be a bit like riding slowly up the hill on a roller coaster. You’re not quite sure when you’ll make it to the top, but once you do, things may start to move very fast. Once you find the right home, you’ll not only have to negotiate the sale, but also secure a mortgage, get an inspection, and more.

Once you’re ready to get started, how will you approach your search?


I’ll focus on looking for the right home first

Looking for the right home is important, but most people will need a mortgage to pay for it. That’s why it’s a good idea to prepare for getting a mortgage at the same time as you look for your home. The mortgage process is complex, and things can move very quickly once you’ve found the home you want to purchase. While you’re looking for homes, it’s a good idea to also gather the important paperwork that you’ll need to apply for a loan. That way you’ll be prepared and avoid delays.

Lenders rely on information about your finances to determine how much they are willing to lend to you and at what interest rate. Gathering your paperwork early has two great benefits.

  1. You have plenty of time to find your documents. Documents showing your income from the most recent two years like your W-2s, or your signed tax returns, will likely be necessary. These are documents you may have to search for, or may even need to make a few calls to get. When you have these documents, you can review them and ensure that all the information is correct. You could even meet with lenders to review this information and see if anything further may be necessary to document your ongoing, expected sources of income.
  2. It will take one more thing off your plate when you do find the home you want. Gathering your paperwork now, and keeping it all in the same place, makes for less stress later.

We recommended refining your packet of information as you continue with your home search to make sure you have up to date documentation when it’s time to apply for loans. You can find a list of what documents you may need in “Owning a Home.” And check out the next Mortgage Move in our series.


I’ll gather financial documents at the same time.

This is a smart approach. By gathering your financial paperwork upfront, you’ll have less stress when you do find the home you want. Sometimes the process can go very quickly when you have found the home that’s a fit for you, and it’s hard to find the time to get all of your paperwork in order.

Lenders rely on information about your finances to determine how much they are willing to lend to you and at what interest rate. Gathering your paperwork early has two great benefits.

  1. You have plenty of time to find your documents. Documents showing your income from the most recent two years like your W-2s, or your signed tax returns, will likely be necessary. These are documents you may have to search for, or may even need to make a few calls to get. When you have these documents, you can review them and ensure that all the information is correct. You could even meet with lenders to review this information and see if anything further may be necessary to document your ongoing, expected sources of income.
  2. It will take one more thing off your plate when you do find the home you want. Gathering your paperwork now, and keeping it all in the same place, makes for less stress later.

We recommended refining your packet of information as you continue with your home search to make sure you have up to date documentation when it’s time to apply for loans. You can find a list of what documents you may need in “Owning a Home.” And check out the next Mortgage Move in our series.

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