Documents to Sign to Get a Mortgage


Mortgage Disclosure Law Changes

Consumers financing homes in the U.S. are protected from fee abuses by two main regulations: the Truth In Lending Act (TILA) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA).

These regulations protect you from closing cost abuses and prevent housing service providers from giving each other referral fees for your business.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) enforces TILA and RESPA, and on October 3, 2015, the CFPB combined all previously required mortgage rate and fee disclosures into two simple forms to make it easier for consumers to understand their mortgages. This initiative is called the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule (TRID).

Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure

The two forms created are the Loan Estimate and the Closing Disclosure. The Loan Estimate must be provided to you within three days of applying with a lender, and it replaced the Good Faith Estimate and Truth In Lending disclosures home buyers used to get prior to October 3, 2015. It details loan terms, projected payments over the life of your mortgage, and line item closing costs.

The Closing Disclosure must be provided to you at least three business days before closing on your mortgage, and it replaced the final settlement statement, which was also known as the HUD or HUD-1. It looks almost exactly like the Loan Estimate, but adds a breakdown of costs paid by buyer versus seller versus third parties. This means you’re reviewing final terms in the same format you saw in the Loan Estimate initially, and you’ve got three days to digest it before you close. Make sure you read and understand the specific timing rules lenders.

If you agree to go forward with closing after the Closing Disclosure’s three-day waiting period, you’ll also need to sign a full set of loan documents. Among those, the following two are most important.

The Promissory Note

The note is your loan contract, and contains the terms of your loan, specifies the rate, payment intervals and payment changes along the way; and states whether you’ll incur a prepayment penalty if you pay off the loan early.

In the note, you agree that your home is security for the loan, so your lender will have a claim to your property if you don’t repay according to the note’s terms. This note provision will refer to a separate document that’s the “security instrument,” called a mortgage or a deed of trust. Both a mortgage and a deed of trust pledge the property as security for the note. Depending on the loan you choose, you’ll need to comply with one of these three occupancy provisions contained in all mortgages and deeds of trust:

The Mortgage 

  • Owner-occupied. You must move into the property within 60 days of closing and live there as your primary residence for at least one year. Then you’re allowed to use it as a rental or a second home.
  • Second home. You can only use the property as a second home and are not allowed to rent it.
  • Non-owner-occupied. You’re paying a higher rate for this loan, so you’re free to convert occupancy to owner-occupied or second home if and when you see fit.

Read more about the The Importance of Mortgage Documents, and watch this video on your Mortgage Document Checklist.

One thought on “Documents to Sign to Get a Mortgage

  1. Gary

    Don’t apply for a mortgage if your credit is lacking, and if you are not financially secure. You either won’t get approved for the loan, or you’ll be house-poor if you do. What that means is that you have enough money only to afford the house, and nothing else. So many people land themselves in that sad situation. Don’t let it be you!! Save up your money until you can not only afford the house, but also have the ability to have a life outside of it, and to decorate it the way you like, which is half the fun of buying a house 🙂


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