Home Buyers Guide

Homeownership Benefits

The Geneva Financial Team helps individuals and families reach the American Dream of homeownership every day. For all of us, owning a home is an exciting investment and definitely comes with many benefits, some of which include …

  • Achieving the American Dream

When you own your own home it provides not only the satisfaction but the reality of purchasing your own home. From the very first day you are able to completely decorate and customize your home to your liking and to your personality. This includes painting walls and replacing flooring, or refreshing a kitchen or bathroom, which could also potentially increase your home’s value.

  • Building Equity

Your monthly mortgage payments will include both principal and interest, with the principal portion going toward your personal equity in your home. Equity is the actual amount of paid in money at any given time. If you decide to sell your home, the equity you have in your home can turn into profit if the value of your home is more than your remaining loan balance.

  • Tax Benefits

Many times your mortgage interest, property taxes and sometimes even closing costs can be tax deductible,* possibly allowing you, as a homeowner, to pay less income tax.
*This does not constitute tax advice. Please be advised to consult a tax advisor regarding your specific situation

  • Predictable Monthly Housing Costs

As a soon to be homeowner, you will have access to Geneva Financial’s wide range of mortgage options to help you predict your monthly mortgage payments before purchasing your home versus being subject to annual rent increases you can’t necessarily always plan ahead for.

"The Do's and Don'ts" are Critical

The Do’s and Don’ts are serious. This list helps the Geneva Financial Team to ensure during the loan processing that your credit and qualification information does not change during the process and possibly affect your ability to be approved for your home loan. This information gathered is one of the most important things from you on the day you apply all the way through until the day your loan closes and funds.

  • DO

    Always keep originals or be able to access on your employer/bank sites all pay-stubs, bank statements and other important financial documents.

  • DO

    Provide your Earnest Money Deposit from your own personal bank account or acceptable gift funds. Always talk to your loan officer or your loan coordinator for additional clarification and instructions. This will present a very difficult problem if not managed properly in the beginning.

  • DO

    Provide all documentation for the sale of your current home, including sales contract, closing statement, employer relocation/buy-out program if applicable.

  • DO

    Notify your Geneva Financial Loan Officer or Loan Coordinator if you plan to receive gift funds for closing. Gift funds are tricky and are only acceptable if certain criteria are met. Please make note that advances from credit cards for down payment / closing costs are never acceptable.

  • DO

    Notify your Geneva Financial Loan Officer or Loan Coordinator of any employment changes, which includes recent raises, promotions, transfers, or change of pay status, (for example, salary to commission.)

  • DO

    Be aware that a new credit report could be pulled just prior to closing.

  • DON'T

    Close or open any asset accounts or transfer funds between accounts without asking your Geneva Financial Loan Officer about the proper documentation required for your loan. Have most of this in place prior to the loan application. So before you transfer any funds from any accounts, check with your loan officer.

  • DON'T

    Deposit any monies outside of your automated payroll deposits, cash or sale of personal property, without notifying your Geneva Financial Loan Officer or Loan Coordinator. The Geneva Financial Team wants to make sure all guidelines are met and you will require substantial documentation as to the source of these deposits.

  • DON'T

    Make major purchases prior or during closing such as new car, furniture, appliances, etc. as this may impact your qualifying amount.

  • DON'T

    Open and new credit cards or increase any liabilities, student loans or other lines of credit during the loan process. Doing this may impact your qualifying amount.

  • DON'T

    Change jobs/employer without inquiring about the impact this change might have on your loan.

Mortgage Application Checklist

Documentation is what a loan is built on. In order to start your mortgage application, you will need to gather the following standard documentation. Some of the additional required information will vary based on your personal situation.

Standard Documentation for All Borrowers

  • New home Sales Agreement, specifications, plans and/or legal description

  • W-2 forms (previous 2 years)

  • Paycheck stubs (last 30 days - most current)

  • Employer name and address (2 year history including any gaps)

  • Bank accounts statement (recent 2 months – all pages plus all non-payroll deposits must be documented so make a copy of the check before depositing)

  • Signed federal tax returns (previous 2 years)

  • Statements for 401(k)s, stocks and other investments (recent)

  • Photo identification for applicant and co-applicant (valid Driver’s License or Passport will be accepted)

  • Residency history (a 2 year history with names, phone numbers, addresses and account number of landlords or mortgage companies)

  • Check or credit card information for credit report and appraisal fee

Additional Required Documentation (if applicable)

Divorced Borrowers

  • Divorce Decree (Even if it was a long time ago. All divorce decrees must be provided)

Self-Employed Borrowers

  • Copies of most recent 2 years corporate tax returns (with all schedules)

  • YTD profit and loss statement and balance sheet

  • Copy of business license or CPA contact information

  • 1099s or K1 forms


  • Copy of Note, Deed of Trust or Mortgage

  • HUD-1 Settlement Statement/Closing Disclosure

  • Survey

  • Homeowner’s insurance information

Borrowers Selling Current Home

  • Contract for home being sold

Eligible Active Military or Veterans

  • Veteran DD214 or Veteran Reservists DD256

  • Certificate of Eligibility

Previous Bankruptcy

  • Petition and Discharge

  • Supporting schedules A through K

Relocation Agreement

  • If relocation move is financed by employer, such as a buyout agreement plus documentation outlining company paid closing costs benefits

*Additional items may be requested during the loan underwriting phase if more information is required to guarantee your loan.

6 Steps to Homeownership

Our Geneva Financial team strives to make the home loan process as simple as possible by guiding you through every step – from your original application to closing day and beyond. We will also provide you with constant updates to keep you informed on the progress and status of your loan throughout the entire process.

  • Step 1: Initial Consultation

The first contact with your Geneva Financial loan professional via email, phone or in person, is to discuss your goals for homeownership. This first contact may cover how long you plan on living in the home, the amount of down payment you will need, and how much you want your monthly payments to be.

  • Step 2: Pre-Qualification

A “Pre-qualification” determines how much money you will be eligible to borrow for your home before you actually fill out your loan application. It is important to understand that a pre-qualification does not guarantee you will get a loan. During this second step, your Geneva Financial team will gather your financial information and make a “conditional” determination about your qualifications for your home loan. (You can review our Document Checklist for the basic information required again above.)

*A pre-qualification is not an approval of credit and does not signify that underwriting requirements have been met.

  • Step 3: Processing

When you have completed a loan application, your Geneva Financial loan officer collects all your required documents and submits your loan file to his Geneva Financial Team loan processor. The processor then reviews your file and orders your property appraisal. As always, depending on your situation, our Geneva Financial Team processor may need additional documentation from you during this step. Once your loan file is completed, the processor will then submit it to Geneva Financial Team underwriting for approval.

  • Step 4: Underwriting

Our Geneva Financial Team underwriter reviews your loan file to ensure all guidelines are met for the specific loan program and issues a loan decision. Once your mortgage has been approved and all conditions have been cleared, your loan is now in the “Clear to Close” status.

  • Step 5: Pre-Closing

You will now receive an official loan commitment letter which contains the details of your loan including the rate, the amount and the terms along with any outstanding conditions that need to be addressed before the file is sent to closing. Once everything is cleared by our Geneva Financial underwriter, the Geneva closing department will complete your final documents.

  • Step 6: Closing

The time is here! During closing, you will be required to sign a variety of final documents. Make sure you bring a photo ID (Drivers License or Passport) along with the proper form of payment to cover your down payment, closing costs, prepaid interest, taxes, insurance or any additional costs. When the closing documents are completed and all funds have been disbursed by the title company, you will receive the keys to your new home.

How a Mortgage Works

A mortgage is a loan for which the real estate serves as collateral to provide for repayment in case of default. A legal document that obligates a borrower to repay a loan at a stated interest rate during a specified period of time. This means that the property is the security for the loan, so that if the borrower fails to make the payments, the lender can acquire and sell the property to regain the money lent. The agreement is secured by a mortgage.

Mortgage Payment

Principal (P)– The portion of your payment that goes toward the principal balance (the remaining amount due) of the loan

Interest (I)– The portion of your payment that pays the lender

Taxes (T)– The portion of your payment that pays your property taxes each year

Insurance (I)– The portion of your payment that pays your homeowners insurance policy each year

Mortgage Insurance (MI)– The portion of your payment that goes to the mortgage insurance company; mortgage insurance is not paid on all mortgages

Home Appraisals and Inspections

Appraisals are an essential component of the home buying process. A detailed appraisal will look at the areas below listed in the home while conducting their inspection. A Housing Inspector comes for a home Inspection for you as a buyer. They will provide you with a detailed list of damages and items you may consider asking for repair from the seller. Both will thoroughly cover every aspect of the house listed below. This may not be an exclusive list of items an appraiser or an inspector will look over.

  • Electrical

GFCI outlets in the kitchen and all bathrooms; exposed fuse boxes or wires will be flagged.

  • Foundation

There cannot be cracks in the foundation

  • Handrails

Handrails have to be on all staircases with three steps or more (this includes but isn’t limited to, steps outside to a deck and stairs in the basement).

  • Heating Source

A central heating source is required in most states for a home loan and has to be 100% operational and safe. If a home only has one source of heat and it’s from a wood stove or a pellet stove, it will need a central heating system. The central heating system must be able to heat the home for a minimum of 30 days without being attended to.

  • Interior Walls

All Interior walls must be complete. Sheet rocked walls that are unpainted will not be accepted.

  • Moisture

Moisture found inside of a home will be flagged by an appraiser and by an inspector. Basements are not an exception to this rule.

  • Windows

In most cases, any windows or doors that have cracks in them, have to be replaced prior to the appraisal The Inspector will note everything on his report as well.

  • Outbuilding

Garages, sheds, and/or outbuildings also have to pass the same guidelines as above and must not have chipping/peeling paint or exposed raw wood.

  • Paint

The inside and outside of the home must be painted; peeling paint will not be accepted.

  • Raw Wood

Any exposed raw wood on the exterior of the home that is untreated with paint or stain will be flagged.

  • Roof

Shingles that are curling or missing will be flagged by the Inspector and by the Appraiser; if the they think there is less than five years left on roof, it will be flagged.

  • Septic

The location of the septic tank or leach field must be known. Issues could arise if the septic tank has not been pumped or serviced in over five years.

  • Well

The location of the well needs to be known. If it’s a dug well, please contact your Realtor or lender immediately. A water flow test and complete safety report will be required.

  • Window and Door Sills

Rotting wood, chipping or peeling paint will be flagged.