Helpful Q&As

What down payment do I need?

20% down as a minimum is a myth! Your down payment requirement will differ depending on the loan you qualify for. Conventional loans have a minimum down payment of 3% while some specialty programs allow 0% down.
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What is the minimum credit score?

The minimum credit score will change by the loan type. Higher is always better! But, FHA loans allow a minimum of 500 (with a 10% down payment) and 580 (with a 3.5% down payment). Conventional loans require 620 as a minimum.
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When should I start the process?

Planning in advance is key to a calm home buying experience! The actual under contract part of buying usually takes 30-45 days. It's best to get pre-approved about 2 weeks before you start shopping for homes.
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Browse the full Q&A (coming soon) →

Your home buying timeline.

Here's what a typical home buying timeline looks like.
Check your credit
1 day
Mortgage approvals are largely based on your credit score. So, it's good to make sure your credit is in order before you start the rest of the process. You need to verify two things: (1) your credit score is high enough to qualify for a loan and (2) your credit report is free of errors that could stop the mortgage process.

There are loan programs that allow down to a 500 FICO credit score, but we recommend having a 640+ credit score so you can have an easier time apply for loans. If your score isn't there, you can use this credit score simulator software I recommend to help you add points to your score.
Figure out your costs & payments
1 day
Before you talk to a loan officer, it's good to get a ballpark idea of how much you could qualify for and an expectation of the costs. We have a calculator that can help you find your maximum purchase price along with ideal monthly payments. It uses the same formulas loan officers use to determine your maximum loan amount. Download our max purchase price calculator.
Protect yourself from spam calls
1 day
Credit bureaus sell your information to other lenders and you could receive upwards of 50 calls when applying for a mortgage. There's nothing we (or any other lender) can do to stop this.

To prevent getting these spam calls, you can register on and to reduce the amount of spam you may get.
Get pre-qualified
3 days
You want to get pre-approved BEFORE you start looking at homes. Why? Because otherwise you may start looking at homes you can't qualify for, that's no fun!

A pre-approval is when you fill out a loan application and send financial documents (paystubs, tax returns, etc) to a lender. That lender will then pre-approve you for a maximum purchase price and will show you terms of your loan like: down payment, interest rates, fees, etc.

We have a network of helpful loan officers available anywhere in the US to help you get started. Click here to talk with a loan officer.
Find a real estate agent
1 day
Once you're pre-approved, you know exactly the price range you're approved for and comfortable with. Now, you'll want to select a real estate agent who can help guide you through the process and help you negotiate your offer with the seller of the home you're wanting to buy. If you'd like a headstart, you can connect with our network of helpful agents near you.
Search for a home
2-4 weeks
Your real estate agent will then be able to help you search for homes based on what you're looking for. It's good to start to figure out how many bedrooms you're looking for, the price range you want to be in, the school district you want and other needs and wants that help you narrow your search. Your agent can help you set up showings where you can walk through a home before you make an offer.
Make an offer
1 day
Once you found a home you love, you can make an offer! An offer involves a purchase contract that is usually about 10 pages of contract details about the terms of the sale. You get to propose sale terms like purchase price, closing date, inspections terms, etc. The seller can accept, reject, or counter with their own terms. Ideally, you and the seller will reach and agreement on the term of the sale.
Get a home inspection
7 days
No one wants to move in to a home that ends up needing thousands of dollars of unexpected repairs! A home inspection is optional, but it's the best way for buyers to get an expert 3rd party opinion on the condition of the home before they fully agree to purchase it.

Even though you signed a contract with the seller to purchase their home, most contracts have an inspection contingency period (check with your real estate agent). This period is where you can choose to back out of the deal or request the seller fix items in a home if the inspection report finds expensive issues you are not comfortable with.
Figure out your moving plan
1 day
At this point you want to start considering coordinating your move. Your purchase contract will say when your closing date is (this is negotiated with you submitted your offer). You'll need to consider when you plan on leaving your current residence and making the move into your new home.

Don't forget that if you're renting you likely need to tell your landlord in advance.
Send your earnest money deposit
1 hour
Most contracts also include an earnest money deposit. The earnest money deposit requires the buyer to place an amount of money (negotiated in the contract) into an escrow account within a few days after the contract is signed by both the buyer and the seller.

It helps show a seller how serious you are about a home and adds a level of financially guaranteeing that you will follow the contract. It is not an expense, it is money that is held by a 3rd party and then given back to you after you close on your home.
Finalize your loan application
2 days
The pre-approval with your lender likely covered most of the details they needed for your loan approval. However, at this stage it is common for the lender to need more information or documents to verify your loan approval.

Things like updated paystub, recent bank statement, and miscellaneous documents like child support statements are common requests.
Review your Loan Estimate
1 hour
Every lender is legally required to send you a Loan Estimate 3 business days after you are under contract for a home and have completed an application.

Your Loan Estimate will estimate the fees of all the costs of purchasing your home. These aren't fees just charged by the lender. Buying a home includes costs from different parties like insurance, title work, county fees, transfer taxes, lender fees, appraisal, etc. The Loan Estimate is a good faith estimate from the lender to give you an estimate of those fees.
Get home owner's insurance
3 hours
At this point you'll want to get home owner's insurance. All lenders require home owner's insurance during the entire time you have a loan. You can shop with different insurance companies to find a policy that works best for you, it may be beneficial to first start with the company that your auto insurance is with. You'll want to get an annual quote and then your lender will collect monthly payment from you to then pay your insurance company annually.
Get an appraisal
1-2 weeks
Your lender will order an appraisal on the home. The appraisal verifies that the home is worth enough money to justify the amount the lender is giving to you. A mortgage means that if you don't pay back your loan, the lender can foreclosure. The appraisal helps the lender make sure that if that ever happened, they can get their money back.

The appraisal is not designed to benefit you. It may tell you some helpful information, but it is mainly to serve the lender. The home inspection is what you as the buyer should rely on for information on your home.

Likely, you will need to pay for your appraisal up-front. After the appraiser inspects the home, the appraisal report will be sent to you showing you the value on condition of the home you're buying. It is common for the appraisal report to take 1-2 weeks to be completed.
Discuss inspection report with your real estate agent
2 days
Most contracts have an inspection contingency period where you have a certain amount of a time to get a home inspection and request repairs. Often, you can exit a contract with no repercussions due to the inspection report during this period.

You'll want to carefully review your inspection report and talk through it with your real estate agent. Figure out what repairs are important and what are not that big of a deal. Home inspection reports commonly show a lot of improvements that can be made. Remember that even new homes have flaws. Your goal is not to buy the world's most perfect home. Your goal is to buy a home that works for you.

So, you get to decide the repairs that are dealbreakers for you.
Send final documents to your lender
2 days
Your loan officer will send the documents you initially provided to an underwriter who will verify that you qualify for a loan. This is commonly called a Conditional Approval.

After a Conditional Approval, the underwriter may ask for a few extra documents. This is completely normal and nothing to be afraid of. Sometimes they may ask for updated documents, missing pages of documents, or other verifications.
Review your Closing Disclosure
1 hour
Your loan officer will give you a Closing Disclosure before closing. Most likely, you'll be given multiple Closing Disclosures since, like the Loan Estimate, they might not be the final numbers.

The Closing Disclosure is legally required to be given to you 3 business days before you're allowed to close on a home. A lender is required to re-issue a Closing Disclosure if there is a significant change e.g. the APR and fees increase. When you get your Closing Disclosure ask your loan officer if it is the final or if it is estimated.

Compare your Closing Disclosure to your most recent Loan Estimate and explore if anything changed. Discuss these changes with your loan officer if you are uncomfortable with them.
Send closing funds to title company
1 hour
Once you've reviewed your Closing Disclosure, you'll need to send your "Cash To Close" funds to the title company. You loan officer will be able to tell you exactly how much you need to send. Usually lenders either require a cashier's check or wire transfer. Often, if the amount is above $10,000 a wire transfer is required.

Make sure to verify the wire information with a the lender and/or the title company over the phone and be on the lookout for wire fraud scams. Always confirm changing information with your loan officer.
1 hour
You will meet with a closing agent and likely your real estate agent to review your final paperwork and sign to close on your new home! After that, you will get the keys (unless your contract has delayed occupancy) and will be able to move in!
Store all financial documents
30 minutes
It's easy to overlook this step, after all you just bought a home! But, it's super important to save all of your financial documents for reference in the future. Many title company will be able to send you a digital copy of the closing paperwork you signed at closing. I highly recommend you save that somewhere where it won't get lost: Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.
New home prep
1 month
At this point you're ready to move in! Maybe a fresh coat of paint? Change the locks? New batteries in smoke detectors and such. You'll be settled-in in no time!
Forward mail to new address
5 minutes
Don't miss your important mail! After you move, it's incredibly easy to have the post office forward mail to your new address. Here's the USPS link to do so.
Make your first payment
30 minutes
You don't want to miss any mortgage payment, especially the first one! Your closing paperwork will have a page that tells you where and how to make your mortgage payments.

Some people prefer checks, some people prefer auto pay. It's up to you. Your first mortgage payment is always due on the 1st of the month and a minimum of one full calendar month after closing. For example if closing is October 28th, the first payment would not be until December 1st.
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Kyle Andrew Seagraves is Federal Mortgage Loan Originator (NMLS 1701021) licensed in all 50 states with the Dan Frio Team at Allied First Bank (NMLS 203463), an Equal Housing Lender. Separately, Kyle owns Win The House You Love LLC, an education company. Win The House You Love LLC is not a lender, does not issue loan qualifications, and does not extend credit of any kind. This website is only for educational usage. All calculations should be verified independently. This website is not an offer to lend and should not directly be used to make decisions on home offers, purchasing decisions, nor loan selections. Not guaranteed to provide accurate results, imply lending terms, qualification amounts, nor real estate advice. Seek counsel from a licensed real estate agent, loan originator, financial planner, accountant, and/or attorney for real estate, legal, and/or financial advice.

Allied First Bank is not affiliated with the VA, FHA or any other government agency. This site has not been approved by any government agency.
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