If you ask Kaitlin and Joey Riceputo how they ended up in their three bedroom, two bath, one-story home, you'd better have a lot of time.
"We were going to find something quickly, we were going to get a steal. We learned that was not true," said Kaitlin Riceputo.
Married in 2009, they rented while they searched.
Walk-throughs, paperwork and negotiating led them to three separate dream homes.
But each was stolen away by cash-buyers who didn't need to win the trust of a lender.
"They'd have a cash offer, and that would be that," said Joey Riceputo.
But in December, they made an offer on a house off of Northlake Blvd.
They were practically measuring the drapes when the bank called.
Stellar credit and steady work was not enough to get an agreement.
"The bank wanted their tax returns and an explanation of something on their tax return," said their realtor, Bob Grave of Illustrated Properties, who is also Kaitlyn Riceputo's father.
"It pushed us back a couple of weeks. We wanted to have Christmas here," said Joey Riceputo.
Why are banks being so careful?
"They're scared. Look at all the foreclosures we have here," said Polyana da Costa, a mortgage reporter at Bankrate.com.
Da Costa says lenders that follow tighter post-collapse guidelines from the Federal Housing Administration win two benefits:
-The FHA will insure their loan
-The bank can sell the loan to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
"Very few lenders are going to want to take the risk of holding loans in their books right now," said da Costa.
Da Costa says lenders will ask for tax returns, pay stubs and for minimum credit scores; anything to determine whether a first-time buyer is a worthy risk.
The Riceputos say the bank was smart to invest in them, and that they were smart to invest in a home.
"We really wanted something that we could call our own, come in and really feel like this is where we belong," said Kaitlyn Riceputo.
There are some tips that realtors and mortgage experts have:
1. Get pre-approved
2. Have ALL your paperwork so that when a lender asks for more information, you don't waste time where a competitor can swoop in
3. Be flexible with time-frame
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Click here to see the latest mugshots in Palm Beach County
Click here to see the latest mugshots in St. Lucie County.
Celebrities who died too young include Whitney, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Tupac, and Phil Hartman.
Recent Special Reports
Special Report: The Scripps News investigative team uncovered 170,000 records containing personal information like social security numbers and birth dates posted online.