Real Estate Myth-Understanding 3: “I don’t need to talk to a mortgage lender or Realtor until I’m ready to buy.”
In fact, there are a few very compelling reasons to communicate with a Realtor® and a lender as soon as you think a home purchase may be in your future.
Your first call (or email) should be to your Realtor®. A good Realtor® will set you up to succeed with your search and subsequent purchase by providing:
–An Initial Consultation: Your Realtor® will schedule an initial consultation to help you build a detailed search strategy that is consistent with your real estate goals and your lifestyle. This meeting will give you a chance to assess whether or not this is the right professional for the job. During this appointment, you should receive a concise overview of market conditions, an introduction to the Realtor’s® team and office environment, some background information about the agent, and he or she should conduct a detailed needs analysis that will be used to structure your search.
–Technology Tools: Your Realtor® can set you up for custom property searches so that you receive notifications anytime properties matching your criteria hit the market. During the early stages of your search, these emails will help you refine your search parameters and zero-in on the right neighborhood. Later in your search, these notifications will serve as your “heads-up” that your next home may now be available and waiting for you!
–Personal Knowledge: The ‘Right’ Realtor® for you is the one who you can call anytime and with any question and know that you will receive sound advice without sales pressure. A thriving realty group can be a fantastic resource for you — helping you keep your finger on the pulse of real estate activity in your area. Also, some Realtors® are aware of ‘pocket communities’ that fall under radar of most homebuyers, but that perfectly match your search criteria.
–Valuable Partnerships: An experienced Realtor® will maintain a ‘secret list’ of top-tier contractors and service providers that may be needed before, during, and after the transaction. I’m talking about that “A-List” of professionals that you can turn to for the best work at the best prices. The list may include landscapers, electricians, plumbers, roofers, home inspectors, home warranty providers, and, of course, lenders.
Why should you contact a mortgage consultant as soon as you think a move may be in your future?
I’ll give you three very good reasons:
1) A lender will tell you how much home you can afford in keeping with your budget so you can target your search appropriately,
2) A lender can keep you apprised of interest rate changes and offer you the ability to ‘lock in’ a rate once you’re ready to make a purchase, and
3) You will need to submit a Loan Status Report (LSR) or Prequalification Letter with any resale home purchase offer. The LSR serves as the Seller’s assurance that you are qualified to complete the proposed purchase.
If you wait to talk to a Realtor® and a lender until you’re ready to make a purchase, you’ll miss out on many of the tools and the knowledge that these professionals can bring to the real estate purchase process. In most cases, it’s a good idea to consult a Realtor® at least 90 days prior to your anticipated move date, and at least 120 days if you have a home to sell before you can move into a new home.