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When you’re getting ready to purchase an Orlando home, the first step (unless you have plenty of cash) is to become pre-approved for a mortgage loan.
Pre-approval gives you the confidence to make an offer, knowing that yes, you can afford that house. It also gives the home seller confidence that yes, you can close the transaction.
Some people confuse the terms pre-qualified and pre-approved. You’ll want to be pre-approved. That means that the lender has checked your credit, your income, your debts, etc. just as if you were ready to buy immediately. Pre-qualification can be done with a phone call, and it means nothing.
Of course, before you can become pre-approved, you need a mortgage lender.
The very worst ways to choose a mortgage lender:
1. Going online. We know. Some people have had success with online lenders. More have been frustrated by being “just a number,” by speaking to different representatives each time they call, and by being given false promises. Some of these lenders even use “bait and switch” tactics to get borrowers committed to them before adjusting their interest rates upward.
2. Assuming that the Orlando bank where you have accounts will serve you well as a borrower. Even if you have a personal relationship with a bank employee, this is a dangerous assumption.
While it’s true that you could be offered the best interest rates and service available, all too often, long-time bank customers are shocked by receiving the opposite. They get delays, frustration, and excessive fees. Sometimes they’re strung along for weeks, only to have their loans fail to close.
The very best way to choose a mortgage lender:
Ask your Orlando real estate agent for recommendations.
Your real estate agent is naturally just as interested in a smooth closing as you are, so he or she will not steer you wrong. Instead, your agent will provide you with 2 or 3 names of lenders who offer the best rates, the lowest fees, and the most efficient service possible.
These will be lenders who have served their clients well, and who are friendly, non-threatening, and easy to deal with. They’ll be cooperative in working with you and your agent and will be happy to provide pre-approval letters upon request.
If your current bank is on your agent’s “preferred” list, you’ll know it’s safe to use them.
Since we all do have different personalities, it can’t hurt to interview more than one lender before making a choice. The ease with which you interact will be important as the transaction progresses. In addition, different lenders have different loan programs available to them. You are entitled to a Good Faith Estimate to use in comparing offerings from competing lenders.
Are you getting ready to go shopping? Call me – I’ll be glad to share my list of preferred lenders who serve clients here in the Orlando area.
When you’re searching for a new home here in Orlando/Central Florida you have a fair idea of what you want and don’t want, so take the time to really nail it down. Sit down with those who will share your new home and come up with three lists of nine.
For instance, you may absolutely need an extra room to use as a home office. You might also need an oversized garage to house toys or an antique car. Perhaps you’re an avid gardener and “must have” sunny space in the yard for a garden.
Put those at the top of the first list, right along with the number of bedrooms and baths you must have. And do think that over carefully – if you have 5 children, do they really need separate bedrooms or could you substitute 2 or 3 large bedrooms? And what about you – do you really need a separate bathroom all your own – or space for an easy chair and table in the corner of your bedroom? Or can those features go at the bottom of the list?
The second list might contain things like a bay window, storage under the stairs, or a skylight.
Then, the things you absolutely don’t want. For instance, you might not want a location in the flight path of the local airport or within smelling distance of a feedlot. I met a man once who absolutely didn’t want an extra bedroom, because he didn’t want to make it convenient for guests to spend the night.
Perhaps you won’t be able to list 9 items on each list. If that’s the case, finding your new Orlando/Central Florida home will be much easier.
Before you begin viewing homes, make several copies of your lists and take them along when you tour. Make notes as you view each home. This will help you avoid confusion as you compare one house to another and try to remember the various features and benefits of each.
Do be sure to give your agent a copy of your lists ahead of time.
Because we know the area and because we’re out showing homes every day, we know the inventory and will be able to save you time by eliminating homes that are missing things on your “Must have” list or that contain things on your “absolutely don’t want” list.
When you’re ready to find a home in Orlando/Central Florida, call me. I’ll be happy to work with your needs, wants, and “don’t wants” to find you the perfect home.
When you want to buy a home in Orlando you have quite a few things to consider, but two things should be primary:
First, the price. It can be oh-so-tempting to spend all your lender says you can afford. But should you do it?
The lender doesn’t know anything about your life and what you like to do with your money. He or she doesn’t know that you love to go to concerts or attend sporting events. He doesn’t know that you’re taking piano lessons or that your daughter is in a pricey private school. She doesn’t know that the week at the beach or the ski mountain each year is vital to your well-being.
Take what the lender tells you and then scale it back to leave room for the other things that are important in your life. If the lender says you can spend $X and your payment will be $Y – ask what you can spend when your payment is $Y minus the dollars you want to keep for enjoying life.
And then the location. Location is vital to quality of life for a couple of reasons.
First, you want to be able to enjoy your home. Part of that is enjoying the neighborhood, and the neighbors. By law, your agent is not allowed to steer you toward a neighborhood with people who share your interests, values, family make-up, etc. But you can do some driving around and look for yourself. You can even stop and talk to some people and ask about the neighborhood.
Second, you want to be able to spend time in your home rather than on the road. Look for a location with a fast commute to school, work, or the recreational pursuits you enjoy. The dollars you might save in choosing a home 30 miles out will be more than used up in the gasoline you’ll buy over the years – to say nothing of the hours of “home time” you’ll miss.
When you’re ready to find your new Orlando home, get in touch. I’ll be pleased to help you find a home that fits the budget that you determine, in a location that suits your lifestyle.