Home Loan Steps

Whether you're a seasoned home buyer or are purchasing your first home, applying online, by phone, or at a Member Center, we are here to help you through the home-buying steps.

  1. Prequalification

    Prequalifying is a non-verified estimate of how much you can afford. You'll learn about loan types and which one might be best for you. It costs nothing, it's fast, there's no obligation, and you can prequalify by phone.

  2. Preapproval

    The preapproval step requires a detailed application where you provide copies of various documents, which depend on the type of loan you choose. Preapproval allows you to shop for a home knowing how much you can afford. It also shows the seller you're serious and prepared — and able — to buy. Plus, finalizing your Home Loan application will probably take less time because much of your information is already in place.

  3. Interest Rate Lock

    The interest rate market is subject to movements without advance notice, so locking in a rate protects you from the time your lock is confirmed to the day your lock period expires. The typical lock is 60 days and starts with the day of your application. CEFCU also offers Smart Lock to lock in your rate for 90 days. You can lock your rate online; by phone at 309.633.3424 or 1.800.633.7077, ext. 33424; or in person at a Member Center.

  4. Application & Interview

    If you have a signed purchase agreement, you're ready to schedule an in-person interview. At the interview, you'll complete an application, decide on a loan term, set the amount you want to borrow, and lock your interest rate. To support your application request, you'll need to furnish asset statements, which verify funds you're using for the down payment and "reserve assets." You'll also be asked to provide the name, address, and phone number of your current employer, plus any other employers from the past two years.

    CEFCU offers phone applications for members who live outside Central Illinois or who are unable to visit a Member Center. For more information about the home loan interview, including a checklist of what to bring to your interview, check out our related FAQs.

  5. Property Appraisal & Closing

    For final approval, CEFCU requires an appraisal of the home you're purchasing. CEFCU will hire a professional appraiser, who will compare the home you are buying with three homes that have been sold in the past year. The comparison homes will be similar in size and location to the home you are buying. When the appraisal has been completed, a CEFCU Home Loan Manager will review your entire file. See the Uniform Appraisal Dataset Abbreviations list (PDF, 2 MB) for official appraisal abbreviations.

    If your down payment is less than 20 percent, the Private Mortgage Insurance Company also must approve your loan. If approved, your CEFCU Representative will call you and send a commitment letter, which is a formal loan approval. The actual closing is the meeting where you sign the final loan documents, and the property title is transferred from the seller to you.

  6. Loan Payments

    Your payments will be due on the first of the month, with a 15-day grace period. You can set up automatic transfers from one of your other CEFCU accounts or make payments through CEFCU On-Line®, Fast Track Teller machines, by phone, at any Member Center, or by mail.

    Lump Sum Payments: If you apply a lump sum toward your principal balance, you may qualify to reduce future monthly principal and interest payments for the remainder of your loan's original term without the expense of refinancing. Your term and rate will remain the same. Restrictions may apply, so email CEFCU or call 309.633.3424 or 1.800.633.7077, ext. 33424, for details.


If you're buying your first home, request a First-Time Home Buyer Kit. The Kit contains a home shopping checklist along with information on preapproval, low-down payment options, closing costs, and more.

For more information, visit the Home Loan FAQs, email CEFCU, call 1.800.542.3328, ext. 33424, or visit a Member Center.