Navigating the Mortgage Process in Five Simple Steps

Navigating the Mortgage Process in Five Simple Steps

Navigating the Mortgage Process in Five Simple Steps

Navigating the Mortgage Process in Five Simple Steps


The homebuying process can seem daunting if you’re not sure what to expect, but our experts are here to help. Don’t let the fear of what you might think is an intimidating process stop you from achieving this important milestone. If you’re a first-time homebuyer—or if you just need a refresher—here is a five-step guide to getting through the mortgage process.

1. Get pre-qualified. Before you go house hunting, it’s important to get a strong sense of what you can afford. Everything from the location to the age of the house will affect its value, and having this understanding will help you narrow down your search—even if you already think you know exactly the kind of home you want.

In order to get pre-qualified, you’ll need to gather some information. This includes financial information, such as employment history and tax returns, to help get a better sense of what you’ll be able to afford. WintrustZoom offers a digital mortgage application tool that’s fast, simple, and secure, with our experts helping you through the process.

Once you’re pre-qualified, it’s time to find the home of your dreams! When you find the one you want, you’ll be able to submit your pre-qualification certificate to the seller to enhance your offer and position yourself as a more serious and attractive buyer.

2. Submit your loan application. Once an offer has been accepted on a home, it’s time to begin flushing out the details of the mortgage. After you submit your loan application, you will receive a loan estimate, which breaks down the costs and terms of your mortgage.

There are three things to complete at this stage before proceeding with your mortgage:

  • Deciding on a loan program.
  • Collecting required personal documentation.
  • Signing all related documents.

Our team of loan originators and mortgage experts are here to guide and answer any questions you might have and determine the best program for your needs.

3. Lock in an interest rate. Rates change every day; you might choose to lock your rate at the time of your application or wait to see if rates drop. Your loan originator can help guide you to determine the best time to lock your loan.

4. Get your loan approved. After your application is signed and before the sale is closed upon, there are three major steps you need to complete:

  • Get an appraisal. This is an opinion of a property’s fair market value based on an appraiser’s knowledge and experience, and their analysis of a property. Wintrust Mortgage will order an appraisal on the property to ensure the offer falls within a fair range of the market value.

  • Complete underwriting. The loan in its entirety will then be sent to an underwriter to review, ensuring all criteria and regulations of the sale have been met.

  • Enter escrow. This refers to the involvement of a third party in the homebuying process between the buyer and seller. This neutral entity is hired to handle exchanges and transactions throughout the process until both parties have reached an agreement on all factors of the sale. When a property is “in escrow,” it means that the transfer of ownership is in a temporary legal holding state until predetermined conditions are met by both the buyer and seller. Real estate attorneys will order these services and forward the findings to Wintrust Mortgage in preparation for closing.

It’s also recommended that you don’t make any big financial moves during this time. Everything from buying a new car to switching jobs to moving large amounts of money between accounts could delay the approval of your mortgage. If you do need to change your financial situation, be sure to discuss it with your Wintrust Mortgage loan originator first to ensure it will not have an effect on your approval.

5. Close the deal. Before closing, you will receive a closing disclosure. This is a document that explains the costs of the transaction, and it will be provided prior to closing to ensure there aren’t any last minute surprises. The listed charges will include fees pertaining to the involved mortgage lender, attorneys, realtors, and title transfer, as well as taxes and insurance escrows.

On closing day, all final documents will be signed with a title company to make the sale official.
At this point, congratulations are in order—you’re a homeowner!

Ready to see how much home you can afford? Reach out to our loan experts to discuss your options and find the perfect home for you.

Stay Connected