Friday, November 11, 2011

My First Question to a HOME BUYER--"Have YOU Talked to a Loan Officer?"

"Hello, this is Teri!"

"Hi Teri! I saw your ad for the home you have listed on 2 acres in Anoka County and would like to set up a showing."

"That is a nice home and it is still available but I have a few questions for you before I can show the home. Are you working currently working with a REALTOR®? No? Well, have you talked to a loan officer yet? "

That is how I begin almost every single conversation with a potential buyer. Have you talked to a loan officer yet? Okay...I realize it is my second question but it is the first real question regarding the buying process. See, there often is no point in setting up a showing on a home unless you have spoken to a loan officer. And this is not just about credit issues and ability to purchase either. You've no doubt heard the proverb about not putting the cart in front of the horse...which means don't get ahead of yourself. You as a home buyer need to understand type of loan you will be using, what payment you would be comfortable making and, yes, whether you have enough income and suitable credit score to get the loan. If you do not know these very important specifics on your home loan, there maybe no point in seeing the property.

An experienced FHA loan officer and blogger, Jeff Belonger, recently wrote a post about what REALTORS® need to know about specific loans in order for the deal to go through.  It is an interesting read that got me thinking about the home buying process and where it really starts. I do know that there are requirements for the sale of an FHA appraisal that would prevent me from showing most foreclosure homes to an FHA buyer. So for instance if a listing  I have is an as-is estate or foreclosed home that needs a  new roof,  but the seller refuses to replace, I know buyers that plan to use an FHA mortgage, will not be able to purchase the home. But if you haven't talked with a loan officer yet, you as a buyer will have no idea whether the type of mortgage you will use will work with the home.

So the conversation with myself and the potential buyer usually continues with the following:

"I would be happy to show you the home as soon as you have met with a loan officer to be pre-approved for a loan. That way, you will know what type of financing you will be using and if the payment is something that will work with your budget. I would be happy to refer you to a loan officer that would be able to assist you."

Please don't think that requesting you speak with a loan officer first is to putting  off showing you a home. This is really about "putting the horse in front of the cart" rather than the other way around. No buyer ever wants to be looking at homes they cannot afford. Knowing what price point for a home is considered affordable to your budget and the type of loan you will be getting will make the home buying process smooth and relatively stress-free!