Home Buying in 06333>Question Details

Sally Wallson, Other/Just Looking in Groton, CT

Can I look at houses if I haven't talked with a bank yet? What is best to use, bank or mtge co?

Asked by Sally Wallson, Groton, CT Tue Feb 7, 2012

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi Sally,
Thanks for the feedback on my video.
Absolutely! You can look without talking to a lender but why would you? It literally takes 15 minutes of discussion to get qualified with an experienced loan officer. Then you do not risk getting frustrated. You know what they will lend you and now all you have to do is find a home!!
As far as who to use for lending. Direct lenders. Whether it is a bank or a mortgage company you just want to make sure that they are the ones lending you the money. This will cut out some unnecessary verification for the loan and you can have more confidence when they prequalify you because they are the ones lending the money.
When you need some help looking please give me a call or email directly. I look forward to hearing from you. Bill Heenan
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 7, 2012
Hey Sally,

You can look at any property you want, to do so just contact the listing agent and keep in mind that they work for the seller only unless you sign a contract with them. CT real estate law dictates that an agent can only show you properties where they already represent the seller until you sign a contract for representation. What is common and typical in CT is for you to hire your own agent, who can show you ANY property and works in your interests, NOT the sellers.

But more to the point is that you want to know what you can afford, I can't tell you how many clients I have worked with who started looking and found something they fell in love with, only to find out that for whatever reason they were not able to get the financing to purchase that home. I don't want that to happen to you, so please get yourself pre-qualified before you get out there, you never know when you might find that perfect home... and you want to 100% ready to go when you do.

Additionally, I always refer my clients to no less than 3 lenders, and at least one of each bank loan officer and mortgage broker. It all depends on what you value most in the relationship? No matter what option you decide to go with here are some points to consider:

It has been, in my 10 years of experience, a much better experience when the buyer works with a local lender. The problem working with someone in another state or halfway across the country is that when you really need them, or something goes wrong, or there is a time sensitive emergency... they don't respond as quickly and there is less accountability. In other words, if you were dealing with an absolute crisis, you want to be able to walk into someone's office and get help immediately.

Secondly, my personal preference in to work with mortgage brokers, they have more options than the banks, and if something happens during a deal that cause one particular lender to turn you down, they can shuffle your file over to another lender they work with to get the loan.

With a bank you have much more limited options, but the flip side is that they may have better programs and rates than some mortgage brokers, or they can give you a break on the fees to originate (or take the application and process) the loan.

If you have any more questions regarding getting started in the buying process please don't hesitate to call me.

Benjamin Shoemaker
Appraiser - Broker – Investor
President & CEO
Alpha Real Estate & Valuation LLC
Direct Cell # 860-916-7988
or email
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 7, 2012
You absolutely can look at any property! Some people just do it for fun... BUT- if you are looking at buying, then YES it is a good idea to work with a lender before or during the "looking". Working with a lender will allow you to get a firm grasp on how much house you can afford. It will also allow you to be a stronger home buyer by already getting pre-qualified. What does that mean? You find a home you REALLY like.. you submit an offer... BUT, so do other poeple. With a pre-qualification or pre-approval letter your offer may be looked at more favorably as they know you're a real buyer who will not wast everyone's time and efforts. So, often time, being pre-qualified helps you get the home you want!

If you need any assistance in what steps we take to get your pre-qualified, please contact me any time as I am licensed in CT among other states!

Scott McCauley
ph- 603-380-3798
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 7, 2012
Hi Sally,

It is my personal opinion and I advise my clients of such. It doesn't hurt to get in touch with a lender to get pre-qualified and know how much house you can afford before you begin your search. One of the reasons being.......say you find the home of your dreams, but you're only qualified for $200k and the house is $250k. You're going to be very disappointed. So try to avoid that type of disappointment ahead of time. Bank v. mortgage company...........it depends. Although, in my experience, mortgage companies seem to offer the great options as far as financing.

Also, keep in mind that if you call direct from a street sign, newspaper ad, possibly a website, that agent is representing the seller's best interest.

Best to have representation for yourself. Make sure your agent is skilled in working with buyer's also. Ask if they are an ABR (Accredited Buyer's Representative), which tells you they've taken the extra steps to get more educated in working with buyers.

Buying a home should be fun, and with the right agent it will be. Good luck!

Michelle L. Mayo, Realtor
Heritage Properties
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 7, 2012
Hi Sally,

It is best to see a mortgage broker or or lender before you shop so you know what amount of a mortgage you can qualify for. My advice would be to get a pre-approval from the lender you choose so you will be able to act quickly when you find the right property for you. A pre-approval means the lender will collect some information from you such as a few paystubs, bank account statements, possibly tax return copies etc...you will get a pre-approval from the lending institution saying you will be able to get a mortgage from them as long certain conditions are met by you and the property.

Good luck!

Betsy Purtell, Realtor
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Cheshire, CT
(203) 640-4440
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 28, 2012
Hi Sally,

Yes, you can look at homes without talking with a lender first. When you're getting ready to make an offer, though, most sellers want to see a pre-approval letter.

I've worked for both brokers and banks and both offer benefits to the consumer. One of the major benefits of working with a mortgage broker is that the broker can shop your loan with many different lenders and banks versus you going from bank to bank.

Referrals are always best, in my opinion. I suggest you ask a few friends, family members and colleagues for some recommendations.

Best wishes,

Elva Wormley
C2 Financial Corporation
(408) 615-8500
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 23, 2012
you should know what you qualify for and you should check out rates at different lending institutions. not just banks. You don't want to look at a home and find you can't aford it. Then there is such a let down. You also need to see what programs are available such as a FHA/203k which will allow you to by a home and repair it. so you may find a great home in a great location that needs work but is such a bargan that it is worth repairing. Well you need to know what to do and how much you can use to improve the home. By going to a lender you can find out your options. Very important in a buyers market you want to be in control. Some seller depending on the price of the home will require a pre-qual letter in order to let you preview the home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 23, 2012
Hello Sally,

As for the mortgage broker or bank part of your question, I would recommend a broker over bank. A broker works with several lenders and can find you the best one to fit your individualized situation.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 7, 2012
Hi Sally

Yes you can look at houses if you haven't spoken with your bank or a mortgage officer, but I wouldn't recommend it. You don't want to be disappointed by looking at homes that are 20, 30, 40K + outside what you qualify for. There are some great mortgage rates and packages available and speaking to a mortgage representative and using an experienced agent will help you become an informed buyer.

When submitting an offer, it is expected that the offer is accompanied by a letter from a reputable lending institution stating that you are pre-qualified to buy this home, your offer will be in better standing to be seriously considered by the seller, who will then have the security of knowing you have taken the necessary steps in your quest to become a home owner.

I work in the area that you appear to be interested in based on the zip code you entered, and if you would like any further assistance in your home search, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Anne Astley
Cartus Relocation Specialist
Web Reference: http://www.anneastley.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 7, 2012
Sure you can, free country, you can do whatever you want. But I would follow the advice of my Realtor, if you are not working with one that is the first step, hook up with one you trust. Second step it to get preapproved for any financing you may need, if any. Have your Realtor introduce you to the loan officer they trust the most. Gather all of the support documents that will be needed to apply for a loan and meet with the LO face-to-face, have them walk you through the process and options available, good luck, home this helps,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 7, 2012
Be aware that a mortgage pre-approval letter is required in order to determine your price range and for any offers to be taken seriously; therefore why waste your time and everyone else's for that matter, and risk disappointment if it turns out the property is not within your budget.....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 7, 2012
Hello Sally,

You absolutely can. The only setback to that is not knowing what price and tax range you are qualified to shop in. Having a pre qualification will take that sometimes disappointment out of the equation. If you surely know that you qualify and will get approved at a certain amount or are a cash buyer then go for it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 7, 2012
You can but why not know for sure before you waste anyone's time guessing? Just call and do a prequal over the phone with a lender?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 7, 2012
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