Home Buying in 60638>Question Details

Kim, Home Buyer in Chicago Lawn, Chicago,...

I want to be pre-approved before finding an agent to show me condos.

Asked by Kim, Chicago Lawn, Chicago, IL Mon Jan 23, 2012

I am interested in buying a condo but I want to be pre-approved before finding an agent to show me places. Is this a smart idea and where do I start loan process? How do I know the best lender to go with? My bank is Chase, do I go to them? Who do I start with? My credit score is excellent (lowest 748 and highest 788), with a bankruptcy 7 years ago and my debt will be $0 by the time I am ready to buy so I am confident the credit check with be somewhat painless. I've been cleaning up my credit record for the past 6 months and nothing negative shows, with the exception of the bankruptcy, which is technically a bad mark.

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Wow, you are on the ball! Sounds like you're in great shape and are thinking ahead and taking all of the right steps. It is best to get pre-approved with a direct lender initially (e.g. a bank such as BofA, Chase, etc), and later on, once you have found a property you are interested in, you can shop the rates around to other lenders too. It isn't too soon to get in touch with an agent though too - a good agent will have reliable lenders to refer you to, to get the process started.

Good luck in your home search!

Richard Schulman
Keller Williams Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 18, 2012
Being pre-approved first is the best way to shop for a home. I have worked with many clients that look for a home first before coming to me, and they always ended disappointed one way or another. All the best real estate agents I work with have me pre-approve their clients first.

It sounds like you have done a great job of reestablishing credit. The minimum amount of time from bankruptcy discharge until you will be able to buy again is 1 year for Chapter 13, 2 years for Chapter 7, and 3 years after a foreclosure/short sale. It doesn't sound like your bankruptcy will be an issue.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 18, 2012

Sounds like you're doing the right thing getting approved, but I wanted to chime in (even though I missed your question first time around) and let you know that even though the BK is 7 years past, it's important that you've re-established your credit by building at least three tradelines that have at least a year of on-time payments.

If you haven't already found someone, I'd be happy to take a look for you.

Matt Bukovy
Senior Mortgage Consultant
Wintrust Mortgage
Web Reference: http://www.mattbukovy.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 18, 2012
Getting pre-approved is a great idea to start the home searching process. It gives you peace of mind and comfort to truly understand how much you can budget for your home sale process.

I actually have a connection at Chase, located in Chicago. His name is Henry Gomez, is a loan origination officer and deals with first time or new to the area buyers.

His contact info is 312-437-0608 and again his name is Henry Gomez. If you reach him, tell him Danny Lewis sent you.

Best of luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 30, 2012
Kim, I would advise speaking with a Loan Officer at your local Chase branch. As a current customer, Chase offers certain exclusive programs that allow you to save money in different ways (rates, cash back, closing costs, etc.) on your home purchase. The most important factor in choosing a lender though, is working with a Loan Officer that you trust. I recommend speaking to a few different lenders to see what each one has to offer. Competitive rates and the cost of that loan are an important factor. Just as important though, is the quality of information and guidance that you receive. As a first-time buyer, you need someone to advise you on every aspect of the home buying process. Make sure that lender is honest and transparent. Ask good questions, and don't be afraid to ask why you should work with them.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 24, 2012
Kim: Congratulations on your decisions to buy a home ... and perhaps even more importantly, repair your credit. Wise decision!
There is no set answer as to the "best" mortgage lender to go to. That is a personal decision you have to make after speaking to lenders that have been referred to you or that you have discovered via your own investigating. Finding a reputable mortgage lender that is a good "fit" for you and that you will be comfortable working with is important. You'll know when you've found the right one and your search will have been worth the effort.
That said ... try to get referrals. Speak to others that have purchased or sold a home recently. Talk to your insurance agent, lawyers, home inspectors, etc. that you may know and see who they would refer to you. Go online. Check-out their websites, blogs, and more to see how you view their services and personalities. Contact those that you think showcase themselves and their services favorably. Ask questions. Make comparisons. Again, you'll know when you have found the right lender to work with during your condo purchase.
Should you be purchasing a condo in the Chicagoland area, I would add this ... work with an agent and a mortgage lender that is experienced in recent condo transactions. Also .. working with professionals that have expertise in FHA condo transactions and approvals might be of great assistance to you during your purchase ... so ask that very important question upfront when making your decision. If you have other questions, please feel free to ask here ... or contact me. I will be happy to assist you with all your questions.
I hope we'll be speaking, but Best of Luck to you no matter your decision and with your upcoming condo purchase.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 24, 2012
You are smart to speak to a loan officer before looking at condos. You may not want to stick with Chase because their rates are not always the best. If you choose a local mortgage banker the are most likely correspondent lenders with a variety of banks, and can get you the best deal on your particular situation. If the bankruptcy was 7 years ago, it should not be a problem. As far as any debt goes, debt is not necessarily a bad thing. If you are paying on-time, they will really like to see that. As long as you can carry the minimum payment in your debt ratio, then you are fine with it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 23, 2012
Kim, yes getting pre-approved before you start shopping for a home is the right way to do it. That way you know how much you can afford, what loan programs are available to you, what you would have to put down and what closing costs you can expect.

Here are some more details about the Pre-approval process so you know what to look for: http://www.trulia.com/blog/elliott_r_oliva/2011/12/pre-apppr…

You definitely want to get in touch with a realtor now so you can start asking questions about the areas you are interested and what to expect from them throughout the process. Although you bank with Chase I would recommend you go with a licensed loan officer from a reputable mortgage bank or mortgage broker. I have nothing against Chase and have friends that work there but a big name does not mean big results. The bigger banks tend to move a lot slower and I am telling you that because of the feedback I get from clients and realtors alike.

When you find a realtor you like, ask her/him to recommend you to a few lenders that they have worked with who are licensed loan originators.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 23, 2012
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