If you are a first time home buyer and thinking about purchasing a home, It may seem confusing as to where you should start. Do I speak to a lender first? Search on the internet to see what homes are selling for in my area? How much money will I need for a down payment? What will my interest rate be and how much will my monthly house payment be? I have received a gift from a family member for a down payment, can I use that for my down payment? What is seasoning money mean? All of these questions are great but your lender is the first person you need to speak with regarding qualifying for a loan and go about providing your agent with a prequalification letter.
A lender can explain the types of loans whether your a first time home buyer with 3.5% down and FHA loan or up to a conventional loan with 20% down. You provide them with your information and they look at all of the different loans to see which will suit your needs the best and get you the most with what you have.
Speaking with a lender helps you set realistic expectations on what you will be able to afford. This will allow your real estate agent to keep within your price range, saving you time as opposed to looking at homes you may not qualify for. The worst thing that could happen is for you to find a home you love and then find out it’s just outside of your price range. Being pre-approved for a loan shows sellers that you are serious about purchasing a home as well as a lender can help answer questions you may have regarding the home loan process. If you are unsure of the eligibility requirements or if you might qualify for a specific loan, the lender is the person to ask. Often times, people get random information from friends or the internet, many of which are not applicable to their specific situation.
It is a good idea to plan which lenders you would like to speak to before running your credit. There is a “grace period” of a few weeks in which multiple lenders can run your credit score, and if all within this period, would only mark your credit once total rather than for each inquiry. While the lender can guide you in all of the paperwork they will need from you, you can prepare by having copies of the last 2 years complete filed Federal tax returns to include W-2’s. If self employed or partnership you will need those returns as well. State returns are not required. They will also need copies of your pay stubs for the most recent 30 days. In addition, bank/investment statements for the most recent month for any funds to be used in this transaction, will be necessary. In all documents, be sure to include all of the pages.
If you are unsure of which lender to use, a real estate agent can assist you in finding a lender that will best fit your needs. Real Estate agents are required to give you more than one option in that regard. The agent will also be happy you are on the road to your pre-approval as it will give them the information needed to help you find your dream home that is perfect for you and your family
Once you speak with your lender and receive a pre-qualification letter, your real estate broker can assist you with finding the right home to fit all your needs, at the price you qualify for so you can maximize time spent looking for your dream home. We are here to help you understand the process to make it a smooth and stress free transaction!