Your first step should be to contact a REALTOR. As some of the other REALTORS have mentioned, we have a list of Mortgage Brokers that we can refer you to (or you can choose someone that you have experience with) and then we can guide you step-by-step through the process from there.
I would love to help you begin your process. Please check out me Blog site http://mika-realestatechat.blogspot.com to get a little info about me and feel free to contact me anytime!!
Mika D. Lisiewski
Century 21 Alliance
630 Germantown Pike
Lafayette Hill, PA 19444
office: 610-828-2700 ext.275
Licensed in PA RS308999
If you were buying a car, would your first step be to walk into a dealer's showroom? Or to apply with your credit union or bank? Of course not. Your first step would be to decide what sort of car you were looking for--a sedan, an SUV, etc. How many people should it be able to transport (large family? just you?). In other words, you'd figure out what you needed and wanted.
If you were going on a vacation, would your first step be to walk into the airport to buy a ticket? Of course not. Your first step would be to decide where you wanted to go. Beach or mountains? United States or overseas? Active or relaxing vacation? A quick 3-day getaway or a longer 2-week vacation? After you'd narrowed it down a bit, then you might do some research--online, or go into a travel agent, etc.
So your first step in buying a house should not be either of the two steps you're considering. It ought to be figuring out what you want. General location. Size. Any particular features you want. Anything you really don't want. Urban, suburban, or rural? And so on. Now, it's true that what you want may not be what you can afford. Just as someone might want a 2-week vacation , but only can afford a 1-week vacation. But that's OK. You need to start somewhere.
Besides, the first question a Realtor will ask might be: "What are you looking for?" You might as well have thought it through first.
So, once you've made a list of what you want and what you don't want, do you then find a Realtor or a lender? My personal suggestion would be: a Realtor, who (based on your needs and interests) probably can refer you to one that can best help you. But, as you can see from the answers here, a good case can also be made for finding a lender first.
In either case though, the first step is determining what you want. Then come the Realtor and the lender.
Hope that helps.
I would suggest you figure out what payment you can comfortably afford each month. How much do you have as a down payment. What does your credit look like.
For free you can get a free credit score
Get your free credit report
If your credit score is 749 or higher you will get the lowest possible interest rate on your mortgage. If your credit score is 500-600 you many qualify for a mortgage but you will pay a lot higher interest rate on your mortgage payment for having less-than-perfect credit.
I hope this helps! Good luck
It is always a good choice to talk to a REALTOR and interview them to see if you are a good match. The agent you decide to work with will assist you in getting a pre-approval and discuss all your available options.
Buyer Protection Plan- If you are unhappy with your
house purchase for any reason, I'll sell it for free.*
Peter Lavelle, GRI
Citizens Premier Real Estate Fox Chase
I will explain what happens with different people at thevery begining of the process and then you can decide for yourself.
Some people, when they decide that they would like to buy a home, are certain that their credit must be good. Either they just ran their credit for a car loan or credit card and were told that they have good credit, or they know that they've never been late on a payment, have no outstanding collections or judgements and have a few positive tradelines.
They also know, based on their income how much of a home they can afford by using standard mortgage calculators available online.
For these people, it might be better to call an agent to explain to them that while they would gladly go get pre-approved by a lender, they want to make sure the price range or type of home they are looking for is available.
Some people have no idea what they are looking like in the credit department or are very "suspicious" about their credit. They might not be sure how their income would work ( maybe they are self employed, etc). For them it is highly recommended to go to a loan officer first.
To give you two extreme examples: An attorney with a$4,000 a week paycheck who never missed a payment his life, will go to an agent first, while a waitress who gets a paycheck for $1,000 a week and receives anywhere between $200 and $2,000 in tips, might want to see a loan officer first.
It is very much not a clear cut decision and in fact a loan officer might want to hear from a Realtor what they think the taxes might on the home might run (it makes a difference for the preapproval) and the Realtor woud have a few questions for the loan officer.
What I would suggest is, that if you are uncertain, then you should probably call a loan officer first. You will get a clear picture of if and how much you will qualify for.
It is very common that people call a loan officer without having a clue in the world about the process. It is the loan officers job to prepare the client to speak to a Realtor. Someone who is clueless about the process will be wasting theirs and the Realtors time by going to the Realtor first because the Realtor won't know what to show them and if they would even qualify for a home at all.
Hope this was helpful.
The Top 2 are:
1) Find a Realtor
2) Find a Mortgage Broker/Bank
A Realtor can help you find a mortgage broker (vice verse) but it is always best to get a preapproval before you go house hunting.
Preapproval is a great first step. You can either do this directly with a lender or as Mike stated most Realtors will have referrals to reputable lenders you can use to shop for a good loan. I have used Dan Avanzato at Norstar Mortgage many times and find him very competitive and straighforward. If I can help please let me know.