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Meet with Lenders and Real Estate Agents

Interview Professionals

To start the home buying process, meet with lenders and real estate agents. At a minimum, you'll gain an understanding of the process and your available options. If, in the end, you decide that you prefer working on your own, at least you will have picked up some useful information. There are great resources available to you at little or no cost. Use them.

Meet with a Lender

During a one hour meeting with a loan officer, you should be able to find out how much you can borrow. A lender can explain different mortgage loan terms and discuss the advantages of each. He or she will describe 15- or 30-year fixed rate loans and estimate how much your payment would be. They'll explain how you could extend that with an adjustable or balloon mortgage, and whether that's right for you. Furthermore, a lender can tell you how much you could afford if you limit yourself to the monthly payment you’re comfortable with. Finally, you'll want to know how much cash you will need to complete the purchase. If you are short of cash, they can provide you with sources available to help you raise it. There are a wide variety of assistance programs for home buyers who need cash for a down payment and/or closing costs.

We Recommend These Four Reliable Lenders

The loan officer you meet with to begin the process of obtaining a loan is not the lender’s gatekeeper but your “loan coach.” Their job is to identify the loan that best meets your needs and to find a way to help you get it. We recommend these four reliable lenders. Our office has worked with each one and they have done a good job for our clients.

Meet with a Good Real Estate Agent

Similarly, an hour long meeting with a good real estate agent can be very enlightening too. An agent can give you a realistic idea of the kinds of homes available in your price range in a variety of local communities. If you've already met with a loan officer, you'll learn whether the amount you want to pay will allow you to buy the kind of home you want. If not, a real estate agent can help you to think through some of the trade-offs. For example, you'll have to decide whether you want to rethink house size or location to keep your payments down. Or maybe you'll decide to take on a larger house payment. Those are decisions only you can make. If you spend one afternoon to meet with a lender and a real estate agent, you can reach a better understanding of your options than you would in several months working on your own.