The Real Estate Agent Mind Shift
For many, gaining an agent represents the moment when the home buying process becomes real. This is no longer daydreaming about homes online, figuring out your preferences, or assessing your finances. From this point on, your options should be clear to you, and the buying process concrete. Your real estate agent is there to focus your intentions and to move you swiftly onto the next step in buying a home.
Now with your agent and team, it’s time to get smarter about your searching. A good agent is one that you can communicate clearly with, and that listens to your top priorities. This communication works both ways: you should ask your agent a lot of questions to unload some of the potential worries or concerns inherent to the process of buying a home.
Optimally, your agent will be able to collaborate in the search process, helping you weed through your selections faster than you’d be able to alone. allowing you to narrow down the choices with in-home walk-throughs. As your collaborative search continues, the agent will continue to be your advocate, navigating bad deals and sniffing out swollen price points. If all goes well, your agent should be with you all the way to the close of the sale.
Smart Search Features on Homes.com
Over the years, technology has dramatically changed the way real estate agents do business and find leads. Through all those advancements, Homes.com’s mission has always remained the same: help buyers and sellers connect with local agents. Now, we are pleased to introduce a new era of home search with the new Homes.com. With fun collaboration tools, a new industry-first photo search, and artificial intelligence, buyers and sellers can finally search how they think. Here are a few of the top changes visitors to Homes.com will find!
(learn more about these tools here)
Searching Smarter with Homes.com Match
Our conversational search experience accounts for “must have” and “nice to have” criteria to bring you listings you may not have found using traditional search parameters.
Homes.com Snap and Search (beta)
Snap and Search (BETA) can sift through architectural styles, building materials, and more to find similar properties for to ones you like.
HomeShare makes sharing your favorites’ lists simpler, with intuitive collaboration tools to easily find, share, and discuss listings with family & friends.
Homes How To
Homes How To empowers buyers, sellers, and renters with information to navigate the home search process with confidence.
Ready? Your agent will guide you based on your financial situation, the price points of your home search, and the local market conditions, but now’s a great time to look at finances and the advantages of mortgage pre-approvals.
How to Get Pre-Approved on Your Home Loan
In order to get pre-approved, you’ll need to contact a lender. The lender will review your credit reports, your employment history, and your income — and then determine which loan programs you qualify for, the maximum amount you can borrow, and the interest rates you will be offered. Obtaining pre-approval means that the lender is confident in your ability to pay off a loan.
Information to Provide for the Pre-Approval
This process is a simplified version of what you will ultimately go through to get approved for your final loan. Lenders are generally interested in your financial history for the last two years: two years of pay stubs, taxes, and residency. Information on your current assets and bank statements from any savings or investments are required as well. Also, a valid photo ID (Driver’s License, Passport,) and social security number for a credit check.
What to Do With Your Pre-Approval
In many cases, the lender that gives you your pre-approval is the one that approves the final loan, but not always. Some borrowers, learning more about the process, decide to go with another lender. You should feel free, before the loan is locked in, to consider competing offers.
The pre-approval gives the home buyer an idea of what their monthly payments, down payments, and terms will look like. The pre-approval is not just what you think you can afford, but what you can actually afford. A pre-approval letter is a great way to show agents and sellers that you have the resources and are serious about buying a home.
How to Get Pre-Approved by a Lender
It’s all in the paperwork & preparation
Obtaining a mortgage requires an extensive accounting of your personal and financial life. The mortgage application can appear to be a daunting prospect, but a little organization in your files and paperwork can go a long way. Go over this list of information and documentation required to apply for a loan, and get a jump on your application.
Information for the Federally Required Mortgage Application
- Full Name, Birth Date, Social Security #, Phone Number
- Number of children, their ages, marital status
- Residence history for the last two years; for renters, this includes landlord’s name and monthly rent. For homeowners, all mortgage, tax and insurance info for all properties owned.
- Two years of employment history: companies, addresses, titles held, contact
- Two years of income: includes bonuses, commissions, and self-employment
- Account Balances for all banking: checking, savings, retirement, investments
- Current fixed debt: credit cards, mortgage, car payments, alimony, child support, student debt
- Documentation of bankruptcy (in the last seven years), lawsuits, or a co-signer on any property
- If a percent of the down payment will be borrowed
Documentation Required to Obtain the Loan
- Written authorization for the lender to run a credit report
- Written explanations for anything derogatory in the credit report
- Discharge papers from Bankruptcy (if in the last seven years)
- For renters, 12 months of canceled rent checks from landlord, or a form confirming on-time rent payments
- If renting to others, applicable lease agreements and bank statements
- If selling while buying, confirmation of the listing agreement
- 30 days of pay stubs
- Two years of W2 forms
- Two years of personal federal tax returns
- For the self-employed, two years of business tax returns
- For the self-employed, year-to-date profit and loss statement
- Documentation of child support and alimony payments, and divorce decree
- Two months of bank statements from checking, saving, retirement, and investment accounts
- If you are receiving gift funds, a statement from the giver confirming the gift is a gift and not a loan
How Your Credit Score Could Affect Your Ability to Obtain a Loan
If you know your credit score, this general breakdown will give you an idea of what you could be working with.
720+ Excellent Credit: Should easily qualify for a variety of mortgages, obtain good interest rates and low fees.
680 – 719 Good Credit: Most likely able to qualify, with a decent interest rate and standard fees.
620 – 679 Fair Credit: A chance to qualify, with fewer options, higher interest rates and fees.
580 – 619 Poor Credit: Difficult to qualify, with much fewer options, higher interest rates and fees.
350 – 579 Bad Credit: Unlikely to qualify for a mortgage, with some exceptions.
Mortgage Blog Articles
How to Find a Lender
Using Homes.com professional search functionality you can find lenders across the US. Information for local mortgage professionals can also be found on each of our property detail pages, as well as through the recommendations of your real estate agent or brokerage.
Are There Any Homes That Don’t Require A Mortgage?
Not all home purchases require a mortgage, but for most buyers a mortage is the easiest and most logical option for affording a home.