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Home Buying 101

Securing a Loan

See Your Lender First

So you think you’re ready to buy a home. Fabulous! What’s the first step you can take to set the wheels in motion?

Drive through several neighborhoods looking for “for sale” signs? Call a real estate agent and ask for an appointment? Decide on a color scheme for your soon-to-be family room?

Guess again. The smartest first step you can take, which will set the stage for a smooth and happy home-buying experience, is applying for a mortgage pre-approval.

You can find out approximately what you’ll qualify for right now by using this calculator. However, you’ll be more prepared by applying for a home loan before you start looking. If you think about it, most items are purchased this way. You wouldn’t shop for a new pair of shoes without cash or a credit card in your pocket, right? Then you really don’t want to look at a single house until you have the financing lined up. Here’s why:

  • When you go into the home search with a pre-approval in place, you will already have an exact figure you know you can spend. Your realtor will know you’re doing more than just looking around. You’ll be viewed as a serious shopper who’s ready for home ownership. Because of this, you’ll be treated with a little more urgency.
  • Sellers will see that you’ve already taken care of this important step, and you’ll be in a better position to negotiate a favorable price.
  • It’s important to find a lender you can trust. So when you take the initiative in securing a pre-approval on financing a home, you can better choose a lender based on the terms and conditions that are most important to you.

Once you’ve spoken with a loan officer and have received your pre-approval (pre-approvals can usually be completed within one to two business days of receiving all requested documentation), you know what your price range is. You know what the estimated monthly payments will be, and you won’t be tempted to look at something that’s beyond your budget, sidestepping a potentially problematic situation. Knowledge is power, so see your lender first. It’s the logical first step to make your home buying process a smooth one.