Each Step and Stage takes time.  The timing varies depending on the volume flowing through the industry and with each lender and escrow agent during the time of your loan. We will do everything we can to work with the various parties along the way to assure a smooth closing. Your response time with information and documentation needed throughout the process will be a key factor in the successful closing of your refinance transaction.


 Pre-Application Initial conversation, assess qualification, review loan options, discuss rates/pricing and what to expect. Documentation needed list provided. You gather your documentation for the next step. Generally, the credit report is ordered at this stage.
Application Package Upon receipt of documentation, your loan application package is prepared which consists of the application itself along with numerous State, Federal and Lender Disclosures. We meet to review/sign or this can be done via e-signing, US mail or overnight delivery.
Third Party Set Up We order your title report and coordinate the set-up of escrow with the escrow agent who will handle the final closing stage. Escrow will send a welcome letter to you and probably ask you to complete one or more of their forms. We can help with this if need be.
Lender Disclosures The loan is registered in the lender’s system. The lender will email auto-generated disclosures to comply with Federal compliance laws. These are often not State-specific and can contain misc. fees that are not applicable to your loan. Given these are auto-generated; they generally over-estimate fees/costs to protect themselves. You may continue to receive an auto-generated email from the lender throughout the process.
Appraisal Order The appraisal is ordered through the Lender’s Appraisal Management Company (aka AMC). The only up-front cost you will incur is the cost of the appraisal. You will be contacted to set up the appointment for the appraiser to access the property. They require access to take photos and measurements.  This is generally a very brief visit. You will receive an electronic copy of the report once it is available.
Initial Underwriting The full application package is submitted to the lender for Underwriting. The Underwriter reviews the file for general qualification as well as compliance with Fannie Mae/FHA/VA guidelines (as is applicable with your loan) in addition to the overlay of their own guidelines.
Conditions Assuming a loan approval is granted – there will be Conditions that must be met before we can order your closing documents. This is the case with all loans. The ‘Conditions’ are documentation required by the lender to fully comply with Fannie Mae, FHA or VA guidelines.  This has to do with secondary marketing in the mortgage industry and generally has nothing to do with your ability to qualify for the loan. The lender wants to protect themselves from anything viewed as non-compliant in these very strict review times should your file ever be chosen for audit after closing by the lender, investor or future servicing agent.
Underwriting Review When all of the Conditions have been gathered, they are sent in for review to determine if they meet the criteria. Lenders generally want to receive all conditions at one time. Review of Conditions can prompt additional questions or need for additional documentation. This may lead to an additional review.
Final Sign-Off The Underwriter makes the final determination of what satisfies each Condition. When all of the Conditions have been signed-off, the lender gives us the go-ahead to order your closing documents. Some lenders have a final Quality Control Review (for compliance) at this stage.
Closing Disclosure The lender prepares and sends to Borrower the Closing Disclosure (CD) Statement.  This is a tally (but still an estimate) of all of the charges and credits involved in the transaction.  Federal Law requires the Borrower to review the Closing Disclosure at least 3 business days prior to signing closing documents
Closing Doc Prep The lender’s loan document preparation department prepares your closing document package for escrow. This process begins after the Closing Disclosure is acknowledged by borrowers and after the escrow agent and the lender’s closing agent have gone back and forth to balance all the numbers (closing costs, prepaids, credits, etc.)
Escrow/Lender Finalize Escrow will prepare a Settlement Statement upon finalizing everything.  The bottom line will show the exact amount of cashier’s check (or wire from your account) that will be required at signing OR will show the amount of cash you will receive upon closing – whichever is applicable with your refinance. Escrow works with the lender to finalize these numbers.
Signing with Escrow The escrow company may want to be in receipt of the doc package before they will schedule the signing appointment with you.  You may be asked to bring in one or two pieces of photo ID.  You will meet with your escrow agent at their office unless Or a Mobile Notary can be arranged if it is more convenient for you to sign elsewhere (home, office, etc.).
Funding/Closing With an owner-occupied refinance, the Federal government requires a 3-day rescission period before the loan can fund and close. For example, if you sign your closing papers on a Monday, the loan will close Friday.  If you sign your papers on a Thursday, your loan will close Tuesday. They do count Saturdays as a rescission day.  Sundays or major holidays are not recognized as rescission days.
Beyond Closing Within your closing package, there will be a First Payment Letter or Statement. This provides all of the detail you will need to make your first payment. The lender may not have time for the final input in their system between your closing date and first payment due date. So you may need to make the first payment via mailed check. Beyond that, you will be able to log in to the lender’s website and set up an auto-payment plan if you choose.


If you have any questions after your closing about your loan or down the road with any future mortgage needs, I am always here to help.  Thank you for allowing me to help you through this process. I will be with you each step of the way!

Amy O’Brien | MLO 85346 | amy@arboretummortgage.com| 425-466-1853