Home Buying in Ypsilanti>Question Details

Jon, Other/Just Looking in 48198

Should I find a buyers agent 1st and ask them for a broker referral, or get approved before I find an agent?

Asked by Jon, 48198 Wed Apr 16, 2008

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Hello, Jon!

I would strongly advise you align yourself with a solid Buyer's Agent ... someone you are confident can do a great job for you. That individual will surely be aligned with mortgage brokers capable of getting you pre-approved. The two processes should occur simultaneously, but get connected with a Buyer's Agent first.

9+ times out of 10, good Agents will be aligned with good Mortgage professionals.

Best of luck! It's a great time to buy and you are making a very wise decision...
Web Reference: http://www.DoorToDreams.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 16, 2008
Oft times a good buyer's agent will have a lot of mortgage broker's as resources, and can send you in the right direction. Ask buyer's agents if they have a lot of mortgage resources at their fingertips, as part of your interviewing process.

It's always nice to have a mortgage broker who's worked with your realtor before, and they work well together.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 16, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
Hi Jon,
You can do it either way. Some agents prefer that you get the pre-approval first, while others will meet with you and educate you a bit on the process and give you some lender referrals. If you are a first-time buyer, it might be a good idea to start with the Realtor. In this way you can be guided and given some referrals to a few good lenders. A pre-approval from a lender is usually good for 90 days, and you won't want the lender to pull your credit unless you are serious. In all fairness to you, you will want to know what price range you should be looking in before you spend a lot of time looking at houses and then find and fall in love with one only to find out that you can't afford it! This can be discouraging and frustrating. Sooooooooo, I suggest you meet with a Realtor, discuss your needs, learn about the process ......... decide if you want to be a purchaser right now ........... and, if so, get the lender referrals, get a pre-approval letter (because you can't make an offer without one) and get out there. This is a GREAT time to buy. Prices are low, there are lots of choices, and interest rates are at their lowest in 4 years (though they are creeping up right now).
Web Reference: http://ReneeBadall.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 19, 2008
This should depend on your timeline for purchase. Loans are changing rapidly right now and many people are not closing on homes causing realtors to put more emphasis on pre-approval. You should be able to come close to estimating your price range (especially with the help of an agent) and get an idea of what homes you are interested in. Then you should take at least as much time choosing a lender as you did a realtor. Then, I wouldn't get an approval unless I though I would make an offer in the very near future (1-4 weeks for me personally.) As a side note to you, a pre-approval guides you on the bank will loan you. This should only be one factor in what you can afford. The massive number of forclosures right now support the claim that many people can't always afford a home just because the bank approved them for it. Discuss with a financial planner how much You are comfortable spending.
As a side not to the forum, who thumbs downed Gary Smith. That was top notch advice on what order to procede in and could save Jon (and his agent) time and money. (I've never met, nor communicated with Gary, and if you read both our posts you'll find I disagree slightly with him. I'm just saddened by the fact that he was treated poorly for helping.)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 17, 2008
You're most welcome, Jon! If you need anything, please don't hesitate to contact me. You can visit http://www.DoorToDreams.com for more where there is a host of information on Purchasing...

Derek Bauer, Associate Broker
Real Estate One
Web Reference: http://www.DoorToDreams.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 16, 2008
Hello Jon,
Great question! Before I would do anything, I would consider your future plans. Are you moving locally or are you transferring to another city or state? Can I afford to purchase what I want in a house? Are you going to have enough money and credit to get the type of loan you need? Once I have an idea that I can afford to make the move I would begin my search for a Realtor to sell your existing home. I would ask neighbors, friends and relatives from the general area you currently live asking them who they would suggest and why. Next, I would suggest you decide what is most important to you. Do you need to sell quickly? Do you want someone to manage the transaction? Do you want allot of feedback? Is experience important to you? If you ask questions that fit your needs, you will quickly see the type of agent you are dealing with and if they are a "fit" for you.

Once you complete that task, I would suggest that you investigate the areas you are interested in moving to. Once you begin to get an idea of where, when and how you are moving I suggest you begin your Buyer’s Agent Realtor search. If your present agent has experience, they usually can assist you with local purchase however if your move will take out of the area I would suggest a couple of ideas. You ask your contacts at your new location for who they would suggest and interview their suggestions. Your local agent may also be a great source too. The agent who is selling your home often knows your needs, wants and personality better anyone else working with you. Your agent can research and interview agents based on your needs. Among their sources is the affiliation network with some of the advanced real estate designations. I am personally a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS). Only 4% of Realtors have the experience and additional education required to hold this designation so they are one of the best places to start. The agent you use is going to be your source for so much information beyond your housing needs. It is important to choose someone who really wants to help you through this often stressful experience. I wish you well in your move.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 16, 2008
In my opinion, really either way is fine, as long as you get pre-approved early in the process. This will avoid heartache if you start looking in one price point only to discover later that you can only afford a less expensive house.
While I often refer my clients to lenders that I've worked with in the past, and prefer to do that, I always suggest that my buyers ask their friends and family for referrals too, and to go with the lender that offers the service level and program they're comfortable with. This can easily be determined by "interviewing" the mortgage broker over the phone. A good lender will patiently answer all your questions, and have several of their own.
Happy house hunting!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 16, 2008
Hi Jon - My advice would be to find a buyers agent in your area first. You can visit http://www.rebac.net to find and ABR in your area. The buyers agent you find should be able to suggest a few good lenders based on your specific circumstances. Some lenders are better with certain peoples situations than others. In case you don't get approved now you will have a good contact in your ABR to keep in touch with you in case anything changes in your situation. It never hurts to know a good Realtor who understands their market well. Good luck!
Web Reference: http://www.sonyaloose.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 16, 2008

Here are the steps povided by the National Association of Realtors(R) If you do them all, you greatly increase your chances of being successful. There are sample forms on the website below. Failing to review forms can cost you thousands in a home purchase.

1. Decide what you can afford. Generally, you can afford a home equal in value to between two and three times your gross income.

2. Develop your home wish list. Then, prioritize the features on your list.

3. Select where you want to live. Compile a list of three or four neighborhoods you’d like to live in, taking into account items such as schools, recreational facilities, area expansion plans, and safety.

4. Start saving. Do you have enough money saved to qualify for a mortgage and cover your down payment? Ideally, you should have 20 percent of the purchase price saved as a down payment. Also, don’t forget to factor in closing costs. Closing costs — including taxes, attorney’s fee, and transfer fees — average between 2 and 7 percent of the home price.

5. Get your credit in order. Obtain a copy of your credit report to make sure it is accurate and to correct any errors immediately. A credit report provides a history of your credit, bad debts, and any late payments.

6. Determine your mortgage qualifications. How large of mortgage do you qualify for? Also, explore different loan options — such as 30-year or 15-year fixed mortgages or ARMs — and decide what’s best for you.

7. Get preapproved. Organize all the documentation a lender will need to preapprove you for a loan. You might need W-2 forms, copies of at least one pay stub, account numbers, and copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements.
8. Weigh other sources of help with a down payment. Do you qualify for any special mortgage or down payment assistance programs? Check with your state and local government on down payment assistance programs for first-time buyers. Or, if you have an IRA account, you can use the money you’ve saved to buy your fist home without paying a penalty for early withdrawal.

9. Calculate the costs of homeownership. This should include property taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities, and association fees, if applicable.

10. Contact a REALTOR®. Find an experienced REALTOR® who can help guide you through the process.

source: 10 Ways to Prepare for Homeownership
Realtor Magazine
Web Reference: http://www.mi-living.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 16, 2008
I would find a buyer agent first, they will have lenders that they work with to give you the BEST service.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 16, 2008
Hi Jon, I've been in RE, for over 30 yrs. - here's my 2 cents :)
By selecting an agent first, you can sbuild a solid relationship if you think you both would work well together. Our Ann Arbor Real Estate Board often gives realtors a bit of history of the house (what original purchase price was or history of permits etc.) An experienced agent usually has worked with loads of local lenders or title companies so could suggest choices for you. Perhaps one lender is great at FHA or another at VA loans etc. My websearch on AnnArborRealEstate.com is a live search direct to the Realtor board so will change immediately if a new listing is inputted by any brokerage. Good way to watch prices and there are save search features. I'm rdoing sites to include mapping and so the site isn't what it will be soon...plus I'm just joing this trulia and still trying to find my profile here lol :) Sandy

Sandy Brode Broker Associate Keller Williams - Ann Arbor Market
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 30, 2008
Yes, "find out how much I can afford" - I read that the first two times you said it, but I can't seriously listen to advise from someone who replies to a question in SE Michigan with,
"Let me know if I can help you, I have been a Realtor for 23 years and know the area very well. You can go to my website and search for some homes in the meantime. "

Do you actually know this area well? You're website doesn't even seem to link to real estate outside of Florida...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 17, 2008
I still say find out how much you can afford. We do have agents from Prudential in Michigan that can help you if you need.
Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 16, 2008
Am I missing something?? You're in Florida and I'm in Michigan???
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 16, 2008
You are welcome Jon. First find out how much home you can buy. Let me know if I can help you, I have been a Realtor for 23 years and know the area very well. You can go to my website and search for some homes in the meantime.
Take care
Huguette Nelson
Prudential Florida WCI Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 16, 2008
Thanks to everyone for all the great input.

As a follow-up, this will be my first home purchase and I have a flexible landlord for moving out. I have several referrals from friends in the area for both agents and brokers. I think I'll begin interviewing buying agents soon...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 16, 2008
Hi Jon,
The first step in buying a home is to find a Realtor, but remember the right Realtor makes all the difference. Ask all Realtors you are considering to represent you to provide you with references, and interview them for the job. Once you've selected a Realtor they can put you in touch with a reputable
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 16, 2008
Get pre-approved first. This way you will know how much you can spend on a house.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 16, 2008
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