While I am not a lender, part of my job as your Real Estate agent is making the home buying process as easy and trouble free as possible.
Nothing is more important for a home buyer than finding out how much you can spend, and just as important, how much you WANT to spend when you start your search for your new home.
The local Real Estate market here in Bellingham Washington has leveled out in terms of buyer/seller leverage. It has been a buyers market for some time, and still seems to be at the high end of the market. But at the entry level price point, and the mid level price point, there is lots of activity and it is very important to make sure all your "ducks" are in a row when you find that house you love!
Here are a few tips:
1) Its very important to start with a reputable lender! Ask friends or co workers you trust who they recommend. Then do your own research!
2) Definitely shop around. After you have found a few lenders you feel you can work with, it will be simple to get their interest rates off web sites or a quick phone call. It will take just a short conversation to find out how much you will be qualified for. And they should be able to guarantee closing costs and closing dates also.
3) Be ready to provide paperwork the lender will need to qualify you after you have chosen who you want work with. This will usually include things like your last two W-2 forms, a couple recent pay stubs and bank statements. Remember that the bank will run a credit check on you, so ask them if it will hurt your rating when they do check.
4) Get pre-approved! The lender should be able to get you your pre approval amount within a day after they receive all your paperwork. Ask them how long the pre-approval will be good for too!
5) Remember to keep on top of them regarding deadlines like appraisals, loan documents etc.
Remember, this will help you stay ahead of the game if you are competing against another buyer for the same home! If you want to be THE buyer instead of the OTHER buyer, be prepared.
It is my job to help you be as prepared as possible. If it comes to financing or inspections or negotiation on price!
Patrick Johnson, ABR E-pro