(1) do a self-assessment of your financial situation, (2) discuss your loan options with a mortgage professional and get pre-approved for a home loan, and (3) start looking for homes with the help of a real estate agent.
You could start with a realtor, but the first thing the agent will ask is if you've been pre-approved. This is understandable: a real estate agent spends a lot of time searching for properties and driving you around to see them. The last thing they want to do is spend hours showing you homes outside your home affordability range.
So how can you best accomplish the first two steps before talking to a realtor? Check out MortgageHippo (mortgagehippo.com), a great online tool we built to help home buyers, especially first-timers, understand the mortgage process and evaluate loan options.
Most borrowers go into the mortgage process not knowing what to expect – What can I qualify for? How much can I expect to pay? How much can I afford? MortgageHippo guides you through the process so you know what you can afford, what's needed to be approved, and what steps are next. Your realtor will love you :)
First, we assess your personal situation through a series of questions, all done online and anonymously, to help determine your personal needs, preferences, and risk tolerance.
Next, we get quotes from multiple lenders based on these needs (commercial banks and direct mortgage lenders like QuickenLoans are each tied to one lender – themselves – leaving you no option for comparison shopping).
Our proprietary loan scoring system (HippoScore) then matches users with home loans based on compatibility, affordability, and safety, making it easy to evaluate multiple options.
Finally, you are given access to a personalized mortgage application portal that keeps the entire mortgage process running smoothly and facilitates communication with our live mortgage guides. You can even invite your realtor to see certain parts of your profile so they can get started looking for homes.
If you're comfortable using online services like TurboTax and Mint.com and are a first-time home buyer, this might be a great service to get started with. Let us know how we can help – we welcome it!
Call me and I will share a recent seminar we just had.
Our recommendation on this topic is always to begin the buying process at home. Meaning that one should always have a grip on their personal finances before considering purchasing property. We feel that the very first objective should be to review your monthly budget accounting for all income and expenditures. This will help prepare you for the next step....meeting with a mortgage consultant to get pre-approved for financing.
Once you have audited you finances and be pre-approved you will be equipped to work with a local real estate professional that can support your specific needs. We recommend investing some time in clarifying what you want and don't want in your future home prior to meeting with an agent. The buying process can be a give-and-take experience that usually requires people to set aside some expectations to be able to achieve success....realizing the perfect location is one that often exists only in ones mind.
I hope you find this information helpful.
First step is to get pre-approved if you're not going to pay all cash. This allows you to know your price range. You will need to know this before hiring a Reator - the Realtor will need to know what your price range is so they will know what properties to show you.
Best of luck, and if I can assist you in your search, please let me know.
Myke Triebold, gRI, ABR, LMC, SFR
If you have any questions, please contact me at 302-981-6585 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit my website at http://www.LookForMyHomeToday.com
I agree with those who say get pre-approved first with a lender, and with Bill who said gather up your financial information first.
I also agree with Tom in Jupiter, who said DO NOT call the listing agent on the sign in front of a home, and for the reason he stated " their initial relationship with the seller will prevent you from working out the best deal" for you.
Below is a link that will expand on what is known as "Agency" in Florida. Please take a look at the video links on that page, and the definitions of "agency".
Finally, I am a true "Buyer's Broker". No one in my brokerage takes listings, We only work with buyers. And I work right here on the Emerald Coast, and of coarse I would love to work with you!
Exclusive Buyer's Broker
KLW Properties LLC
Fort Walton BEach, FL 32548
I feel you are almost always better off starting with the selection of a real estate professional as they will have some very good suggestions of lenders who are outstanding to deal with and can provide you the best service and lowest costs. I would liken it to picking out parts for a automobile repair before deciding on who will do the repairs.
The very best thing that you can do is find a professional Realtor@ to represent you and there are a few things I would tell you. First is to not sign a buyer's broker agreement with anyone. This is a form an agent will use to tie you up and ensure any transaction you make will only be through them. Find an agent who is happy to perform their services with the knowledge that if they do not properly meet your expectations they will lose your business. â€¨â€¨
Second, never call a listing agent about a home they have listed as their initial relationship with the seller will prevent you from working out the best deal. â€¨â€¨Finally, I would recommend that you interview at least three qualified agents in your area to assist you and select one who you feel will have your best interests as their primary goal. Always get names of at least three clients they have found homes for over the past few months.
I work mainly as a buyers agent throughout Palm Beach and Martin Counties and certainly would be honored to be included on the list of agents you may choose to interview if your search brings you in this direction. If you would like to further discuss your particular needs please feel free to contact me at your convenience and I would be very honored to be of service to you and your family. The very best of luck and if I can offer anything additional please let me know.
Always at Your Service,
Tom Priester e-PRO
"Results Driven Real Estate"
Keller Williams Realty
There are 2 ways to approach this.
Option 1-Contact a lender and get started on a preapproval. The process should take you approximately 24-48 hours (if you are working with a local, reputable lender) and then you will have a good idea of what price range you should be looking in. Also, having a preapproval shows Sellers that you are financially sound and serious about entering into a contract on their property.
Option 2-Contact a Realtor and discuss with them your target price range, criteria, etc. A good Realtor will be able to refer you to a lender that specializes in the type of loan that would be best suited for your purchase, or you are welcome to use the lender from your bank of choice. Either way, the combination of your Realtor and your lender working together should guide you thru the process and make it as seamless as possible.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me. I am very familiar with FWB and all areas surrounding Elgin/Hurlburt Field. Have a great day!
Comparing rates and fees is generally a good idea, if your credit is pulled around the same time by different lenders it will only count as one inquiry.
You also want to sit down and take a close look at your budget - your comfort level (the amount you can comfortably spend each month on your mortgage payment while still maintaining your current life style) can be very different from your loan approval! Understanding your wants and needs is the next big step on your home buying journey. Your Realtor can also offer some guidance in that respect.
Buying your first home is such an exciting time! I wish you all the best!