Profile picture for user6721493

I am a first time home buyer. When should I meet with a real estate agent & loan officer?

My fiance and I have been looking at homes online and we have found quite a few we're interested in. The absolute earliest we would want to move in would be September 2013. When should we meet with a real estate agent and loan officer? How early is too early? All of the houses that we are looking at are priced ranging from $70,000- $85,000. We have about $6000 in savings. Will that be enough to pay a down payment and the closing costs? are there loan options that we could include the closing costs in the loan?
  • March 04 2013 - Springfield
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Answers (14)

Profile picture for BradNiemann
It doesn't matter who you speak with first, Realtor or Lender, but you need to know how much house you can buy before you start looking. If you came to me we would go see a lender together and find out what our strengths and challenges are.  If you could not buy right now I would work closely with you until you could.  Setting down with a lender is important and it must be done in order for my to do my job effectively. You can get a usda-rd loan that will allow you to roll your closing cost in depending on where you live.  Checking with a lender you can get that answered in 10 sec or less. 
  • March 08 2013
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Getting advice from an experienced agent on who to consider as your lender is helpful.  I would recommend choosing an agent first, then before you tour homes, get a pre-approval from the lender.  That way, you know how much you can afford to borrow and have the letter ready to go when you find a home on which you want to put an offer.
  • March 08 2013
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Start interviewing agents now...don't wait and start stressing...
  • March 07 2013
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Profile picture for Daniel0284
Best bet, is to get financing all set up before even looking at homes. Its always hard to see people fall in love with a 100000 dollar home and when they go to the bank only get approved for 80000. Then it seems like every house they look at after, in there price range just doesnt compare to the one they fell in love with. First step in buying a home is to get a loan that is going to work for you, USDA, FHA, or a 20% down loan. Second step is get a pre approval letter from your bank. When you submit an offer with a pre approval letter the buyer is more amped to take your offer knowing that your financing is all ready to go and may take less knowing that you are a able, willing buyer. Third step, and the funnest, find a Realtor that you enjoy working with and start doing some house hunting. Its always a good feeling for the buyer knowing that they are already pre approved and that any house they look at, in there price range, could be the one they love and able to buy.
  • March 07 2013
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Ok , when you go to the store you know how you are going to pay for the groceries., cash , charge ,check etc. You also know how much money you have available when you are making a decision to buy a steak or hamburger.
So how much more important is it to know how much you can borrow and what it will cost to buy a house.  ! See the lender first. The worst thing that can happen is you find the dream house and then learn you cannot buy it
  • March 07 2013
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Profile picture for ChaseSager
Meet the agent first that way he can send you to lenders that know how to close loans in thirty days or less.
  • March 07 2013
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Shop around for a mortgage broker that can explore all your financing options and give you a pre approved letter for the amount that you can afford. At this point, you are ready to select your real estate agent.
Due to HOA restrictions, goverment lending mortgage. insurance requirements and appraisal policies, it is important that your real estate agent understands the exact details and restrictions of your pre approval letter before placing any offers on properties that you like.
Best of Luck,

Maria Cipollone
  • March 05 2013
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You should get started with your loan first that way if you need to work on anything you have time, such as paying off or down accts. or disputing things.  You should be fine with your down FHA will want 3.5% plus closing costs down and you will need some money in reserve.  Depending on the market that you're looking to buy in 60- 90 days should be good.  If the area is hot I would start sooner because you will find yourself having to put in a few offers before you get one at your price point. Congrats on your first home

  • March 04 2013
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Most agents would like for you to get pre-approved for a loan first.  Otherwise, y could fall in love with a house and then not be able to get it.  I say meet with an agent and then see if they have a preferred lender.  The agent should point you in the right direction, and if the agent has any quality, they will walk you through the process to make it as easy as possible for you.  They should ask you alot of questions.  Interview different ones before you commit!
  • March 04 2013
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Profile picture for ExpectFirstClass
user6721493 - Most agents will probably say that you should see an agent immediately.  I disagree.  Before you see an agent you should see a lending professional.  Be sure to speak with a few of them as they will have access to different lending platforms.  What I like to tell my clients - speak to a regional lender (think TD Bank North), a smaller national lender (like Guaranteed Rate), a mortgage broker (a good one can shop around for the best program for you), and maybe a small local bank (they may be more flexible on the lending guidelines if you have a good Lending Officer).

You really want to get an understanding of what you can afford so you know what range you should be looking in.  That would then be a good time to reach out to a real estate professional.  Again, you want to interview the agent to see how qualified he/she is, what type of business he/she has, find out if the agent is in the business full-time, and how the agent is going to help you make a great decision FOR YOU.  Ask for referrals you can call and speak with and have the agent point out the properties he/she helped the person to buy.

BTW, if you want a September closing...you're generally looking at approximately 60 days to close from the time you write an offer.  Figure spending 1-2 months looking, so you should probably give yourself 4 months...so you'd start sometime in May.  If you find something earlier, you can always write into an offer your desire for a September closing.

Good luck!
Ryan
  • March 04 2013
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I would suggest finding an [hotlink deleted by Zillow moderator. Please see our good Neighbor policy for posting guidelines] in your area and they will be able to put you in contact with a good lender.

Exclusive Buyer Agents work 100% of the Time for Buyers and have a fiduciary obligation to protect you and help you get the best deal.

I would talk with them now, because they will be able to advise you how to be prepared to make your home buying process go smoothly.

Many loans will allow you to include closing costs in the loan, however, it depends on what type of home is being sold if it bank owned or short sale, HUD etc. they may limit the included amount to a maximum of 3%, which may not be enough.  

You could also discuss "Premium Pricing" with the lender and have them cover your closing costs.
  • March 04 2013
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I think you should certainly first contact a lender or loan officer at your local bank that can explain to you the different first time buyer loan programs and what restrictions on property conditions there are before you start looking at homes or interviewing agents.  Sometimes the homes you see on line may or may not pass some FHA inspections and or may not allow FHA buyers in some cases.  So you dont want to target the homes you cannot ulitmately get approved for... SO, start with your pre approval then take that to an agent that either friends or family recommend or one that has listed or sold homes in the areas you are interested in purchasing... as they will have the most knowledge about the homes you are interested in.
best of luck !
  • March 04 2013
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
Before meeting with agents, I'd strong recommend talking with loan officers about getting a pre-approval.

Here's a link to Zillow's buyer's roadmap.

  • March 04 2013
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Profile picture for Neeraj Jassal
I don't think it's too early to start interviewing agents for a September closing.

You are on the right track - you have gotten your finances in order.  I would suggest you start interviewing agents relatively soon.  Explain to prospective agents that you are not interested in moving until September.  Make sure you choose work with one that will understand your needs as a first time home buyer and who will be patient with you.

Good luck
  • March 04 2013
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