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10 Steps to Homeownership

Understanding the home loan process is key to a successful mortgage experience. Before you make an offer on a home, follow these steps for a smooth path to homeownership.

  1. Step 1

    Do Some Research

    What are principal and interest? Do you want an adjustable-rate loan or one with fixed terms? Take some time to understand the common language real estate agents and lenders use during the home-buying process.

  2. Step 2

    Create a Budget

    Your mortgage will include one-time fees, closing costs and monthly payments. After you understand what these costs are, you can pinpoint how much you can spend on a home.

  3. Step 3

    Check Your Credit

    Your credit rating will be a factor in determining the terms of your loan. Before you apply, check your credit report and make sure everything is accurate. You're entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months.

  4. Step 4

    Find a Real Estate Agent

    Your real estate agent will provide valuable insight into the housing market. They will also help you make a strong offer on a home and show you how to navigate the rest of the process. Need help finding a real estate agent? RealtyPlus® is a free service for Navy Federal members to connect with experienced, top-performing local real estate agents.

  5. Step 5

    Get a Preapproval Letter

    A preapproval letter will show sellers you're a serious buyer and give you a competitive advantage when you decide to make an offer on a home. Visit HomeSquad to get your preapproval letter from Navy Federal.

  6. Step 6

    Gather Key Documents

    When you decide to apply for your mortgage, you'll be able to upload key documents, such as your latest tax returns and bank statements. Gathering these items ahead of time can make the process faster and easier.

  7. Step 7

    Find a Home

    Now comes the fun part—finding your perfect new home! Your real estate agent will help you focus on the neighborhoods and features you're most interested in. Once you've found your home, call your home loan advisor and provide a property address. Your request for preapproval will then convert to a mortgage application.

  8. Step 8

    Get Final Approval

    Your home loan advisor will help you through the steps to getting final approval for your mortgage loan. At this point, property appraisal and home inspection take place. You'll also need to obtain title insurance and homeowners insurance, and an escrow account may be required. Additional documents may be requested depending on your loan options.

  9. Step 9

    Attend Closing

    It's time to close on your loan. After you do a final walkthrough of your new home, you'll attend your closing appointment. Those in attendance could include: your Navy Federal home loan advisor, the seller, the settlement agent, the title company representative and the real estate agent. Remember to bring your ID. After you sign the final documents, your purchase is complete.

  10. Step 10

    Get the Keys and Move In

    Congratulations—you have a home sweet home! Get your keys and start planning your move.