How to Become Educated About the Mortgage Process


A mortgage will be your biggest and most important loan. Getting approved involves a lot of paperwork and you’ll stay in close communication with your loan officer throughout the process. First-time homebuyers are often overwhelmed and don’t fully know what to expect. But with research and pre-education, you can become familiar with the steps involved in getting a home loan. The more you know, the easier it’ll be to navigate the next 30 to 45 days —which is the average time it takes to close on a mortgage.

How do you educate yourself? Here are three steps you can take to gain a better understanding of the home loan process.

1. Educate yourself online

When buying a new home, no one expects you to know everything about mortgage loans. You will have questions and concerns. The good news is that many professionals are willing to assist, including your loan officer and your real estate agent.

You can, however, reduce some of the fear and stress of getting a mortgage by educating yourself before meeting with a lender. There are plenty of resources and tools. A quick online search can produce various reputable blogs and publications dedicated to mortgage loan information. You can learn about different home loan products from these sites, down payment requirements for different loans, credit score requirements and other helpful tips to help you make the right choice. Additionally, you can visit bank websites. Several banks that offer mortgage loans have a mortgage FAQ page filled with answers to commonly asked questions.

2. Meet with the mortgage lender

Even if you read mortgage articles and blogs, you may still have questions. At this point, schedule a sit-down meeting with a mortgage lender. A one-on-one conversation with a loan officer can deepen your understanding of the process. You’ll learn what to expect from start to finish, plus your loan officer can provide clarification and recommend loan products based on your unique circumstances.

But don’t meet with one bank. Make plans to meet with at least two or three loan officers from different banks. By doing so, you can compare information and make an educated decision regarding the best home loan for you.

3. Take a homebuyer education course

Homebuyer education isn’t required for every home loan. Some loan programs, however, require at least one borrower on a loan to complete an online course in homebuyer education. This is the case if you apply for Fannie Mae’s HomeReady program. But homebuyer education isn’t only for people choosing this type of loan—anyone can take advantage of this provision.

Several private organizations offer in-class instructions or online homebuyer education. Talk to your real estate agent or mortgage lender for information on local programs. These classes don’t take a lot of time, and can usually be completed within a few hours. You’ll receive unbiased advice on buying a home, plus information on managing a mortgage, improving credit and choosing the best financing.