Home Buying in Oakland>Question Details

Trulia Oakla…, Home Buyer in Oakland, CA

Should first-time homebuyers work with their bank or agent first?

Asked by Trulia Oakland, Oakland, CA Tue May 14, 2013

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As a lender and former Real Estate Broker I have heard this question a million times over the course of my career. You definitely need to speak with a Lender and be Pre-Approved not just Pre-Qualified. As a Lender, I advise people to start speaking with a Lender 6 months to a year before the time when they expect to be fully in the market that way the Buyer may address any issues that may come up and have time to correct those items. Also, Buyers need to be made aware of how they need to handle deposits into their bank accounts, how to properly source their funds for their down payment and if all this is left to the last minute then the Buyer may not be ready to purchase as quickly as they expected to.

A good Lender will Pre-Qualify you, a Great Lender will Pre-Approve you which means collect your documentation and actually have an automated approval and a underwriting review.

If you start 6 months early then you also have the time to interview a couple of Realtors to see if you are a match. Realtors do not want to waste their time with "looky loos" but if they are a serious Buyer then most Realtors will be all in. How do you prove that you are not a looky loo? Be honest and upfront with your Realtor. Mention to your Realtor that you are already working with a Lender and what your timeline is. There is nothing wrong with interviewing your Realtors and Lenders. The biggest names do not always translate to the best service. Hire a Realtor that is familiar to the local area where you are searching. A Great Realtor will be upfront, truthful and hard working for you. Be loyal to your Realtor once you have established a relationship. If you cannot establish a good working relationship then advise your Realtor of this and choose a new Realtor, just don't be playing games. Realtors & Lenders get so discouraged by Buyers who act like a see saw. You like loyalty, give some back. It will make your transaction flow a lot smoother.

Should you need a Great Lender, feel free to contact me at the information below.


Eddie W. de Leon
Senior Loan Officer
949-777-2109 - Direct
951-210-2101 - Cell/Text
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 14, 2013
I like to make correction in the sentence "Like I said before I have been a real estate broker", I meant " Like I said above, I have been a real estate broker..."
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 14, 2013
Either you are a 1st time buyer or just the buyer, you have to speak to the mortgage professional first, not necessary to your bank. In today's market mortgage brokers and small bankers are much more effective in terms the pricing and service than major banks and can save you thousands and thousands of dollars in obtaining of your financing. But in order to compare the loan programs you have to find a mortgage professional who will be able to educate you about mortgage business first, and than qualify and provide you with the best terms of real estate financing available. Also, based on your qualifications he (she) should be able to establish the purchase price for your new home.

Some people hesitate to trust their information to the companies they don't know. Being in mortgage lending since 1986, I established very simple criteria how to find a right mortgage professional. It includes two major basics:

1. Proper licensing - in California go to http://www.dre.ca.gov. More to it, according to a new federal regulations enacted in 2010 all residential Loan Officers must have NMLS Number, federal license/ endorsement to their DRE license. In order to obtain this license you have to pass two exams: national and state. Apparently not everyone could do it, number of loan officers in California alone went down from a few hundred thousands to a few thousands.
2. References - real people, realtors, buyers, sellers, people you can talk about this particular loan officer and mortgage company, and possibly mortgage business as well.

Like I said before I have been a real estate broker and a mortgage lender since 1986. I don't need to see your personal information to talk to you about mortgages. To see our company references and our rates please visit our website http://www.calsunmortgage.com, or e-mail me directly:
mi91356@gmail.com. I am president and owner of CalSun Mortgage.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 14, 2013
Why do you think that First-Time buyers would be treated any different?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 14, 2013
One of the first things you should do is talk to friends and family who have bought a home in the area, and ask them if they liked their lender and real estate agent, and would they recommend them.
You can do all the research you want, but there is nothing like a recommendation from someone you trust.

Good Luck, it has been a crazy market this year, but the reward of finding and buying your first home is an amazing thing.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 14, 2013
I've dealt with first time home buyers both ways. If a buyer goes to a bank first, they can get prequalified for loan so they know how much they can afford. If they go to an agent first, they can see what homes are available in the area and the agent can give a list of mortgage lenders / banks in the area that the buyer may not be aware of. Either way, in my opinion, is acceptable.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 14, 2013
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