Homebuyer Resource Center

Buying a home is no small decision, but we aim to make it as simple as possible for you. These resources from our homebuying experts will help you start to understand the process. When you're ready, we'll be here to guide you toward your next step.

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Unraveling 5 Homebuying Myths

With everyone so focused on down payment minimums and underwriting policies, buying a home can feel unattainable for some people. But every homebuyer is different and your situation is unique. The truth is, lenders will gather as much information as they can to help you find a mortgage program that you can afford today and in the future.

Years ago, a down payment of 20% was a common requirement for homebuyers but that's not the case anymore. Today, there are a number of mortgage options that don't require a large down payment. You may even qualify for certain down payment and closing cost assistance programs.

While a high credit score will work in your favor, having less than perfect credit doesn't automatically disqualify you. Lenders look at multiple factors when deciding if homebuyers qualify for a loan, and your credit score is just one of them.

In recent years, rental prices have increased while interest rates have decreased, which makes homeownership much more enticing. Besides, rent is simply money spent on something you'll never own, while mortgage payments build equity in the home – similar to adding money to a savings account. Plus, owning a home can provide you with tax benefits.

Be wary of any mortgages with rates that seem too good to be true. They probably are. Rates change every day, and they're only one factor to consider when looking for a mortgage. The terms, closing costs, length of the loan, and length of the rate lock should all be taken into account to determine which option is best for you.

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Homebuyer’s Handbook

Buying a home can feel overwhelming. This guide breaks each phase of the process into manageable steps to help you find the perfect home — and mortgage — for your current and future goals.

Download Homebuyer's Handbook

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House hunter’s checklist

Chances are, you'll consider a number of homes before finding the perfect one. Use this checklist to keep track of the properties you tour and weigh the pros and cons of each before putting in an offer.

Download the house hunter's checklist

5-Step Mortgage Process

While everyone's journey to homeownership is unique, securing a mortgage typically involves five key steps. Your Bremer Mortgage banker will guide you through each one, but the steps below are a great place to start understanding the process.

Pre-qualification can give you an edge when shopping for a home. Get the process started by gathering the documents outlined in our Mortgage Application Checklist. Once you have these, you can apply in person at your local Bremer branch or online.

Our loan processors will review and double-check your paperwork to ensure everything is accurate before we send it along to a loan underwriter. Your local mortgage banker will keep you informed about your loan's progress throughout this stage.

During this step, a local appraiser who understands your community and your new neighborhood will compare the property to similar homes in the area to ensure the purchase price matches your new home's actual value. We should note, the appraisal reflects the market value of the home—not the reconstruction or tax value. You'll receive a copy of the appraisal at closing.

We'll also obtain a title opinion at this time. This takes up to 30 days and gives us the legal details of the property to confirm current ownership rights. At closing, you'll be required to secure owners coverage for title insurance.

Lastly, you'll also need to obtain homeowner's insurance at this stage.

We're getting closer to closing. During final approval, an underwriter will review the paperwork and details of your loan to determine whether or not they will support the pre-qualified approval (from step one).

They'll consider:

  • The property: Does the appraisal report verify the value of your home?

  • Total debt ratio: Do you have a healthy debt to income ratio?

  • Cash reserves: After your loan costs are settled, how much money will you have left in the bank?

  • Credit history: Do you have a responsible payment history? How likely are you to repay your loan?

  • Employment history: How stable is your current income?

This is where we welcome you to your new home. You'll be signing a lot of documents today. But a closing agent will be there to explain everything. You can also arrange to have your Bremer Mortgage banker with you to answer questions. At this point, you'll take care of any closing costs and the balance of your down payment. Once complete, you'll officially own your new home.

Mortgage Application Checklist

Use this checklist to make sure you have everything you need to complete your mortgage application.

Download the checklist

Framework® Online Homebuying Course

This course is designed to help you become a more confident homebuyer. Interactive and engaging, it will take you through steps to improving your credit, choosing a real estate agent, home inspection basics and more.

Register for the course

We were first time home buyers, and Bremer Mortgage was very responsive and helpful throughout the entire process.