First Time Home Buyer Survival Guide


I spent some time putting this “survival guide” together for buyers with questions, in my career I understand the mix of emotions that a client incurs when making such a big decision.  I want my buyers to know I am always available for a phone call or email, but if you feel the need this guide can answer a lot of questions.  It has links to other articles about various aspects of the loan process.


How Much House Can I Afford?

Likely one of the most common questions I receive when someone calls, a first-time buyer has an idea of what type of house they are interested in and what they want their payment to be around.  The very first step they need to take is getting Getting pre-approved. It’s not difficult or time consuming and it should cost you absolutely nothing.  For your information I’ve included The documents you will need for pre-approval.

How Much of a Down Payment Do I Need?

Being a first-time home buyer, you have advantages in this area, you have access to programs that repeat buyers do not.  Lower down payments and even our WHEDA No Down Payment Loan.  Down payments are rarely an issue with our company because we have so many programs and avenues to assist buyers.  We have programs that range from no down payment to as much as you are comfortable with.  We also offer Down payment assistance.

Although you should not feel obligated to use a first time home buyer program, because we offer many Loan options I wanted you to know they are available.

How Much Should I Offer on a House?

This is a question better answered by a qualified Real estate agent. As a lender I can offer my experience, but not legal advice when it comes to the real estate contract. We have a great network of real estate agents that we trust and use regularly to assist buyers on their home purchases.

How Do I Apply for a Mortgage?

The first step to applying to a mortgage is Getting pre-approved. That means you sit down with our company or another qualified loan officer and go over your financial records.  Once you Make an appointment we will send you a list of required documents to bring and a time that is convenient for you to meet.  The meeting takes about 20 minutes and goes over our available loan programs.  We match you with the most affordable loan program based on your financial records and wishes.  Most first-time buyers are very concerned about how much they must spend at close and what their monthly payment will be, that is why we have this consultation, to put these concerns to rest.  Often the result is the client leaves with a sense of relief.

What Does It Mean to Be Pre-Approved?

Once you have sat down with your loan officer you will know if you are pre-approved.  Typically, with our company we respond the same day, or at the very latest the next day.  I send an email with your pre-approval letter and a list of things we talked about.  It’s important to stay on the same page, so after the meeting you will know things like:

  • How much you are approved for
  • What type of loan is best for your situation
  • What to expect in cost
  • The amount of time everything will take
  • A realtor recommendation
  • An open invitation for any questions you have 7 days a week

 What Type of Loan Is Best?

Our company offers a variety of Loan options . Every clients situation is a different when it comes to their requirements.  Generally, the goal for everyone is to have the lowest monthly payment and lowest cost.  Our company does this on a daily basis by matching you with the best loan program suited to your financial situation.

When Am I Able to Put an Offer on a House?

After you have completed the pre-approval process you are able to put an offer on a house.  It is recommended you use a qualified real estate agent for this, they can help with negotiation, home inspection and your closing timeline.  A good real estate agent and loan officer work together behind the scenes to relieve their clients from many of the stresses involved with buying their home. I’ve included a copy of The home buying time line here.

After I Have an Accepted Offer What Do I Do?

This is a time to celebrate, but it’s also a time when a buyer is mixed with many emotions ranging from anxiety to excitement.  Don’t worry, your real estate agent and lender have your back and will guide you through these next steps.  At this time the clock is official ticking because we are working to complete the real estate contract.  Your real estate agent will send a copy to your accepted offer to me and I will notify everyone it’s received, and I’ve begun working on it.  This is typically within 24 hours of acceptance.

At this time, you will start receiving notices about your disclosures.  Here is The mortgage disclosure process explained.

Once received I will begin working on it by locking your rate and developing your loan to meet the criteria we spoke about.  You will be notified when your initial documents are completed and asked to Make an appointment and review.  At which time we will go over the initial costs and expectations, set your mind at ease and proceed by signing these documents.

After I Sign, Now What?

After the initial documents are signed your file, along with all your income documentation, will be submitted to the lender.  They will review, and we will have an approval.  Once we are approved, I will contact you to discuss the necessary items to complete your loan and get you your home.  At this time there are standard requirements the lender asks for with almost every loan:

  • Proof of the earnest money clearing your account (client does this)
  • Establish Homeowners insurance (Client does this)
  • Appraisal. see:What to expect with your appraisal here (Lender does this)
  • Title Insurance (Lender does this)
  • Verification of employment (Lender does this)
  • Various other conditions regarding income / explanations (Client does this)

Once the above is completed we can issue your final numbers, you will be required to consent to emails from the lender that

We will speak with the sellers, real estate agents and of course, you, to decide what time and location works best.  Usually closings are done at the title companies office, the real estate office or the lenders office.

What to Expect on Closing Day?

All your hard work is now complete.  You have satisfied the lenders questions, soldiered through the home inspection and sweated out the appraisal, you are not ready to close.  This will take about 20 minutes and you will have many documents to sign.  Once you have completed this final task you will receive the keys to your new home, you will also be able to move in immediately.  Typically, the lender, title company and your real estate agent attends closing to answer any final questions you have.

What Happens After Close?

There is an old saying “a good lender doesn’t disappear after the closing”.  This is true because many of my clients have questions about how to set up automatic payments, where to send the checks and if they pay extra, will it go to principle?

I want you to know that even after we close, I am always available to discuss the details of your loans or help your family and friends out in the future.


I hope you enjoyed the First Time Home Buyer Survival Guide, if it provided any answers to questions you have, then it was a success!


Remember, if you want to take the first steps to home ownership you can always contact me here.


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 Justin Scott

Loan Officer

NMLS 878581

  1. C) 920-530-4484
  2. O) 920-490-8823
  3. F) 920-490-8967

Executive Mortgage

NMLS 271650

  1. E Walnut Street

Green Bay WI 54301