It takes 24-48 hours to get a response back from a lender on your pre-approval. I have a hard lined policy that if I don't have a relationship with a buyer they will not see a home with me without being pre-approved. Now real estate is my full time business so that is my policy, but I am sure you can find agents to take you out. Do yourself and your agent a favor and get pre-approved first. Best
Sandy Kenyon, Realtor
Now, to try to help answer your question. A pre-approval letter is important for so many reasons:
1- you need to feel assured that you are comfortable and approved for the amount of purchase prior to "falling in love" with a home.
2- it is unfair to the seller to have them re-arrange their lives for showings to buyers who may not be qualified
3- Most professional real estate agents work long hours: we want to help, but what good is it for us to show you houses that you aren't sure you can buy?
I have a lot of experience in the towns you are considering. Please feel free to get in touch if you need help.
Go get your Pre Approval letter... it should only take like 20 mins over the phone or one trip into a bank. It is quick and easy (almost painless until you are going for commitment). I have a great lender that works all over the state if you need one. The bank is National City Mortgage... google them they may have a banker in your area. I LOVE them because they lend there own money and have great rates.
As for banks... if you can find a motivated "homeowner" you are better off. Banks are for cash buying investors that are prepared for the unknown. They are not motivated and will turn on you for a dime. I hate to be negative and probably half the Realtors reading this are going to be angry with me... but the truth is the truth.
Banks make it VERY difficult for you to get represented. It is all about the bank and THEIR addendum's and ways... plus they are not always under value enough to make this worth the time and frustration. The best way to hand a bank owned home is to get pre-approved for a 203K loan (3.5% down)...this way you can look at fixer-uppers and mortgage in the cost of fixing the house up so you can live in it. For this you need a property that is priced below your Pre Approval amount... so that you can mortgage the fixes...very confusing I know... that is why you find a good lender and Realtor familiar with the program to walk you through.
So unless you find a bank owned home that is WAY below market value (and they are out there)... keep and eye on the home you like, but move on and find a better valued home. Bank owned properties are price by what someone is telling them. I have one that I was after that was appraised by someone out of state... they were WAY off base with the appraisal, and we didn't get the home with a bid at current market value. I was told that the Bank was in Texas and didn't care what I said the value was. So we moved on... it is still on the market :)...
Good luck and find a Realtor that understands how the banks work and the value of a seller with equity.
Keller Williams Realty
There definitely are mortgages that can assist with repair money. However, you do need a pre-approval before you can submit an offer. So, do both, get in touch with an agent, tell him/her what you just told me and make a quick move on getting wth a mortgage broker for pre-approval. The agent you choose may well be able to offer suggestions of mortgage broker's offering these types of mortgages. Best wishes !
Just email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or want to submit your offer to the bank.
Those are great questions! You are on the right track, get a pre-approval is the first step because it tells you how much you can afford. I can't answer for other agents, but I do require buyers I work with to talk with their bank before I show them the inside of any homes. That way I don't waste the buyer's time looking at things they can't afford. Again, being unable to speak for others, I can tell you that I will help buyers look via emails at what's on the market during any step of the home buying process. As for the bank owned property, you definitely shouldn't forget it. The bank may counter offer or you may get a surprise by them accepting your offer. I do advise that you find an agent that is familiar with the process of buying bank owned properties. Good luck & I would be glad to help you in any way I can.