As we learn more about the sub-prime “melt-down” of 2007, the selection of a good lender is apparent in its importance as a key step to success. A new home buyer must pay careful attention to this selection and a good REALTOR will facilitate the process and add to your success. Your realtor can provide you with some web sites for information and a list of some proven lenders. These referred professionals will explain their financing programs and options to you, but do not hesitate to ask your realtor for additional background and information. The loan process is complicated so do not hesitate to ask a lot of questions.
For example, a pre-approval letter is an excellent tool to use as you prepare for your house search. What is a pre-approval letter? It is a written statement from your lender that tells the Seller that you indeed qualify for a loan. It provides the Seller confidence that you are a “qualified” Buyer and facilitates the offer negotiation process. A pre-approval letter will provide you with a loan amount for which you will be approved. In addition, this is great information to have on the front because it helps you set your price parameters as you shop for a house. It also gives bargaining power for your real estate agent to use as they negotiate an offer on your new home.
Lenders come in various sizes, organizational structures and degrees of complexity. There are banks, mortgage companies and brokers. All of these can provide you with the pre-approval letter, but not all have loans that will fit your specific needs. For example, a good Bank will have a selection of its own home mortgage programs to offer the prospective home buyer. The Bank’s lending officer will work with you to find a loan structured to fit your needs and may well have access to other banking services that will help you to become established in the new neighborhood or community.
A good Mortgage Company and/or a good Broker will work with multiple lenders and banks to find you the best home mortgage programs available. They can work with you to obtain the program you feel best satisfies your financial needs. Your approach should be to work with these individuals as partners. You want to go with whoever has the best interest rate and the best programs that work for you. Of course, you want to choose someone you fell you can trust because this is a trusting relationship.
So, be sure to ask your realtor for a referral, check various web sites, and call around to a couple of lenders to find out what programs are available. Think of this as a partnership for the future and remember it is important to keep in mind that your goal is to find the right program that is affordable and sustainable over time. Finding the right lender, who you trust, and securing a program that will fit your budget for the long-term is a significant key to success.
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