Ken Cook does it again.
Ken Cook comes through again and answers the question of when you should get pre-approved for you loan when buying a home. I think this post goes great with my post Realtor® Speak 101: Pre-Approval. I think pre-approval is one of the most misunderstood and most important steps in the process of buying a home.
If you need help finding a lender in San Antonio who will help you better understand the process and guide you through it without talking circles around your head, contact me by phone or email and I'd be glad to send you a few recommendations.
This one kind of goes along with "When Can We Close?" from a couple of years ago and another "How Long Does It Take To Close Today?" from a few weeks ago. It is further inspired by feedback from many agents and clients over the last many years.
First it is important to understand the difference between a pre-approval, an approval and a clear-to-close. That explanation is given here at "Pre-Approval, Approval, Conditional, Cleared - What the ____?!" Let me augment that by saying you, the home buyer, have a lot of power over how certain your pre-approval is.
Pre-approvals are generally good for 30 days. This almost always depends on lender guidelines. To make sure you are getting a real pre-approval listen to how long it takes to get your pre-approval and to what you supply to the loan officer before you receive your pre-qualification letter.
Recently I received a call from one of the largest banks in the world and the phone call started by telling me I had been pre-approved for a very low interest rate to refinance my current home. When I asked the phone bank operator to send me the pre-qualification he said he would have to ask just a few questions first. There was probably only a pre-qualification based on my credit score and estimated property value. Worth nothing.
A real pre-qualification can take as little as a couple of hours and a seasoned loan professional can easily guide you through the process. Anyone who gives you a pre-qualification over the phone without having seen any evidence to prove what you have said is giving you a decision based on credit and payment history with your statements only. This type of pre-qualification is what gives loan officers a bad name.
If you are thinking about going shopping for a new home you should get pre-qualified before you even begin. Unless you have significant income, strong credit and payment history and plenty of cash you need to know what the lender is going to offer based on your specific qualifications. The loan officer will also be able to tell you which property types and costs are okay for which loan products.
To sum it up - get qualified first then start shopping. Otherwise you may be wasting your time and the time of others as well.
Ken Cook - Nationwide Specialist - Information/Marketing - FHA Home Loans
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Matt Stigliano, Realtor® Becker Properties | (210) 646-HOME | www.RErockstar.com
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