(Closed) House-buying Question for Homeowners

posted 4 years ago in Home
Post # 2
420 posts
Helper bee

You can even just go online and get pre-approved. That’s what I did with my first house. I go in knowing how much I’m willing to spend and get pre-approved for that amount. 

Post # 3
2194 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

you can get a pre-approval at any time. That will let you know what range you can look in. you should also look at your own budget and decide how much per month you can pay (I think 30% of take home pay is the guideline but in more expensive areas like NYC that might not work out)… you might end up approved for much more than you can realistically afford


once you actually find a house and start the loan process they will generally have to re-approve you again but its not really a big deal (Just sending over some new paperwork ie bank statements, pay stubs)


the big thing to know is be very careful with your credit over the next few months – do not take out or cancel any credit cards, don’t take on any new loans (ie car) and be ready to explain any deposits into your account and potentially have family/friends vouch for any large deposits (ie my mother gifted me some money because a CD that I had with money from my grandfather wasn’t ready for renewal and she had to document that it was a gift etc)

Post # 4
4439 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2013 - Harbourfront Grand Hall

LadyBear:  Well, no you don’t need a pre-approval to shop for a house but once you find the right hose you’re going to want that pre-approval.  Getting it is NBD, so why not?

Post # 5
7311 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast

Start by looking at your budget and figuring out how much you can comfortably afford to pay each month for Housing (mortgage, owners insurance, property taxes, and PMI). Then see how much that monthly payment amount will actually get you. now you know the number that you want to ask for when you go for pre-approval.

If you are still a while off from buying (more than 3 months before you are actually ready to start shopping), just ask for a pre-qualification. A pre-qual will be based solely on the information you give them (they don;t need to see bank statements, w-2s, etc.) This is important because for a pre-qual they will not pull your credit score. having a hard pull of your credit will drop your score a bit, so there is no sense in doing a hard pull until you are actually ready to get serious about shopping. A pre-qual will give you a general sense of whether your number matches up with the bank’s idea of what they are willing to lend to you.

Once you are actually ready to shop, then you go for pre-approval. this time they will require documents to prove your income and assets, and they will pull your credit report and scores from all 3 bureaus. If you were honest during the pre-qual and nothing has changed drastically since then, your pre-approval amount should be the same as your pre-qual amount.

Post # 6
1614 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

Call a mortgage company first, and get pre-approved. Typically, you can afford three times your annual salary in house. So if your husband makes $100,000 a year, and you make $100,000 a year, you can quaify for $600,000; Now if you have $50,000 in savings to use as a down payment, you can offer on a $650,000 house, because you have $50,000 and the bank has agreed to give you $600,000. Don’t go with a big bank unless you’re sure you and the seller won’t mind waiting two-three months to close. We went with a small local mortgage firm and they closed us in two weeks if not less. We actually lost a house because of trying to close with Suntrust, and it cost us thousands of dollars that we just lost and could never get back. 

Post # 7
14656 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

You can call any bank or mortgage broker and get preapproved, but I would just figure it out myself.  Look at your incomes, debts, savings plan, retirement savings, desired cushion etc and figure out what you’re comfortable paying.  More than likely, it’s much less than what a bank will loan you.  By our own calculations we set our budget at 500-550k, but were preapproved for upwards of 700k, which is insane.  We’d totally be house poor if we had went with that number.

Post # 8
1466 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

LadyBear:  One thing I wish we had done before looking was go “mortgage shopping”. Go around to different banks and lenders and see who can get you the best package. We ended up with a GREAT mortage from a credit union, but the service was TERRIBLE!!!!

Post # 10
843 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014


LadyBear:  We just closed on a house last month.  At first we went looking at houses after deciding how much we were willing to spend.  When we saw a house we liked that accepted an offer that same day from someone else, we decided immediately to get pre-approved, that way we would not miss out on a house again.  We called around to different banks, but our realty company actually offered the best rates, so we went with them.  We told them how much we wanted to spend, and were told we were actuallyapproved for much more (We never did find out that amount since we stuck to a set amount we were willing to spend).

Post # 11
13251 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Pre-approvals are great because they give you the range you can get approved for, but it’s a lot of work (you have to gather all the information and get it to the lender for them to run the numbers), and the letter you ultimately get expires after three months.  Good news is that updating it is really simple, and likely would just require more recent bank statements and pay stubs.

I would just get your initial pre-approval to get a figure you know you can get, figure out what you can afford, and go from there. 

I live in a super expensive area too, so I feel you on the PMI.  We bit the bullet and went ahead with it, and it’s honestly not terrible.  You just have to make sure you factor that, as well as insurance costs, into your comfort payment!

Good luck!

Post # 12
13251 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I just saw your location in your profile.  I live in the same city 🙂

So if you have area specific questions, feel free to PM me!

Post # 13
10589 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

We got pre-approved well in advance of buying.  The credit check isn’t a big deal as long as your credit is good and not just borderline for being in the A range of clients.  It wasn’t much work to gather the info we needed for pre-approval.  By doing it so early, we also realized some issues with our first broker, so we switched to a different mortgage broker.

Post # 14
218 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

LadyBear:  If I may make a suggestion about PMI and not going to a bank…..I too was going to have to pay pmi.  It was going to be over $300 a month with a bank.  I ended up going with a private mortgage broker.  I ended up paying half a point or so up front–it was about $2600 or so.  So, in less than a year, I broke even.  This greatly reduced my monthly payment and I didn’t have to worry about it anymore.  Plus, the private mortgage broker offered signficantly better rates and closing costs than other banks (even military ones–better with no points than military credit unions could do with 2 point).

Another plug is that it was super easy–I closed in a couple of days.  When I wanted to refinance, it took me two hours and I was signing papers in a couple of days (when I was hearing horror tories from my mom and friends of taking months).

It was explained to me that the reason they can offer low rates is because they only take low-risk clients (good credit). So, I’d recommend looking into it as an option because it can save you huge over time.

Post # 15
8446 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

We got pre-approved before we even started looking, it’s really not a big deal and goes pretty quickly (provided you don’t have terrible credit). 

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