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Brenda Kellen: I’m ready to buy, now what?

Brenda Kellen
Thoughts on Real Estate

First and foremost, get pre-qualified by a reputable lender. Your

Realtor can recommend a couple people or ask friends for referrals.

When you call the lender, say, “So and so gave me your name and number

and I would like to get pre-qualified to buy a home.”

The lender will ask a few specific questions, run your credit and usually within

24 to 48 hours have an answer to discuss with you. There is no charge for getting pre-qualified. The lender will provide a Good Faith Estimate, a document disclosing interest rate, term, charges for the loan, and estimated monthly payment. The lender and your Realtor can thoroughly review this form with you.

Now, you are pre-qualified, you know what loan amount and purchase price you can comfortably afford. It is almost time to start looking at property.

It is very important to define your wants and your needs. A want is something that would be nice to have with the property; a need is something you cannot live without.

On a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle. On the left hand side write want; on the right hand side write need. Now, list everything you are looking for in a home

on the left hand side. As you review the list, identify and move the need items to the right hand side of the page. An example might be number of bedrooms. If you want three bedrooms and will not buy anything but a three bedroom or larger, do not take the time to look at any properties with less than three bedrooms. Number of bedrooms must be moved to the “need” side of your paper.

Ask your Realtor to print out all listings for your price range and take time to review those listings a few days before your showings.

Weed out the ones that do not have items on your need list and look at the other choices first.

Now it is time to get out and look at property. For most people, this is their favorite part of buying a home. Take the listing sheets with you for the appointment and make notes as you visit the different properties. Taking pictures is a good idea as well. Tap into your Realtor’s expertise and experience by asking lots of questions and carefully listening to the insight they have to offer.

Upon finding a property you would like to make an offer on, the lender will provide a written pre-qualification letter specific to the contract for your realtor to present along with the offer. This letter is a very powerful tool for the buyer; it gives the seller

reassurance you have completed the necessary steps to be in a position to financially purchase the home. A successful loan is the most important piece of the purchasing puzzle. If you are in a multiple offer situation, the pre-qualification letter may be the difference between the seller choosing your contract over another.


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