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    Step 2 to Buying a Home: Getting Pre-Approved

    Once you’ve found a Realtor to represent and advise you on what is going to be the biggest financial transaction you ever make, step 2 to buying a home is to get pre-approved by a mortgage lender. As  Realtors, we won’t put an offer in on a home for a client unless he or she has been pre-approved. In addition, it’s important that you have an understanding of how much you can comfortably afford to spend on a home, what your monthly payments will be, what interest rate you qualify for, and how much you’ll be paying each month in taxes, etc. Here’s a great booklet that demystifies the mortgage process which we highly recommend all buyers read before applying for a mortgage.

    Having a good mortgage lender is a crucial part of ensuring a smooth transaction.  Working with a bad mortgage lender can make the process a living hell for everyone involved and put your purchase in jeopardy of not closing on time or at all.  You also might end up regretting the lender you chose for years if you end up paying a higher interest rate than you should have if you had shopped your loan through various lenders. You could also lose out on your dream property because your mortgage lender was disorganized and couldn’t get you fully approved during underwriting, etc.  That’s why it’s important to work with the best. I recommend:

    Recommended Lenders                 

    Andres Munar
    Keystone Alliance Mortgage
    814.308-3276
    andres@keystonealliancemortgage.com

    APPLY WITH ANDRES HERE

    Ellen Puchalsky
    Northpointe Bank
    717.275.6270
    ellen.puchalsky@northpointe.com

    APPLY WITH ELLEN HERE

    Angie Stipe
    Guaranteed Rate Affinity
    717.571.0386
    angie.stipe@grarate.com

    APPLY WITH ANGIE HERE

    Paperwork You Need To Gather
    Each lender has slightly different requirements regarding what documentation they need from you for the pre-approval process, but in general, expect to provide the following items:

    1) A completed application. The lender will provide this to you directly
    2) The two most recent months (or a quarterly statement) of any asset information listed on the application.  Generally: checking, savings, 401k, mutual funds, individual stock accounts, IRA’s, etc…..
    3) Most recent month of a paystub
    4) Past two year’s worth of W2 (ie. 2013 and 2012 W2)
    5) Past two year’s worth of US Tax Returns (ie. 2013 and 2012 Federal Tax Returns)
    2013 and 2012 Corporate Tax Returns (if self-employed and you own over 25% of the company)

    Getting a Pre-Approval Letter 
    Generally, once you submit the above items to your lender you should receive a pre-approval letter within 2-3 business days.  The lender may ask for additional documentation. They are not trying to be difficult by asking for additional documentation, rather, after the housing bubble burst, underwriters became much stricter regarding the loan approval process so a lot more documentation is needed today than it was 10 years ago.  In addition to receiving a pre-approval letter which shows the amount you can afford to purchase, you should ask your lender to show you what that pre-approval amounts into in terms of a monthly mortgage payment plus any PMI, taxes, and insurance. That way you can make sure you are comfortable with what your monthly housing payment will be at that pre-approval letter. Once you’ve received your pre-approval letter, forward it to us for your file so we can have it when we are ready to submit an offer.

    Ask About Free Money
    Pennsylvania offers several grant programs for home buyers where the Commonwealth will literally give you free (or delayed pay back funds) money to put towards your down payment or closing costs.

    If any of the programs interest you, talk to your mortgage lender to see if you qualify.

    Get a Loan Estimate and Understand Your Closing Costs
    In addition, mortgage lenders are required to provide you with a Loan Estimate (LE) within 3 days of receiving your pre-approval. The LE provides an estimate of the closing costs you’ll need on top of your down payment and shows exactly what fees the mortgage lender is charging you.  Make sure you understand these fees. Generally, we estimate closing costs to be approximately 3 to 6% of the purchase price of the property.

    Should You Shop Your Loan Around?
    Absolutely. Every lender charges different fees and different interest rates so it’s crucial you shop your loan around to at least two lenders, in my opinion.  We recommend waiting 2-3 weeks between meeting with lenders as the lender will need to pull your credit report in order to give you an accurate pre-approval letter. If your credit is pulled by various lenders in the same week it could affect your credit by a few points. If you wait a few weeks between having your credit pulled it generally won’t affect your credit at all.

    Questions about the pre-approval process? Just call me at 717.963.0016 or email me at homesalesinyourarea@gmail.com.

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    Gina Casner

    In 2016, I began my tenure in real estate as a licensed Executive Assistant for a leading real estate training coach and subsequently for high-producing real estate teams. I very quickly fell in love with real estate and by 2019, I transitioned into personally helping clients turn their dreams into keys. After dozens of transactions, I have been dubbed the “unicorn hunter,” finding out-of-the-box solutions for clients looking for a home with unique requirements. In addition to managing my real estate practice, I am involved in providing community education on responsible home ownership through my exclusive Path to Home Ownership workshop series. I also am the founder of Chronically Strong, an organization that promotes mental health awareness and suicide prevention in our local communities. I take a holistic and individualized approach to real estate. Buying or selling a home in Central PA can be complex, sophisticated and often a deeply personal endeavor. Your experience should mimic the high level of customer service all of my clients have, while being very specific to your own individual needs. I work with a team of experts to provide a full, complete experience that only a cohesive team can consistently provide. Working with us, you will be given personal attention in every aspect of your home buying and selling experience with the professionalism and consistency of a thoughtful business model. And yes, superior results will follow! On a personal note, I attribute my success not only to my passion for helping clients execute on their next “big move”, but also to my knowledge regarding the psychology of buying and selling. My clientele works in diverse industries with an emphasis on technology, finance, medicine, law, and business. My real estate practice has grown successfully and consistently thanks to the repeat business of happy clients and their introductions to friends, family and neighbors. This track record is only possible because we deliver both results AND an enjoyable experience. Growing up, my family moved frequently all across the continental U.S., but you will hear me say that I am from California because that is the longest place that I lived during my formative years. Moving became a way of life for my family and each place I lived became a part of my story. It taught me that our home truly is the foundation of everything in our lives, and it is this belief that compels me to work hard for my clients when they are buying or selling their home. In many ways, our home becomes a part of our identity, an identity and memory that should be honored. I have been accused of being tenacious and super honest. I like to win (for my clients) but do so with a calm demeanor and a smile. I live in a raised ranch home in Lower Paxton Township with my main squeeze, my teenage son, and our very spoiled dog, Ginger. I have mad faith, and truly believe that each and every one of us is capable of great things. I graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelors’ in Sociology. There is a running joke in my family that every day I go to real estate school because every day my clients teach me something new. I continually invest time, money and thought into the latest sales, marketing and negotiation techniques. Why? Because I believe that you deserve to have the best working for you. I want to live life on my own terms, and am committed to helping you do the same. Would you like to work together? Please reach out. I look forward to hearing from you! Gina

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