While online real estate shopping and viewing homes and condos is a lot of fun, serious buyers should start the process in a lender's office, not an open house. There’s nothing more frustrating than finding that perfect property, falling in love with it and then discovering that somebody else made and offer on it while you were looking for the lender, comparing rates and getting pre-approved. It takes couple days for lenders to evaluate and issue your pre-approval letter you will need to make and offer.
There are many reasons why you should get pre-approved:
You will have an opportunity to discuss loan options and budgeting with the lender.
Lender can help you identify and correct any potential problems with obtaining a loan.
You will learn the maximum you can borrow. This will help you target your home search and ensure you only look at properties that are truly in your price range.
Lastly, home sellers expect all buyers to have a pre-approval letter and will prefer a buyer who can prove their ability to obtain financing.
Consulting with the lender before you start the home buying process can save a lot of headache later on. Gather your paperwork, print some recent statements and setup your pre-approval appointment before you go out to see properties in person.