Buying a home is a BIG deal.  And what’s more?  It’s a BIG deal that not many people fully understand.  There are laws, processes, intricacies, and ideals that need to/should be followed. It’s for this reason, that we think it is especially important to answer all the questions that we can regarding the home searching/buying/selling process in an effort to inform and empower you. So, here is a commonly asked question that we, as realtors, often hear from our first time home buyers.



Q: We’re ready to buy a home!  What is our first step? 


A: This is a great question and the answer is simple: The very first thing you should do even if you’re just entertaining the idea of buying, is to get pre-approved by a lender.  There are many reasons that a pre-approval letter is important, but we will highlight just a few.


  • Pre-approval letters are proof that you are actually able to buy a home.  Unless you’re planning on paying cash for your home, you will need some sort of financing.  And if you cannot show that you are able to obtain said financing, you can kiss that home buying dream least for now.  There are few things more frustrating, for both a realtor AND as a buyer, than beginning the home searching process, only to find out in the end that you’re unable to secure financing necessary to make the purchase.  By getting pre-approved, both of us (realtors and home buyers alike!) can search for your home with a peace of mind and confidence knowing that you CAN afford it.


  • Pre-approval letters help define your search.  Those million dollar listings may be fun to look at, what is the point of looking at something that you don’t have the means to buy? Being pre-approved lets us know what you can spend, which in the end will save you valuable time and energy because we won’t be looking at houses out of your price range.  Knowing what you can spend and being realistic from the beginning is in the best interests of all parties involved. 


  • Pre-approval letters can potentially give you leverage with the seller. Being pre-approved looks good to sellers and can position you above other potential offers. What’s more is that pre-approval letters can be great negotiation tools between yourself and sellers.  It is a symbol of your seriousness and shows sellers that their home is within your budget. 


  • Pre-approval letters can result in smoother transactions. After you find your dream home is NOT the time to apply for pre-approval.  If your desire is for seamless purchase, then do yourself a favor and apply for financing before starting the search, as to not slow the process once you are ready to make an offer.


  • Pre-approval letters trump pre-qualification.  Pre-approval and pre-qualification are NOT the same thing. Pre-qualification is simply an estimate and an opinion from the bank on what you could afford.  Alternatively, pre-approval is factual and holds much more weight than its counterpart.  Granted, getting pre-approved is more work, but in the end it will be well worth it when you present yourself as a strong, qualified buyer.


Now that you know the importance of pre-approval, we’d love to help get the ball rolling.  Contact us at 515-964-3662 and we will set you up with a fantastic lender who wants to see you in your dream home just as badly as we do!