Whether you’re a first time home buyer or you’ve been through the home buying process many times before, do yourself a favor.  Make speaking to a mortgage lender one of your first priorities when beginning your new house hunt.

Unless you have just come into a windfall of cash you’re probably like the rest of us and need to get a mortgage in order to move into that dream house.  There are many reasons for speaking to a mortgage lender or mortgage broker up front.  A professional who deals everyday in these types of loans will know what the current rates are.  They will take into consideration your credit scores, monthly income, available savings for a down payment, and best available interest rate based on all your information to come up with the loan amount you qualify for.

Please understand the primary benefit here: education.  This is a process not to be taken lightly.  The lender’s job is not to put you into the biggest house (and by association the biggest loan) possible.  Their job is to counsel.  Through the interview process they learn about your financial situation and determine your expected ability to repay the loan over the five, fifteen, and most common thirty year term.  The lender can also let you know whether there are some items on your credit reports that are getting in the way of your getting a better interest rate, or simply getting in the way of your qualifying for the loan altogether.

The mortgage market has changed over the last few years, and it has become more difficult to get that perfect loan.  Today you need more money for the down payment than you may have needed in the past, and guidelines for qualification are stricter than ever.  Speak to a mortgage professional you trust.  If you don’t have one, speak to friends, family and neighbors.  Ask who they have used in the past and what the experience was like.  Ask your friendly neighborhood Realtor® for a list of reputable candidates.  The last thing you want to happen is to find your dream home, write and have your offer accepted by the sellers, then discover you can’t get the mortgage to complete the purchase.  Get prequalified first, and house hunt with confidence.