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Three Important Steps to Buying a House


Key takeaway

There are three important times during the homebuying process where you may have to complete some paperwork. Thanks to advances in technology, you may be able to complete some of this electronically, making it more convenient for you to get prequalified or apply for a mortgage. Be sure to talk to your home mortgage consultant and real estate agent about what options are available for you.



Technology is changing the way people buy a home in many ways. Virtual 3D tours allow people to “walk through” a home without being there in person. And in many instances prequalification or mortgage paperwork can now be done online, which may help streamline the process for buyers.

Here, we explore three of the most common times you may have to complete paperwork, what documents may be required, and when you’ll encounter them in the homebuying journey. Check with your home mortgage consultant to learn which of these may be completed electronically, and make sure your lender is using secure platforms to handle your data.

Paperwork at different stages of the process


Getting a prequalification typically requires completing relatively simple paperwork asking you about:

  • The approximate price you would be willing to pay for a home
  • The amount of your down payment
  • The city and state where the property is located
  • Your annual or monthly income
  • Your total monthly debt
  • Your approximate credit score

This information can give your lender a ballpark dollar figure of the loan you might qualify for, although the lender may ask you for additional information later on. Prequalification may not be required, but it can be a useful tool in the homebuying process.


Your real estate agent will help you complete this document, which comes after you’ve made an offer on a home and you and the seller have agreed on the price and other terms of purchase. This contract varies from state to state to make sure it complies with local regulations. It will outline:

  • The purchase price
  • How you will need to pay for closing costs
  • How much earnest money you’re placing (also known as your good-faith deposit)
  • Any declarations from the seller about the condition of the property or known issues with the home
  • A legal description of the property, including boundaries


Most lenders use the Uniform Residential Loan Application. This is more in depth than the prequalification application. A home mortgage consultant can help you complete it. Here are a few of the things it will ask you about:

  • What type of mortgage you’re applying for
  • The length of the mortgage
  • Whether it will be a fixed or adjustable interest rate
  • Your base employment income, as well as bonuses and other additional income
  • Your assets and liabilities, including life insurance and investments you own
  • The purchase price of the home
  • Information about your employer

    69% of homebuyers who said the mortgage application and approval process was easier than expected or about how they expected it to be. 

Source: National Association of Realtors, 2019 (PDF)


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