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Being a first-time home buyer can be an exciting but anxious time. Educating and preparing yourself about buying your first home is the best way to calm those nerves. And to do that, you don't have to look any further.

We've broken down the loan process for first-time homebuyers in order to help you prepare for the biggest purchase of your life.

  1. Application: The first step towards being a first-time home buyer is getting your home loan application underway. A great first-time home buyer tip at this stage is to make sure you have your basic personal and financial information at hand when beginning your home loan application. Your credit score, current employment status, debt and long-term financial goals will all be collected and discussed at this point in the mortgage process.

  2. Pre-Approval: Not to be mistaken with a pre-qualification, a home loan pre-approval is a mortgage company's commitment to issue a home loan for a specific property. This will be based off of your employment, credit and debt information.

  3. Processing: This stage in the mortgage process will involve various documents, so please make sure you are prepared and as organized as possible coming into this step for the smoothest and quickest experience. While you may provide documents to your home loan expert at the beginning of mortgage processing, you may also be asked for additional information throughout any time during this stage, depending on your home loan type and financial situation.

  4. Underwriting: During this mortgage process stage, someone known as an "underwriter" will review your application to make sure that your home and property are in good condition and that you'll be able to repay your home loan.

  5. Closing: You, the sellers, your home loan expert and possibly your attorney will decide on a date to close on. At closing, you'll sign many documents, which include your mortgage note and HUD-1 Settlement Statement. Once complete, you'll be handed your keys and will have successfully become a home owner!