Category Archives: mortgage

Mortgage – Lender – Provident Funding

Every lender is different. Provident Funding is unique since it provides very competitive rates and has strict underwriting requirements. Here are the steps.

1. File review:Lender will send you an email from You can click the link to go to to sign some docs electronically. You need to type your SSN on the web site. Your Loan Officer (LO) will also send some docs for signing.
Note that for the Property Characteristics Disclosure,Choose I/We do not in most cases

2. Underwriting:Lender will have some conditions/TODO items during underwriting. You can upload the required docs directly or send the docs to LO. You just need to look at the Borrower section and the Broker section.

  • One doc is called Incomplete Credit Application. It is a reminder and you can ignore it.
  • Verification of employment: you can use a coworker’s email address. Refer to Step #5.
  • Tax return: you can go to  to get the transcript or upload your tax return. Note that it needs to signed (electronically for by hand)
  • Letter of explanation: no template needed. Just write a simple doc, save it as a pdf and sign it electronically or by hand

3. Closing Disclosure: Lender will send the Closing Disclosure after your loan is CTC (cleared to close). You can go to the portal to sign electronically. If there is a non borrowing spouse, the spouse needs to print the page as below, hand-sign it with the date your sign on the portal and then scan it back to your LO.

4. Signing: you need to bring your green card or I-797 with current visa if you are not a US citizen. There are two notes and not every notary knows about that.

Noe #1: NOTICE OF RIGHT TO CANCEL: do not forget to initial the highlighted dates

Note #2: ALIEN STATUS ID CERTIFICATION: Option 1 is for green card holders. Option 3 is for I-797 with visa

5. Funding review:Lender will do VOE (verification of employment). It will ask for Manager/HR’s email address. Lender does not accept the third party web sites like,, because those websites refresh the data monthly. Suggest using a coworker/a friend’s email address which needs to be your company domain. The questions asked by the lender are very simple. e.g. is the borrower still working? Replying to the email takes literally a couple of minutes.

Mortgage – Steps

First, congrats on working with a trustable and professional loan officer (LO)! The loan process might take 30 to 60 days. Here are the steps. Please feel free to contact your LO if you have any questions.

  • 1. Prepare documents:LO will send the document list to your email address. Normally you can get all the docs ready by spending a couple of hours of focus time although it may take a couple of days.
  • 2. Build your loan file and lock rate:LO will pull your credit and use your docs to build a loan file. LO may ask you additional questions or docs.
    1. Once the loan file is done, LO will send it to the lender with the best rates for your case. Then the rate can be locked. Once the rate is locked, it can not be changed. There might be a little penalty for some lenders if the rate is locked and you decide to back out.
    2. To improve the efficiency and customer experience, LO will pay for the credit report fee instead of asking for your credit card info. The fee will be paid at closing by you or you can paypal/zelle the fee to LO outside closing.
    3. Please do not open new credit lines (e.g open a new credit card, buy a new car), avoid large deposits, keep your account clean and maintain enough balance.
  • 3. Sign initial docs:Lender will send you some docs for e-sign。Most the docs are disclosures . The most important doc is the Loan Estimate(LE) and there are many numbers in it. Your LO will explain every number to you if you like. Lender may mail the hard copy of the docs to your home and you can ignore it. If the lender is Provident Funding, please read Provident Funding
  • 4.1 File Review: Lender will review your file and may ask for additional docs
    1. if appraisal can not be waived, an appraisal will be required and the fee will need to be paid before closing. To improve efficiency and customer experience, , LO will pay for the appraisal fee instead of asking for your credit card info. The fee will be paid by you at closing or you can paypal/zelle the fee to LO outside closing.
    2. If it is a condo(some townhouses are condos legally), you need to get the signed HOA questionnaire and the master insurance policy from your HOA. To avoid a delay, please contact your HOA company ASAP. There might be a charge of $100 to $400.
  • 4.2. Title and Escrow: Chicago Title will be your title and escrow company. The contacts are Lachmi Murjani (, Escrow Assistant) or Jun Lu (, Escrow Officer). Escrow will send you an email which contains a few files. One of them is the prelim title and the sender is Chicago Title Eastside Title Unit via smartview – You can disregard the email. Escrow will send another email and the sender is asking filling out a questionnaire. The email might go into the spam folder. Here is some reference for filling out the form.
    • Power of attorney: Normally select NO unless you can’t sign yourself.
    • Lender Name and Loan Account Number: use the info of your current mortgage. Pay Off Loan As Part of Closing: YES. since the new loan will replace the old loan. Have your entered into a forbearance…? Normally NO. It is not a common case.
  • 5. Underwriting and CTC:
    1. The underwriter may ask for additional docs like new paystubs, new bank statements and new mortgage statement. LOE for credit inquiries;LOE for large deposits. Once all the conditions are satisfied, your loan will be CTC (Cleared to Close)。
    2. Lender will send you Initial Closing Disclosure(CD) before or after CTC. This doc is very similar as Loan Estimate. Please let your LO know if any number is not correct. If your spouse is not the co-borrower, she/he needs to hand-sign the CD. Note that some numbers like prepaid interests and payoff may change depending on which day the loan will be closed.
  • 6. Signing
    1. Escrow will call you to schedule a signing appointment. You can go to the escrow company’s office OR ask for a mobile notary so you can sign the docs at home. The person who calls you might tell you that the mobile signing has a charge of $95. The fee is already included. Going to the office would not save your money. The escrow company will send an email to confirm the appointment. Please feel free to reply to the email if you have any questions.
    2. If signing at home, please prepare blue ink pens and a table. You can sign at your garage or the backyard or any place you are comfortable with. Please follow the COVID protocol.
    3. If married, both husband and wife need to be present to sign.
    4. Get your driver’s license ready. If the lender is Provident Funding and you are not a citizen, get your green card or I-797 with current visa ready.
    5. You can provide your bank account info for automatic payment at the signing.
    6. If there is cash to close from borrower in the closing disclosure, please do a wire transfer ASAP after the signing or get a cashier’s check beforehand and give it to the notary. Note that the cashier’s check needs to be from one of the bank accounts you submitted to avoid unnecessary trouble.
    7. Repeat step 5.2: if you haven’t, make sure that you understand the numbers on the Closing Disclosure to avoid questions at the signing. The notary does not know the details.
    8. You can cancel the automatic payment of the next month with your old lender.
      If the lender is Provident Funding, please read Provident Funding
  • 7. Funding
    • Lender will do funding review. There might be new conditions. Once the funding review passes, Escrow will disburse funds and record it at the county. Then your loan process is complete.
    • The balance on your old lender’s account might not go to zero immediately. It may take some time for the old lender to process the payoff demand.
    • The old lender will refund all the money in the old escrow account if you have one. If you don’t get a check within a month, please feel free to call your old lender.
    • In case the old lender gets more than the payoff amount, it will refund. Some banks like First Tech will refund it to your savings account directly.
    • Note that you can’t do another refinance or sell your house within 6 months. Otherwise there will be penalty (sometime it is as high as $10k) because if you do that, the lender will have monetary loss. Ask your LO if any questions.
  • 8. New Lender
    • In general, there is no payment for the month after your loan is closed. e.g. if your loan is closed in Feb, there will be no payment in March. Your first payment would be on 4/1.
    • Lender may sell your loan Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. This is almost by design. The loan servicing company will be probably a different company.
    • Note that you can’t do another refinance or sell your house within 6 months. Otherwise there will be penalty (sometime it is as high as $10k) because if you do that, the lender will have monetary loss. Ask your LO if any questions.

贷款 – 报税 tax return



报税时如果选standard deduction,那就没什么事了。只有在用itemized deduction时,才需要考虑贷款方面的影响。可以抵扣的部分是一整年交的利息interests和买点discount points的费用。取个例子


我这边>95%的人贷款时没有买点,特别是no cost refinance的情况。如果你不确定,可以看Loan Estimate or Closing Disclosure. % of Loan Amount (Points) 那一项,没有就是没有买点




贷款 – FAQ

Q1: No cost refinance到底指什么?
A: 我说的no cost refinance是no points and no fees. 具体来说 1. 不用花钱买点 points 2. 不用出loan costs (Loan Estimate里的A, B, C),也就说不用付各种fees (origination charge, credit report fee, appraisal fee, title insurance, escrow fee etc)

Q2: Escrow company与escrow account有什么关系?
A: 它们都有escrow这个词,但完全不是一回事。Escrow company是负责close transaction的大家都信任的第三方独立的公司,所有的钱都汇到他们的帐户,然后从他们的帐户出来,title insurance和deed of trust recording也是他们做。Escrow account是在lender那里用来交property tax 和 home insurance的完全属于借款人的帐户。

Q3: 我能贷款多少?
A: 能够贷款多少需要计算一个很重要的数字叫DTI (debt to income ratio),计算方法如下
每月债务(mortgage, car loan, student loan等,不算信用卡) / 每月税前毛收入 (most recent base pay + cash bonus)
cash bonus用过去二年的bonus除以24个月就可以得到每月的平均值
DTI 最好不要超过43%,根据不同的情况,有的lender可以达到50%甚至55%。这样你可以算出每个月的最大月供,然后用google搜索 mortgage calculator, 用google网页提供的计算器就可以倒推出可以贷款多少,注意上面没有包括property tax和home insurance。


Q4: 如何做电子签字?
A: 用acrobat reader,找到Fill & Sign。可以参考这篇文章

贷款 – 解读 payoff amount

做refinance快close前有一个很重要的文档叫Closing Disclosure,Page #3会提到给旧lender payoff amount,这个数字让很多人疑惑,因为跟旧lender网上的unpaid principal不一样,这个很正常。这里解释一下算法。但不管怎么说,这个payoff amount是旧lender给的数字,他们对这个数字有权威

Payoff amount算法如下
payoff = unpaid principal + interest + 一点手续费(recording等)
举个例子:假如1/1/2021付过贷款后你看到 unpaid principal还剩下$400k,1/15/2021你要pay off你的贷款,payoff amount = $400k + 1/1到1/15的利息 + 一点手续费(一般$100多)

如果你的payoff比上面说的还多,很有可能是在12/2020就拿了payoff statement,1/1/2020你又付了一次payment,这个非常common。一般两种办法解决
办法#1 按payoff amount来,旧的lender会退钱寄check给你,他们不会多收,也不会少收
办法#2 找旧的lender再要一次payoff statement
这两种都常见,那为什么不总是按#2来呢?因为找旧lender拿payoff既要花时间也有一点费用(一般<$50)。譬如说First Tech就很慢,要5个business days,少有的情况要更长,会影响Closing。

贷款 – Lender – Provident Funding

每个lender都有自己独特的地方,Provident Funding 利率好要求严格更是这样。

1. 正式申请和电子签字:贷款提交后,lender会通过 发邮件,然后在 上电子签一些文档,之后一二天内Loan Officer也会发一些文件电子签字。在myloanzone上签字时要输入自己的SSN。
注意下面这个表Property Characteristics Disclosure,对绝大部分房子来说选I/We do not

2. 上传lender所需要文件:贷款批准过程中会有一些Items,可以自己直接上传,只需要关注Borrower和Broker这两块,不明白的地方尽管问Loan Officer。

  • 有一个文档叫Incomplete Credit Application,用来提醒要及时上传文档,看一下即可
  • Verification of employment可以用同事/朋友的公司邮箱,细节参考第5步
  • Tax return: 去IRS拿 ,或者上传自己的tax return,注意签字那一页需要电子签字或手签,joint return夫妻双方都要签
  • 各种Letter of explanation: 不需要模板,写个文档很简单地解释一下(跟平时写工作邮件一样),签字写日期扫描上传即可

3. 签Closing Disclosure: 贷款完全批准后,lender会准备Closing Disclosure,borrower在网上签一下即可。如果有non borrowing配偶,需要打印最后一页签字页(如下),手工签字,签字日期写网上签字那天,然后扫描发给Loan Officer

4. 签字时如果不是公民,需要带绿卡 或 I-797 with current visa。签字有两个特别注意事项,不是每位带你签字的人都清楚。签字后尽快上传most recent paystub

签字注意#1: 签NOTICE OF RIGHT TO CANCEL时,注意要在highlight的两个日期那里 Initial

签字注意#2: 签ALIEN STATUS ID CERTIFICATION时,Option 1是给绿卡用的,Option 3是给I-797 with visa用的

5. Funding review:这个阶段开始做VOE (verification of employment),需要Manager/HR的email address,在COVID期间Lender不认可第三方的网站譬如,, truework.com等,因为这些网站的信息一个月更新一次。如果找manager / HR不方便,建议用同事的email address,需要是公司邮箱。Funding前提醒一下VOE联系人就说lender会发邮件,最好能及时回。问的问题很简单(譬如是否在工作,哪天加入的),回复lender邮件只需要一二分钟,按实际情况回复即可,没什么责任

贷款 – 说说Condo

Condo贷款跟SFH比要麻烦一些,主要是要找HOA company拿HOA questionnaire和Master insurance。贷款申请后尽快发邮件或打电话给HOA,2天不回复就follow up。

HOA questionnaire上有关于Condo小区的各种问题,譬如说HOA控制权在谁手里等,lender用它来审核是否能够批准贷款,譬如说不少lender不接受新Condo。这个Questionnaire每家lender模板还不一样,很多HOA就外包给了一个叫Homewise的网站,在上面order需要收费,上面有通用模板,但各家lender总是要求自己的模板,大部分情况收费$200-$300。有少量小一些的HOA会自己填并且免费。拿这个questionnaire需要时间,可能一二周,必要的情况可以花钱rush

Master Insurance就是给整个小区的保险,很多时候可以直接找HOA免费要或在HOA网站上免费下载,也有HOA要求去Homewise上付费order的。

这两项需要在贷款close前付费,需要把收费的receipt/invoice(登录homewise网站即可下载)发给你的loan officer,到时这两项费用会出现在Closing Disclosure上的 Borrower Paid Before Closing说明你已经付过了,不用再付

贷款 – 关于信用分


信用分有consumer score和mortgage score之分,主要由三大机构提供,分别是Experian, TransUnion, Equifax。大家在各种网站上看到的基本上是consumer score,经常只看到一个分数。贷款采用的是mortgage score并且在三个分数中取中间值。如果夫妻同时贷款,会取两个人中低的那个中间分。我有碰到过外面查的分数比较高740+,结果mortgage score中间分不到700的情况,这个会直接影响利率

做贷款需要做hard pull,大家会关心对分数影响有多大?有人说影响不大,有人说会影响几十分。实际上,对一个信用分数好(740+)的人来说,贷款的hard pull影响比较小,大部分情况只影响几分,并且是一次性的。如果做完贷款后,分数大幅波动,大概率有别的因素,譬如申请信用卡 ,或信用卡上某段时间额度过高。举一个具体的例子,我做完贷款几个月后分数降了近40分,我看了一下是因为做完贷款后不关心信用分,信用卡刷得太多balance很高导致的。发现后每消费一段时间就主动及时还款,一个月后涨了40几分。无图无真相


1. 不要为了一丁点好处随意申请新的信用卡。一年内不要用太多credit inquiries
2. 同一时期不要每张信用卡都有balance,同时要关注信用卡balance最好不要超过credit limit的30%。如果要超过也没有问题,消费完后马上还上就行
3. 避免信用卡长期不用而被关掉,有些银行喜欢关卡,譬如说Chase/Citi/BOA
4. 及时还各种债务mortgage, credit card等。有一位朋友信用卡有96 cents不小心没及时还被信用卡公司report给信用机构,导致损失几十分,恢复还比较慢,很可惜

最后,如果需要可以找一些提供Credit Repair / Restoration服务的公司,你的LO能提供相关信息