I'm a first time homebuyer. Where should I start? Find a mortgage lender? Get pre-approved? See an agent?

Asked by Joshua, Arlington, VA Thu Feb 19, 2009

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Garry Gaston, , Arlington, VA
Wed Sep 9, 2009
I would recommend you go to the following link and take the first time homeowners class online; http://www.vhdafreeclass.com/default.asp?cke=1
Once you are complete and if you have any questions you can contact me at gastong1@aol.com and I will work with you from start to finish. I also have lots of information on my website and you can search all of the available homes in the MLS on my website. Thanks Garry Gaston
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Delaine Camp…, Agent, Alexandria, VA
Thu Feb 19, 2009
Hi Josh! Congratulations on deciding to look into home buying. It's a great way to build wealth in America if done properly :)
1st thing I would do is use a good online mortgage calculator to get a ballpark as to what price range you might be in. These are free and this one works pretty well:
There are two choices to give you an idea of how much you can borrow and also how much the payments will be. Sometimes you can afford more than what you are comfortable with payments, so you need to balance the two:
How much can I borrow?
How much will my mortgage payments be?

Once you have an idea you can go online to the areas that you are interested in and run a few searches on your own. Obviously if you aren't comfortable doing any of this yourself, you can select a good Buyer Agent Real Estate Agent to help you. Buyer Agents will be a member of REBAC (Residential Buyer Agent Council) and carry the designation Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR). Some agents are listing agents and buyer agents. You can ask. Good agents are worth their weight in Gold, so starting with an agent who knows the "system" can really save you some time and heartache. And I'm sure there is more than one in whatever area you choose to zero in on.

For online searches you can use Trulia or Realtor.Com. At least then you get an idea of price ranges for the area you want to be in. And what type of residence you can afford.

There are some great buys out there now and in areas that formerly weren't affordable. And interest rates are great. So, you are making a good decision to start looking now.

All the Best Josh:
Delaine Campbell, REALTOR
Long and Foster
400 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 932-6542
Web Reference:  http://www.atwork4you.net
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Jane Jensen, Agent, Mclean, VA
Thu Feb 19, 2009
Hi. If you don't know any lenders you can get an idea of what you can afford by going on-line and using one of the many calculators that are available, don't forget you'll have taxes and insurance and if you're buying a condo, you'll have that fee too. This will only give you a general idea because your credit rating and other issues can affect your rate and so what you can afford.

Then I would find an agent who works ALOT in the area you are planning on buying. They will be the most helpful in figuring out quickly if you will be able find something you'll like in the price range you're considering. They will concurrently be able to recommend at least a couple of lenders who you can work with. Pick one to get a qualification letter from....you can still shop around for rates if you're not sure they are providing the best option.

Jane Jensen
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Joseph Reef, Agent, Arlington, VA
Thu Feb 19, 2009

I would definitely recommend getting in touch with a realtor in your area who "knows the area" and see how your personalities match. You will spend a lot of time with your realtor so its a good thing to make sure you feel comfortable with them in terms of information they are providing, questions you ask etc. I specialize in first time home buyers and work in the DC/NoVa area so if I can be of assistance at any point please feel free to contact me. Once you find a realtor you can inquire with them about the lenders they use or also contact your bank to see who is offering the best rates and terms. Be aware that not all lenders are the same just as all realtors and that you need to feel comfortable with your lender as well.

Your realtor and lender will work hand in hand making sure you are taking care of all the details throughout the transaction. The preapproval is pretty effortless and can be done before you go out with your realtor the first time so they know the range you want to look in. Keep in mind it's not how much you are approved for but what you feel comfortable with on a monthly basis. Your realtor can get you set up on an email list to view properties that come on the market so you can weed through a few before you venture out.

Best of luck.

Web Reference:  http://www.JoeReef.com
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David Chambe…, , Saint Petersburg, FL
Thu Feb 19, 2009
You should get pre-approved first: http://www.floridadreamloans.com/AreYouPre-Approved
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Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Thu Feb 19, 2009
Realtors happy to assist in your search HOWEVER you need be qualified by a mortgage broker first.

Approval process critical for an agent work ....provides us amount you are qualified purchase, what type of loan, this letter attached sales offer submitted. Without mortgage "blessing" your contract most likely will not be considered valid.

Great time buy, interest rates low, and receive annual tax benefits
Web Reference:  http://www.lynn911.com
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James Downing, Agent, Dunedin, FL
Thu Feb 19, 2009
Joshua- I specialize in working with 1st Time Home Buyers. I would advise that finding an Agent to represent you should go hand in hand with finding a Lender. An good agent should be able to recommend a good a lender for you to use.

I would probably say, start with a Agent. Interview at least 3 and find you whom you feel is knowledgeable and whom you feel comfortable with. If you do take this route; I would like to be one of the ones you Interview.

Good Luck!
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