As a realtor when I am talking to future buyers for the first time about their real estate needs the conversation goes something like this….
Me: What type of home are you looking for?
Them: A 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom
Me: What area are you looking to be in?
Them: The Greater Boston area
Me: Sounds good! What is your price range?
Them: Between $425-500k
Me: Great, did you get your pre approval yet?
Them: No, I want to look at homes first.
If you are interested in purchasing a home let me explain where this conversation took a wrong turn.
Do you go to the mall or grocery store without your wallet? Do you purchase gas without your car? Or how about to the bank without ID or a debit card to withdraw money?
Why not? Is it because you would be unable to obtain any of these things when you are not prepared? Is it because you do not have the necessary things required to get what you want or need?
Well why would you go into (most likely) the largest investment of your life not prepared?!
If you are not paying all cash for a home you are not even in a position to know what price range you should be looking in. What happens if your credit score is only a few points shy for being able to qualify for a home? What happens if the bank won’t qualify you to buy a new home until you sell your current home? Did you know if you found your dream home most likely your offer won’t even be considered without a pre approval letter?
I recommend not evening browsing homes online without a pre approval letter, let alone taking time out of your day to view them in person! Here is why…..
The housing market fluctuates and no two homes are exactly the same. Let’s say you are car shopping. If you see a car that you like but don’t plan to buy it until another 6 months are you able to…
- Still get that exact same make and model 6 months later? Yup!
- Will the price be more expensive? No, most likely the price will drop!
- Will there be more options for you 6 months later? Most likely. Perhaps you can even get a newer version of the car that you first looked at, that has better features and technology.
You see, it can’t really hurt us to shop around for a long time with a car. You can browse, test drive, think about it, and it won’t have a negative effect on you.
However, a house is completely different than a car. You can look at a house and 6 months from now that house is no longer available. The housing market can increase in 6 months time, this means the house the was for sale for $400,000 6 months ago, is now able to sell for $408,0000. It’s also likely the house that you wanted 6 months ago has since sold. When this happens, most likely your mind will constantly compare any other houses you view to the house you lost. “It’s nice but it more expensive than the house from before”. “I like it, but the size of the last house was better for my needs”. “The location of the last home was perfect, this location isn’t ideal”.
You can avoid all these things by not house shopping until you are ready to buy. Just in case I have not got my point across yet…you are not ready to buy without YOUR PRE-APPROVAL LETTER.
Pre-approval letters are typically good for 3-6 months. If it takes you longer than that to find your home, most likely you are doing something wrong. That means you either have not hired a realtor, you need to find a new realtor, or you need to reevaluate your expectations. If you pre-approval does expire, guess what….You can easily get it extended/renewed!