This morning I read a post on the ActiveRain network written by Judi Barrett. She must live in a community much like the small Illinois town that I grew up in where honor and integrity are standard. When I was growing up, hand shake agreements were honored. Everyone knew their neighbors. In the small town setting, everyone knew their banker and visa versa. Buying and selling a home was much simpler... back in the day.
Things have changed in real estate, even in the last few months and potential home buyers are asked to prepare ahead so that the seller has a confidence that your offer will go the course. Lender pre-qualifying or pre-approval is like "getting a ticket to ride".
Her article , Home Buyer, Please Don't be Offended.. Just Get Pre-Qualified is worth the time to read. It applies to all areas too... metropolitan or small town America buyers.
AND... THERE IS MORE!
By starting your search with a confidential meeting with your lender, you will learn more about the process as well as about what you can afford to buy without getting in over your head. You will know how much a lender is willing to lend you when you go shopping. You may learn about credit scores... What to do to maintain your good credit or what to do if your credit needs repair. You should also learn about the costs of borrowing money from your lender. You will likely become way more knowledgeable and knowledge is power.
Finally, you will have a warm and fuzzy feeling, a confidence, to make good buying decisions knowing that you can compete with the other ready, willing and ABLE buyers in the market, or you will know what to do to get into that position. You have done things right. It's out of the way.