Lately, we’ve been chatting all about the process of buying your first home sweet home. To begin, we listed some tips to help you with the whole buying vs. renting dilemma. If you read that blog post and came to the conclusion that you’re ready to give up temporary decorating techniques and add “homeowner” to your resume… then today’s post is perfect for you!
Now, before you start scouring the real estate listings for your dream home, you need to figure out how much house you can afford. Yep, like many large purchases you’ve gotta start with a BUDGET.
If you’re going to be borrowing money from a bank (which I’m guessing is most of you), you’ll need to chat with a mortgage lender or broker to find out how much cash they’re willing to cough over.
How do I find a Mortgage Lender?
There are many ways to find a good lender. If you don’t know where to start, you can ask your family & friends for any recommendations. If you already have a real estate agent you’re planning to use for your home buying process, they may have some suggestions as well.
Your financial advisor, accountant, or lawyer may have some good go-to lenders too… it never hurts to ask around! You can also go to your credit union or bank where you already have open accounts and ask what kinds of mortgage deals they have for their customers.
Bottom Line: It doesn’t matter where you find your lender as long as you have someone who will give you good, professional service while helping you find a competitive loan.
What documents will they need from me to approve my Mortgage application?
Once you find your lender or broker, they’re going to need lots of documents and information from you so they can take a look at your financial past. Here are some documents you should have handy…
- 2 most recent paystubs
- Last 2 years of Tax Returns
- Last 2 years of W2’s
The lender will also run a credit check on you so they have a clear look at your financial history. If you’re a couple, then you will probably want to take both of your incomes into account when applying for a loan. So you’ll need double the paperwork to hand on over to the lender.
What is a Mortgage Pre-Approval Letter?
After your lender reviews all of your information, she’ll come back with a pre-approval letter. This magical piece of paper will outline how much money the bank is willing to lend you to buy your home. Most pre-approval letters are good for 60 to 90 days.
Keep in mind that even though you can borrow “x” amount, that doesn’t mean that you have to take all of it. It’s important for you to find a budget with which you’re comfortable.
As I said before, getting pre-approved is the first and one of the most important steps in the homebuying process. Instead of wasting time looking at properties beyond your means, you’ll be able to narrow down your home search to find a place that is right for you and your wallet.