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A mortgage pre-approval can be a valuable tool for understanding how much you can afford to spend on purchasing a home. It can also make you seem much more attractive to sellers and help to identify any potential problems that may make it difficult to get a loan. In fact, many lenders claim that if a buyer isn’t pre-approved for a mortgage, they will have a difficult time navigating the real estate market. But what does pre-approval really mean?
What is a Mortgage Pre-Approval?
While it can sound like you’ve got a sure thing locked in when you’re pre-approved for a mortgage, being pre-approved doesn’t promise that you’ll be able to secure a loan for the home that you want to purchase. A mortgage pre-approval simply means that a loan officer has reviewed your finances and decided how much money you're allocated to borrow, what you should be able to pay each month towards your mortgage and what your interest rate will be.
Once, you’ve been pre-approved by a lender, you will get a letter that can be shown to sellers. This letter indicates that you’ve already established a working relationship with a lender. This helps to give sellers peace of mind in knowing that you’re serious about putting in an offer on their home, and they don’t have to risk wasting time with a buyer who isn’t serious.
What Are the Benefits of Getting a Pre-Approval?
A pre-approval doesn’t guarantee you’ll get a mortgage but it does offer a few key advantages during your search for the ideal home. It helps to give you confidence while looking at potential properties, as you look at homes that are within your budget. There’s no need to fall in love with a home that you can’t afford. Additionally, it establishes credibility as a buyer, showing that you have your finances under control and can help to put you on the fast-track to closing once you’ve found the perfect home.
Are Pre-Approval & Pre-Qualified the Same Thing?
Unfortunately, no. These two similar real estate terms are not interchangeable. When you are pre-qualified for a mortgage, this indicates that you have given your lender information regarding your income, debts and assets. Without doing further research, the lender then tells you that you should qualify for a certain mortgage. Pre-approval is a much more in-depth process, requiring your lender to verify the financial information provided by pulling your credit history, as well as verifying your income and assets.
You know you want to pursue a home, and as such, likely plan to attend lots of house showings in the near future. Before you check out a residence in-person, however, it generally is a good idea to prepare as much as possible. That way, you can use a home showing to learn about a residence, evaluate a house's pros and cons and determine if a particular home is right for you.
Ultimately, there are many factors to consider before you attend a home showing, and these factors include:
1. Your Home Must-Haves
It often helps to make a list of "must-haves" prior to launching a house search. With this list at your disposal, you can narrow your home search and schedule showings for residences that offer the features you want.
You may want to put together a list of preferred cities and towns, too. This list will help you hone your house search to residences in cities and towns where you want to live. Then, you can set up showings to view residences in these areas.
2. Your Homebuying Budget
You likely have only a finite amount of money you can spend on a residence. If you start a house search with a budget in hand, you can search for homes that fall in line with your finances and schedule property showings accordingly.
Typically, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, you can learn about different home financing options. You then can select a mortgage and start to schedule showings for residences that correspond to your budget.
3. Your Homebuying Timeline
If you want to buy a house as quickly as possible, you may want to start scheduling home showings right away. This will enable you to find and relocate to a new home without delay.
On the other hand, if you can afford to be patient, you may want to take a wait-and-see approach to home showings. In this scenario, you may want to keep a close eye on the housing sector in your preferred cities and towns. Because if you do so, you can pounce at opportunities to view quality residences as soon as they become available.
As you get ready to pursue your ideal residence, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. A real estate agent can set up home showings and offer tips and recommendations to help you streamline your house search. In addition, if you ever have questions during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent can instantly respond to them.
When it comes to home showings, it may be beneficial to prepare. If you consider the aforementioned factors prior to a house showing, you may boost the likelihood of finding your dream house. Perhaps best of all, you could speed up your home search and discover a great residence that you can enjoy for years to come.
Buying a home should be an unforgettable experience. However, problems sometimes may arise that prevent a homebuyer from enjoying the property buying journey.
Whether it's tough negotiations with a stubborn home seller or a property inspection that reveals many problems with a house, problems may occur that can make the homebuying journey memorable for all the wrong reasons.
Lucky for you, we're here to help you streamline the homebuying process and ensure you can acquire your dream home quickly.
Now, let's take a look at three tips that homebuyers can use to transform an ordinary property buying experience into an unforgettable journey.
1. Perform Plenty of Real Estate Market Research
Navigating the real estate market can be tricky, particularly for first-time homebuyers. Conversely, homebuyers who evaluate the real estate market closely should have no trouble discovering a wide range of terrific residences.
Examine the prices of recently sold homes in your area. That way, you can establish a price range for homes that match your needs.
Also, analyze the amount of time that recently sold properties were available. This will help you differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's one and ensure you can map out your homebuying journey accordingly.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Buying a home likely will require you to get approved for a mortgage. If you receive pre-approval for a mortgage, you can narrow your home search based on your budget.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with several banks and credit unions. These lenders can explain how a mortgage works and help you find one that suits you perfectly.
In addition, don't hesitate to ask plenty of questions when you meet with lenders. These mortgage professionals can provide expert insights into the different types of mortgages, including fixed- and adjustable-rate options. By doing so, they can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage so you can kick off your search for the perfect home.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to buying a home, working with a real estate agent is paramount. This real estate professional will do what it takes to eliminate guesswork and streamline the homebuying journey.
A real estate agent understands the challenges that are commonly associated with buying a home and can help you overcome any potential hurdles along the way. He or she also is happy to respond to your homebuying concerns and queries and provide you with the support you deserve at any time.
Furthermore, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about new homes as they become available, set up home showings and negotiate with home sellers on your behalf. This housing market professional will even provide honest, unbiased recommendations to help you make informed decisions throughout the homebuying cycle.
Ready to get the best results from the homebuying journey? Use these tips, and you enjoy an outstanding homebuying experience.
Buying a home will likely be one of the largest financial decisions you will make in your lifetime. While this may seem scary at first, it’s worth noting that buying a home can also be a valuable financial investment.
When it comes to preparing to buy a home, many people just wait until they run out of room in their apartment before deciding that they need to upgrade to a home. A better approach, however, would be to start planning for your first home a year or more in advance.
Saving for a down payment is a vital step to making the best long-term financial decision. A larger down payment can help you pay off your home sooner, pay thousands or tens of thousands less in interest, and start using your home equity as an asset.
But, saving for a down payment is easier said than done. So, in this post, we’re going to talk about some of the ways you can aggressively save for a down payment so that, when the time comes, you can achieve long-term financial security from your investment.
Setting your savings goals
The first thing you should be thinking about when saving for a down payment is what your goals are in a home. Setting realistic goals in this phase will make saving for your down payment more feasible and less discouraging.
Think about what you really need from a home at this point in your life and compromise where you can.
Remember that on top of your monthly mortgage payments, you’ll likely also be paying for taxes, insurance, utilities, homeowners association fees, and more.
Save on a timeline
When setting your savings goal, make sure you’re aware of the timeframe you’re working with. If you want to buy a home next year, you’ll need to focus on short-term savings options. However, if you’re okay with renting for the next 5 years, investing your money could be a better option.
Lock away your savings
Treat your down payment savings like an emergency fund. Open a separate account, automatically deposit a portion of your pay into the account, and never withdraw from it. To do this, you will, of course, need to already have an emergency fund with a month’s expenses in it.
However, once you’ve established your emergency fund, start immediately depositing into your savings account.
Pay off credit cards
It may seem like saving for a down payment is more pressing than paying off old debt. However, the numbers will show that making interest payments on your credit cards is essentially throwing away money that could have been used toward your down payment savings.
Adjust your spending habits
While it isn’t easy to start spending less once you’ve built a standard of living, there are ways to spend less money and still lead a fulfilling life. Think about where your money goes each month, including bills and services you might pay for.
Now could be the best time to cut the cord and start using a service like Hulu to save $50 or more each month.
Time for a raise?
If it’s been some time since your last pay raise, now could be an ideal time to speak with your employer. To improve your chances of success, don’t discuss reasons outside of work that might be influencing your decision to ask for a raise (such as saving for a down payment). Rather, back up your request with evidence of your accomplishments at work.
Purchasing a home may prove to be a good idea. In fact, there are many reasons to pursue a house, and these include:
1. You can purchase a home that you can call your own.
There is nothing quite like the feeling an individual typically experiences after he or she buys a house. If you conduct a search for your dream residence, you can enjoy this one-of-a-kind feeling in the near future.
Of course, if you decide to purchase a home, you may want to establish property buying criteria. This will allow you to hone your home search and accelerate the property buying journey.
As you put together homebuying criteria, think about where you want to reside and what features you want to find in your ideal residence. Then, you can begin the homebuying journey with a plan to achieve the best-possible results.
2. You could save money over the long haul.
Let's face it – the costs of renting an apartment, condo or house can add up over time. On the other hand, a home is a long-term investment that may help you save money in comparison to renting a property.
If you decide to launch a home search, you may want to get pre-approved for a mortgage too. Banks and credit unions are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these financial institutions can teach you everything you need to know about home financing. As a result, if you meet with banks and credit unions in your area, you can find a mortgage that complements your finances perfectly.
3. You can personalize your residence however you choose.
A house is more than just a place where you eat, sleep and store all of your personal belongings. And if you acquire a residence, you can transform an ordinary house into a personalized home.
As a homeowner, you can paint your home any color you choose, perform assorted house upgrades and much more. Therefore, homeowners enjoy unprecedented flexibility and can customize a house so it matches or exceeds their expectations.
For those who are ready to pursue a house, it often helps to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional can offer plenty of guidance throughout the property buying journey and ensure you can quickly discover your dream house.
A real estate agent will keep you up to date about houses that fall within your price range, set up home showings and help you submit an offer to purchase your ideal residence. Plus, a real estate agent will negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf to help you pay the lowest price for your dream home. And if you ever have concerns or questions during your home search, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them right away.
Ultimately, buying a home is a good idea for many people. If you hire a real estate agent today, you can instantly start a home search and move one step closer to acquiring your dream residence.