My suggestion is to first gather referrals for mortgage lenders. Speak to other real estate professionals and ask for their opinions and referrals. Talk to those you know that have closed on a home RECENTLY. Check with family, friends, co-workers, insurance agents, attorneys, agents. Then compare the referrals you find or are given. Most likely, you will start to see some repeat referrals popping up. Those are the lenders you need to act upon and talk to. Almost like interviewing. You'll feel a connection with the right one for you.
The lender will ask you a series of questions regarding your employment, credit, bills, etc. To run the credit report needed, they will need your social security number. They'll want to know if you hope to buy on your own or if you will be buying with someone else. They'll want to know what your "comfort level" is for payment. In short, they will need to ask and know many things. Be patient. Provide the info as quickly as possible. The process will run more smoothly when you do. By being pro-active in the gathering of your needed financial documents, you can also move the mortgage processing along more quickly. I have a list of documents that most lenders need when starting application/processing. Although Florida (or the specific lender you work with) may need a few additional bits of info, this is a good place start: http://www.genemundt.com/Application-Info.html.
Please ... never hesitate to ask for assistance or clarification of something you do not understand. There's going to be alot of information for you to consider and learn. A good lender knows and understands this and will be happy to take the time to explain everything to you until you understand and are comfortable moving forward.
If you have further questions or need some assistance in gathering referrals, please write again. I'll be happy to do what I can to help you.
Best of luck to you in your upcoming new home purchase!
Explore at least 3 options, and preferably at least 1 mortgage broker, 1 mortgage loan officer who works for a bank, and also one that would work at a smaller direct mortgage lender (not a broker, and not a bank, just a mortgage lender who arranges loans and sells them afterwards - usually to the banks)... it wouldn't be a bad idea if you had the time to interview up to 6. That way you can get a feel for how each does business, because not every mortgage broker is the same as another mortgage broker, etc.
You'll want to ask what the pre-approval process entails and how long it takes. Will the underwriter who will be allowing your loan to close be the person reviewing your file as part of that process? Will it just be the loan officer reviewing your information? Will they even ask you for documentation?
You'll also want to ask what types of programs they offer, and once your documentation has been thoroughly examined you'd want to get what options would then apply to you, as well as ask what your loan officer thinks would be the best loan program for your situation.
You'll want to ask what type of fees & costs you could expect to incur along the way (credit report, earnest money deposit, home inspection, appraisal fee, closing costs, etc.), how much those costs are estimated to be, and when they are expected to be paid (at the time the service is performed, at closing, etc).
You'll also want to ask what type of loan terms can they offer you if you were to lock in your interest rate today.
You should also ask when & how they will be available - are you someone who likes to discuss things after the normal work hours on the phone? In person on a Saturday? Through email?
There are more variables to think of, some will be important to you and others will not, however I truly believe that you will have a feeling inside of you of pure comfort when you have found the loan officer who will be the perfect fit. You will leave the conversation having a full understanding of the road ahead and what is expected of you, as well as you'll feel the loan officer has left no stone unturned when going over your situation.
Do you currently bank with anyone? If so, traditionally your bank is a great place to start. Simply ask to speak to a mortgage loan officer. The mortgage officer will collect some of your personal financial information along with your social security number to allow them to pull your credit and calculate your debt to income ratios. Dependent upon how you qualify; the mortgage officer will provide you with either a pre-approval or inform you that you are unqualified currently to borrow.
Should you qualify ask the mortgage officer to provide you with a "Good Faith Estimate" or "GFE". This will give you an approximation of what your qualified purchase price looks like in terms of a monthly payment. Furthermore, it will give you an idea of your closing costs and or fees associate with obtaining a mortgage with that bank.
Once you have your pre-approval and GFE youâ€™re ready to shop for a home or another mortgage opinion for that matter. Often timeâ€™s realtors are great sources for referring you to other mortgage bankers/brokers who provide great service. If you don't have a realtor, chances are a family member or a friend can guide you in the right direction. What I'm trying to say is...it is good to compare several lending sources for both price and customer service. I provided our brokerages prefered lender in the "Web References" section for your convenience.
As you have read in these other posts there are many loan vehicles or programs available. Many of which are no money down loans. Your mortgage officer will advise you of what will work best for your financial circumstance.
Hope this helps and good luck!
You can start the mortgage process by contacting me so I can tell you about the no money down USDA mortgage that Cantonment is eligible for.
In addition to not requiring a down payment, the USDA program does not require monthly mortgage insurance which would save you about $89.00 per month on your payment vs an FHA loan and will also allow you to roll the closing costs in to the loan.
Feel free to contact me for more information.
You have gotten very good advice from Shane and Gene, why not contact either or both of them?
If you cannot qualify for a mortgage from a lender or credit union, you might try the special program offered by NACA. Your first step in that scenario is to find a Realtor you want to work with so she can input your details on the NACA website. If you input the info yourself then you will not be able to chose your own Realtor and will be required to work with one of NACA's Realtors.
Hope this helps, oh and you may also qualify for "bond" money to help you with your downpayment and closing costs. Up to $7,500 is available if you income isn't too high. Or if it's as much as about $70k you may still be able to get up to $5k in assistance.
All the best,