Mortgage Loans

Home Buyers Checklist

Buying the perfect home takes time. Let us guide you through the home buying process with these simple steps to get you started.

Step 1 - Do the Research.
If you’re starting a family, you want to do your research. What schools are nearby? Is your primary doctor or pediatrician within five miles? Starting your research early can help you choose an area that you want to live in. Read blogs and real estate news to find current home selling trends.

Step 2 - What Can You Afford?
If you’re ready to move forward and begin to look for a home, you need to determine how much of a house you can afford. Depending on your financial situation, you want to use an Affordability Calculator to get a better idea of how much money you will likely spend on your new home. The key is to start saving early for a down payment.

Step 3 - Get Pre-Qualified and Pre-Approved
Get pre-qualified and pre-approved for a mortgage. At Firstmark, we’ve partnered with SWBC Mortgage and together we can help you start the process. Simply complete an online application, submit copies of your income, savings and investments to see how much you can borrow. Taking time to get pre-qualified and then pre-approved shows you’re a serious buyer.

Step 4 - Find a Realtor
Whether you’re buying or selling, a realtor can be a great asset to have on your team. Realtors have access to information about neighborhoods and buying and selling trends. Choosing a realtor that is familiar with the area or neighborhood that you’re interested in will be highly beneficial to you. With our HomePlus™ Rewards Program you get access to valuable resources to help you buy and or sell your home.

HomePlus Rewards Program Perks

  • Assistance from a highly qualified agent
  • A cash rebate from your agent's commission
  • A reduction in the agent’s commission if you also have a home to sell
  • Loan pre-approval so you’ll know exactly how much you can afford while shopping for your new home.
  • Highly competitive rates and closing costs

Step 5 - Shop for your dream home. Now that you know your price range, visit model homes and take tours to get a better sense of colors, styles and floor layouts that you like the best. Buying a house is a big investment so you want to take your time. Test the little things inside the house to make sure things are working:

  • Flush toilets and run the shower to test water pressure
  • Turn lights off and on to test the electrical system
  • Open and close windows and doors to make sure they are closing properly

You probably also want to get to know the neighborhood a little better. Talk to neighbors if you see them outside, drive around during different times of the day to see what traffic and the noise level is like. Convenience is key when choosing a residence. How far is your closest grocery store, urgent care clinic, library and restaurants? How close are you to main thorough fares?

Step 6 - Make an Offer
When you find your dream home, make an offer. Utilize your realtor’s bargaining experience to negotiate a price that you and the buyer agree on. From this point on, you are ready to move into the escrow phase of the home buying process. In layman’s terms, an escrow service is managed by a neutral third party or middleman where money is deposited until a contract is legally completed.

Step 7 - Get a Home Inspection
Home buyers will want to get the house they are interested in properly inspected. The home inspector will look for property and structural damage. The final purchase will be contingent upon the inspection, so buyers can negotiate or ask for repairs at this time.

Step 8 - Secure Your Mortgage Loan
If you haven’t already been prequalified for a mortgage, you can shop around by researching the best mortgage loans and rates. Depending on your long term goals, be sure you find the right loan product that meets your needs. Learn more about Firstmark’s partnership with SWBC Mortgage for home loans.

Step 9 - Appraise the House
The lender you choose will schedule a third-party company to appraise the home’s values to ensure that the home is fairly priced.

Step 10 – Close the Sale
At the time of closing, the homebuyer will sign all required paperwork to complete the purchase. Once the loan is funded and returned to the lender, the home buying process will be completed. Congratulations on purchasing your very own home!

Online Mortgage Application

JP Watkins
Lending Partner with Firstmark Credit Union
Email: jwatkins@swbc.com
Direct: 210.308.7807
Cell: 210.581.1533
NMLS #: 220598

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