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What to Expect During the Home Loan Process


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When working with mortgage loan applicants I often hear questions like, “What happens after I give you my documentation? What should we expect after that?"
Well, to begin with, the loan process usually takes anywhere from two to four weeks. Sometimes a buyer needs faster service than that when there is pressure to accommodate a fast approaching closing date. We always like to have several weeks to work with a buyer, but if that's not possible, that's okay. Most lenders can handle an occasional “rush job. " In that instance, the following steps are condensed quite a bit.

After deciding which program is best with my client, I will then ask them to meticulously gather the necessary documentation to ensure that their loan can be approved easily and quickly. I like to get as much as possible, if not everything needed, right up front. This will eliminate having to collect documentation in a piecemeal fashion, which makes the process more difficult for everyone.

I also like to provide the underwriter with an impressive, complete package the first time around. Thus, they get a positive feeling about the applicant(s) immediately and will not form any negative pre-conceived notions about someone's ability to qualify.
When I see that the application documents are complete, the file is then given to my processing staff. They will immediately send out verification of employment and deposit forms to the applicant's employer and banks to be filled out and returned. A credit report is ordered and the closing costs estimate is prepared and sent out to the applicants. In addition, an appraisal will be ordered and done within about one week.

At this same time the escrow company will order the title report and prepare their escrow instructions. A new title insurance policy will also be ordered. Title insurance insures the buyer and the lender against possible liens against a property.

Liens can originate from unpaid taxes, encroachments by utility lines or neighboring properties, legal attachments to real estate, or a number of other possible sources. It is imperative that a title company does its research on a home to ensure “clear title" so that the lender and buyer are safe from potential future liability.
When all of these documents have been prepared and/or completed, they are packaged together in a precise order to be presented to the bank underwriter for approval.

The underwriter will then approve, deny, or approve with conditions, the loan application.  Most often the latter occurs. The lender usually will approve the loan on the condition that further documentation can be obtained in order to clear up any lingering questions that the underwriter may have. They would review and approve such documentation prior to the close of escrow.

Once the loan is approved, the loan documents are sent to the escrow officer. The escrow will then have the buyer come in to sign their documents a day or two prior to the closing date. The signed documents are then reviewed by the lender and OK'd for funding and closing. The escrow officer will then ask the buyer to bring in a cashier's check for their down payment and closing costs.  

The transaction is ready to close. The legal documents that transfer title of the property to the buyer are taken by the title company to the county recorder's office, and recorded to make the transfer complete. The funds are then distributed by the escrow officer to the seller, lender, title company, and realtors. . . and voila, the transaction is done.

Mike Sieber, President of Sieber Home Finance, San Diego, CA. has been a leading mortgage professional since 1988. While many lenders have collapsed, Mike's firm has grown and thrived by letting clients know what to expect during the loan process. For more information go to , or Mike can be reached at (858) 486-9797. You can e-mail him at


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