Owning a home is a dream for many Americans. But buying the perfect house at a great price with the right financing requires a thorough understanding of the local market, the homebuying process and the facts on funding.
If you don’t have this knowledge, no problem. Just build a team that does. It really takes two good people.
The mortgage pro
A mortgage professional will find out how much mortgage you qualify for based on your credit and income level, and offer advice if your credit needs help.
Once you’ve got that credit score as high as possible, this pro will take you through the preapproval process so you’ll be ready to pull the trigger when you find the perfect home.
Your mortgage expert’s job is to provide you with three numbers:
- The mortgage amount you’re able to qualify for
- The amount of cash you’ll need to close
- The monthly payments you’ll ultimately pay
So how do you pick a mortgage pro? Ask your real estate agent for recommendations — an agent should know who is good.
But don’t stop there. Talk to several candidates, and compare rates and fees.
Also, ask about experience. The paperwork involved in closing a mortgage loan can be daunting, and problems aren’t uncommon. Someone who has done 1,000 transactions is better than someone who has done 10.
The real estate agent
A real estate agent isn’t essential: You can buy a house directly from an owner. And many buyers like it that way, since that saves the seller thousands of dollars in commissions, which means a potentially lower price.
But a good real estate agent can help in major ways, especially if issues creep up with the appraisal or inspection, or if negotiations become sticky. Having the right person to help you find the right house at the right price may well pay off.
So, ask about experience and recent transactions. Focus on qualifications, not personality. Everyone wants to deal with someone they feel comfortable with, but take comfort from winning credentials, not a winning smile.
Also, request referrals. In addition to asking mortgage pros and agents about each other, get in touch with past customers. The personal feedback, along with the sheer number of referrals they offer, may say something about the agent’s experience.
What’s your experience working with mortgage experts and/or real estate agents? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.