Don’t Let Your Home Search Leave You Lost in the Forest
Buying a home in the internet “Should” be easier than ever. Instead of driving from one open house to the next, you can leisurely look at homes while having your morning coffee.
With so many websites offering access to listings, it’s easy to get confused. You find a home that looks perfect while standing in line at the Post Office. You get back home and can’t remember which website it was on. You don’t see the same house anywhere.
A few days later you find one that looks perfect at an incredible price. You call the “featured” agent next to the listing. That agent has never heard of the house. They’re nice enough to look the address up in the MLS. It isn’t currently listed for sale. The agent checks the history and learns it sold as a short sale three years ago.
Establish Your Budget
One of the biggest time drains is looking for a home if you can’t get a mortgage. Today’s lending rules are tighter. Lenders need more documentation than they did a few years ago. Trying to buy a home only to find out that you can’t get a mortgage can be frustrating and embarrassing.
Start by finding a good Mortgage Broker. Ask them to give you a Pre-Approval letter. The Full Pre-Approval will require that they run your credit scores. They’ll need pay stubs, W2s, etc., to document your income. Expect to provide bank statements to verify funds for the down payment. This will take at least a few days, maybe longer if they run into questions.
You can fill out a questionaire online and get a “Pre-Qualification” in minutes. A pre-qualification letter isn’t worth more than the paper it’s printed on. It’s based on your answers to questions. But the answers haven’t been verified. The Pre-Approval means the lender has verified your answers and they meet underwriting guidelines. You will need that pre-approval when you find the home you want to buy. Most sellers won’t consider an offer that only has a pre-qualification.