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How to Buy a House



The process of buying a home can feel intimidating, whether it’s your first real estate purchase or your third. The…

The process of buying a home can feel intimidating, whether it’s your first real estate purchase or your third. The key to making it less scary is to know what’s ahead and surround yourself with knowledgeable professionals who can help guide you.

Here’s a step-by-step checklist for buying a house:


Gather your financial information.

Find a real estate agent.

Get preapproved for a mortgage.

Start touring homes.

Find the house you want and make an offer.

Negotiate as needed.

Schedule a home inspection.

Submit your loan application.

Tap other necessary professionals.

Get an appraisal.

Do a final walk-through.

Close and receive the keys.

[Read: The Guide to Selling Your Home]


Think about the kind of house you want and the neighborhood you prefer to live in. Visit sites like Zillow, Trulia, Redfin and to get an idea of the houses for sale that meet your criteria.

Consider doing some basic calculations to figure out the home price you could afford. Online mortgage payment calculators are a good starting point and may help adjust your expectations — for example, if you’re looking at million-dollar houses when your budget is more in line with a $250,000 house.

Gather Your Financial Information

Before you reach out to real estate agents and lenders, gather your financial information, including recent pay stubs and bank statements, so you’re ready to provide details as needed. You’ll also want to know your credit score and any issues affecting it, so now is a good time to get your free credit report.

Find a Real Estate Agent

Next, reach out to real estate agents and set up initial meetings or calls. It’s a good idea to interview a few and select the agent who fits your personality and communication style and is knowledgeable about the area where you’re looking to buy. The right agent will help educate you on the homebuying process, point out when price and expectations don’t match and offer insights that you hadn’t thought of before.

Treat the initial meeting or call with an agent like you’re interviewing him or her for a job. “I probably have five, six Zoom calls a day from buyers that are introducing themselves to me,” says Dawn McKenna, a real estate broker with Coldwell Banker Realty who helps clients buy and sell homes throughout the Chicago metro area as well as in Naples, Florida.

Get Preapproved for a Mortgage

Contact potential lenders to prequalify or get preapproved for a mortgage. This is the first opportunity to tap your real estate agent for advice and guidance on which lenders may have loan programs that will benefit you.

Rachel Street, a Realtor based in Philadelphia and host of “Philly Revival” on DIY Network, says a client’s financial history and ability to get preapproved for a mortgage is often a part of the initial conversation so she knows where to begin. If credit history may be a problem, for example, she can put the client in touch with a credit repair agency.

A strong credit history and financial profile is especially important in times of economic uncertainty because lenders aren’t as willing to take on borrowers with a higher risk of defaulting on the loan. While borrowers with high credit scores and a history of paying off loans on time won’t have a problem getting a loan, “if you’re not in that situation, you may find it harder to secure financing,” says Patrick Boyaggi, co-founder and CEO of Own Up, a mortgage technology company and marketplace based in Boston.

[Read: What to Expect From the Housing Market in 2020.]

Start Touring Homes

Your real estate agent will likely present you with listings that meet your budget and needs and also encourage you to look online for other homes you may be interested in. While most homebuyers prefer in-person tours of a property to make a decision, McKenna notes that virtual tours, Instagram Live events and enhanced photography for online viewing are growing in popularity among buyers who can’t or don’t want to visit in person.

Find the House You Want and Make an Offer

Once you’ve found the house you’d like to call home, it’s time to have a conversation with your agent about making an offer. Review the sale price of similar homes in the area that sold recently to help you determine how much you feel the home is worth.

Street says she often explains the market value of a home based on data, but she stresses that buyers should factor in their own wants and needs as well. For example: “This house is priced at $600,000, but the market value of this house is probably closer to $550,000 — where do you feel comfortable? And obviously you don’t have to come in at $550,000 if you feel it’s worth $600,000 to you,” Street says.

Negotiate as Needed

The seller may make a counteroffer or request that you cover certain closing costs, which requires some back and forth between your agent and the agent representing the seller. During negotiations, work with your agent to find the best path forward regarding contingencies in the contract or other outlying factors that might affect the sale price, your willingness to purchase the house or your ability to close on time.

Schedule a Home Inspection

With the deal pending, it’s time to get moving with the due diligence process — part of which is the home inspection. McKenna explains that your agent should be a solid source of professional recommendations as you approach closing and should give you more than one to choose from. “From the moment something is contracted, we give (buyers) several inspectors that have provided in-depth analysis of inspections and have done a great job,” she says.

Submit Your Loan Application

“As soon as you go under contract, you also want to make a formal application for the mortgage with your lender,” Street says. You’ll need to provide your most recent financial information, such as bank statements and pay stubs, to show you’re still employed and haven’t made any major purchases recently.

Tap Other Necessary Professionals

Before closing, you’ll also need to pull in other professionals, including a title insurance company, real estate attorney, homeowners insurance company and maybe an architect or contractor if you’re planning to renovate the house immediately.

Get an Appraisal

Your lender will typically require an appraisal of the property to ensure the determined sale price matches the market value of the property. The appraisal often figures into the total closing costs of a home.

[Read: A Checklist for Moving to Your New Home]

Do a Final Walk-Through

A couple of days before closing, you’ll complete a final walk-through of the property, which allows you to check and make sure it’s still in good condition.

Close and Receive the Keys

Closing itself is fairly straightforward and requires signatures noting the transfer of ownership. You may sign documents in person with a representative from your title insurance company or with e-signatures if they are allowed, depending on your state.

Once you have the keys in hand, you’re now the owner of a new home. Don’t be concerned about navigating tricky situations you’re unfamiliar with on your own — your real estate agent will remain a valuable resource well past your purchase date. “We don’t just drop people when they close,” McKenna says. “We’re constantly in touch with people long after.”

More from U.S. News

How to Tactfully Back Out of a Real Estate Contract

Why You Should (and Shouldn’t) Sell Your Home in 2020

10 Secrets to Selling Your Home Faster

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TML introduces mortgages for credit impaired borrowers



TML introduces mortgages for credit impaired borrowers

The Mortgage Lender (TML) is launching a range of residential mortgages to cater for borrowers who have suffered some form of credit issue through a change in circumstance.


The Lumi-branded range is available up to 75 per cent loan to value (LTV), across four categories to support customers with defaults, county court judgements (CCJs) and mortgage arrears.

The products are available for employed, self-employed and complex income applicants.

Rates start at 4.98 per cent for a two-year fix and 5.29 per cent for a five-year fix at 70 per cent loan to value and are open for loans between £25,001 and £1m.

It also offers criteria for unsecured arrears, bankruptcy and pay day loans outside that of TML’s standard range.

The lender said it was taking a pragmatic approach to the real-world experience many clients are facing and it was providing “a stepping-stone for homemovers or those remortgaging and, in some cases, credit repair”.

TML sales and product director Steve Griffiths said: “Now more than ever lenders need to have criteria that caters for a wide range of customer circumstances and recognise that the last 12 months has been financially difficult for many people.

Doug Hall director of distributor 3mc added: “We are seeing increasing numbers of customers whose financial situation has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic who need products that are appropriate for their circumstances now.

“Through sharing our knowledge and challenges with lenders, like TML, the specialist lending sector is proving it can meet those needs in a responsible way.

“The launch of Lumi is great news for brokers and customers. It shows lenders are listening and able to respond to the market, improving customer choice and competition.”


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Landmark Point Predictive Fraud Study Details Record Year for Auto Loan Fraud in 2020




Point Predictive Inc., the San Diego-based artificial intelligence and data science company that helps lenders predict the trustworthiness of loan application information, published research detailing increased levels of attempted loan fraud in 2020, which the company believes could continue through 2021.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

US Auto Loan Fraud Reaches $7.3 Billion in 2020 (Graphic: Business Wire)

The company’s Auto Fraud Report is the auto finance industry’s most comprehensive annual assessment of application fraud risk. The 2020 edition includes unique insights about income and employment misrepresentation, identity fraud, and collateral fraud for US auto lenders, as well as the impacts of the pandemic on this important sector of the economy.

“2020 was a pivotal year for fraud risk, with auto loan fraud reaching $7.3 billion of originations,” said Frank McKenna, Chief Fraud Strategist for Point Predictive. “The pandemic heightened fear and anxiety and likely made consumers more vulnerable to scams and frauds. The ensuing economic turmoil caused an immediate and dramatic rise in unemployment, increasing some people’s willingness to engage in loan fraud. Furthermore, a flood of stimulus money and generous lender forbearance programs simultaneously increased the level of fraud while delaying lenders’ ability to recognize it.”

Many lenders have praised Point Predictive’s research due to the breadth, detail, and scope of the analysis. This year’s analysis drew from the Point Predictive anti-fraud Consortium dataset, a secure and private data science collaboration among dozens of US lenders. The Consortium now includes over 94 million loan applications containing 85 individual fields of data on each application. Every month, activity from 45,000 dealerships contributes to a view of vehicle financing that spans nearly all 157,000 US auto dealers. This data set tracks over $2.7 billion in known early payment default and the company’s machine learning techniques have generated more than 10 billion risk attributes, offering unparalleled insight into mostly hidden risk trends and the ability to predict more fraud than ever before.

“Consortium data is deeper and more predictive of risk than any credit bureau or public records source,” said McKenna. He continued, “This vast and deeply-specific data on each loan application gave us incredible clarity into fraud risk that lenders are exposed to. And one thing is for sure: the risk of fraud to auto lenders rose dramatically as the pandemic unfolded.”

One of the most significant trends addressed by the analysis was the marked uptick in income and employment misrepresentation. As the lockdowns began, Consortium members were suddenly impacted by a 100% year-over-year increase of falsified income and employment claims on auto loan applications, a level of risk which continued throughout the year. Detected among the trend was the use of over 300 new, but bogus employers each month, used by applicants to fraudulently convince lenders of steady sources of income.

Completing a complex risk picture for fraud managers, the report notes that scams like synthetic identity creation, credit washing, and even lawful impacts of credit repair efforts complicate efforts by lenders to guard against fraud in order to more quickly serve trustworthy borrowers.

“As a lender, you have to keep your guard up at all times. No assumptions can be made about any loan application until every single one clears a satisfactory fraud review,” said Steve Christensen, Executive Vice President of Elite Acceptance Corp. “The analysis and outlook from Point Predictive is essential reading in order to be prepared. For Elite Acceptance, the crucial trends to get ahead of are the dealer implications, such as a sale price inflation of over 10% on the top 10 models,” said Christensen. He concluded, “I credit Point Predictive for exposing the truth behind what is presented to lenders by dealers and borrowers.”

Additionally, the analysis of auto loan fraud in 2020 covers other concerning trends, including clusters of fraud in certain states and metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), new tactics used by self-employed borrowers, patterns of suspicious and ambiguous naming conventions for fake employers, synthetic identity centers, Social Security number manipulation tactics, vehicles subjected to inflated pricing, and the systematic disputing of multiple negative tradelines on a credit report in order to make the borrower appear to be more creditworthy. Power booking is also on the rise, wherein dealers inflate sale prices and falsify down payments to increase the chances of loan approval.

The Auto Fraud Report concludes with recommendations from Point Predictive’s fraud experts for staying ahead of fraud in 2021. Tim Grace, Chairman and CEO of Point Predictive, encourages lenders to bolster fraud defenses and staff. “In times of crisis, there is often a need to reduce costs to stay profitable amidst decreasing volumes. But this is a mistake. The rate of fraud and risk will increase over the next 18 months, making fraud prevention and staffing one of the most important investments you can make in maintaining the health of your portfolio. Resist the urge to cut costs where it matters most.”

Auto, mortgage, and student lenders who are interested in receiving a copy of Point Predictive’s 2020 Annual Auto Fraud Report should contact [email protected].

About Point Predictive Inc.

Point Predictive enables lenders to fund more loans simply with a unique combination of Artificial and Natural Intelligence™ (Ai+Ni™) to power machine learning technology solutions. Point Predictive helps automotive, mortgage, retail and personal loan finance companies to identify the consumer applications with truthful and reliable information without the intense interrogation and verification of data caused by lower tech solutions currently in use. Highly regarded as the most trusted fraud and misrepresentation analytic solution providers, Point Predictive has transformed that trust to enable lenders to fund more loans to more consumers simply. Point Predictive uses big data powerfully orchestrated from millions of examples of true and falsified loan applications, billions of derived proprietary data elements, and scientifically selected third-party data sources to build powerful machine learning models with the added natural intelligence of human experience.

Located in San Diego, California, more information about Point Predictive can be found at

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CONTACT: Dennis Behrman

VP of Marketing & Growth, Point Predictive


[email protected]



SOURCE: Point Predictive Inc.

Copyright Business Wire 2021.

PUB: 04/15/2021 10:57 AM/DISC: 04/15/2021 10:57 AM

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TML announce launch of new residential Lumi products



Steve Griffiths TML

A new, Lumi-branded, residential product has been launched by The Mortgage Lender, following a rise in demand from borrowers who have been financially impacted by the pandemic.

TML say that the range is available up to 75% loan to value, across four Lumi categories and caters for customers with defaults, CCJs, and mortgage arrears. It also offers enhanced credit criteria for unsecured arrears, bankruptcy and payday loans when compared to TML’s core range.

Lumi products are available for employed, self-employed and complex income applicants. The minimum loan is £25,001 and the maximum loan is £1m with rates starting at 4.98% for a two-year fix and 5.29% for a five-year fix at 70% loan to value.

Steve Griffiths, The Mortgage Lender sales and product director, said: “Now more than ever lenders need to have criteria that caters for a wide range of customer circumstances and recognise that the last 12 months has been financially difficult for many people.

“Our Lumi range, which is available through specialist distributors, takes a pragmatic approach to the real-world experience many of our broker partners are presented with when they are sourcing a mortgage for their clients.

“It offers fair rates combined with a flexible approach to underwriting that provides a stepping-stone for home-movers or those remortgaging and, in some cases, credit repair.”

Doug Hall, 3mc director, adds: “We are seeing increasing numbers of customers whose financial situation has been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic who need products that are appropriate for their circumstances now.

“Through sharing our knowledge and challenges with lenders, like TML, the specialist lending sector is proving it can meet those needs in a responsible way. The launch of Lumi is great news for brokers and customers. It shows lenders are listening and able to respond to the market, improving customer choice and competition.”

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