Learn About Mortgage Paperwork

If you’re just starting to look for a home, you may be a little confused by the paperwork involved with getting a mortgage. Wouldn’t it be great if someone could give you a line-by-line explanation of the forms you’ll be dealing with during the home-buying process?

We thought so too. That’s why we’ve created annotated versions of some common mortgage documents. Specifically, we’ve marked up the Good Faith Estimate and HUD-1, as well as a standard loan application.

We’ve collected these documents here. Just pick the document you want to review and click the yellow info-points to bring up more information about every item.

These interactive loan documents are just a small part of our online Home Buying Guide. We’re adding several new sections to the guide in the next couple of weeks; we’ll let you know when it all goes live.

  • Mccoyart

    This is a “heads-up” to anyone moving INTO California from another state, based on my experiences in purchasing a home in California:  IT'S LIKE NOWHERE ELSE IN THE UNITED STATES. My wife and I had previously bought and sold houses in Texas, Arkansas and Tennessee. In those states (and many others) the term “closing” means that both the buyer and seller (usually the seller first) go to the title company and sign the final documents. WHEN THE SIGNATURES ON ON THE PAPERS, the deal is considered “closed”, and the keys are given to the buyers from the sellers (assuming they're already out of the house, or the house was already empty). After that, the title company takes care of having the deed recorded, then they send you a final, notarized, recorded copy. 

    NOT SO IN CALIFORNIA! Here, “closing” means that the papers have been signed AND THAT THE TRANSACTION HAS BEEN RECORDED AT THE COUNTY CLERK'S OFFICE. The deal is not considered “closed” here UNTIL THAT'S DONE. You won't get keys from the title company UNTIL the documents have been recorded. So, don't schedule movers the same day as signing. Here, when they use the term “closing” it MEANS recording, not merely signing.

    BE SURE TO ASK YOUR REALTOR ABOUT A “GLOSSARY OF CALIFORNIA REAL ESTATE TERMS” because Real Estate “lingo” in California isn't used the same way as most of the rest of the USA.

  • Bryan Howell

    Hi Mccoyart,

    You're right — the process of closing on a home can vary quite a bit from state-to-state. In our Home Buying Guide, we've tried to reflect these regional differences, where possible. For instance, our overview page for the closing process will detect if you've used Redfin to search for a home, and will show you a closing process that matches the area of your home search.


    Like you pointed out, in California, the signing appointment and the actual closing date are usually separated by a few days. It's definitely an important thing to keep in mind when scheduling movers.

    Thanks for the comment.

  • CaliforniagoldRealty

    Good post.If you are looking to buy new homes in california just visit Cagoldrealty.