Lately, I’ve talked to a number of buyers who think they can skip the pre-approval before they start looking at homes. There are a number of reasons why this is a mistake!
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I get emails and calls on a daily basis from people who want to look at homes but don’t want to get pre-approved. However, getting pre-approved is a very important part of buying a home.
First of all, don’t forget that we are in a seller’s market right now. If you find a home and there are multiple offers on it already and you haven’t talked to a lender yet, then you can’t make an offer. Sellers in this market want to make sure that potential buyers have been pre-approved and are prepared to make a purchase.
Pre-approvals also help you make sure that you are in your price range. Just because you read an article online that says interest rates are at a certain level doesn’t mean that’s the rate you would get with a 10-year loan, 15-year loan, or 30-year loan. Online articles also tend to skip overpaying a mortgage insurance premium.
When a lender pulls your credit, they’ll talk to you about your payments, how much money you can put down, and what kind of house you can afford. A lot of people say, “I pay $1,200 a month for rent, but I could pay $1,500.” How do you know for sure? Have you looked at your debt-to-income ratio?
You need to work with a lender. Don’t go online and get pre-approved. This is one of the biggest investments you will make in your life, so you need to make sure that you are working with the right lender. The right lender will make sure that you have the right loan for your situation and guide you down the right path.
Most Realtors will send you to a lender they trust. If you talk to a lender online, we don’t know what kind of advice you’re getting. Some online lenders will tell you one interest rate and give you another. We will put you in touch with a lender so that you can sit down and have an in-depth conversation with a trusted professional.
You need to work with a lender you can trust.
Keep in mind that if you get pre-approved and it takes you six months to find a house, then you need to talk to your lender again. Interest rates might have changed and the market is constantly changing, so you need to talk to your lender to make sure that you are making a good offer on a home.
Again, home sellers in today’s market are only interested in serious buyers. They want to make sure that you can afford their home. The best way they can figure that out is to look at the pre-approval you submit with your offer.
More and more lately, people tell me that they don’t need to get pre-approved to look at a home. There are agents out there who will work with those buyers, but good agents will require a pre-approval. It only takes about 15 minutes to get pre-approved, and it takes 45 minutes for you to have a more in-depth conversation with your lender and lay out the best home-buying plan for your financial situation.
So, don’t skip the pre-approval! If you have any other questions about getting pre-approved or buying a home, give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!