If you are serious about wanting to buy, you will save yourself a lot of time and heartache by getting pre-qualified before you go out looking at homes. You will know what you can afford, and perhaps most important these days in the Phoenix market, you will be ready to submit an offer as soon as the right house appears. I'm not familiar with your market in Virginia, however our standard Arizona residential resale contract now provides a check box to show that the buyer's pre-qualification form is or is not attached to the offer, and most Sellers will not consider you to be a serious buyer if you don't attach one. Homes in our market, especially those priced to sell in all price ranges, are selling at a rvery apid pace. Many homes, particularly those under $200,000, have multiple offers within days, if not hours, of coming on the market. If you find the perfect house before you have your pre-qualification from your lender in hand, you might not even get a chance to put in an offer before someone else gets it under contract. You are likelt to have a better buying experience and end up getting what you want if you start your search after becoming pre-qualified. Ask your Realtor for recommendations on Loan Officers they know who have an excellent track record of closing purchase loans on time. Good luck and have fun finding your next home!