You’ve been looking at listings for years. You know exactly what type of home you want and all the features of it. This part isn’t the hard part. But, now you’re finally ready to press play on starting the home buying process. But you might be asking yourself…real estate agent or mortgage first? Let’s break it down to make the answer a little simpler!
Real Estate Agent or Mortgage First?
When you’re trying to figure out whether you should get a real estate agent or a mortgage first, you must think about the home buying process. Before you and your real estate agent can get really serious about identifying a home that you’re interested in, you must know if you’re going to be able to purchase that home. While you likely have an idea of what you’re able to afford in your budget, you will still need to make sure that you’re approved for that amount. There are factors that lenders consider when they’re issuing a mortgage pre-approval that you might not even think about. Consider things like your source of income, any outstanding debts, and the health of your finances. These don’t even have to be negative! For example, if you’re self-employed or own your own business, the amount that a lender can approve you for may be different than if you work for an employer.
By securing your mortgage first, you can set realistic expectations during your Spokane home search. This will make it easier to tell your real estate agent what you want and can help you find a home that’s ideal for you.
Finding the Right Lender
While a real estate professional doesn’t typically cover anything related to financing a home, they have some knowledge about it just from working in an adjacent industry. Your real estate agent (typically) doesn’t provide any financing for homes, but they can give you their recommendations for finding the perfect mortgage.
The first place that most people start to look for a mortgage is through the bank that they have their primary checking or savings account at. This makes the mortgage process slightly simpler because the bank will have direct access to all the financial information that they need to know. It can also allow you to make payments easier.
However, the bank that you have a checking account with might not be the best option for your mortgage. Especially in Spokane, there are some absolutely GREAT banks that aren’t really quite so hot on the Home Mortgage front! If you don’t already have a mortgage lender in mind, it is certainly worth asking your Realtor if they have any recommendations. If your Realtor has closed a lot of homes, they have worked with GREAT lenders and, likely, not-so-great lenders and can help connect you with a good one!
Finding the Right Agent
Every real estate agent has their own way of operating and has specific qualities that will make them right (or wrong) for you. When you’re looking for a real estate professional, be sure that you keep a few things in mind:
- Their experience
- Their familiarity with the area
- Their success
You need a real estate agent who has a lot of experience in the home space that you want. When you’re looking for a high-rise condo in the city, you don’t want a real estate agent who has only ever sold farmland and “doesn’t like going into the city”! It’s a good idea for your realtor to have some variance in their portfolio, but make sure that they’re able to handle the type of home you want to buy.
A good real estate agent is a member of and active in the community where you’re buying. They network, they know people, and they are experts on the area. This is especially true in a unique market like Spokane. Be sure that your realtor is familiar with the area so they can make the buying process as easy as possible.
Good agents get clients into homes. Look at your agent’s past experience and the homes that they’ve sold. It’s important to pay attention to their success rate because it can be a clear indicator of whether they’ll be able to get you into your home or not. At the time of this writing, Spokane homes are typically selling in an environment of multiple offers. There are some very important ways that your agent can help you make your offer really stand out compared to the others! Ask your agent how they feel about the current market (and what your chances are of getting an offer accepted) – their answer will tell you a lot about their experience and abilities!
Understanding Your Options
When it really comes down to it, the answer to, “real estate agent or mortgage first?” is all about making sure that your expectations are realistic. If you find a real estate agent and the perfect home before you know what you’re able to purchase financially, the disappointment can be crushing. It can actually ruin your entire home search and turn you off to buying a house in the future.
If you’ve already received a pre-approval or you’re still just trying to figure out how to get the whole process started, don’t hesitate to contact us! We’ll be happy to help you with the home buying process. Contact At Home Spokane today.