Should you talk to a mortgage professional before house hunting?
Absolutely! Even if you haven't so much as picked out houses to visit yet, it's important to see your mortgage professional first. Why? What can we do for you if you haven't negotiated a price, and don't know yet how much you want to borrow?
When we pre-qualify you, we help you determine how much of a monthly mortgage payment you can afford, and how much we can loan you. We do this by considering your income and debts, your employment and residence situations, your available funds for down payment and required reserves, and some other things. It's short and to the point, and we keep the paperwork to a minimum!
Once you qualify, we give you what's called a Pre-Qualification Letter (your real estate agent might call it a "pre-qual"), which says that we are working with you to find the best loan to meet your needs and that we're confident you'll qualify for a loan for a certain amount.
When you find a house that catches your eye, and you decide to make an offer, being pre-qualified for a mortgage will do a couple of things. First, it lets you know how much you can offer. Your real estate agent will help you decide on an appropriate offer, but being pre-qualified gives you the confidence to know you can follow through.
More importantly, to a home seller, your being pre-qualified is like you walked into their house with a suitcase full of cash to make the deal! They won't have to wonder if they're wasting their time because you'll never qualify for a mortgage to finance the amount you're offering for the home. You have the clout of a buyer ready to make the deal right now!
You can always use the calculators available on our site to get an idea of how much mortgage you can afford -- but it's important to meet with us. For one thing, you'll need a Pre-Qualification Letter! For another thing, we may be able to find a different mortgage program that fits your needs better.