Which comes first, the Realtor® or the Lender?

Which comes first, the Realtor® or the Lender?

I get contacted all the time by buyers asking to see properties and I always ask them where they are in the homebuying process and ‘have you spoken with a lender?’ is one of the first questions I ask.  Lots of buyers have done internet research and maybe even played around with some mortgage calculators but if they don’t have a pre-approval they really don’t know how much house they can qualify for.  A good lender will go over your options with you and identify what kind of loan is a good fit (Conventional, FHA, VA? What about a USDA loan if you are looking in a rural area?) as well as give you an estimate of what your monthly payment will be.

Without knowing that, a buyer can be looking above their price range (sure to cause disappointment when they go to make an offer and realize they can’t swing an offer for their ‘dream house’) or they are underestimating and they could get more house than they think.  Either way, if my new clients don’t have a lender lined up, I recommend some of the great loan officers I know and have worked with over the years.  

If they do have a lender but maybe they have special circumstances in their financial picture, I recommend they get a ‘second opinion’ with one of my trusted lenders. And if they are comfortable with the lender they already have, I will contact that person to make sure I have a clear picture of where they are.

It never hurts to shop around, this is going to be your biggest investment as well as your largest monthly bill and anything you can do to lower it, you owe it to yourself to try. Half a percentage point may not sound like a big deal, but over 30 years it is a lot of money!

The bottom line in this question is this:  Start with someone you trust. And usually they can point you to someone THEY trust.

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