Owning a Home: Tools and resources for homebuyers (Guides from the CFPB)

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If you’re in the market for a home, these guides are a big help.

This article is provided to CRC by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Owning a Home

  • Owning a Home is a suite of tools and resources to educate, support, and empower consumers to shop effectively for a mortgage and to make better, more informed decisions throughout the mortgage process. It helps consumers understand the basics of mortgages, orient themselves to the market and the steps of the home loan process, and consider factors that may affect their own mortgage decision. The tools and resources aim to create a culture of shopping in the mortgage market by helping consumers understand what types of mortgages may be available to them, get organized to successfully navigate the mortgage shopping process, and learn what questions to ask along the way. The Owning a Home tools and resources described below are available at gov/owning-a-home/

KNOW THE PROCESS

  • The Owning a Home suite includes an interactive guide, Know the process, to help consumers navigate the mortgage process. The guide includes action steps, information, and tips that take consumers from the beginning of the process, when they are preparing to buy a home, through closing, when they sign for their mortgage loan. The guide includes four sections: Prepare to shop, Explore loan choices, Compare loan offers, and Get ready to close. The guide also includes links to the other Owning a Home tools and resources, described below, which allow consumers to consider factors specific to their situations. This guide is available at gov/owning-a-home/.

EXPLORE INTEREST RATES

  • The Owning a Home suite includes a tool that helps consumers explore the range of interest rates they might expect to be offered, and how much they might be able to save – for example, by shopping among different lenders, changing their down payment amount, or improving their credit score. The tool helps consumers orient themselves to the market and understand how shopping around for different offers or terms might affect their bottom line. This tool is available at gov/owning-a-home/explore-rates/.

UNDERSTAND LOAN OPTIONS

  • Understand loan options is a consumer guide to understanding the basics of mortgage loans and the key choices that make up a loan option, such as loan term, loan type, and interest rate type. Knowing what kind of loan options exist can prepare a consumer for talking to lenders and getting the best deal. This resource is available at gov/owning-a-home/loan-options/.

LOAN ESTIMATE AND CLOSING DISCLOSURE EXPLAINERS

  • New forms make it easier for consumers to understand and compare terms of different mortgage loans. The Owning a Home suite includes interactive sample disclosure forms that help consumers understand the details and terms used on the forms. The interactive sample disclosure for the Loan Estimate form is available at gov/owning-a-home/loan-estimate/. The interactive sample disclosure for the Closing Disclosure form is available at consumerfinance.gov/owning-a-home/closing-disclosure/.

CLOSING RESOURCES

  • Closing on a home and mortgage can be stressful. A mortgage loan is a major financial commitment, and consumers should review the loan contract and other materials carefully. However, there are a lot of documents to review. The Owning a Home suite includes two resources to help consumers navigate the process: a closing checklist and a guide to key closing documents. Both resources are available at gov/owning-a-home/process/close/.