When would be a good time to start the Mortgage/Realtor/house haunting process if one is looking to buy a home by February 2013.?

Asked by Vostro, Dallas, TX Thu Nov 15, 2012

We are looking to purchase a home in Plano/Allen/Frisco area. When would be a good time to start the whole process? We won't not be ready to close on the house until Feb.

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31
Manuel Ramirez’s answer
Manuel Ramir…, Home Buyer, California
Thu Nov 22, 2012
Hi,

I think the best time to buy a home would be in the month of January. It is during winter when the competition is less and few. Sellers also tend to be more motivated then they will be in spring time.


http://www.experthousebuyer.com/
1 vote
Randall Yates, Other Pro, Dallas, TX
Sat Sep 28, 2013
My Lenders offer FHA loans that require a 580 score, Conventional require a 620.. I can refer you to an agent to help you find a home and a Lender or two that can get you pre approved.

Good Luck!
1 vote
bluewickedbu…, Both Buyer And Seller, Mill Valley, CA
Wed Nov 21, 2012
You interview the agent, the agent does not interview you. Never give an agent a copy of your pre-approval letter, they don't need it. You show your pre-approval letter only upon request/ Why would you want your pre-approval letter floating around so that everyone knows the limits of your financial resources? The only people, I repeat, the only people that need to know your financial resource limits are you.

Would you walk into a car dealership and tell the dealer how much money you have access to? Sure if you want to spend every penny. How do you think you can negotiate or offer less than what everyone knows you have? You start at a disadvantage.

If there a time when you disclose your pre-approval letter? Of course, when you make the offer and then you get a pre-approval letter to cover the amount in your offer less your cash contribution for downpayment and so on.

All you have to do is tell your buyer agent that you have a pre-approval to cover the price range of houses you are interested in.

If your agent says they need to see the letter and insists, ask them why they need it? Ask why they need it before you make an offer. Run away from any agent that is unwilling to trust your word. This isn't about them, they aren't buying the house, you are. The minute you start giving up the most sensitive information you are on the road to losing control over the house buying process. Do otherwise at your risk.

When it comes offer time, have you lender generate a pre-approval letter to cover your offer. If you are pre-approved, you are pre-approved. You can add some amount to that pre-approval letter (written of course by your lender) to add some cushion but going into an offer for say a $400,000 house with a pre-approval for $400,000 invited a counter to get that money. Remember, your pre-approval letter should be less your cash downpayment contribution.

Is the seller disclosing to you how much room they have on the selling price? Not a chance. It doesn't happen. So then, why is your buyer agent passing that information about you to the seller? That is not a trick question.

The more buyers get educated and stop accepting default answers and the unwritten requirements of buyer agents, they better they are equipped to take control of their own buying process.

Never, never disclose to anyone the maximum amount of financial resources you have unless it is your lender (who will require the information), your real estate attorney. Everyone else is on a need to know basis only and the buyer agent does not need to know. The only thing they need to know is that you have one and enough resources to make good on your offer. If they continue to insist ask them one simple question : "Don't you trust me?" If they counter with the same question, you are dealing with a fast talker, run.

Look, this is your money, you are the one who worked and saved for it. It is your credit and you'll live with the results of the purchase. Don't be so quick to give up your position. Remember, the buyer agent you have today could easily be the seller agent tomorrow if you go elsewhere.

Again, you can look and get your pre-approval at the same time, this isn't a 1.2.3 step process.

The house buying process is stacked against buyers. Everyone has more information than you do. Why give up what little information you have right at the start?
1 vote
Susan Hanson, Agent, Plano, TX
Sun Sep 29, 2013
Hi Vostro,
My office is right in the heart of your search area and I live in Plano. I agree it is not too early to consult with a lender--whichever real estate agent you select to assist you will be able to give you a list of good lenders to visit with and to compare rates & services.
Would love to sit down with you to go over the process. I prepare a notebook for all my buyers in which to keep their viewing itinerary along with a guide to the entire process from the search all the way through to closing. There are many steps along the way. Typical time from executing a contract on a home until closing is 4 to 5 weeks, so if you want to close at the end of February, you would want to have found the house by early to mid January.
Feel free to call or email me with additional questions. Thanks!
Susan Hanson
Your Home Is Where My Heart Is!
0 votes
Roxanne DeBe…, Agent, Plano, TX
Sun Sep 29, 2013
Great question! If you are planning on buying a home by February you should start your home search at least 30 days earlier. You should go ahead and get pre-approved for a mortgage as soon as you can so that you will have that out of the way. Your realtor can help you with your search in advance by sending you listings that match your criteria which will help you decide on the the home you desire. So the more information you share about the type of home, price range, amenities, and location the better. If you have any additional questions or would like our assistance, please call or email me at roxanne@thedeberryteam.com or my cell at 214-676-8040. Thank you for allowing the realtor community to be of assistance.
0 votes
Kathy Gray, Agent, Grapevine, TX
Mon Nov 26, 2012
Now. Lot's of professional willing to help you.
0 votes
Shannon Brad…, Agent, Dallas, TX
Sat Nov 24, 2012
Now is definitely the time to start the process. You want to begin by obtaining a preapproval for a mortgage from a lender. This is extremely important because the lender can look at your credit profile as well as your income and identify any potential problem areas. You can also begin your search for a realtor. If you don't have a lender but have identified a realtor you would be comfortable working with, a lot of times they can refer you to a few lenders. Keep in mind it can take anywhere from 30-45 days to close on a house, maybe even longer if you are looking at foreclosures or bank owned properties. So if you want to be in a home by February 1, 2013, I would recommend you have your preapproval completed by December 15, 2012.
0 votes
Philip Cabral, Agent, San Jose, CA
Sat Nov 24, 2012
The time to look for a house is now and the very first step to house hunting is to get a preapproval from a lender!

The problem with people starting the house hunting by looking at houses first is that...

1. The area you search in and size of house can totally change should your lender preapprove you for a higher or lower amount than what you were expecting.

2. I have had people get rejected for a preapproval outright because of bad credit thus wasting all that house hunting for nothing.

So, get your preapproval first and save yourself on time and gas. Plus, that preapproval is good and can be amended as you get on with your search.

Good luck!
0 votes
opondomusa, , 10020
Thu Nov 22, 2012
It is the buyer's lender who will determine the length of time required to process the loan and close.
A buyer and seller can agree to an earlier closing date in the purchase contract, but if the lender can't perform during that time window, it doesn't really matter which date is selected, because it's not going to close on the date the buyer and seller specify. It will close when the lender is ready to close.

The closing process also varies widely from state to state.
Most federally related mortgage loans can close within 30 days. Special first-time home buyer programs, particularly those involving help with the buyer's down payment, might take 35 to 45 days to close. These special loans typically require approval from two underwriting processes.

Buyers who have received loan pre approval versus loan pre-qualification are often in a position to close sooner. The pre approval process involves verification of certain items upfront, before signing the purchase contract, moving the borrower a few steps closer to closing.

check us out at http://www.realtypin.com for more advice and homes for sale
0 votes
Gary Geer, Agent, Antioch, IL
Wed Nov 21, 2012
Start your search as soon as possible. Begin by getting pre-approved by the lender of your choice. Once that is done, Contact a local Real Estate Professional and give them a copy of the pre-approval letter. The agent will want to interview you and find out what your needs and wants are to start the home search process. Then go see a few of these homes to learn about the market and possibley refine your search critera. When you do find that perfect home, your agent will help you prepare the offer and assist you all the way to closing your property. Best Wishes

All the best,

Gary Geer

http://www.ggeer.illinoisproperty.com
0 votes
bluewickedbu…, Both Buyer And Seller, Mill Valley, CA
Wed Nov 21, 2012
Here try this real answer since no one wants to answer directly.

Right now. Your criteria was to buy by February so you start looking now. The idea that you need to get pre-approved before looking isn't correct nor is it true that getting the pre-approval is the first thing you need to do.

The very first thing you should consider doing is narrowing down the type of house you want; lot size, location type (country vs city vs burb), proximity to schools, shopping and quality of neighborhood. Making a list of what you want, getting pre-approved and then getting a buyer agent to show you houses is the fastest way to regret. Why? Because you gave away control to someone else.

Instead, consider, looking around, just looking with that mental picture while at the same time you apply for that pre-approval. Why some think you can't do more than one thing at a time amazes me, you can.

As you look around, you're going to get some good ideas and a feel for the areas and type of locations you like. Just looking by yourself lets you discuss the pros and cons openly. We all know the feeling we get when test driving a car with a sales person in the back seat right? You don't have to do that and researching the neighborhoods, the schools, the commute, stores and things like that are easily done by you, the person who buys the house. You will get unfiltered information. You can talk with friends or others you know, the municipal or country planning dept about zoning and the assessor's office about taxes. Get all this info first hand, you'll be glad you did because you know it will be right, without bias or conflict of interest.

When your pre-approval comes in, you already have a good idea of the house you want and where you want it. Make a list of "must haves", things you can't do without. Then add in "nice to haves" and finally the "icing on the cake"

After you've done this (it doesn't take very long) now you are armed with the information that makes you an informed buyer. If you decided that you want to use a buyer agent, as part of your preliminary info gathering you got recommendations from trusted people about a good agent or agents. DO NOT SIGN A BUYER AGENT AGREEMENT. Anyone telling you need to do so isn't looking out for you.

Now you negotiate your buyer agent commission. Yes, you do pay that commission, the money always passes from you to others and then to the buyer agent so in reality, YOU are paying it. Read my blog about this pet subject. Never think you must use only one buyer agent. You have have more than one and let the best agent showing you the best house win. Take control. They might not like it but it is YOUR house and this is about YOU not the agent.

So, in short order, you've looked around, obtained critical decision making information, narrowed the possibilities and have negotiated a buyer agent relationship. You are now on the straight fast track to getting the house you want, not what someone else wants to sell you.

If you started today, you could have all this done within 2 weeks. That means the rest of the time available is spent looking at houses you already know will meet your criteria or be close to it. Plenty of time to offer and close in Feb or thereafter.

The trick here will be to take your time but don't be lulled into thinking you can just let time go by. If that house that is a super match comes up, you want to be able to move on it. If you chose a good buyer agent, they should not have a problem with your waiting to close an escrow until Feb. That is what they get paid to do, negotiate that offer acceptance according to your terms, even with a longer escrow. It will probably take you a month or month and a half to narrow everything down anyway so an end of Feb close date comes up quick.

The best way to make sure things go your way is to prepare. The best way I think to prepare is to do it yourself before engaging someone who will earn a commission based upon the sale. The reasons should be obvious. Don't get rushed but go about this process in a methodical and through manner.

Please remember one thing. There is always another house and don't fall in love with a house until after escrow closes. If someone tells you that you need to offer right away and can't give you a reason why without double-talk, look elsewhere. Yes, sometimes a super deal comes up but more than not, a fast sale is a fast commission. Screaming will follow but in most cases, once that escrow closes, people become scarce. I know, some will say different but that is the exception, not the standard. You might get lucky and get a calendar and bottle of wine or something but that is about it.

The joy of buying that house that meets your needs and wants rests with the preparation you do yourself, before even talking to an agent. Get to know the acronyms, the standard phrases and how to inspect a home's condition during even a 15 minute open house to avoid getting into a repair disaster.
0 votes
Charlene Pla…, Agent, Eugene, OR
Tue Nov 20, 2012
Like most have said: First step is to get pre-approved. Find out how much you can actually afford. See if there are any items on your credit report that shouldn't be there. Fix them asap! Having a good credit score will help you get the lowest interest rate you can which will help you have a lower mortgage payment! Talk to a great lender and a great place to find one is through a great realtor. They will only refer you to a top lender who can get the job done time and time again. Trust their judgment on this. Once you're pre-approved and your credit is looking good, then it's time to talk to your realtor and explain what you're looking for, the price you're looking at and the area. Then get looking. Be ready to write an offer on a house if you find one that meets all your criteria and is perfect. Sometimes buyers hesitate and other offers come in while they are "on the fence". Don't let this happen to you.
0 votes
Monica Pineda, Agent, Dallas, TX
Mon Nov 19, 2012
The home buying process takes a few months at least. If you are waiting until you can secure your down payment or sell your current home, then you may not want to start full force right away, but its never too soon to begin the process. The first step is to find out how much home you qualify for (you would do this by contacting a mortgage banker or broker). Once you have that information you find a Realtor that you like to help you sift thru the tons of listings based on your preferences. It can take a week or months to find the perfect home, and once you do, you will want to have your agent submit an offer. Most likely the offer will be countered, it may take another week or two for the seller and yourself to agree on terms. Then it will take a month or so for the title company and mortgage company to do their thing and get the paperwork ready to close.

Best case scenario the process takes 2-4 months, which means now is the time to get started. If you need help or have any questions feel free to contact me!
0 votes
Susan Hanson, Agent, Plano, TX
Mon Nov 19, 2012
HI Vostro,
A good "first step" is to ask a real estate agent to create a custom search for you of each suburb you are considering. The searches will automatically email listings to you that match your criteria. This will be great research to help you know pricing, condition of property, etc. for those areas. I would welcome the opportunity to answer your questions about Allen/Plano and Frisco and create those searches for you. Call or email me to get things started. Thanks so much!
Susan Hanson
Your Home Is Where My Heart Is!
0 votes
Steve Quinta…, Agent, Albuquerque, NM
Sun Nov 18, 2012
Now is a good time to get qualified for a mortgage. Taking care of this task now positions you for your home search.
0 votes
Blake Harris…, Agent, Dallas, TX
Sun Nov 18, 2012
Although I've previously answered this question, I just noticed it refers to "house HAUNTING" process. Gave me a little chuckle, as sometimes that can be a buyer's impression or fear. Well I take the "haunt" out of House Hunting!
0 votes
Andrea Brooks, Agent, Plano, TX
Sun Nov 18, 2012
I'd suggest that you begin a preliminary search now in order to familiarize yourself with the markets in these 3 areas. There are pros and cons to buying a home during the winter months. For example, during this time of year there tends to be less selection, but those with their homes on the market are usually pretty motivated to sell.

Just be sure to work with an agent who knows these area well. I do most of my business in Plano, Frisco, Mckinney and Allen and would be happy to help you through the process. You can access MLS from my website http://topagent.co and view testimonials from past clients. Feel free to give me a call if you have questions or would like to interview me to be your agent :)

Andrea Brooks
469-450-1326
0 votes
Michael Burr…, Agent, Dallas, TX
Fri Nov 16, 2012
There are so many reason why it's important to start your search now. Some of the most important issues right now include the lowest interest rates in history (that will begin to rise soon), the home buying process can be lengthy, and DFW is moving fast right now. We are experiencing a very hot market in DFW right now, inventory is low and the best properties go fast. Timing is everything. It may take a few days or a few months to find the perfect match for you so starting now is a great idea. Then there is always the financing issue. Depending on the company you select it can take up to 30 to 45 days to close the deal and move in. If you have any more questions I am always available to help so don't hesitate to contact me, if I don't know the answer I can assure you that I will make sure I find it for you. Good luck with your search, I hope you find the home of your dreams!!!
0 votes
Bill Hoyt, , Dallas, TX
Fri Nov 16, 2012
I would start the mortgage pre-approval process now, so before you invest your time into your home search, you'll know you can be approved and what you can afford. I'll be happy to assist you with this when you are ready. Bill
0 votes
Jim Olive, Agent, Key West, FL
Fri Nov 16, 2012
Never too early to start. Available houses come and go on the market, so your perfect home could come up and dissappear before you start looking. By starting early you'll have more options and less stress in finding the right home in a limited amount of time...
0 votes
Blake Harris…, Agent, Dallas, TX
Fri Nov 16, 2012
My two most recent buyer clients found and closed on their new homes in a 6 week period from start to finish. When they realized that the first mortgage payment was not due for 30-60 days after closing, they decided their time-frame of 2-3 months was irrelavant. However, the exact reason you aren't going to be "ready to close" by Februrary is an important clue as to when you should start. Why February 2013?
0 votes
Dixon Wong, Agent, Dallas, TX
Fri Nov 16, 2012
Hi Vostro,

You should probably start now. It takes easily 3 months from looking to the date of closing. A closing iteself will be 30 days. So you really should start your home search right away.

You can visit my website at http://www.findyourtexashome.com for homes in the Plano, ALlen and Frisco area.

Please let me know if there is anyting I can help you with.

Thanks

Dixon
Realtor
JP and Associate
http://www.findyourtexashome.com
0 votes
Bruce Lynn, Agent, Coppell, TX
Thu Nov 15, 2012
1. Get preapproved with a lender now. If you need a referral to a great lender let me know.
We work with many, but only recommend the best....with great rates, super low fees, and ALWAYS close on time.

2. You can start interviewing realtors now. If you need a list of questions to ask each realtor, just let me know.

3. I also have a FREE book for you called "Your First Home". Call me and I'll get you a copy.

4. About six months out you might start driving neighborhoods and doing research. About 3 months out you probably want to start looking inside homes. So you're now at the perfect time to start your search.

Let me know what I can do to assist you.
0 votes
Anne Bokalo, Agent, CANTON, TX
Thu Nov 15, 2012
Now, did I mention Now? When I looked for my personal house it took 6 mo's to find one that I could afford in the neighborhood I wanted. It could take several months unless you are lucky and find the exact house you want immediately. As in previous responses, you need to talk with a mortgage person immediately or yesterday for pre approval since all of it centers on that.
If you haven't got a Realtor yet feel free to contact after you contact a mortgage broker, I will help you.
0 votes
Roxanne DeBe…, Agent, Plano, TX
Thu Nov 15, 2012
First go ahead and speak with a mortgage professional to get per-approved. If you need a suggestion on one please give me a call or email me. If you know some areas you would like to live in it would be good to speak with a realtor as soon as possible. This will give the agent time to start a search for the home you desire. Inventories have declined over the past several months so working with a realtor can give you a head start. Hope this helps and if I can be of any additional assistance please contact me at your convienance.
0 votes
Sanjeev Lad, Agent, McKinney, TX
Thu Nov 15, 2012
Good Evening Vostro,

It is best to sit down with a lender first to discuss your budget for a new home and to address any issues in a timely manner before you get closer to placing an offer on a home. This will give you the peace of mind to shop for different homes without the stress of trying to find a lender at the last minute. Pre-Approvals typically are good for 90 days. I would reccomend to start the week after Thanksgiving. I work both as a lender and agent in the Dallas-Ft Worth Market and can assist you as needed. I can also work with assisting you with closing costs as well.

Feel free to give me a call at: (214) 497-8150 or via Email at Slad215@gmail.com

Warmest Regards,

Sanjeev Lad
0 votes
Chuni Lu, Agent, Dallas, TX
Thu Nov 15, 2012
You should start the process now. It does not take a long time to get pre approval for a loan but the house hunting process can take a few months before you find the right home. The contract to closing process itself can take one month or longer. Good luck!
0 votes
Mimi Davies, Agent, Santa Monica, CA
Thu Nov 15, 2012
Hi Vostro

If this is your first time buying property, I would suggest that you start by consulting with an agent. By having an in-depth conversation with a Realtor, you will:

- understand how the transaction works (Escrow, buyer duties, seller duties, contingencies and rights, etc...) --> you will be prepared for the process and will avoid surprises.

- discuss market trends, how many days on market, sold price vs. list price, etc.... and really understand how the market is like right now and how you- as a buyer- will fit in.

- discuss your needs and wants: you think you know, but trust me, often this conversation helps buyers understand that there is no 100% house and that you really need to focus your search on what matters most to you in terms of location and features etc...If you don't really know, and you hesitate when you go see a house, you will lose your chance when competing with buyers who are ready to go!

- have a quick phone call with a lender for a pre-qualification to see approximately what your price range will be (quick phone call, not in depth)

Once you've had this consultation (usually about 1 hour), your Realtor can set you up with a search so that you can start looking online at listings and familiarizing with areas and inventory.

During this phase, I would suggest you get a pre-approval. It's more solid than a pre-qual. The lender will require you send him documents, so make sure you have your tax returns, bank statements, income statements etc... ready.

You are now READY to consider looking at properties with your agent and ultimately making an offer on the house you like:
you know the market
you know how the process works
you are pre-approved

Good luck and please let me know if you'd like me to refer you to a local agent ;)

Thanks
Mimi
0 votes
Michael Brow…, Agent, Allen, TX
Thu Nov 15, 2012
Hello Vostro,

The homebuying process should be slow and deliberate if time permits; it seems like you have some time to play with, which puts you in a great position, which allows you to pick the right city, right neighborhood and right home for your family along with the type of financing that meets your needs.

I often deal with buyers in your situation and once we sit down and conduct a comprehensive buyer's consulation, I will formulate a plan that lists milestones we must reach in order to accomplish your homebuying goals.

I am very interested in learning more about your real estate needs, so please contact me anytime, seven days a week at 214-872-0400.


Providing Solutions Because...Your Move Matters!

Michael L. Brownstead, GRI, ABR
REALTOR®
Ebby Halliday Realtors®
8920 Coit Rd., Ste. 100
Plano, TX 75025
E-mail: MichaelBrownstead@Ebby.com
Cell: 214-872-0400
0 votes
Kenneth "Ken…, Agent, Dallas, TX
Thu Nov 15, 2012
Get pre approved right away so you will know how much you can spend or want too. Houses are moving quickly again if there under $200,000 and in a good neighborhood. So depending on where and how much your Realtor can advise.

Pick anyone of us to assist along the way.

Good luck.

Kenny
Turtle Creek Realty
0 votes
Jim Rooks, Agent, Dallas, TX
Thu Nov 15, 2012
Personally I wouldn't want a haunted house, but if I were wanting to close in February I'd start the loan approval process now followed closely behind by the house hunting process with a dedicated agent.

Good luck!
0 votes
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