What To Expect When You Work with a Gulf Coast Bank Loan Officer

The thought of purchasing your first home unleashes a wave of exciting questions!

You’ll likely start by considering the kind of home you want to live in, making a wish list of home features you’d love to have, and narrowing down your favorite neighborhoods in your community.

You might interview a few local realtors and connect with one who understands your wants and needs and has what it takes to help you find it. And then — the really fun part! — you’ll start touring homes, checking off homes you love, homes that have potential, and homes that are just plain “no’s.”

But as you delve deeper into shopping for a home, it’s also important to make sure you’re considering the financial logistics — especially if you’re planning on getting a mortgage. This will lead to many more questions with answers only a mortgage lender can provide.

That’s why we’re here!

Read on for answers to common FAQs about working with a Gulf Coast Bank loan officer during your home-buying journey.

Do I Need to Have an Accepted Offer on a Property Before I Contact You?

No, and in fact, you can feel free to connect with a Gulf Coast Bank loan officer for a consultation when you’re just beginning your home-buying journey! Connecting with us sooner in your search enables you to get pre-qualified, learn and understand the price range you can afford (so you won’t waste time looking at properties you can’t), and learn about your loan options.

Plus, with the financing process already begun — and your pre-qualification secured — you’ll be a more attractive buyer when you do place an offer on a home.

Find a Gulf Coast Bank loan officer in your community and get started.

How Do I Know How Much House I Can Afford?

The most reliable and accurate way to determine how much you can spend on a home isn’t on any website. Yes, there are loads of affordability calculators out there, but your best bet for understanding exactly how far your money will go in a home is to get pre-qualified.

This is an initial step to help you determine how much you can afford. . When you fill out your initial pre-qualification you will be asked for  your employment history, income, and other information to pre-qualify you for a loan amount.

What Information Do I Need to Provide When I Get Pre-Qualified?

Generally, you’ll need to provide the below information during the pre-qualification process.

  • An estimate of your income. An estimate of your existing debts so we can determine a preliminary debt-to-income ratio
  • Authorization to pull your credit report and credit score

After Pre-Qualifying, What Proof Will I Have That I’m a Pre-Qualified Buyer?

Based on the information you provide to us and found in your credit report, your loan officer will prepare a pre-qualification letter for you. This is a form letter that will state the loan amount you are tentatively pre-qualified for, your interest rate, and your loan program terms. Keep this document in your records. You and your realtor will likely include it when sending an offer you make on a home.

Does My Pre-Qualification Expire?

Generally, your Gulf Coast Bank pre-qualification will be valid for 120 days. Once that time period ends, you’ll need to go through the steps to pre-qualify with a loan officer again.

I Have an Accepted Offer on a Home! What Do I Do Now?

Congratulations! You’ve made your first step toward your happy home purchase. As your next step, be sure you  reach out to your loan officer to start your official loan application.   Upon receiving your official loan application, Gulf Coast Bank & Trust will provide you with a Loan Estimate.  The Loan Estimate provides you with important details about the loan you requested, including the estimated interest rate, monthly payment and closing costs for this loan. It also includes information about the estimated cost of  taxes and insurance and other specific features of your loan.

What Documentation Will I Need to Provide for My Official Loan Application?

Loan application documents dive deeper to verify your financial status, income, employment, credit, and home affordability. Consider this step a more thorough check of your qualifications on the way to final loan approval. Depending on the loan program you’re applying for, you may be asked to provide:

  • Most recent pay stubs
  • Most recent two years of W2s
  • Most recent two years complete income tax returns
  • Proof of funds for a down payment and closing costs

Gulf Coast Bank & Trust will verify your employment and income by contacting your employer directly. Any other funds needed to secure your loan will be verified. This includes verifying recent bank debits and deposits, cash gifts you’ve received for a down payment, and retirement account balances.

Once your loan application is complete, your loan officer will submit it for processing and approval. He or she will follow up with you on any outstanding documents or information necessary to move your application forward. We’ll also keep you informed of the expected cash amount needed to close, discuss the appraisal process, order the appraisal, discuss choosing a title company to close your loan, and schedule your closing date.

Throughout the loan process, your loan officer will stay in consistent communication  with you  and the title company you choose to ensure everyone stays updated about the progress of your loan application.

What is a Closing Disclosure?

At least 3 business days before your scheduled closing, you’ll receive Closing Disclosure (CD) that outlines the finite details of your financing. This includes your total loan amount, your interest rate, the amount of your monthly mortgage payment (principal and interest), your estimated annual taxes, your estimated closing costs, and the cash amount you will need to close. It will also include a detailed breakdown of the loan processing fees and costs, how your cash-to-close amount was calculated, and a complete summary of the transaction.

Since it’s required to be sent at least 3 business days prior to a scheduled closing by law, you will have ample time to review it in detail, discuss it with your loan officer, and get answers to any questions you may have before moving forward with closing.

Take a peek at a sample Closing Disclosure here.

Is There an Average Timeline I Can Expect for Closing?

Timelines for closing on home purchases vary widely and depend on many factors. These include completing the appraisal, completing title work, working with loan processors to ensure all necessary info is provided, and coordinating a closing date with you & your realtor, the seller(s) & their realtor, and the title company. The average closing timeline is usually 30 to 45 days.

What Can I Expect at Closing?

Once final loan approval is secured and you have reviewed your CD, you’ll get what’s called a ‘Clear to Close’ - a phrase that indicates all parties are ready to move forward with the Act of Sale for the property. The title company will arrange a date and time for all parties to attend the closing and a title agent (usually a title attorney) will facilitate the transaction.

Generally, closings are attended by you & your realtor, the seller(s) & their realtor, your loan officer or a lender representative, the title agent, and a notary.

Both you and the seller(s) will sign numerous documents that collectively transfer the legal ownership of the property to you. These include:

  • A Deed of Trust or Mortgage - This document places a lien on your property as collateral for your home loan.
  • A Promissory Note - A document that states you agree to pay your lender a monthly payment, including details of how to pay and where to pay.
  • The Final Closing Disclosure - The finalized and itemized list of credits and debits based on the terms of your purchase contract.

You’ll also provide the funds for your down payment and closing costs via a certified check or cashier’s check (or arrange to have the funds wired ahead of time).

Once you’ve signed all the documents, the closing is complete and you’re a homeowner! You’ll get the keys to your new home and to your new adventure.

Get answers to FAQs about what to expect after a closing

Have More Questions? We’re Here to Guide You!

There are many moving parts in buying a home. That’s why we’re here to offer you guidance along with exceptional personalized service for your big purchase.

Connect with your loan officer today and get started on your journey to homeownership. We can’t wait to work with you!