Should first-time homebuyers work with their bank or agent first?

Asked by Trulia Chicago, Chicago, IL Fri May 3, 2013

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


John Taschner, Agent, Livonia, MI
Sun May 12, 2013
Yes, go to the bank or a mortgage broker first and get pre-approved so you know how much you can afford. After that, contact a real estate agent and let them know your home requirements, # of beds, baths...etc and price point. Then they can start sending you listings that meet your criteria. Good luck house hunting!
1 vote
, ,
Mon Sep 9, 2013
Hello Trulia

Is it the chicken or the egg first? BOTH - you have to have a pre-approval to understand what you are able to qualify for a mortgage, and a realtor to find the right property and help you navigate the purchase process.

For a pre-approval the borrower can either:
1. call me directly at 773.516.6859 during the day and I will personally take the borrower's information to pre-qualify
2. 24/7 you can go to my website to apply and get a pre-approval letter in 10 minutes and get a free copy of your credit report.

You can also pull down our e-Book on Demystifying the Mortgage Process

I look forward to talking with you and having the opportunity to earn your business!
With warm regards,

Mary Kay Laurent
Associate Vice President of Mortgage Lending

o: 773.516.6859 - m: 312.403.4150 - f: 773.328.1740
3940 North Ravenswood , Chicago, IL 60613
NMLS ID: 870598
NMLS ID 2611 - NMLS Consumer Access - Licensing Information
1 vote
Riccardo War…, Agent, Bolingbrook, IL
Mon May 13, 2013
Bank or Broker first. Agents don't usually even want to start showing without that good old pre approval letter.

Sean Cochran
V.P. Marketing and Development
Quality Mortgage Lending
630-470-6830 office
630-330-2229 cell
"We do FHA loans down to a 600 middle credit score"
"We do USDA loans down to a 620 middle credit score" (no money down)
"We do $100 down payment FHA program"
"Unlimited loan to value refinance on Fannie/Freddie refinances" (only on loans originated before May 31st 2009)
1 vote
Brendan Ross, Agent, Chicago, IL
Sun May 12, 2013
bank - from your agent's perspective, there will never be a point to looking at houses without knowing if you can actually buy
1 vote
Manuel Brown, Agent, Chicago, IL
Fri May 3, 2013
Good Evening Trulia Chicago,

I strongly recommend a first time homebuyer work with their bank or mortgage lender. A first time homebuyer should interview mortgage lenders just like real estate brokers. A first time homebuyer should ask the lender if they now about any grants or programs offered in the area they are looking to purchase in. A good mortgage lender knows. Getting pre-approved before purchasing will better position them when they make an offer. Inventory is so low right now that the homebuyer ready with financing offer is taken more seriously.

While the fist time homebuyers are interviewing mortgage brokers they should be interviewing real estate brokers and find one they mesh well with; someone with excellent communication, negotiation, and excellent follow-up skills.
1 vote
, ,
Fri May 3, 2013
Good evening,

First steps:

Meet with a Local Mortgage Banker to get prequalified for mortgage financing. The Mortgage Banker will review all facets of your loan request to answer your questions with regards to the types of loans and maximum loan amounts you could qualify for.

Line up a Home Inspector. A good home inspector will scare the heck out of you: that's what you pay him for! But you'll concentrate on the fundamentals of the property: roof free of leaks, plumbing, heating and electrical up to code and in good working order. Again, when you make an offer and you have your Home Inspector ready to go, your offer will be considered with much more interest by a Seller because you truly have your "ducks in a row" and your preparation demonstrates your serious attitude about conducting the purchase transaction in a timely manner.

Find an experienced Local Realtor who works in your desired shopping area. A serious pro Realtor will refuse to show you homes until you are Prequalified for mortgage financing. Don't take offense! That Realtor doesn't want you to be disappointed and wants you to have a smooth experience as you shop for your new home.

Put together your Team of real estate professionals and shop 'til you drop!

Trevor Curran
NMLS #40140

*If you thought my answer was helpful, please give me a “Thumbs Up” or “Best Answer.” Thanks!
1 vote
Deborah Smith, Agent, Oak Forest, IL
Fri Sep 13, 2013
It always best to consult a bank or mortgage company before searching for a home. You will know then
how much of a home you are qualified for and will able you and your realtor to find you a home.
0 votes
Matt Hoyt, Agent, Highland Park, IL
Sun Sep 8, 2013
Either one is fine. I pre approve my clients right away if they are not already.
0 votes
Bob Brandt, Agent, Schaumburg, IL
Sun Sep 8, 2013
All three working together right from the start produces the best results.
Many times a buyer will say-OK I am now preapproved but will not know if it for FHA or Conventional or Homepath and they forget if the preapproval amount is for the mortgage amount or the purchase price.....and then it holds up the process till we can reach the lender again or worse, we start to look at the wrong properties.
0 votes
Daniel Mirea, Agent, Chicago, IL
Sat Sep 7, 2013
Do both in the same time! You want to go to the bank to know how much you qualify for and in the same time go to the agent to see how much would be the type of home what you would love to buy and what are the steps to follow!!
If you don't qualify for the brand new house's price you love maybe you can buy a foreclosure house with less money and fix it up , maybe you can do rent with option to buy! The earlier you start to talk to the agent and loan officer .....the better for you!!!

Good luck to find the dream home!
0 votes
Santiago Ken…, Agent, Chicago, IL
Sun May 12, 2013
No money No Christina is right
0 votes
, ,
Sat May 4, 2013
First time home buyers need to be working with a mortgage professional first, to be sure they can qualify for a mortgage and have enough funds for closing. As an ex-mortgage broker too many agents try to take on the role of mortgage broker/lender when in reality there may be issues on the credit or with their DTI that the agent wouldn't know until they've exhausted their time showing houses.

Truthfully, how can an agent begin to work with a home buyer if they don't know what they can afford? True, a home buyer can say they make XX a month or a year and the agent can guesstimate which price range to begin showing.

But as I mentioned not all homebuyers know how to calculate their DTI and may begin looking at houses that are way out of their budget.

Have a great weekend.

Christina Solorzano;
CEO & SR Credit & Mortgage Consultant of
Everlasting Credit
Ex-Mortgage Broker of more than 10 years
0 votes
JIM Michaels, Agent, Chicago, IL
Sat May 4, 2013
work with agent first to lay out the steps and avoid challenges in the process
0 votes
cath.okoroh, , Hillside, IL
Fri May 3, 2013
First Time Homebuyer's should work with their mortgage banker or lender first so that they can go through some financing scenarios and potential payments. I think Manuel has a great point, in that you should interview your mortgage lender just like you interview a prospective real estate agent. There are some key things you should look for when choosing a lender and determining whether or not they are right for you, it's not just about the lowest interest rate, though desiring that is a give :) I have some homebuyer information packets and tips that I like to send out to all prospective clients. If you would like any of this information please don't hesitate to contact me directly. Good luck and happy hunting!
0 votes
Bill J Delig…, Agent, Naperville, IL
Fri May 3, 2013
No Money, No Honey!

Get yourself preapproved first!
Web Reference:
0 votes
Latrese will…, Agent, Chicago, IL
Fri May 3, 2013
BANK! I can't do much for you without a pre-approval. Also, it is good for you to know how much house you can afford and an estimate of payments.
0 votes
Christopher…, Agent, Chicago, IL
Fri May 3, 2013
It is essential that you have a pre-approval before you begin shopping for and/or writing offers to purchase real estate. You definitely want to know exactly how much you can (and can not) afford before you go looking around.

The best and most experienced agents should have a list of mortgage lenders to whom they can refer 1st time homebuyers, and I'd suggest starting by contacting an experienced real estate agent.

And in my 10 years plus experience, buyers will often find the best mortgage deals for themselves by using a mortgage broker or a mortgage banker/broker rather than just going to a regular commercial bank.

I'd strongly suggest contacting either Dan Larkin with Perl Mortgage or Sam Sharp with Guaranteed Rate if you need to talk through your mortgage scenario and figure out the best loan for yourself. If you need contact information for either, then please feel free to contact me directly and I can forward it to you.


Christopher Thomas
Broker Associate, Keller Williams Realty Chicago Consulting Group
716 E. 47th St. Chicago, IL 60653
(773) 770-5947 (cell) (312) 577-0985 (fax)
0 votes
Matt Laricy, Agent, Chicago, IL
Fri May 3, 2013
Step one in the buying process is getting pre approved.
0 votes
Jeff Nobleza, Agent, Chicago, IL
Fri May 3, 2013
Call Bernard Duganzik with Key Mortgage at 847-508-0190 he is great and has many happy clients who can vouch for his work. He is a great mortgage officer.
0 votes
Philip Sencer, Agent, Chicago, IL
Fri May 3, 2013
Getting a loan approval is the first step so everyone knows the price point to search for.
0 votes
Dirk Gould, Agent, Chicago, IL
Fri May 3, 2013
You should probably talk to a bank, credit union or mortgage broker first. That way, you can figure out the loan amount you are pre-approved for. Just because you are approved for a certain amount doesn't necessarily mean that you should look at that particular price range. Figure out the monthly amount you are comfortable paying, and use that as your guide.

Armed with a pre-approval letter, you will be a much more attractive buyer to the sellers. Then you can use a buyer's agent to help guide you through your first transaction at no cost to you. Good luck.
0 votes
Suzanne Hami…, Agent, Orland Park, IL
Fri May 3, 2013
Really both at the same time. Preapprovals are essential in order to have a plan and be able to act quickly when you find something. And if for some reason a buyer is not qualified, it helps save a lot of wasted time.

But it also gives a road map to the agent on what a buyer can and can't look at - monthly payment can be influenced by taxes, assessments, etc..

If I had to choose - bank first, but should start at the same time.
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more