You want to buy your first home. It’s always a good idea to start out knowing your buying power before making what will likely be one of the biggest financial decisions of your life. Most of us do not have enough cash to purchase a home without a mortgage loan, so we have to find someone to lend us the money. This part is intimidating for many of us, so we put off the home mortgage pre-approval process until the last minute, and we’re eager to start viewing homes right away.
That’s why it’s never too soon to speak to a loan advisor right at the get-go to get on track to understanding what you can afford. As a pre-approved buyer, you’ll save time when house hunting. And you’ll be more confident and more inclined to make offers in an expedient fashion.
Next-you’ve found an agent
You’ve lined up the right agent—a buyer’s agent. Someone who will represent your interests. Someone you can relate to, who understands your needs and has the expertise and know-how to help you find the perfect home.
When an agent asks you to meet them prior to viewing a house that you see online or drive by, look at this as a sign that they are invested in putting themselves to work for you.
What can you expect at your initial buyer’s consultation? This meeting is the opportunity to ask the agent all sorts of questions you may have, so that you understand what you can expect throughout the process and what’s going on in the marketplace.
You may wish to bring a list of questions with you, to make sure you get them all answered.
In turn, you’ll be asked a lot of questions. The information collected during this phase of your time together is vital, as it’s how the agent will collect all the crucial info to help them do what they do: find your dream house!
During the meeting your realty professional will:
Discuss their process of buying; including finding you the best home, for the best price. They’ll develop a custom search and a plan to help you with your purchase. They’ll explain their role in the process, and the roles of the other professionals you will work with along the way.
Discuss the features of your dream home. The goal is to know what YOUR real estate goals are. How long do you plan to stay in the home, which areas you would like to search in, what style of home do you like? The agent will make a list of your “Wants,” and your absolute “Must Haves.” This is important to narrow down your search so that the focus is only on homes that will work for you.
Review your budget. With pre-approval in hand, your agent will help define the range of properties you can include in your search. There is nothing worse than dropping down in budget after seeing homes you can’t, or don’t want to, afford.
Set up your communication expectations right off the bat. How do you like to be communicated with—text/e-mail/phone? All of the above? Are there any times that are off limits, or would you expect to be informed around the clock?
Some key things to expect:
The earlier you meet, the more beneficial it is. Most people start thinking seriously about buying a home at least six months before they buy. Getting accurate information at the beginning of the process makes that lead time much more effective.
You’ll be able to focus on what’s really important versus a pipe dream. While it may not be as fun as roving from one open house to another, the process of working with lenders, dealing with paperwork, and digging deep into the realities of what you can actually afford is a critical step.
Having a professional to answer your questions will allow you to act quicker when you are ready to pull the trigger.