Songs Mortgage purchase illustration

Whether you’re a first-time home buyer, or an experienced investor, we’re here to help you.

Buying a Home

Our experienced loan professionals understand the unique challenges of the Bay Area real estate market, and are ready to guide you through the mortgage process. Here is an overview of the home buying process, to help you get started.

When you decide to buy a home, the first step is to understand what payments you can comfortably afford. Using a mortgage calculator will help to give you an estimate of your payments, but getting pre-approved will give you a better sense of what price range of homes will work for you. There is no cost or obligation to get pre-approved, but there are some clear benefits.

A pre-approval will help you:

  1. Have an idea about what purchase price and loan amount you can afford
  2. Strengthen your offer to the seller, and the seller’s real estate agent
  3. Get a head-start on the approval process.

With a pre-approval, you’ll already be a few steps ahead once you find a home and open escrow.

There are many loan options available from first-time buyer programs to traditional conventional, jumbo, and FHA loans. There are 30 year and 15 year fixed loans as well as adjustable and hybrid loans such as a 5/1 ARM or 3/1 ARM. If you’re interested in lower payments, an interest-only loan may be a good option for you. With all the options available, you need expert advice to help you choose the right loan for your situation. Be sure to visit our loan options page to learn about all the options that are available and if you have more questions, you can call one of our home buying experts at (408) 223-3330.

From the get-go, make sure you’re working with a trusted real estate agent who can walk you through the ins-and-outs of home buying. They will help you narrow down your search, take you on private home tours, handle all necessary paperwork, and negotiate the best price just for you. You should also do your own homework on the side, such as driving through prospective neighborhoods, gathering information sheets from “for sale” properties, and taking pictures of houses you may like so you don’t forget which one is which.

Read up on some financing options like FHA loans, secure 30-year fixed or 15-year fixed, and depending on how much you have in savings, check out home loan programs that require low down payments. You might also find it helpful to get some good buyer know-how by familiarizing yourself with terms that are commonly used in the housing and mortgage industries.

Why Use a Real Estate Agent?

A real estate agent can be very helpful in searching for homes. They can give you the ins and outs of home buying from an experienced professional’s point of view. Some people prefer not to use a real estate agent—that’s your prerogative. But if you’re an inexperienced first-time home buyer, you wouldn’t want to be swindled or taken advantage of by a seller’s agent your first time out.

Things to Look For in a Home

You hear people say it all the time: “Location, location, location!” But that doesn’t just mean where the home is located – it involves everything having to do with the location. When you look at a home, you also have to consider the kind of neighborhood the home is in. Are the other homes well-taken care of? What kind of businesses are nearby? Are there grocery stores or malls that are convenient and easy to get to? Don’t forget to also consider:


If you have kids or plan to have them, you’ll want to research the school system that’s in the area you like to make sure your kids will be getting an education that’s up to your standards.


Consider the crime level of the area. When you look around the area, ask yourself if you and your family would feel safe and comfortable living there. Contact the local police department or check the Internet to find out more about the crime level.


If you like a particular area, think about the traffic level. If you lived there, what route would you take to work? How long would it take you to get there? Does the traffic create too much noise (if you’re, say, next to a highway or set of railroad tracks)?

Local Property Values

Find out what the rate of home appreciation is in the area and how much people are paying in property taxes (since these taxes may be factored into your monthly mortgage payment). New construction or new homes may indicate a possible increase in property values (as well as traffic) in the future.

Depending on how much time has passed since we issued your pre-approval, we may need to collect some updated information and updated documents from you. We probably have everything we need, but it is a good idea to go over the home purchase document checklist to ensure we have everything we need.

At this point, if you’d like to secure your interest rate, your home buying specialist will send you a lock agreement to confirm the terms of the loan and rate. Once you review and approve the lock agreement, your home buying specialist will collect a lock deposit fee to lock in your rate. The lock deposit will be credited towards your closing fees at the end of the transaction. Once we receive the signed lock agreement and lock deposit, we will send you some preliminary disclosures such as the good faith estimate and truth-in-lending disclosure to review and sign which detail the terms of your rate and loan.

A note on fees: on 1-4 units, there is no rate lock fee. Commercial loans require a rate lock deposit, which will be refunded at the end of the transaction.

Shortly after escrow is opened, it is advisable to schedule a home inspection with a professional who will walk you through the property to look for any red flags such as structural damages or appliances that may not be working properly and other items that may need to be fixed. It is a small investment for some peace of mind. Any major issues would need to be addressed before the close of escrow date. While your loan is being reviewed and processed, we will schedule an appraisal appointment with the seller’s agent to confirm the value of the home. Unlike a home inspection, that appraisal is a requirement to determine that the home is worth what you are paying for it.

Buying Investment Property

Looking to invest in income property like a multi-family apartment or commercial building? Income property is real estate property that is purchased or developed to earn income by renting or leasing it out to others, or through price appreciation. Real estate, especially in Silicon Valley, continues to be a sound investment for many investors.

When comparing a home loan to an investment property loan, while the process is similar, there are a few distinctions. Some of the main differences  between a primary residence and and investment property are the interest rate, cost, and required down payment. Typically, interest rates are 1 to 3% higher, extra costs may be attached to the investment property’s price, and compared to a home loan, the down payments are not as fluid.

Commercial properties have their own set of distinctions from home loans. See the Commercial Loans section on our Loan Options page for more details.

Getting started with investment property can seem daunting for those who are unfamiliar with the process. Song Mortgage has made income property investment our specialty, and our experienced loan professionals are ready to help you along the way. Contact us today at hello@songsmortgage.com or (408) 223-3330.

Happy Together​​
Whether you’re buying or refinancing, we’re with you, every step of the way.