As far as financing, it's a good idea to get 3 different opinions. I suggest BofA, Wells Fargo and Wachovia. You either go through a broker or directly with one of these finance institutions. By going with a broker keep in mind you will be paying a broker fee + loan origination charge (most cases)
Choosing the right property, ones you have your max pre-approved purchase price, then you can make educated shopping for homes. They might be bank owned, but you might find just as a good of a deal with a regular sale - the key is to do an extensive seach, the right way! In a regular sale (like mentioned below) you have the advantage of being able to get credits for your closing costs (more easily) for inspections, etc.
Finally, to choose the right agent. My top #1 recommendation is to choose the agent that will have excellent and prompt communication, that is accessible, and that works for a leading RE company. Lastly, see if they have any professional real estate designations, such as:
GRI (Graduate, REALTOR Institute) edesignations.com | CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) crs.com
Best of luck Ivon!!
You have been given excellent answers, if you follow these suggestions you will be in good shape.
You said that you were given a pre-approval from BofA, were you satisfied with the rates and did the amount that you were approved for match your expectations? If not, be sure to do some additional shopping around. I would be glad to suggest George Pires of Princeton Capital, his phone number is (408) 355-2105.
With the Realtor that you choose, you must give him your list of items that are most important to you.
Is it a condo, townhome or single family home? Is it the neighborhood that you want to live in? Is it 2 or 3 bedrooms and 1 or 2 bathrooms? What features in a home are important to you?
Those are some of the big questions to ask when looking for the right place to purchase, best of luck!
2. If you have only talked with one single bank you not aware most of the mortgage options available most of which that bank does not offer.
3. There is no relevant difference dealing with bank owned properties versus any other property for sale.
4. You can go to the Department of Real Estate web site to see if a particular agent or broker has any negatives on there record. As most problems are resolved off the record this is of dubious value.
5. You should consider interviewing a few agent/brokers in order to make up your own mind as to compatibility and ability to answer your questions.
6. Yes, you do need an agent/broker. A mortgage "specialist" need know nothing about Real Estate. A real estate agent /broker who is a CMPS Graduate (Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist )is a strong candidate for your considersation. Check out http://www.cmpsinstitute.org/public/why_you_need for further info.
FYI, the difference between an Agent and a Broker is a matter of further education and a higher level of legal accountability to you.
Hope this helps,
Mike gave you the web site to find out if an agent has any complaints against them. Best way is to ask for referrals from friends, family, and colleagues and then sit down with the agent to see if it is a good fit. The agent might be the best in the land and not be the right fit as you get to know them through the interview. Find the right combination of experience and style to solidify the best working relationship.
You say you are looking for a deal and I would challenge you to say that not all deals are found in foreclosures. Few foreclosures will do what a seller with equity will do. Sellers with equity can pay closing costs, can pay and complete inspections, can complete repairs at buyer's cost, and actually know more about the home and neighborhood. Some sellers are even willing to carry back the loan for you. Banks don't do inspections, rarely pay for repairs, rarely pay for closing costs, and know nothing about the house or neighborhood. I am not saying don't buy a foreclosure but to investigate all options to find the right deal for you. I believe if you have a good agent, you can find and negotiate the deal whether or not it is a foreclosure or not.
Good luck Ivon.
you are doing the right thing in questioning the people you are interviewing for the job. Ok first it is ok to ask the agent for a list of references. Ask them why you should pick them as your agent. The you can go to the DRE website to check on any complaints filed about that agent. Most agents work for a broker, but when you check on the webiste it will tell that infomation go to http://www.dre.ca.gov/gen_lic_info.html
good luck and all the best