Real Estate Blog

5 Big Home Buying Mistakes to Avoid! – Mistake #4

Real Estate updates by The Kathy O'Neal Team


If you have gone through a home purchase previously, or if you have done a little research, you may know how important it is to talk with a mortgage lender of your choice, before making an offer on any property.

If you have not done this, you are making Mistake Number 4…not getting pre-qualified as one of the early steps in your home buying journey. (The exception of course is when you are an all cash buyer.)

The idea is simple:  make your offer more attractive to the seller by showing you are qualified to obtain a loan for the property.

You do this by meeting with a lender and obtaining a letter that verifies a level of qualification for the loan, based on the information you provide and the lender validates.

The better your lender letter, the more value it is in getting your home of choice.

A first level would be a simple “pre-qualification” letter.  This would come out of a conversation or meeting with a mortgage lender, in which basic information on your financial status is obtained, and the loan officer makes a preliminary judgment on the range of loan amount the mortgage company may provide.  Assuming no major problems that would prevent you from pre-qualifying for the loan, you are provided with a pre-qualification letter.

Especially in the current market, this “pre-qual” letter in not enough. One step up is the more common “pre-approval” letter which typically involves the mortgage lender running credit checks and obtaining other information in order to validate your qualifications and eligibility for the loan.

There is another level of approval in which the mortgage company’s underwriter certifies your eligibility with a process that would be similar or the same as what they would do as part of the normal loan process.  But in this case the underwriter’s activity, which would normally happen after a signed contract between you and the seller, occurs before the signed contract, to add an additional level of strength and credibility to your offer.

The more the market is favoring sellers, the more useful this added feature can be.  But, please note that this is not necessarily available across all mortgage lenders.

The current Northern Virginia market is more seller favored, but there are variations, and real estate markets are dynamic.  Things can change rapidly.  That said, if you are a buyer, make sure you have your financial “due diligence” pre-approval letter ready to go.

And if you need help in sorting this out, getting your “ducks in a row,” and feeling confident that you can get that home of choice in any real estate market, regardless of the competition from other buyers, we invite you to be in touch.

My team and I have helped countless first-time, as well as trade-up buyers in every conceivable market over 31 years here in Northern Virginia.  We will help you avoid these mistakes and find the home that is just right for you.  Let us know how we can help!

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