The most important step in preparing to buy a home is getting pre-approved.
Don't skip this crucial step for three reasons:
1. Know how much home you can afford. Knowing your budget will give you the confidence of knowing your dream home is within your reach.
2. Your real estate agent will take you seriously. If you don't know how much home you can afford, or if you even qualify for a mortgage, how can an agent serve you? They can't! Most real estate agents have lenders they've vetted and trust through experience, so ask your agent who they recommend. (Our personal choice is Tammy Hajjar Miller and her rock star team at The Federal Savings Bank!)
3. You'll be ready when you find THE ONE. Without a pre-approval, your offer on a home has very little merit. In a competitive market that moves swiftly, the home you fall in love with could very well end up in someone else's (more prepared) hands, because they were ready. Getting pre-approved can take a few days, and you'd be left out of the running waiting to get your affairs together.
It's not all doom and gloom! Many potential home buyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so!