The Big Pre-Qualification Question

For some, calling a lender to get pre-qualified for a mortgage is an anxiety-riddled, hand-wringing, whiskey-swigging dilemma. Should I or shouldn’t I? It’s a big deal…or is it?

The fact is, it is pretty much pointless to go house-shopping without checking in with a lender first. It’s like going shopping without your wallet, only worse. If you forget your wallet, you can ask the cashier to hold onto the awesome bargain you found while you run back home and retrieve the forgotten financials. But if you don’t talk to a lender first, you might be shopping at Nordstom’s when you really should be shopping at Target (or vice versa). And either way, they aren’t going to hold that dream house for you if another buyer comes along.

Should you get pre-qualified by any old lender? Some faceless, 800-number or perhaps the big box bank on the corner. Well…if I were you, I would ask around for some good recommendations. The lender you choose is a BIG deal. A good lender will have a range of options for you. They can help you if you need a little first aid on the old credit report. They aren’t going to get you into the race and then say, “Oh gosh…you wanted to buy a house now?” Think about the listing agent who’s reviewing your pre-qual with the offer on that dream home you want to buy. Chances are that agent knows which lenders are going to make the transaction run smoothly and which ones are fodder for the war stories shared at Realtor happy hours. If you are in a tight race, it could make a difference.  Seriously, your choice of lender can mean the difference between high fives and champagne at the end or cheap beer and another month’s rent.

And before you start worrying that the lender is some 10-foot high judge of your character, who’s going to stick his nose up and say, with and evil laugh, DENIED!  Perhaps when Hell freezes over, you can come back and try again! NO!! The lender isn’t going to ridicule you. The lender is either going to give you a thumbs up and a smile, or he is going to work with you on a game plan to get you in a house as soon as possible.

So pick up the phone already. It’s EASY PEASY. And if you want the names of some awesome lenders – folks I know who won’t leave you hanging like some unnamed lenders I know – well you know where to find me!

Kristin LaVanway