Refinance Process: 7 Key Steps to Refi Like a Pro

Published on November 22, 2016

– 5 min read

It may have been a while since you got a mortgage. We’re here to give you a refresher on the general process once you choose a lender.

The process of mortgage refinancing is similar to that of obtaining a purchase loan, but there are fewer players: no sellers, no real estate agents, and usually fewer time constraints.  Here is a step-by-step process of what you can expect with us — Clara — when refinancing to help you know what might be in store for you:

Step 1: Get Quotes

The first step in refinancing is to share some information so you can get more accurate quotes. With Clara, you can go online yourself or talk with one of our licensed Loan Specialists to help guide you through the process.

Step 2: Loan Estimate & Intent to Proceed

Once you apply with Clara, you’ll receive an important package called the initial disclosure package. In there, you’ll find a cost estimate for your loan. This estimate is based, in part, on the info you’ve given us – and it’s just a starting point. We require you to sign it so we can ensure you received it in a timely manner and to acknowledge that you have applied for a loan. At this time, you can also sign your Intent to Proceed, indicating that you would like to move forward. Signing the initial disclosure package is not an obligation to do the loan with us, but it is required for us to keep the process going.

Step 3: Ordering the Appraisal

The next step is for Clara to collect the initial appraisal deposit  from you and order the appraisal. The value of your home is an important part of qualifying for your loan. We will help schedule the appointment; in the meantime, make sure you’ve double-strapped your water heater, and installed smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors – these are safety precautions required by law in California.

Step 4: Locking Your Rate

After you’ve provided the initial appraisal fee payment, you’re eligible to lock your rate. Because rates fluctuate, the initial rate may have changed since your first quote – so let your Loan Specialist know when you’re ready to lock. Your Loan Specialist will update your offers and once you accept, you’ll receive a revised Loan Estimate reflecting the locked rate.

Step 5: Document Processing

Meanwhile, you’ll need to get all your docs in: tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, all that good stuff. Don’t forget to include every page of a document, even the blank ones. Incomplete documentation is a common hold-up during the loan process.

Step 6: Underwriter Review

When all your required documents are received, the Underwriter can begin verifying your information. He or she may have follow-up questions, but at Clara, we strive for this part of the process to be as simple and efficient as possible. This step ends in a decision on your loan application.

Step 7: Closing

Once your loan is conditionally approved by an Underwriter, the closing process begins. Before your signing date, we will review the finalized figures in your Closing Disclosure with you. On the day of signing, Clara may help make arrangements for you to sign the required closing documents, and your loan will receive final approval and be funded from there.

Ready to move forward with your refinance? See your personalized rate quote in 3 minutes or chat with one of our licensed Loan Specialists.

Roy Eun
Roy Eun is a licensed Loan Specialist at Clara with experience closing over 450 loans. In his spare time, you’ll find him working on his own software projects, or out on the courts playing basketball.
Want to know how much house you can buy? Calculate Home Affordability

Clara is an online lender helping individuals and families finance their lives in a more efficient, transparent and empowered way.

Learn More

The Clara Team is Now Part of SoFi

We are excited to announce that the Clara team is now part of SoFi. Three years ...
We are excited to announce that the Clara team is ...
1 min read

Questions to Ask a Home Inspector

Before you buy a home, it’s important to order a home inspection from a profes...
Before you buy a home, it’s important to order a...
4 min read

Negotiating After Home Inspections

After a home inspection, you as the buyer are in a position to think through the...
After a home inspection, you as the buyer are in a...
3 min read