Buying overview

Buying overview

The wealth of information here will save you time and money.

Mortgages: The Insider’s Guide is designed to ease the stress of getting a mortgage. You will find answers to many of your questions, including an explanation of terms, procedures, and timelines, and clear steps to guide you through the process.

Check out Special Programs for Homebuyers if: you have less than 3% down payment, are considering buying in a relatively low income area, or if your income (combined income if buying as a couple) is considered low for the area – this could be as high as $121,500 in northern California, depending on the county in which you are buying and the loan program available.

Here is how I recommend you use this site when purchasing a home:
  • After you have read this page, go to the 5 initial steps, where you’ll find a simple road map to the mortgage process when buying a home, including links to critical information.
  • Next, read the Applying overview to get a clear picture of the documentation required by a lender and the application and approval process.
  • Read the Rates overview, and then read the section on locking in a rate.
  • If you want to compare quotes from different lenders, the Shopping overview will provide the information and tools that you need.


The first of the 5 initial steps is to find the right lender. I mention it again here to stress its importance. Although this website has a great breadth of information, you will want to talk to at least one experienced lender early in the process. Choosing your mortgage will be one of the most important financial decisions you will ever make. A good lender will make certain that you understand all of the options presented here, and that you have chosen correctly based on your individual scenario and financial goals.

As you go through this info it will be important to keep a list of questions.The rules and requirements for all of the different loan programs available would fill several thick volumes. The concise information provided on this website is very useful and covers the most common loan scenarios, but elements of your particular situation may not be addressed. This is why it’s important to speak to a lender. The mortgage process is one you want to understand, and asking a lot of questions is the key.

If you prefer to have a physical book to thumb through MORTGAGES: The Insider’s Guide print version can be ordered here.