HomeBuyer University: Buying a Home, Just Got Easier
Course 1: The Home Buying Process
Step 1: Getting Pre-approved
Step 2: Hire A Real Estate Agent
Search For a Home
Searching for your new home can be the most exciting step of the process – other than moving in of course. However, if you don’t approach this step correctly, you may get frustrated, stressed, and disappointed. This is where your real estate agent and loan officer are going to be relied on most.
NOTE: Your loan officer would have already issued a pre-approval letter to you and your real estate agent. It’s critical that your pre-approval accurately reflects what loan amount and loan program you qualify for. Your real estate agent relies on this information to search for homes in the price range you can afford. That’s why choosing a mortgage lender that can provide you with an accurate pre-approval letter is so important.
Searching for a Home
At this stage in the home buying process, your real estate agent will ask you questions to uncover you needs, preferences and criteria for your new home. Each person or family has unique needs, which requires the agent to diligently hunt for prospective homes in the geographic areas their clients are interested in. Once your agent finds properties that you might be interested in, he/she will show you those properties. If you are only viewing one property on a given day, it’s common for you to meet up with the agent at the property and at an agreed time. If you are viewing multiple properties in one day, your agent may offer to meet up with you and drive you to each property.
In addition to the hard work your real estate agent puts into searching for your dream home, there are things you can do too. Although you won’t have access to all of the listings when searching on your own, the internet gives you immediate access to homes for sale – and searching is relatively easy. Searching online is fun, and helps you sort out what you like and don’t like.
Using third party websites are a great way to search real estate listings, but keep in mind that local real estate agents have direct access to MLS and can grant complete access to every real estate listing in MLS. Real estate brokers can either filter listings on your behalf or grant you direct access to MLS through their account.
Deciding What to Use as a Resource
Now that you understand where third party websites get their real estate listings from and how that compares to what a real estate professional has to offer, you can decide the preferred method that you would like to use for searching real estate for sale online.
While searching for homes, your loan officer and real estate agent will be in regular contact with one another. They will work together to make sure you find a home, and can obtain financing for that specific property. It’s common for a home buyer to be interested in a different type of property, or in a different location, than what was originally outlined in your pre-approval letter. Your real estate agent should contact your loan officer to review the property information prior to making an offer. Here is a scenario to illustrate the importance of reviewing the pre-approval on a specific property prior to submitting an offer.
Scenario: You are pre-approved for a 100% financing USDA loan. For this loan option, you can buy a home in most counties in your state. The county you currently live in, which is where you want to purchase a new home, is an eligible county for this loan program. Your real estate agent calls you with exciting news that he found a property that meets all of your criteria, needs, and preferences. However, it’s located in the neighboring county. Check with your loan officer to confirm the neighboring county is an eligible area for the 100% financing loan program. You don’t want to waste your valuable time looking at properties you don’t qualify for.