I get it, you’ve decided you’re ready to buy a house. You’ve set up Zillow searches and you’re eager to get going. Why can’t we just go look at houses? Because I want to set you up for success, not for disappointment. Meeting with a lender first is step one in a successful home-buying process.
Buying a home is exciting and you probably have a “dream” home in mind. The problem with our “dream” home is that it doesn’t have the price tags attached. Any of us can have an amazing home if we let our minds go wild. But then we wake up in the real world and don’t have the money to pay for it. Just like a bride shouldn’t go try on dresses from any rack regardless of price, home buyers shouldn’t go look at homes without knowing their actual budget first. There are a lot of really great homes in Northern Virginia and they also come at a high price tag.
“But Zillow Already has a Budget Estimator”
Zillow’s mortgage estimate tool usually doesn’t match up to an actual lenders assessment, which can be a big let down. Since Zillow isn’t going to be your mortgage lender it’s essential for you to sit down with an actual lender from the beginning so that you know what you have to work with. There are many factors that go into determining your mortgage, as well as a banks assessment on how much they are willing to lend you. Do you have good credit? What kind of down payment do you have? Are you a “risky” or “safe” client for the bank?
Setting realistic expectations from the start certainly isn’t “fun” and can feel a bit like letting some of the air out of a balloon. But at the end of the day, it’s the right thing to do. There’s nothing worse than starting your home search off, finding the “perfect” house and coming to realize you can’t actually afford it. Houses in your price range are going to pale in comparison and set you back on your search.
Meet with a Lender First and then Say “Yes” to the House
I work with a couple of really great lenders and am more than happy to give you recommendations to get started. The good thing is, they tend to work pretty quickly, so once you’ve been pre-approved with a clear budget in place, we can go look at houses! You will be ready to say “Yes” when the right house comes along, and all we have to do is be ready to submit a solid offer. I’ll have a blog post on that soon!
What do I need to do to meet with a Lender?
Tim Kelly, one of the lender’s I work with, lays it all out for you in this three-minute video –