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Getting a Legitimate Lender and Getting Pre-Approved

Most lenders can pre-qualify you for a mortgage over the phone.  Based on general questions about your income, debt, assets and credit history, lenders can estimate how much mortgage you qualify for and how much your monthly payments will be. 
However, being pre-qualified and pre-approved are two different things.

Pre-approval means that you have applied for a mortgage.  You have actually filled out the mortgage application, received your credit report and verifications have been completed, such as, employment, assets, etc...  When you are pre-approved, you know exactly what the maximum loan amount will be.

A pre-qualified letter is not verified and in essence, does not count for much if you are competing with other buyers who are pre-approved.  When you are pre-approved, you and the seller know exactly how much house you can afford.  It gives you the credibility as an interested buyer and lets the seller know immediately that you will qualify for a loan to buy their property.

In addition to being pre-approved, it's important to be pre-approved with a legitimate lender.  Legitimate lenders include:  banks, mortgage bankers, credit unions, savings and loan associations, mortgage brokers and online lenders.

Some lenders to avoid:  those who lose a form or misplace a file, those who gather information from you in an unorganized manner, those who are not informed about interest rates, points or costs and those who cannot provide you with the correct information.



Buyer's Tips
Use a Buyer's Agent

It's important that you choose an experienced agent who is there for you.  Your agent should be actively finding you potential homes, keeping you informed of the entire process, negotiating furiously on your behalf and answering all of your questions with competence and speed.


Why You Should Not Make Any Major Credit Purchases

Don't go on a spending spree using credit if you are thinking about buying a home or in the process of buying a new home.  Your mortgage pre-approval is subject to a final evaluation of your financial situation.



Finding the Right Seller

The best seller is one who is highly motivated.  A highly motivated seller is more likely to sell for less than his or her house is worth.  And it matters that our find out why.  Learning the reason why can help you get the price you want and help the seller get what they want also.


Build a Plan of Action and Get Ready

Buying a home will probably rank as one of the biggest personal investments one can make.  Being organized and in control will contribute significantly to getting the best home deal possible with the least amount of stress.  It's important to anticipate the steps required to successfully achieve your housing goal and to build a plan of action that gets you there.
 
First: ask yourself how much can you afford.  Figure your budget and write it down so you'll know exactly what you can and cannot afford each month.  

Second:  ask yourself where do you want to live and what is the best location for you and your family.  Things to consider:  convenience for all family members, proximity to work and school, crime rate of neighborhood, local transportation and of course, other types of homes in the neighborhood.