The first step in the home buying process isn’t looking for homes that are for sale. Getting pre-approved by a lender is the first step in the process. Offers on homes for sale need to include some kind of a letter indicating that the potential buyer might qualify for financing.
Like most real estate agents I can not afford to spend a lot of time helping people find a home if they can not buy one. I only get paid after a successful closing of a home sale.
Getting pre-approved also helps buyers determine which price range they want to be in. Sometimes people come to me and tell me they can spend X amount a month on house payments. I am usually able to do the backwards math that I need to do to figure out what price range we need to look in. I have not seen any houses with a listing price of X amount a month.
There is more than just a house payment that needs to be factored in. There are property taxes and homeowner’s insurance and additional costs like heating, cooling, electric, garbage pick-up, and water.
Before meeting with a lender I always suggest coming up with a monthly payment amount that seems comfortable and reasonable. In most cases people are pre-approved for more than they want to spend.
Making payments on anything can be a stressor. Lower monthly expenses can feel liberating and free up more money for opportunities and experiences.