When looking to purchase a home in Durant, OK clients often ask me whether they should choose a Realtor or mortgage lender first. I advise all of my clients to go with a trusted full-time Realtor first because he or she understands the language of the entire home buying process. A good Realtor knows about the loan process, how lending laws are constantly changing and which lenders have the best reputation for facilitating a stress-free process.
For example, the federal government and many states (and local) governments offer a variety of incentives and tax credits for new home buyers; working with a qualified Realtor who is knowledgeable, experienced, and familiar with the local market is imperative for first-time homebuyers looking to take advantage of these opportunities. Plus, a successful agent will usually have good working relationship with several lenders who will all strive to take special care of a new homebuyer because of that working relationship.
Pre-qualification vs Pre-approval, what’s the difference?
In Durant, OK, I advise my clients to make sure when they speak to a lender that they are a getting a pre-approval and not just a pre-qualification letter. There is a big difference between the two. Pre-qualification means you are only telling the lender how much you make, how much money you have saved, information about your credit profile, etc. Based on that information they will tell you whether you’re prequalified. A pre-approval means you have submitted pay stubs, w2’s, bank statements and had your credit checked and reviewed.
Realtor’s will often have checklists that will help you gather the information you need to review and potentially fix before speaking with a lender.
Follow this Home Buyer’s Checklist to #newhomebuyerhappiness
- Request a copy of your credit report and correct any errors
- Reduce your consumer debt – pay down credit card balances, paying off the debt with the highest interest rates first
- Figure out how much you can afford to pay for a home and decide how much you are willing to spend
- Get familiar with the basics of the mortgage process; terms, rates, and types of loans (e.g. Conventional, FHA, VA, and Cash)
- Determine whether you can afford the down payment (FHA 3.5%, conventional 5-20%) – don’t forget closing costs, moving costs, and setting aside a small cash reserve for emergencies
- Get pre-approved for a mortgage loan
- Work with your Realtor to visit homes and keep a score card on the areas you liked and the specific properties you visited during your search
- Once you find a house you like, work with your real estate agent to determine the price you should offer
- Have your real estate agent make an offer and complete all mortgage loan application requirements
- Hire a home inspector to examine the house & be there for the inspection – this will help you learn a lot about the house and will serve as protection for you.
- You should get “in writing” any repairs needed to be made by the Seller
- Inspect repairs and handle other details before your closing (settlement)
- Hand over a certified check for the down payment and get the keys to your new home!
Durant, Oklahoma is a HOT market for first-time home-buyers and successfully buying Durant means working with a first-time home buying expert who has the answers to the questions on this checklist. If you are looking to purchase a home in the Durant, OK area or just have questions, I would be glad to help – give me a call at 580-980-4226 or send me an email today.
Brian A. Allen is a new Realtor and is full of energy, excitement and zeal for every sale. He spent most of his career in marketing and now applies that skill set to the homes his clients want to sell. Click here to learn more about Brian A. Allen