Bank like a financial pro with the Alliant mobile app. Make payments, deposit checks, manage cards and so much more.
Renovate your kitchen, pay off high-interest debt, or have access to emergency funds when you need it with an Alliant Home Equity Line of Credit.
Browse new and used vehicle inventory, and qualify for a rate discount when you buy!81
Separate each of your savings goals into an Alliant Supplemental Savings Account so you can visualize your progress.
By Amanda Hargrove
Realtors and buyers alike want a home purchase to go smoothly, but a range of circumstances can delay closing—from onerous documentation requirements to appraisal issues that may not come to light until you’re days away from closing.
Given the variety of obstacles that can arise, even your most seasoned clients may find it daunting to navigate the process. It can also be especially unnerving for first-time homebuyers, who are responsible for approximately a third of existing home purchases, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Fortunately, realtors can help pave the way for a smooth closing by asking their clients informed questions early in the process.
From understanding pre-approval to lining up documentation and mentally preparing for potential issues, following are key questions you can ask to help your clients on the path to a smooth closing:
The terms can sound indistinguishable to first-time buyers, and even seasoned homeowners may be rusty on the difference if they haven’t bought a home in decades. If your client seems unsure, explain that a prequalification is only the bank’s informal, ballpark figure of what they may be able to afford, whereas a preapproval is the more accurate estimate.
During the preapproval process, the lender runs a detailed credit check and requests proof of assets and income, which gives borrowers more confidence that their loan will be approved once they find their dream home.
If your client seems overwhelmed with the homebuying decision and doesn’t know where to start, some education on the process can help ensure they get all their ducks in a row before they get in too deep. You might suggest they read 10 Steps for Buying a Home for a simple overview of how to apply for a mortgage, schedule an appraiser, prepare for closing and more.
Once your buyers have filed their mortgage application, the underwriter will need to verify the details of their income, assets, debt and property. Make sure your client knows this process often takes several weeks, and that the lender may need to ask for additional input along the way. Encourage clients to answer lender questions as promptly and clearly as they can.
Once a buyer receives pre-approval, it’s important that their financial picture remains steady. Any disruption, such as a change in job situation or drop in credit score, could impact final approval of the mortgage. After pre-approval is secured, buyers should postpone major purchases that would draw down their bank account balance and avoid activities that would impact their credit score, such as applying for a new credit card. And if unforeseen circumstances change the buyer’s financial situation, they should proactively discuss their options with the lender, rather than passively wait for issues to be discovered during underwriting.
When the lender has the home appraised to determine its value, it’s always possible that the number may come in low. It’s important for a buyer to understand their options if that happens—they can either request that the seller lower the selling price, or pay cash for the difference. In some cases, it is also possible to get a more favorable second opinion from a different appraiser.
Realtors can help their clients feel confident in pursuing what may be the biggest purchase they’ve ever made. By asking thoughtful questions, you can help your clients get a clearer sense of the mortgage closing process—and ultimately support a positive outcome for all parties involved.
Get even more personal finance info, tips and tricks delivered right to your inbox each month.
Thanks for subscribing to Alliant's Money Mentor newsletter! You will now receive personal finance tips in your email inbox each month.
You are leaving Alliant’s website to enter a website hosted by an organization separate from Alliant Credit Union. The products and services on this website are being offered through LPL Financial or its affiliates, which are separate entities from, and not affiliates of, Alliant Credit Union.The privacy and security policies of the site may differ from those of Alliant Credit Union.
You are leaving an Alliant Credit Union website and are about to enter a website operated by a third-party, independent from Alliant Credit Union. Alliant Credit Union does not manage the operation or content of the website you are about to enter. Alliant Credit Union is not responsible for the content and does not provide any products or services at this third-party website. The privacy and security policies of the site may differ from those of Alliant Credit Union.