Question: If a buyer thinks they are ready to purchase a home – should they look for property first and then meet with a lender before making an offer or meet with a lender first? Which one and why start there?
Answer: Always, always, always talk to a lender first. You wouldn’t buy groceries unless you knew you could afford them right? Same for buying a house. Your time is important and valuable, so talk with a lender who can help you determine how much house you can afford before looking at houses. It doesn’t cost you anything up front and will save loads of time. Also, if two offers come in on a property and all terms are equal, but one comes with a pre-approval from a lender, who do you think the seller will want to work with? The pre-approved buyer.
Question: Would you recommend the buyer have a pre-approval letter to submit with an offer?
Answer: Yes, see above.
Question: How many lenders should the buyer contact?
Answer: Like anything it’s best to get a referral, talk to your buyer’s agent for some options, then contact two or three lenders. Sometimes your personal bank will have the best deal for you, sometimes not.
Question: If the buyer does not know any lenders, who should they contact?
Answer: Buyers should discuss options with their buyer’s agent.
Question: What does it mean to be “house poor” and what should a buyer be aware of when meeting with a lender?
Answer: To be house poor is to have more house than you can afford and maintain the lifestyle you desire. Just because you qualify for a certain purchase price doesn’t mean that the monthly payment will still allow you the financial freedom to do what you want. When considering a house payment into your budget don’t forget to account for eating out, concerts, adventure sports, wine…. you get the picture.
Question: As a buyer’s agent, do you get a sense that loans are hard to get right now?
Answer: Actually there are still lots of options. Loans are there for all kinds of qualified buyers.
Question: How are interest rates right now?
Answer: Well, they are really low! Low rates combined with adjusted, lowered prices make for lots of great deals for buyers.
Question: I hear it is a buyer’s market, so should buyer’s look in a higher price range to see if a seller will take a lower offer or what is your recommendation?
Answer: Talk to a buyer’s agent. He or she will know whether a home is priced well for the current market. The past few years have shown us that it’s not wise to move outside of what a lender has pre-approved.
Question: Is it a good time for a buyer to buy – or do you see prices continuing to decline – should a buyer wait or buy now?
Answer: Depends on the market. Here in Asheville there is lots of opportunity, but remember this is a home, not a stock or a bond.
Please comment with any questions you may have regarding home loans or contact our office to speak to Peter directly.
Answers provided by Peter van Rijssen, Buyer Consultant with The Bourke Group