Step 6: Get Funding Often the cost of real estate financing is routinely greater than the original purchase price of a home (after including interest and closing costs). Because financing is so important, buyers should have as much information as possible regarding mortgage options and costs. Move.com™ provides consumers with extensive mortgage information as well as a variety of loan calculators. Local REALTORS® can provide mortgage information, discuss financing options and recommend loan sources. In addition, some REALTORS® also originate loans. What kind of loan? There are thousands of loans available out there from a variety of lenders, but in general, the mortgage you choose will likely be determined by at least several key factors: How much down? Loans with 5 percent down or less are now widely available -- in fact, loans from major lenders with no money down have appeared in recent years. If you place less than 20 percent down, lenders will want the mortgage guaranteed by an outside third party such as the Veterans Administration (VA), the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or a private mortgage insurer (PMI, or private mortgage insurance, is required by lender to protect against any mortgage defaults). More than 2.5 million VA, FHA and PMI loans are generated each year. How's your credit? The best rates and terms are only available to those with solid credit. To get the best loans, make a point of paying credit cards, installment payments, rent and mortgage bills in full and on time. Are you a first-time buyer? It might seem that "first-time buyer" means someone who has never owned property before, but under most state programs, the term refers to those who have not owned property within the past three years. State-backed first-timer programs often feature smaller downpayments and below-market interest rates. For details, speak with your local REALTOR®. How do you get a loan? To obtain a loan you must complete a written loan application and provide supporting documentation. Specific documents include recent pay stubs, rental checks and tax returns for the past two or three years if you are self-employed. During the prequalification procedure, the loan officer will describe the type of paperwork required. Where do you get a loan? Mortgage financing can be obtained from mortgage bankers, mortgage brokers, savings and loan associations, mutual savings banks, commercial banks, credit unions, and insurance companies. A growing number of REALTORS® can also arrange financing. Previous Step 5: Choose a Home Next Step 7: Make an Offer The Home Buyers Guide The home-buying process doesn't need to be scary. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process and answer your questions on what you should expect from your REALTOR®, where to look for loans, and what to watch out for when closing the deal. Step 1: Are you Ready? Step 2: Get a REALTOR® Step 3: Get Loan Preapproval Step 4: Look at Homes Step 5: Choose a Home Step 6: Get Funding Step 7: Make an Offer Step 8: Get Insurance Step 9: Closing Step 10: What's Next?