Buying your first home is a big step in life, and it can be a confusing process for a first-time homebuyer. The first step you should take when preparing to buy a home is getting prequalified for a home loan. The prequalification process is used to determine if you are even eligible for a home loan, and it can also help you determine what type of loan program you qualify for. Here are a couple things to know about the prequalification process.
Why Do You Need To Get Prequalified?
As you start looking for a home to purchase, your real estate agent will probably ask you if you are prequalified for a loan. If you are, there is a much better chance a real estate purchase will go through, and this is important for agents. If you find your dream home and cannot get a loan, you will have wasted your time and your agent's time.
Prequalification is also useful because it will help you know what homes to look at as you shop around. A prequalification from a bank will tell you how much money the bank will loan you. It will also give you other guidelines that can help you make the best decision, including the amount of money you will need to put down on a house when you find the right one.
You should also realize that a seller might be leery of accepting your offer on a house if you are not preapproved. If, for chance, you cannot end up qualifying for a loan, the seller of the house will also have wasted his or her time waiting for you to get financing.
While you do not have to get prequalified before buying a home, it will make the entire home-buying process run a lot smoother and faster when you find the home you would like to buy.
What Will You Need To Do To Get Prequalified?
When you begin the prequalification process, you will have to visit a bank to learn the exact requirements. Most lenders perform this process by examining and reviewing several different things, and these include the following:
- Income – The lender may send an income verification form to your employer. Your employer will have to fill this out and send it back, and this is done to make sure you have steady income to use to repay the loan.
- Assets and debts – You may also be asked to fill out a personal balance sheet. This sheet will ask you what assets you own along with the values of each, and it will ask you about debts. This is to determine the ratio of your assets and debts, and it is another tool lenders use to make sure a person will be able to repay a loan. Lenders also use debt-to-income ratios to analyze a person's financial state.
- Credit – While you do not need perfect credit to get a loan, the credit you have helps a lender determine what type of loan program to use. With excellent credit, you will have a lot more options when it comes to loan. If you have poor credit, the lender may be able to find you a loan program; however, you may have to pay a slightly higher interest rate.
After the lender reviews these three things, you will find out whether you are preapproved for a loan or not. If you get preapproved, you will need to avoid making large purchases or racking up major debt while you are in the process of buying a home. Any major changes to your finances could cause your bank to change its mind about giving you a loan. If you would like to learn more about getting prequalified for a loan, contact a mortgage lender in your area today.
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