So, a common question I hear from buyers is, "Why do I need to get pre-qualified with a lender to purchase a home?"  Well, there are a few reasons and I hope to shed some light on them now.  

First, if you are a first-time home buyer and you are new to the real estate process, a lender can help provide some insight as to finance programs available, educational classes you could attend to reduce some lender fees and honestly, they can give you some general direction as to what agents (or licensees as we are called in Alaska) they know who work hard for clients in case you don't know anybody in the area to work with.  

Secondly, if you are an individual who is working on improving your credit score or simply building a credit score since you are younger and just don't have enough history, lenders can provide some great tips and suggestions for how to do this effectively and more quickly to get you back in the driver’s seat of buying that dream home!  Not to mention, lenders can help shed some light on what kind of down payment you might be required to save up based on the financing you qualify for.  There are some great programs out there if you are first time buyers or buying in a rural developing area.  Be sure to ask about these and if you can qualify for them.  

Thirdly, and in some ways more important than the others, you want to know what you can afford and still keep the lifestyle you are accustomed to or want to gain.  One of the most frustrating things a buyer can do is look at houses that they will eventually fall in love with only to find out they can't afford them.  It can be very disappointing and really make this whole process depressing and miserable.  And let's face it...buying a house should be fun!  You are opening a door to a new beginning and going to be investing yourself into these four walls and sharing them with family and friends. 

Lastly, by having a pre-qualification already complete, when the time comes that you do find your next home you will be ready and qualified to put in an offer.  You will be one step ahead of the other guy who didn't take time to plant seed and you will likely reap the harvest instead.  It gives you an advantage over your competitors and allows you a little more negotiation room if needed.  

As a side note, I highly recommend choosing a local lender where you will be purchasing rather than an out of state or online lender.  It can be really challenging to communicate with the time differences, different restrictions/requirements state to state and frankly, it’s so much easier to be able to communicate and work with someone experienced with the are you are seeking home ownership in.

So, in a nutshell, getting pre-qualified only helps you!  Take the time to speak to a lender today and prepare the field for your harvest.  If you need a suggestion, feel free to contact myself or our team, and we can steer you in the right direction of some lenders that give excellent customer service and go beyond the call of duty to meet your needs.  After all, we are all here to better serve you!