First-Time Home Buyers Guide: Part 2 of 15
Where's Your Horse?
This has nothing to do with buying a property that’ll allow you to own horses. It’s more along the lines of “hold your horses” and “putting the cart before the horse.”
Many buyers (even ones who’ve bought houses before) start looking for a house online, going to open houses, calling agents when they see “for sale” signs on the lawn, and even scouring newspapers. (Yes, some people still look in those to find houses.)
However, it’s not the best thing to do. It’s like putting the cart before the horse.
What they should do is hold their horses and get pre-approved for a mortgage before even starting to look for a house at all.
Whether it’s your first house or your twenty-first house, the first thing you should do is get pre-approved for a mortgage. (Unless of course you have cash, and if that’s the case then you know exactly how much you can spend and can give yourself the permission to spend it.)
Looking at houses without knowing that you qualify for a mortgage, and for how much, can be a waste of time as well as a total letdown in the end. So, get pre-approved so you know what you can look for, and then go find the best house you can within your budget.
Besides, when you do find a house you’d like to make an offer on, the listing agent and owner will want to see that you are pre-approved for as much as you are offering. Not having one to present to the seller wastes valuable time in a competitive market. It can also make you look unprepared, which can affect whether they feel comfortable accepting your offer.
Getting “pre-approved” doesn’t take much time. You can do it online, but it’s better if you actually speak to a mortgage professional either on the phone or face to face. You’ll need to provide them with information about your employment, assets, and debts, so before you contact one, make sure you have a decent grasp on those things. They’ll also run a credit check, so you’ll need to give them some personal information and allow them to do it.