If you've read our blog before, chances are you've learned about homebuying and the mortgage process from our Content Specialist Virginia Lascara. In her role, she's constantly researching, staying up on the latest in homebuying trends and interviewing our loan officers and partners for insight to provide to our followers. So when it was time for Virginia and her fiancé Shaun to purchase their first home, she had a pretty good idea of what to expect from the mortgage process. But just like anything else in life, nothing compares to firsthand experience.
“Buying a home has been one of our goals for a while,” says Virginia. “We rented for almost a year, and had just started looking at homes when we found the perfect one. It happened so quickly, but we just couldn’t pass up the opportunity.”
When asked what advice she would give to people shopping for homes she says, “We talk about it all the time when we’re educating our customers, but it’s so important to get pre-approved and secure financing before you shop. Waiting on our pre-approval was probably the most stressful part of the process, because we knew we couldn’t put an offer on the house until that was completed.”
Before choosing her loan officer, Virginia spoke with two different lenders to compare rates, as well as compare the process and customer service from a large national bank versus a local mortgage company.
“I knew that the mortgage process would take time and effort, and we were looking for guidance from our loan officer. The rate is obviously important, but choosing a lender involves more than just looking at rates.”
Through conversations with their loan officer, they were able to look at various scenarios and options based on their downpayment and products that were available to them.
“[He] took the time to explain all our loan options and let us decide what we wanted to do. Originally, we thought an FHA loan would be a good fit for us, but after hearing the pros and cons, we actually ended up going with a conventional loan because it allowed us to avoid paying the private mortgage insurance, saving us money on our monthly payment.”
For all the first time homebuyers out there who want to see the process step by step, here’s how it went for Virginia and Shaun:
- January 1- They found the house they loved, much earlier than expected!
- Immediately got pre-approved so they could submit an offer
- Worked with their real estate agent to put an offer on the house, and worked with the sellers on negotiating the price.
- Mid-January- their offer was accepted!
- The Mortgage process continues- filling out a full application, with the address of the home they would be purchasing
- Home inspection- it’s important to note this is optional, but in Virginia and Shaun's case, it helped them identify some issues in the home, which they got back in credit toward closing costs
- Provided additional requested loan documents, working with their loan officer to make sure everything was submitted in the proper format
- Potential problems arose when Virginia’s fiancé wanted to open a new bank account to get funds to the title company- with their loan officer’s help they found another solution and avoided opening a new account, something that could have derailed their closing
- Clear to Close!
- Signed their closing docs and got the keys to their new home on Valentine’s Day! (aw)
So there you have it, a real life love story from one of our TowneBank Mortgage marketing team members. Virginia says after going through the process, she thought the mortgage process would be the most difficult piece to navigate, but what surprised her was how many moving parts there were outside of just the loan officer and real estate agent. It takes a team of professionals including the sellers, home inspectors, attorneys, title company and more to get to the closing table.
“You really need a team that can work well together for the process to go smoothly,” Virginia says. “Luckily we had a great team, and it was great that our real estate agent and loan officer worked together, which took the stress off of us” she says.
“My best advice would be to find someone you’re comfortable with and will keep you in the loop with pro-active communication. The real-time notifications on the mortgage app were great and we always knew the status of our loan, but having conversations with our loan officer was invaluable. There’s no technology that can replace customer service.”
Buying a home is a huge investment, and it’s an exciting time for buyers. Working in the mortgage industry, Virginia feels even more passionate about what our team is doing on a daily basis to make the process go smoothly for our customers.
“Now that we have experienced the process firsthand, I feel even more proud to be part of this company. We had an amazing experience with our loan officer and his team. I can't imagine going through the homebuying process without their help."
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