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Get Your Ducks in a Row for a Mortgage Loan

April 2, 2018 By: Great Midwest Bank

If you’re considering buying, building, or renovating, be sure to get your “Ducks in a Row” and start the process at Great Midwest Bank. We know the mortgage process may seem overwhelming, but it often boils down to a simple checklist and expertise. By choosing Great Midwest, consider yourself a Lucky Duck! We’ve been helping Wisconsin homeowners since 1935.

Step 1 Apply for a Pre-approval

The first step towards getting a home mortgage loan is to complete a pre-approval application. Keep in mind that not all pre-approvals are created equally. We have found over time that Realtors and Builders really have come to appreciate local lenders. A pre-approval from Great Midwest Bank may be the one to tip the scales in your favor when you’re bidding on a house against other parties.

Again, whether you’re looking to buy, build, or renovate, pre-approval is a must. Having a price range or budget in mind is extremely helpful. Our Loan Officers understand the importance of making this simple and convenient but thorough enough to put your mind at ease when you head out to talk to a realtor, builder, or contractor.

You can complete your pre-approval application in as little as 20 minutes with our online application. You’ll hear back within a business day to confirm receipt and we’ll follow up with necessary questions and paperwork. If you prefer, you can also call or email one of our local loan officers who will take your application over the phone or arrange to meet in person – always a good idea if your time permits. Check out our handy Mortgage Application Checklist for a list of the things you should have on hand.

Get Your Ducks in a Row with Great Midwest Bank Duck 2 Shop

Once you’ve been pre-approved, you can go into shopping mode with the confidence of knowing exactly what you can afford. We recognize that circumstances sometimes change and you need more feedback as you are out looking at specific homes or shopping various builders. Our Loan Officers are focused on convenience and accessibility and are available days, nights, and weekends to update you along the way.

Today’s competitive market requires that you have a true mortgage partner on your side, ready and willing to help. We’ll be with you every step to ensure you buy, build, or renovate the home of your dreams with as little stress as possible. From tips on what to look for in a home or builder/contractor to the general information about the offer, inspection and appraisal processes, consider us another trusted, valuable resource.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully negotiated an offer to purchase or finalized plans with a builder or renovation contractor. In most cases, we can close in about 30-35 days from the time we receive all of your appropriate paperwork – the signed Offer to Purchase or Building Plans & Contract for a new home or renovation. 

Expect a Loan Estimate within a few days that provides details about costs and required funds for closing. From here, when you are ready to proceed, we will order an appraisal, which is usually a two-week process. Meanwhile, we can update your file with the most recent financial information and double check to be sure we have all of our own ducks in a row for final approval, or Loan Commitment. The Loan Commitment letter is usually issued within three weeks and can be delivered by you to the Real Estate Agent or Builder. 

Your Loan Officer will reach out to you and the other parties to finalize the date and time of closing.

Most closings occur at one of our branch offices and require you to attend in person. About a week ahead of closing, you can expect a Closing Disclosure that provides you with final costs and funds required for closing. The Closing Disclosure compares the final figures to those provided in the original Loan Estimate so you can see what, if anything, has changed. 

Final funds for closing are usually provided to us in the form of a cashier’s check. If that’s inconvenient, we can also make arrangements to have the funds wired directly to Great Midwest Bank a day or two ahead of time.

Generally, borrowers find Closing Day far more simple than originally expected – one of the easiest steps in the process. The vast majority of closings occur in 45 minutes or less. Sellers often sign in advance which means even less time at the closing table. We’ll walk you through the meaning of all the documents you sign and offer options for payment that include automatic draft from an account of your choice.


You’ve successfully moved into your home. Before you move in and start unpacking, don’t forget to take care of some final paperwork and home care that will save you a lot of hassle further down the line:

  • Give your home a nice deep clean, or hire someone to do it for you.
  • Make any flooring or painting updates before you start moving boxes of your belongings, furniture, and more into your home.
  • Get your air ducts cleaned or change the air filters.
  • Change the locks.
  • Fill out a change of address form at the post office so mail gets rerouted to your new home.
  • Update your driver’s license with your new home address.
  • Send out change of address cards! Email may suffice, but can be easily ignored by the recipient. Think of your change of address card as an any-time-of-year holiday card; make it fun and creative, so your loved ones won’t lose track of your new location!

When you choose Great Midwest Bank for your home mortgage loan, getting your ducks in a row is a hassle-free process. Our expert local loan officers, common sense lending philosophy, and over 80 years of experience in the Wisconsin housing market will make buying your home a breeze.