Pre-Approval - No Problem
Good for a laugh, the funny here is it's not terribly far from the truth. Let me just say it, buyers that want to see homes without having talked with a lender generally don't go to the top of the list with most Realtors. Would you want to spend your gas and precious time to show a home to someone who's financial capability you know nothing about?
Probably not, but therein lay a few opportunities that can save you money.
Pre-approval - The Right Lender for You.
Your best bet for finding the right lender for your location and unique situation is talking to a Realtor. Why? Realtors that have been in the business for any good length of time keep a group of preferred lenders in their back pocket.
Save money & time getting a referral from a Realtor.
- Trusted Lenders: Good Realtors are on top of which lenders offer what products, and also what lenders are pr0-active and get the job done. Believe me, Realtors only want to refer to lenders they have trusted relationships with based on great experiences. Not every lender can do the same loan or accommodate the same credit requirements.
- Incentive Savvy: Another good reason to talk with a Realtor about lenders; they tend to know about buyer incentives beyond the obvious. They tend to know about local programs or upcoming local programs like city or county grants. I recall not to long ago Kettering Ohio was offering up to $25,000 to qualified first time buyers, and believe me, just because you bought a house before doesn't mean you won't necessarily qualify.
- Relationships: Buyers will find it so helpful, when they set their sights on a home that's going to require a change to their financing or loan product. Not every loan works for every property. A good Realtor can effectively communicate with the lender on your behalf or refer a substitute lender the Realtor knows that can do the new type of loan.
Not the kind of surprise you want - Realtor to the Rescue
You should check your credit first, yet another good reason to get pre-approved means finding out how your credit and finances stack up. but let's say it's not great. I'll tell you what Realtor you should work with. The one that sticks by you, is knowledgeable about combating negative credit, follows up, facilitates communication between you and the lender, keeps you informed of the market area of interest and sticks with you for the long haul.
Lastly, it's lovely if you have the time to go window shopping, but if you're talking about an investment of this size and scope, getting pre-approved puts you in the full know of what you can truly afford. Skilled agents can help you plan for the associated costs of home ownership and what you can comfortably afford. Hesitating about investigating your credit is not in your best interest; 2015 will show you a lot of competition from other buyers.
Asking for showings without a pre-approval is akin to showing up at a wedding and you haven't bought the ring.