Whether you are a first-time homebuyer, or a seasoned "pro" at buying and trading up to that next dream home, with all of the new governmental regulations and requirements placed on mortgage lenders, every home shopper will benefit by knowing not only how much of a mortgage the lender can provide them, but as a buyer you'll benefit by having an inside track to ironing out the maze of required paperwork before you find that dream home. To do otherwise greatly increases the chances of someone else STEALING YOUR DREAM HOME right out from underneath you!
While it may still be a "Buyer's Market" in many areas, as a buyer, don't let a "buyer's market" fool you into thinking that YOU are in total control and have all the time in the world to make a decision and wrap things up. More and more, as I review listing information provided in the Multiple Listing Service, the Go-To catalog of the majority of homes on the market, I am reading the "fine print" . . . ALL OFFERS MUST BE SUBMITTED WITH LETTER FROM LENDER.
Whether you are buying a foreclosure, a short-sale, or a "traditional good, old fashioned owner wants to sell" property, more and more sellers are reluctant to take their home off the market unless they know PRIOR to accepting the offer that the buyer is able to complete the purchase. Put yourself in ANY seller's shoes . . . I'm certain that if you had something of value to sell, say a boat or a car, you'd want to accept the offer from the buyer that you know will MOST LIKELY be able to produce the cash to complete the purchase.
As a buyer, you'll likely find that when purchasing a foreclosure or short sale, unless you have that letter from your lender saying they are willing to lend you $x your "offer" won't even be considered. In fact, it's likely that your offer will not even be looked at!
So, if you are looking for your dream home, be smart and get a jump on your competition: take the time to get discuss your mortgage options, get PRE-QUALIFIED, and start assembling the lender's required paperwork to get you APPROVED prior to starting your new home search. To do otherwise means that your dream home stands an excellent chance of being stolen right out from beneath you.
Wishing you success in finding your dream home,