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Ok. I am looking at buying a house in the next couple months. I dont even know where to begin. I have checked my credit report and I am good as far as my credit score goes. I do have 1 old charge off (due to fall off in Nov 2014- I will dispute as obsolete- and a few late payments from 2011 on my student loans. Everything else is ok.


1) What is my first step? Do I get a Realtor first or do I get a pre-approval first?

2) Difference between pre- approval and a pre-authorization? (I think the pre-approval is what I need)

3) How long is a pre approval good for??


Any tips are appreciated. I just dont know where to begin. I need to educate myself on the process before starting...so point me in the right direction please :-)



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It is always best to get a preapproval prior to shopping so a Lender would come before a Realtor -

(Realtors will often tell you different LOL- many times because they want you to use their lender)

no sense going out looking until you know you qualify for a loan///


Your lender should be able to get you an number for both what you can buy based on eligibility and matched up to your budget

sometimes we can get a loan for more than we want to budget every month for housing - better to buy in a price range that reflects the payment you will be comfortable with


preapproval usually means ran through automated UW and has been approved

Prequalification is when you have applied and the lender thinks you are a prime candidate - (I only use this for USDA since I do not have access to their automated underwriting - everything else goes through the system)


Credit is good for up to 90 days as soon as it expires you can have new credit ran so preapproval can be updated if needed -


Hope this helps - you will have a ton of questions - the search feature will be your pal as you read on here - lots of info and experiences to help you better understand things



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Thank you. one more question. Do I get pre-approved and then shop for a house.....then once I find the house I want....is that when I would be "shopping around for a lender"?

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As I just went through this, I chose to find a house before doing anything.


Once I found the house I wanted, I got a pre app letter from my local bank without a credit pull since they had a recent pull already on file. But they did look at my taxes and made sure everything was good on income. Put the pre app letter in with the offer.


Once we negotiated a deal, then I went online and found a lender I liked after calling and talking to many.


One app, one inq, closing tomorrow.


Of course one reason I went this route is I knew credit and income wouldn't be an issue so I could choose any lender I wanted.

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A good place sells here in about 5 days. The place I'm buying I was the first person to look at it and made an offer. So depending on your market you might not get a loan approval fast enough if you do it the shifter method. It's just dependent on your area.

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yes, I will put a caveat that we weren't entire decided that we were going to buy a new house.


we were going to wait until we found the perfect one, whether that took 1 trip or several months.


so that's the reason for waiting to get the pre-app letter until we found the house.


if you already know you are going to buy a house no matter what, finding a lender and going through the app process upfront is not a bad idea.

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