Who should I contact first: Broker or Agent?

Asked by Trisha Bartle, Missoula, MT Fri Mar 15, 2013

Hi, all!

I live in Montana but am thinking of buying a house in Clearwater, FL. I'll be down there for a week for a family vacation mid-April and would like to look at houses for an afternoon while there. My question is, should I contact a mortgage broker first for preapproval, or are there buyer's agents who can do both that and the home showings?

The reason why I ask is because, while I know some buyer's agents can do both, I'm a bit of a special case. I'm self-employed and would probably need a low-doc loan. In that case, should I contact a mortgage broker in Clearwater first for preapproval before finding a buyer's agent, or should I find a buyer's agent who can help me get preapproved?

Just for further clarification, I would need an active, full-time agent who has experience with:
- Self-employed people looking for a home
- Less expensive housing (~$50K)
- Working with people who live out-of-state
- Knowledge of the Clearwater housing market


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Annette Law…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Fri Mar 15, 2013
You need to contact a real estate agent FIRST!
As you identified, you are in a special situation.
The lender you need will be very dependent on the property you choose.
Many lenders will not consider a mortgage at your price point.
They will pretend the can.
Many lenders will not lend on the type of properties available at your price point.
They will pretend they can.
A local experienced agent, one who has actually closed a few deals at your price point, will know where to turn for solutions. No one likes the results of Never Ever Bank of Clearwater FL who prefers to cancel their commitment two days before closing. You agent knows who closes on time, under budget and respects the timelines of the buyer and seller.

Yes, you will need proof of funds or financing. But what you REALLY need is a real expectation you can achieve your goal, and that is to purchase a home. Your agent is the key to the right resources.

Best of success to you,
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Remax Realtec Group
Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor FL
0 votes
Don Maclary, Agent, Virginia Beach, VA
Fri Mar 15, 2013
Have your local agent find you a good agent where your going, And that agent can help you find a lender.
or use my relocation link http://chooseahomenow.com/relocating
0 votes
Genevieve Ra…, Agent, Punta Gorda, FL
Fri Mar 15, 2013
Get pre-approved. That way there are no surprises when you ant to buy.
0 votes
Antonio Vega…, Agent, Saint Cloud, FL
Fri Mar 15, 2013
In Florida having a pre-approval is priority one. You will not be able to submit offers without it, and there is no time to waist if you find the right property since everything is selling so fast and with multiple offers. Another issue you will find regarding financing is that most lenders don't want to deal with small loans. So having your pre-approval first is the right choice.
0 votes
Linda Lorenzo, Agent, McKinney, TX
Fri Mar 15, 2013
As Alan said find an agent you are comfortable with, you can search for them here on Trulia and they should have some good lenders for you. As agents we know the companies that can get a loan done and unfortunately the ones that fall through at the last minute! Good luck to you.
0 votes
Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Fri Mar 15, 2013
I would recommend talking to a mortgage broker first...

Unfortunately, most consumers don't have a mortgage broker, or know of one... so you might want to find your Realtor first, and they will have a great recommendation for a local mortgage broker.

Good luck.
0 votes
Vangie Pappas, Agent, Clearwater, FL
Fri Mar 15, 2013
Hi Trisha,

Regardless if you are self-employed or not, you need to be pre-qualified to purchase a house that is going to be financed. After receiving a letter from your bank or mortgage company, you can work with any real estate agent - this is Florida and a great amount of purchases are by people who live out of state. The problem I see is finding a house in Clearwater for $50,000. You could possibly find a 1 bedroom, 1 bath cond for that amount.

Vangie Pappas
Pappas Realty & Management Co.
0 votes
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