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July 11, 2017 | Home Ownership

Homebuying 201: A Study Guide for the Second Time Around

Buying a house for the second time can be just as daunting as the first. You have to navigate selling and buying, and you're frequently doing it during a major change in your life¬— a new baby, a new job, or a new hometown— which led you to look for a new home in the first place. It can make you feel like a beginner in the home-lending process all over again.

To help you finance your dream house, we called in our senior professors: the loan officers in our Direct Lending Group. They're seasoned lenders who are full of expert advice for second-time home buyers. We asked them for their most useful tips for buying a second home.

Here's their Homebuying 201 study guide. Class is in session!

Applying for a loan:

There’s more to your home loan than a just a number, and several factors will influence your mortgage rate. "I like to ask why you want a rate to be a certain way," one of our loan officers said. "What are you trying to accomplish? Because there may be a better way to achieve your goal, or something else might make more sense in the long run."

To get a mortgage rate that fits your life, find a lender that fits your life, who can help you navigate the many lending options available. Think about what you need now, and in the months ahead. Most of all, look for a lender who can offer a personalized approach. This might not be your first mortgage, but you shouldn’t feel like you’re braving the lending process on your own.

Getting a mortgage can seem daunting, but the approval is a pretty straightforward math equation. There are plenty of moving parts and pieces throughout the process, however, which is when experience and savvy make a real difference.

Finding a great partner: a home loan expert you can trust.

When it comes to buying a new home, friends are great, experts are better. Home buying is a major word-of-mouth business, which can breed anxiety. "So many clients say to me, 'my friends went through this' or 'they had this experience.' That's where I can explain to them how their situation is different or how we can make sure to avoid a pitfall."

Ask everything! Whether it's your first, second or third time buying a home, you're going to have questions, and it's important that you get answers that make sense to you. "I want you to ask every single question you ever wanted to ask about a mortgage," one of our loan officers said. "It helps all of us learn, and actually makes the process smoother."

Treat your loan officer like your mortgage therapist. A mortgage isn’t just a numbers game; this is your home we’re talking about. Your emotions are a crucial part of finding that perfect second house. If you feel anxious or uncertain, tell your loan officer. Ask him or her to go over the nuts and bolts with you again. A great loan officer can help you sort through your emotions as well as do the math, so you feel confident about your new mortgage.

The little details: communicate often, conserve for that dream house.

Communication is key. "Clear, concise communication is the catalyst in a quick closing," one of our loan officers said. If your situation is changing— or you think it might— tell your loan officer immediately. Without clear, early communication, you might need to resubmit important documents, which can slow down your loan process.

Watch your purchases. If your family is growing, step into that minivan life. Wait to buy that Porsche until after buying your second home. Big purchases affect your credit score, which can affect your loan. "It sounds obvious, but so many people…" one of our loan officers said before trailing off. Enough said.

Get your files in order. Make sure you have access to your past few bank statements and W2s. If they're inside your online banking or a company HR portal, make sure you know your passwords.

Interview your real estate agent. Don't forget about finding a great agent that fits your needs. Especially in a tight housing market, ask him or her to walk you through their process. Think of him or her as a key player on your home-buying team.

If you still have questions, or you’re ready to become a home buyer for the second (or third!) time, send us an email, or give us a call at 866-470-2852. If you know you’re ready for the next home, you can even start an online application today.