You get pre-qualified for your mortgage because it's good to know before you go. You should find out how much you can actually spend on your new home purchase before you start your serious shopping expeditions. Look at it this way: If you can afford to shop at Nordstrom's, why shop at J.C. Penny? If your budget calls for shopping at J.C. Penny, you will just get upset if you go to Nordy's only to find items that are out of reach.
And, just so you know, it is not an arduous or long process to get pre-qualified. Your Broker will be able to do this for you. The data doesn't even need to be submitted to a lender for the pre-qual. The only cost is for a credit report, and the whole pre-qual should be able to be done in an hour or less. You will need to provide data to the Broker about your income, assets and debts as part of the pre-qual process. I always give my clients a short list of documentation to bring in with them. That way they don't have to try to remember the data.
Lender guidelines have changed over the past few years, and your Broker will know these changes. Most conventional lenders like to see 20% down right now, but some buyers will qualify for loan programs that require less down payment. Then there is always an FHA loan which can require as little as 3.5% down. And there is a VA loan that veterans can qualify for which requires no money down. Where do you fit in? That is what the Broker can find out for you.
There is no reason you can't start looking at neighborhoods and going to open houses to get an idea of what is currently on the market. But your serious shopping should occur after you have been pre-qualified. Then you can pick the right neighborhood and the right house, and not get heart-broken along the way.
My wife and I have been helping buyers find homes in Santa Clara County for over 20 years. We are experienced Realtors® s well as Loan Agents.
Call me so I can get you pre-qualified to purchase YOUR new home.
My direct number is 408-202-2089.
The William Jefferies Co