I think I've written about this topic in the past, but because of some recent happenings, I think it bears repeating.
The first step to buying a house is to get pre-approved.
I know some buyers out there don't want to hear that. You just want to get a taste of what's on the market. What can you get for $150,000? What can you get for $200,000? What can you get for $250,000?
But the bottom line is, it's too risky for me to take the time to search the market for you, to email listings to you, and to drive around showing houses to you if we don't know how much the bank will loan you. And it makes me wonder if perhaps you're not as serious about buying a house as I might have thought you are.
And there's a risk for you, as well. You could walk through a house that you fall in love with only to learn you don't qualify for the price point. Or worse, you could write an offer on a house only to have the seller reject you because you aren't pre-approved.
It's worth it to take the time to talk to your lender about what's affordable to you. It doesn't cost you anything, and it's the most important step you can take toward home ownership.
So please don't back away when the question of whether you are pre-approved comes up in our conversation. It's important for both of us to know the answer so we can determine the best way to proceed with your home search.