I strongly believe that you should first choose a knowledgable REALTOR to be your partner in the home buying process. Then be prepared to spend the time needed for YOUR REALTOR to explain the Home Buying Process to the extend needed for you to be comfortable. Typically this is a 1 to 2 hour meeting depending on how much you wish to know.
Now it's time to start the loan process. A competent REALTOR will be able to explain how to make sure you get the best possible loan from wherever that may be found. This requires a knowledge of the many First Time Buyer programs offered by most Cities and Counties, plus State and Federal government programs. He/she will then help you find a mortgage professional able to combine these programs with the standard Bank offerings.
Now you have your Team in place and can begin the search for your new home armed with the knowledge and support needed to ensure the best possible result.
Good luck, Bill
Start with a good Realtor. Talk to friends, family, church members â€“ anyone you trust. Ask them for references. Interview three Realtors and then choose the one you feel is the best for you. Make sure they listen carefully, are attentive to your needs and can demonstrate that they are proficient at their job.
Once you have located a competent Realtor, they will walk you through ALL the necessary steps from beginning to end. They will connect you with lenders they trust and other service providers you will need along the way. Theyâ€™ll also hand you the keys at the end of the process and welcome you home!
First go to your bank and speak to a person in the home loan department. They will ask you a lot of questions, and they will look at your income to see what you can afford to buy. Once you have that information, you can speak to a Real Estate Agent about exactly what type of home you would like to purchase. Your Agent will help you with everything.
If you do not know where to start... look on the site in the area you are intersted for a qualified local Realtor.. they can guide you through the process of searching for homes, getting a R.E. atty, a pre-approval etc. There is too much for anyone to post on a message board to help you protect the largest investment most people ever make... Getting a buyer agent does not cost you anything, and it will save you countless dollars, time and heartache.
How do you find that loan officer? That is tough, as I've read here at Trulia and everywhere else, a lot of people have problems qualifying for the loan after they've been pre-approved, or just are generally confused about the process, even at the closing table (real estate agents & loan officers at fault).
I suggest explore at least 3 options, and preferably at least 1 mortgage broker, 1 mortgage loan officer who works for a bank, and also one that would work at a smaller direct mortgage lender (not a broker, and not a bank, just a mortgage lender who arranges loans and sells them afterwards - usually to the banks)... it wouldn't be a bad idea if you had the time to interview up to 6. That way you can get a feel for how each does business, because not every mortgage broker is the same as another mortgage broker, etc.
You'll want to ask what the pre-approval process entails and how long it takes. Will the underwriter who will be allowing your loan to close be the person reviewing your file as part of that process? Will it just be the loan officer reviewing your information? Will they even ask you for documentation?
You'll also want to ask what types of programs they offer, and once your documentation has been thoroughly examined you'd want to get what options would then apply to you, as well as ask what your loan officer thinks would be the best loan program for your situation. Ask about the other program that would be 2nd best (as if the first one didn't exist), so you can realize why the loan you are being suggested would be the best.
You'll want to ask what type of fees & costs you could expect to incur along the way (credit report, earnest money deposit, home inspection, appraisal fee, lender & 3rd party closing costs, etc.), how much those costs are estimated to be, and when they are expected to be paid (at the time the service is performed, at closing, etc). You'll want to ask how much of a down payment you'll need, and if you have to provide it or if a family member or relative can gift it to you. You'll want to know how much extra money you would need to have beyond those costs & down payment, which are called "reserves" (ie. 2 months of reserves = 2 times your proposed housing payment), some programs don't need them but a lot do. You should also consider yourself how much you want to have on hand after you close on the home, it will vary depending on your comfort level but personally I feel at least 6 times the proposed housing payment is a safe plan.
You'll also want to ask what type of loan terms can they offer you if you were to lock in your interest rate today (you should ask all lenders you are considering this question on the same day so you can have an exact comparison, as interest rates fluctuate day-to-date and even can be intraday).
You should also ask when & how they will be available - are you someone who likes to discuss things after the normal work hours on the phone? In person on a Saturday? Through email? Someone where or not where you live?
There are more variables to think of, some will have greater importance to you and others will not, however I truly believe that you will have a feeling of pure comfort inside of you when you have found the loan officer who will be the perfect fit. You will leave the conversation having a full understanding of the road ahead and what is expected of you, as well as you'll feel the loan officer has left no stone unturned when going over your situation, listening to and addressing your needs.
Select one of the REALTORS to act as your buyer's agent..
The REALTOR that you select to act as your buyer's agent will recommend one or more lenders or mortgage brokers who will get you the best interst rates, the best service and who will preapprove you for financing.
Real Estate Broker/REALTOR
Cell Phone: (408)509-6218
Email Address: email@example.com
Best of luck!
I suggest you sit down with a local qualified real estate agent/broker and let them consult you on what you can do and what each step is.
All the best to you.