Who should you speak to first?
When you’re buying your first home, this is one of the first dilemmas you may encounter. You can do either: There’s nothing wrong with starting off by talking to a realtor or a mortgage provider. However, if you start with the realtor, one of the first questions you’ll be asked is whether you have a preapproved mortgage in place.
If you start with the mortgage company
If you begin your journey by seeking a prequalified and preapproved loan, that will give you a real indication of the money at your disposal and, therefore, what sort of house you can expect to be able to buy. If you go to a realtor with a preapproved loan, that shows them and the people you’re buying from that you are committed to the process and that your offers should be taken seriously. You will find that several realtors and vendors will refuse to consider any offer you may wish to make unless you have proof that your mortgage is preapproved.
There is a trio of good justifications for beginning your home purchasing process by approaching a mortgage company:
- You can see where you stand immediately. The mortgage company will be able to tell you if you are eligible for a mortgage, what size the mortgage can be, and what monthly payments you will be required to make. Vendors and realtors like to see buyers who are clearly serious and will be able to follow through on any offers they make to close the deal. If you have a mortgage preapproval, you will be taken that much more seriously.
- You’ll know exactly what sort of property is in your price range. If you have this clear from the outset, you won’t find yourself disappointed later down the line… if you find your dream house only to discover there’s no way you can get a mortgage on it, the disappointment will be immense. You don’t want to start building dreams only to find out they have no foundations; if you know the maximum price you can pay and bear that in mind from the start, this won’t happen. Preapproval sets sensible boundaries for your house search.
- Further info: Calculating what you can afford
- If you get in touch with a VA loan agent, he or she will be able to help you find an agent who knows how to work with veterans. Realtors who don’t know the ins and outs of the VA loan system might take you around lots of homes that won’t be appropriate in terms of satisfying the requirements of the lender or the VA. A good VA lender will try to find you a realtor in your community who is familiar with finding homes for veterans. This may be particularly useful if a serviceman or woman has been transferred into an area that they are not familiar with.
There will be much more detail about how to work with realtors in the “Beginning your Search for a Home” course.
As we mentioned above, it’s not a problem if you’d sooner begin the process by approaching a realtor. Wherever you start from, you want the same outcome; i.e., obtaining preapproval for your home loan.
Realtors will probably suggest linking you up with loan companies and personnel with whom they’ve previously worked. That’s fine, but make certain that these companies and their officers are really knowledgeable about VA home loans; this will make sure that you can get the best view of the types of mortgage that are available before you select the one that is best aligned with your needs.