1. MORTGAGE PRE-APPROVAL
A loan pre-approval sets you up for a smooth home buying experience. A few things have changed since the real estate meltdown a few years ago. For purchase transactions, real estate agents will first want to know if you can get a loan. In the old days, financial institutions were doling out money to anyone with a heartbeat. Unfortunately, soft lending standards helped fuel an eventual rash of foreclosures. Suffice it to say, conditions on the ground have changed since then. Today, the best way to approach a real estate agent is with a lender pre-approval in hand. It shows that you’re ready and able to buy.
Pre-approvals don’t take much time. They involve pulling a three-bureau credit report (called a tri-merge) that shows your credit score and credit history as reported by third-party, respected institutions. Within the credit report, a lender can see your payment history (to see if payment obligations have been on-time and in-full) and your lines of credit (past and present).
I will be able to pinpoint a loan amount for which you qualify. This pre-approval will save you a lot of time since you will be able to focus exclusively on houses in your price range.
Mortgage pre-approvals also signal to the seller that you’re a serious buyer. Being prepared is particularly useful when making an offer on a house. If you intend to negotiate the deal (and why wouldn’t you?), a pre-approval gives your offer a little extra gravity. Being ready to go can also help in a hot market where it’s not uncommon for sellers to entertain multiple, simultaneous offers. Sellers tend to focus on the path of least resistance: the buyer who is pre-approved.
During the pre-approval phase, one of the best things to do is to gather up documents needed for mortgage pre-approval. Anything you can do, to prepare in advance, will reduce the stress when you find the right home and make an offer. At that stage, you’ll be able to hand over all your paperwork to me so I can make check the information you gave me with your actual income documents to make sure you can qualify for the home you are looking to buy. This will make sure there are no surprises when we are waiting for the underwriter to give us the final approval.