Buying a Home Guide from Linda O'Connor

Why Pre-Approval Should Be Your First Step

In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream home greatly exceeds the number of homes for sale, driving a competitive marketplace where it can be tough to stand out. Since you know you’ll need to apply for a mortgage before you purchase a home, one way to show you’re serious about buying is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved before you start your search . Even if you're in a market that's not as strapped for inventory, understanding your budget will help you know if your dream home is within your reach. Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the My Home section of their website: “It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.” One of the advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you through this process. Once you’ve selected a lender, you'll need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.” Freddie Mac describes the "4 Cs" that help determine the amount you’ll be qualified to borrow: 1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments 2. Capital or Cash Reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash 3. Collateral: The value of the assets you’re pledging as security against the loan 4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time Getting pre-approved is one of the many steps that will show home sellers you’re serious about buying. Completing this in advance often accelerates the process once your offer has been accepted. Bottom Line If you're ready and willing to buy, getting pre-approved will help you feel more informed and may even give you the edge you need in today’s competitive homebuying process.

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