Realtors walk a thin line. They need to win your approval, but they also have to occasionally be the bearer of bad news. It can be tough to do both. There are several things that they want you to know, but they don't necessarily want to be the ones to tell you the harsh truth.
Your credit score matters. A lot.
Do not start your house hunt without knowing your credit score. Some clients, in their excitement to get started, do not know they credit score, budget, and buying power. These are all things you need to know before you meet with a real estate agent. An agent's job is to show you houses that meet your criteria, not to determine if you can afford them.
There is a difference between pre-qualified and pre-approved.
Talking to a mortgage rep is your first step, but if you are serious about buying, you do not want to be pre-qualified. You want a pre-approval letter. Getting pre-qualified is a casual phone conversation between you and the mortgage lender where you tell him or her how much you make and whether or not you have ever filed bankruptcy. Pre-approved, on the other hand, is when you provide actual documentation to the lender, let them pull your credit report, and have them go over everything with a fine-toothed comb so that no surprises come up in the underwriting process later.
No house is perfect.
Every buyer has a wish list for their home, but no home is ever perfect. If you have an unlimited budget and plan on building your dream house, you may get exactly what you want. Most people, however, will have to prioritize the need for a fourth bedroom over the wish for a specific school district. While your real estate agent doesn't want to have to tell you that perfect doesn't exist in your price range, they can guarantee that they will search long and hard until they find a home that you fall in love with.
Don't skip the home inspection.
Home inspections are a few hundred dollars. This is a drop in the bucket when you compare it to the hundreds of thousands of dollars that you will pay for a house. Real estate agents always recommend a home inspection, even for new construction. Don't rely on your gut or a family member. Pay to have a professional crawl through the home top to bottom and tell you what they find.
There you have it. All the details that agents are not always comfortable talking about, but that you need to know before you start your house hunt. Contact a Realtor in your area to learn more.Share