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August 29, 2010

How to Start House-Hunting

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Category: Home Buyers, Real Estate Info


Thinking about buying a home?  Whether it’s your first house or your fifteenth house the process is similar.  Let’s get started!

Loan Pre-Approval. About the most important thing you can do is get pre-approved for a loan.  You may think this is putting the cart before the horse, but there are a number of reasons why that’s not so.  Among the most obvious is that it’s important to know how much house you can afford.  One of the reasons this is a really good idea is to make sure you aren’t disappointed by looking at properties that are way more expensive than you can afford.  In that case, everything that fits your budget will seem less attractive than it would have.  The other side of that coin is setting your sights too low.  Why settle for less than you really can afford?

Choosing a Lendor. It only makes sense to do business with a lender that you know you can trust.  If this is your first house, or you haven’t purchased one in quite a while, you may not have a trusted lender available.  Picking a lender at random out of the phone book is about as useful for finding a trustworthy lender as it is for finding a trustworthy REALTOR®.   But the principles are the same — conduct a thorough interview.  Although there is no cost or obligation to use the lender for your purchase just because they provided your pre-approval, you still want to choose carefully since you are entrusting that person with your personal credit information.

It is often best to choose a local lender as they will be familiar with the market and service providers (REALTORs®, title & escrow, etc.) in your area.  The large banks and mortgage companies won’t have this local knowledge.

Referral Partners.  One way to ease the choice of lender is to start by choosing a REALTOR®.  A competent REALTOR® will have a list of referral partners they work with on a regular basis.  Your agent should also be familiar with which lenders are best qualified to handle your type of transaction.  This can save a lot of time since you are starting your search with a short list.

Obligation to Seller. Did you know that part of the agreement between the seller and the listing agent is that the home will only be shown to “qualified” buyers?  A qualified buyer is one that is ready, willing and (financially) able to buy at the time they are viewing the house.  Make sure you fit the definition.  Yes, we all know that there are agents who will show a house to a customer that is not qualified as defined above, but is that the kind of agent you want to work with?

There’s nothing wrong with starting your home search on the internet.  In fact, it you check the menu above you can start searching for your Tehachapi, Kern County or Greater Antelope Valley home right from this site.  Just make sure you get pre-approved before you start looking in earnest.

For all your real estate or Tehachapi area questions, leave a comment below.  Or for faster service, use the Contact page to reach us by phone, text, or email.

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