It all starts with asking yourself the right questions.
Treat yourself like a breaking news story and evaluate the:
Why, where, when, what and how?

Why do you want to buy?

Evaluate your current relationships. Are you expanding your family or becoming an empty nester? Will you have to relocate in the future for work or to help with the health of a family member? Are you secure in your job?

Where would you like to move to?

Is the school district important? Do you want to live in an up-and-coming neighborhood or somewhere more established? Would you like to be within walking distance to parks, bike paths or restaurants?

When would you like to make your move?

Are you currently locked into a rental lease? Do you need to sell to buy? Are you waiting for gift funds or a bonus as part of your down payment?

What are you looking for in your new home?

Bedroom/bathroom count? Square footage? Views? Fixer-Upper? Turn-key? Style: Spanish, Craftsman, Traditional, Modern, Mid-Century?

How are you going to purchase this home?

Conventional loan w/ 20% down? FHA loan w/ 3.5% down? Do you have an additional 2-3% for closing costs? How’s your credit?

Download (VIRUS FREE) for a printable or online questionnaire.
Buyer Questionnaire and Agreement
(60 KB)


Allow me to make them a little easier on you. Before you begin your home search, you must get pre-approved for a mortgage loan.


  • To know what you can afford
  • To accurately calculate your total monthly payment
  • To know your loan options ahead of time
  • To fix any glitches on your credit report
  • To season and source gift funds
  • To calculate your mortgage interest & property tax write-off
  • To accompany your purchase offer
  • To be competitive with you loan contingency terms
  • Many homes are “under-priced” for multiple offers.  If you’re not already pre-approved, your offer will go to the bottom of the pile.

Loan pre-approval is not a final loan commitment. It simply means you have spoken with a loan officer, your credit has been reviewed and the loan officer believes you can readily qualify for a maximum loan amount with one or more specific mortgage programs. Based on this information, the lender will provide a pre-approval letter, which shows your borrowing power. You can visit as many lenders as you like and get several pre-approvals, but keep in mind that each one carries with it a new credit check, which might show up on future credit reports.

I recommend:
Steve Masuta  I  Prospect Mortgage LLC I Loan Officer I nmls# 255602
phone (818) 742- 317 I

Download (VIRUS FREE) for an easy Mortgage Loan Checklist and pre-approval worksheet.


Lenders pull your credit score for several reasons; the most important one is because they want to see your ability and likelihood to repay debt.

Your credit score is called a “FICO score” because it’s produced from a model developed by Fair Isaac Corporation (“FICO”). For more information about FICO scores, go to


  • Get exclusive representation from a reputable Buyer’s Agent
  • Call a reputable Lender for loan pre-approval
  • Locate neighborhoods and narrow down your home search
  • Make an offer on a property
  • Negotiate acceptance of your offer
  • Start escrow
  • Send earnest money deposit to Escrow
  • Schedule inspection(s)
  • Review Seller’s property disclosures
  • Review Prelim, NHD Report, Termite Report & other reports
  • Sign and return Escrow’s opening paperwork
  • Lender schedules property appraisal
  • If applicable, negotiate repairs &/or credits
  • Get full loan underwriting approval
  • Satisfy any PTD (prior to docs) loan underwriting conditions
  • Remove contingencies
  • Sign loan docs (bring ID!)
  • Schedule utilities into your name
  • Loan funds
  • Deed records
  • You get the keys to your new home!