Profile picture for StacyLIngram

Is it normal to look at a home before you are even approved for the loan?

My husband thinks I am crazy for wanting to set up an appt with a listing agent to look at a house we really like. We haven't been approved yet, but are in the process of working with the lender.
  • September 19 2013 - Greensboro
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Answers (11)

Profile picture for Happybidr
Sure.  Most buyers do that!  From one consumer to another: ignore all the self-serving real estate agents who've posted here and feel free to go around and look at houses that you're interested in.  It'll give you a chance to see what's on the market for what price.  A good agent (not all are good) will help teach you something through the process of looking, though, but you can get the same info off the Internet or through a book.  If timing is an issue, though, I'd encourage you to get all your ducks in a row (getting preapproved, finding an agent you want to work with -- get someone who is used to working with new buyers; they'll be prepared to lead you by the hand more than most agents want to).  Agents are all going to recommend what's good for them ("get preapproved first so you don't waste my time.").  Just do some homework on how this industry works so you understand where everyone is coming from and how they get paid.  Make SURE you use a Buyer's Agent -- they will advocate for you.  Other agents essentially get paid by the Seller of any house you're interested in, so you want them to legally be required to give YOU their best advice, and not keep silent just when you need them. 
  • February 19
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I think it is so very important that you get your pre approval in place prior to starting your search.  I have found that it helps my clients feel so much more comfortable and we know we are looking at homes in the right price range.  I would never want to show buyers a home only to have them disappointed that they will not like the terms they are offered for financing,what the payment will be or even wore if they have their hearts broken because they can not get approved.
Inventory is so low in our area for great homes.  If you fall in love with a home and you do not have your pre approval in place first you have a good chance of risking loosing out to another bid that can move faster.  There are so many reason as to why you for sure want to do this first.  Hope that helps:)
  • February 19
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Congrats - you have a normal marriage relationship. Proceed as your brain directs......
  • February 19
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Profile picture for rjdeviner

Not every agent has a policy of having buyers per approved 1st but the good ones normally do. You also want to know if you qualify since today it can be difficult to obtain financing.

  • February 19
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Of course it's normal.

As a matter of courtesy, however, I would refrain from asking agents to take the time to show me houses, and visit open houses instead. 

All the best,
  • September 20 2013
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Looking at homes when you are not approved is really not a good idea. What would happen if you love the home and come to find out that your payments may superseded your comfort zone. In other words don't build yourself up then tear yourself down. Also it puts you in a better negotiating position. Hope this helps.


Trey
  • September 20 2013
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If you have a pre-approval that is all you need to get started looking for a home.

Most agents will not take you to see a home if you have not completed the basic step of being pre-approved.
  • September 19 2013
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If you are looking because you are curious and just want to look there's no harm in that. On the other hand, if you are looking because you are serious about buying it would be better to be pre-approved first. Getting pre-approved is a great idea because it allows to understand the price range you can afford. Also, offers from buyers with pre-approvals are taken more seriously then buyers without pre-approvals. So like I said, if you are serious about buying and looking at these houses to make offers, then you should get pre-approved.

Well I hope this helps. If you have any other questions or if you need a loan, feel free to contact me.

Good Luck!
  • September 19 2013
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Profile picture for Ofe Polack
It may not hurt to go to Open Houses, but I would not waste the time of a Realtor to look at a property that you may not even be able to purchase.  Get pre-approved and then establish the price range that you feel comfortable with, at that point interview a few buyer agents and start the search.  The best of luck!
  • September 19 2013
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Hi Stacy Shipes,
Great question... It is fine to look at homes with your husband to determine what you would like to purchase and learn more about the area you want to live in.  

However, if you intend to work with a REALTOR then it is best to interview/ find a great REALTOR to work with when you are ready to buy.  
For instance, if you and your husband are seeking to buy a home, and I am your agent, I will have my Senior Loan Officer call you immediately to provide you with a pre-qual.  

Pre-qual's let you and your husband know what you are actually approved to borrow from a lender.  So when you are home-shopping you will know your exact amount.  Far better to know this upfront.  A pre-qual will also let an agent, seller, and lender know that you are serious about buying a home and that all "your financial ducks are in a row" for buying a house and offer's you have your agent present.  

Does that make sense?  If you have any questions about the buying or selling process form start to finish please let me know.  

Have a fantastic day and an outstanding week!  

Respectfully,
Andrew Finney
  • September 19 2013
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
I'd back up several steps and study the process, rather than put the cart before the horse. 

A lender will not approve a loan until you have identified a home for making a purchase offer.   However,   a lender will do an evaluation of your qualifications and financial documents and provide a pre-approval. 

Until you have the pre-approval in hand, you shouldn't waste your time, the agent's time or the seller's time looking at homes.  (As a seller, I wouldn't let people in the door if they weren't pre-approved. There will be some agents who will show without pre-approvals, but sellers aren't usually very happy about it).

You should also consider finding a buyer's agent first rather than dealing straight with the listing agent.  (Interview rigorously, there are good ones, bad ones and average ones).   In the long term, a buyer's agent will be more on your side than going straight to the listing agent (who was hired by the seller).

If you wish to look at houses before you have the pre-approval, go to open houses.

P.S. Apologize to your husband.  He was right!
  • September 19 2013
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