For many home buyers this may seem like a waste of time. Many have bought a home, in the past, and many of them found it easy to qualify. For many home buyers, especially first time buyers, it seems to be putting the cart before the horse. Why get approved (and may be spend money) prior to knowing if I can find a home I like.
These are just a couple of reasons a home buyer may think it wiser to look then proceed with the nasty, evasive, home loan process. Mr. and Ms. Buyer I can not come up with a very good reason, that you should not absolutely, first get pre-approved. For those who found the process to be easy and let's face it, in the near past, if a mirror was put to your mouth and your breath could be seen, you were approved. I think sometimes the mortgage originator sometimes inadverntly breathed on the mirror and you were still approved. In today's market that no longer exist (and this is a good thing) and so with stricter requirements and the elimnation of a lot of the exotic loans what you could qualify for you no longer can do. Why waste your time (buyer) plus the real estate agents time looking at homes you can't afford or wouldn't buy under todays market conditions.
For those who don't want to give out information till you have to and want to first find a home then and only then work with a mortgage lender there are problems you may face. First more and more home sellers want a pre-approval letter before considering your offer. They want serious and capable buyers. When I first started in this industry many home sellers didn't request a pre-approval letter and many sellers went weeks to only find out that their home really wasn't sold the buyer couldn't buy. I would as a buyer want to also know that I'm looking at homes that I could actually purchase. There is nothing worse then to find what you think is the perfect home and then be told you can't qualify for that home. From that point on you find it difficult to accept other homes that are in your range but don't match up with the other home. If you had never seen that first home you may have been very excited about the homes you can qualify for.
Save yourself some potential heartache, be pre-educated about what you can realistically afford to do, and find a reputable mortgage lender to help you get pre-approved. Through this added strength of knowledge you can then more effectively find your next home.