Should I go look at homes if I am not pre-qualified?

It is unwise to do this because it is so deflating if you do not get pre-approved after you have gone to look at homes then find out you cannot buy a house. You need to clean up any bad credit or do credit repair. There are lenders that can help you clean up your credit or get you rescored in less than 90 days sometimes.
  • October 17 2010 - Dallas
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Answers (28)

Profile picture for jadedea
ad singh. why are the reo and distressed properties a good deal? is it because they are homes people want to get rid of or willing to take a low price or something????
  • October 19 2010
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Call a lender, get pre-qualified, then you will be more informed about what your options are.  It doesn't take long and getting pre-qualified doesn't mean you have to work with that lender in the end.
  • October 19 2010
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That all depends on your motivation. If you are the type to go to the grocery store without a shopping list and wing-it...you might find yourself at home in your kitchen kicking yourself for not picking up everything you needed. Most serious buyers get pre-approved for two major reasons. First to give themselves an idea as to what they could potentially afford (to avoid the psychological killer of not being able to purchase the dream home you just found which will now act as a measuring stick to every home you see in your actual price range). The second reason is to be taken seriously by a professional real estate agent whom they want to represent them. Good agents will not take you seriously if you don't take yourself seriously. Most pre-approvals are painless and take very little time from your day. It's worth the 30 minute sit down or phone call to start you off on the right track. I would also avoid online pre-qualifications as they can be misleading. Ask friends or family that have made recent home purchases who they used as a mortgage agent/broker and if they were happy.

  • October 19 2010
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Sure you can look but why? Take the time to speak to a professional lender and you won't be disappointed. Know what you can comfortably afford and get it while you can!
  • October 19 2010
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Frankly speaking why wasting your own & others time without getting pre-approved in today's market when most of the good deals are in REO, distressed status or foreclosed properties. Also in addition, when properties are in that status, lenders ask for offers from only qualified buyers. Thanks
  • October 19 2010
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Profile picture for donnabagni
In today's "real time" market it is my proessional opinion that a pre-approval letter from a qualified financial instituation is in the buyer's best interest.  In getting pre-approved at the being of the Real Estate 101 process the buyer is alerted to any issues that are sometimes not know until a credit report is actually pulled.  The buyer will also be given an amount in which they would qualify for.  A special note to all buyer's this amount is usually the high end of a buyer's "comfort zone".  I also advise my buyers to search for homes that would in fact be in that zone. 

By looking at all the available property in the areas or towns that you would like to live that fall within you range - you the buyer will be able to see and determine the value of that property as it fits into your needs. 

Looking at homes out side the range of your financial position, you will only be distressed....but sometimes looking at higher priced homes is a benefit to be able to get ideas in which to work towards....Pre-approval is this current market I believe is essential in being able to successfully find a HOME.
  • October 19 2010
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You should go look as many homes as you can before time to get a feel for what you like. Pre qualified buyers do not always mean that you will be happy with the selection of homes. Once you find the perfect home then seek out the means. So many clients have the means to purchase and never are happy when looking at homes because they miss that part with liking the home rather than affording the home. 

  • October 19 2010
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Profile picture for jadedea
i agree with Jim Stevenson. My agent was there for me the first few times i was looking for rentals. She was always patient and always helped me out even when my hand needed to be held *giggle*. I called her one day to let her know im ready to take the big plunge but wanted to test the water. we looked at a few houses to see what 1700sqft was, to see what 300k home feels like, and because of that i knew exactly what i wanted. Im using her as my buying agent, and when i get a house and have the house warming party im totally recommending my friends to her, and coworkers (some of them are interested in buying).

when i was looking at other agents a few of them were giving me the lets get you qualified, and to me that felt like going to "3rd base" and i havent even met them! lol i actually got cold feet for a few months because of that. i felt like i was being rushed into it. my agent at least explained to me (about 4 times) the buying process. even now shes reassuring me this is normal, im not selling my soul lol.
  • October 19 2010
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Qualify show and sell
  • October 18 2010
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Invest the time in the client and show them a "few" houses. Build the relationship and get them comfortable with you. They usually will talk to a lender to see what they qualify for.

Who will the client remember and work with when they do qualify to purchase? The realtor who took the time to show them some houses (a couple hours of time), or the realtor who said "get pre-qualified and I will show you some houses"? It's not like we're so busy that we can't build a relationship first ... and who knows, they might refer a friend who is "very" qualified.

So, show now and have a client for life.
  • October 18 2010
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only if you're a cash buyer

  • October 18 2010
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Seeing an agent has posted this question, all I want to ask is would you buy a pair of shoes if you didn't know your shoe size? Of course having said that, I know it's fun to go window shopping.  But when the time comes to pull the trigger and buy that fabulous pair of shoes by asking the sales person to bring them out for you to try on, you have to know your shoe size. 
  • October 18 2010
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At one time, I owned a large mortgage company and one thing I learned is that once someone applies for a mortgage, things change...discrepencies come out of the woodwork, the income is not seasoned, the credit has dings, the downpayment may not all be available and worst of all some consumers think that a mortgage payment on a $300K house will only be $1200 a month.

I would never recommend someone to go look at homes without doing an indepth investigation into a their qualifications and I will never put a buyer in my car if they are not willing to disclose their personal finances...in fact it is in my written agreement with them.

Eve in Orlando

  • October 18 2010
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I know right. What?

Licensing reguirements should be way more stringent.
  • October 18 2010
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To be honest, being pre-qualified does not mean much except to the seller, making them feel that you are qualified to buy their home.  It help with their comfort level.  You might want to talk to a lender just to get an idea of how much you can/want to spend, but a specific letter pre-qualifying you is not really important until you write an offer and want to show the seller that you are "good for it."
  • October 18 2010
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The key word is look you can look at as many homes as pleases you. However in this market if you are a serious buyer the first step should be Mortgage pre-qualification, Even before looking it will let you know if you are ready to buy how much you can afford and what your payments will be based on the type and price of home you are looking for.
  • October 18 2010
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The short answer is No. Unless all you want to do is look at homes. But if your intentions are to buy a home then you need to get pre-qualified first. How else will you know if you qualify for that perfect home you finally found? 
  • October 18 2010
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Profile picture for x88

If you are interested in buying a home, contact a real estate agent.  They will be sure you get with a lender to get prequalified.  Then you know where you stand.  In the meantime, do your shopping on the internet.  The photos and descriptions can tell you a lot about what you can get in price ranges.  It is also helpful to drive-by homes you find interesting and check out the surroundings. 

  • October 18 2010
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Profile picture for openup

If you are sure of your ability to get a loan; it does not make a difference.
Though a pre-qualified buyer will be taken more seriously and may be able to bargain more.

Do yourself a favor fill out the paper work; get pre-qualified.

  • October 18 2010
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You should make a visit to a real estate office so they can better advise you about the entire purchasing process step by step.
  • October 18 2010
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Profile picture for jadedea
maybe im just proactive but ive been looking for homes for about 2 years lol. AND i didnt know what i could be preapproved for. i looked at homes ranging from 90k to 800k. I had found somewhere that you should only get homes that are within 3 times your annual salary. i did that and just browsed on the web to see whats out there. I did a whole bunch of research(and having fun with the zillow mortgage calculator thanks to all who told me about that on zillow) and later i called my bank to do a prequalifier, the cool thing was the prequalifier was right around the price range i was shooting for anyways. my agent was cool and patient with me. she knows my annual income and steered me away from high priced homes and showed me something more tangible. we viewed alot of homes and we would of viewed less if i had known that the houses built around here starting at 2000 and newer had poor quality to it.

id say shop and view homes all you want online. after viewing a few hundred like i have youll know exactly what you want. when your ready call a lender or your bank and get a prequalifier, its free and gives you a rough ballpark. once you have that number contact a realtor and have fun going to open houses and viewing homes. about 90% of the homes i viewed were empty and the other 10% the owners werent there anyways, so i didnt waste my agents or the homeowners time. and this is geared to buyers like me not steve with the awkward question and answer
  • October 18 2010
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Get prequalified for your mortgage. You'll be able to make a firm commitment to buy and make your offer more desirable to the seller.
  • October 17 2010
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Your right Steve.
  • October 17 2010
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I always request some kind of proof a buyer is qualified, most folks who tell me they are cash buyers I usually have no problem showing them homes but I always recomend a pre qualification or a copy of their Loan Status Report for those looking to buy with a Loan. Its a good Idea so we dont waste the seller and Agents time. So yes get pre-qualified!>>>>>>>>>>
  • October 17 2010
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Steven - you're an agent - you not only  knew the answer to the question already  - you provided it as well.

Asking and answering your own question - I don't get it

Dan - he isn't considering doing it at all - he is an agent looking to start a discussion .....but his point is obvious,  and has already been made - by him!
  • October 17 2010
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I would say, sure go out and take a look at what is available.  You need to be realistic with what you think you can afford.  When you are out looking, don't get your heart set on a house just yet.  I would say contact a lender and get the ball rolling.  Even before you get qualified you will need to start saving money.  Owning a home is expensive.  You want to make sure you have the financial backing in place. 

Best of luck to you!
  • October 17 2010
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Profile picture for the_country_hick
Steven, if it is so unwise to do this then WHY are you considering doing it?

Besides, many people could be un-approved and still show up at open houses looking to see what is available in the area for what kind of price. An open house kind of throws out the rule of being prequalified first. Anyone can go in hence the term open house.
  • October 17 2010
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It would also be a waste of the seller's time to show their homes to someone who may not qualify for a loan. I expect ALL agents that show my listings to have their buyers prequalified even if they are not buying immediately.

Naima
  • October 17 2010
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