What is the first steo in buying a home?Do I try to get pre-approved for a loan first before contacting a realator?

Asked by Keishag, Northeast Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA Sun Dec 20, 2009

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Mika Lisiews…, , Norristown, PA
Wed Dec 23, 2009
Your first step should be to contact a REALTOR. As some of the other REALTORS have mentioned, we have a list of Mortgage Brokers that we can refer you to (or you can choose someone that you have experience with) and then we can guide you step-by-step through the process from there.

I would love to help you begin your process. Please check out me Blog site http://mika-realestatechat.blogspot.com to get a little info about me and feel free to contact me anytime!!

Mika D. Lisiewski
Century 21 Alliance
630 Germantown Pike
Lafayette Hill, PA 19444
office: 610-828-2700 ext.275
cell: 610-226-5727
Licensed in PA RS308999
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Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Mon Dec 21, 2009

If you were buying a car, would your first step be to walk into a dealer's showroom? Or to apply with your credit union or bank? Of course not. Your first step would be to decide what sort of car you were looking for--a sedan, an SUV, etc. How many people should it be able to transport (large family? just you?). In other words, you'd figure out what you needed and wanted.

If you were going on a vacation, would your first step be to walk into the airport to buy a ticket? Of course not. Your first step would be to decide where you wanted to go. Beach or mountains? United States or overseas? Active or relaxing vacation? A quick 3-day getaway or a longer 2-week vacation? After you'd narrowed it down a bit, then you might do some research--online, or go into a travel agent, etc.

So your first step in buying a house should not be either of the two steps you're considering. It ought to be figuring out what you want. General location. Size. Any particular features you want. Anything you really don't want. Urban, suburban, or rural? And so on. Now, it's true that what you want may not be what you can afford. Just as someone might want a 2-week vacation , but only can afford a 1-week vacation. But that's OK. You need to start somewhere.

Besides, the first question a Realtor will ask might be: "What are you looking for?" You might as well have thought it through first.

So, once you've made a list of what you want and what you don't want, do you then find a Realtor or a lender? My personal suggestion would be: a Realtor, who (based on your needs and interests) probably can refer you to one that can best help you. But, as you can see from the answers here, a good case can also be made for finding a lender first.

In either case though, the first step is determining what you want. Then come the Realtor and the lender.

Hope that helps.
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Ellen Schupa…, Agent, Rockledge, PA
Mon Dec 21, 2009
Hi- Contact me by clicking on my picture and contact info and I will have our mortage representative help you with pre qualification and pre approval. I also have a slide show on the new tax credit to send you. Ellen
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Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Sun Dec 20, 2009
Strongly consider visiting with any qualified loan officer(s) first, especially if you already have a town in mind--If you want your real estate professional to work hard for you and a seller to take your offer seriously and negotiate to secure a deal, make sure you obtain a pre-approval letter before embarking on your property search. Obtaining such a letter from a mortgage broker or lending institution verifies that you are “financially capable” of paying a mortgage obligation, based upon your current fiscal resources and obligations; but, at the same time, it does not “lock you” into using the drafter of the letter. Once you know your finances contact a couple of Realty offices, interview a few agents and take it from there.
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Hannah Flieg…, Agent, Larkspur, CA
Sun Dec 20, 2009
Hi Keishag,

I would suggest you figure out what payment you can comfortably afford each month. How much do you have as a down payment. What does your credit look like.

For free you can get a free credit score

Get your free credit report

If your credit score is 749 or higher you will get the lowest possible interest rate on your mortgage. If your credit score is 500-600 you many qualify for a mortgage but you will pay a lot higher interest rate on your mortgage payment for having less-than-perfect credit.

I hope this helps! Good luck
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Peter Lavelle, Agent, Philadelphia, PA
Sun Dec 20, 2009
Good Afternoon Keishag,

It is always a good choice to talk to a REALTOR and interview them to see if you are a good match. The agent you decide to work with will assist you in getting a pre-approval and discuss all your available options.

Buyer Protection Plan- If you are unhappy with your
house purchase for any reason, I'll sell it for free.*

Peter Lavelle, GRI
Branch Owner
Citizens Premier Real Estate Fox Chase
0 votes
, ,
Sun Dec 20, 2009
Hi Keishag, You should consult a loan officer first to see if/what amount you qualify for. I'd be happy to assist you if you don't already have a lending professional. Feel free to give me a call. The process doesn't take long and you will then be able to tell a realtor what you qualify for so that he/she can better assist you. Chad
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, ,
Sun Dec 20, 2009
Keishag, as you can see you will get different answers from different people and for good reason.

I will explain what happens with different people at thevery begining of the process and then you can decide for yourself.

Some people, when they decide that they would like to buy a home, are certain that their credit must be good. Either they just ran their credit for a car loan or credit card and were told that they have good credit, or they know that they've never been late on a payment, have no outstanding collections or judgements and have a few positive tradelines.

They also know, based on their income how much of a home they can afford by using standard mortgage calculators available online.

For these people, it might be better to call an agent to explain to them that while they would gladly go get pre-approved by a lender, they want to make sure the price range or type of home they are looking for is available.

Some people have no idea what they are looking like in the credit department or are very "suspicious" about their credit. They might not be sure how their income would work ( maybe they are self employed, etc). For them it is highly recommended to go to a loan officer first.

To give you two extreme examples: An attorney with a$4,000 a week paycheck who never missed a payment his life, will go to an agent first, while a waitress who gets a paycheck for $1,000 a week and receives anywhere between $200 and $2,000 in tips, might want to see a loan officer first.

It is very much not a clear cut decision and in fact a loan officer might want to hear from a Realtor what they think the taxes might on the home might run (it makes a difference for the preapproval) and the Realtor woud have a few questions for the loan officer.

What I would suggest is, that if you are uncertain, then you should probably call a loan officer first. You will get a clear picture of if and how much you will qualify for.

It is very common that people call a loan officer without having a clue in the world about the process. It is the loan officers job to prepare the client to speak to a Realtor. Someone who is clueless about the process will be wasting theirs and the Realtors time by going to the Realtor first because the Realtor won't know what to show them and if they would even qualify for a home at all.

Hope this was helpful.

Good luck.
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Chris & Step…, Agent, Philadelphia, PA
Sun Dec 20, 2009
I have a blog that offers 6 tips.

The Top 2 are:

1) Find a Realtor
2) Find a Mortgage Broker/Bank

A Realtor can help you find a mortgage broker (vice verse) but it is always best to get a preapproval before you go house hunting.
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Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Sun Dec 20, 2009
As a Realtor(r), I find that most people who don't have an agent get pre-approved first. Buyers who are referred to an agent usually wait to see who that agent recommends.
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Dan Rich, , Doylestown, PA
Sun Dec 20, 2009

Preapproval is a great first step. You can either do this directly with a lender or as Mike stated most Realtors will have referrals to reputable lenders you can use to shop for a good loan. I have used Dan Avanzato at Norstar Mortgage many times and find him very competitive and straighforward. If I can help please let me know.
Web Reference:  http://www.dan-rich.com
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Mike Rosania, Agent, Philadelphia, PA
Sun Dec 20, 2009
I believe that the first thing you should do is contact a real estate agent and together you can come up with a game plan. You are free to use any lender but most agents have the resourses necessary to get the ball rolling. Some agents won't even bother working with you without a preapproval but rarely do any of my clients come to me preapproved. If you are looking to get started feel free to contact me directly at 267-879-3556 or send me a message. I am a full time agent licensed in both PA and NJ.
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