Talk to a mortgage lender.
Before you start looking at houses, contact a mortgage lender to qualify for a mortgage. The lender should look over your income, asset information and check your credit. The mortgage calculators online are not a substitute for this important part of the process.
A good mortgage lender will educate and advise you on the different types of mortgages available and which one best meets your needs. You don't want a salesman, you want someone who is experienced and trustworthy.
Many people assume that the bank or credit union where they have their checking account is the best place to obtain a mortgage, but this isn't always the case. The fact that you have had your checking account there for 4 years does NOT help you get a better rate or better service.
As a mortgage broker, I have access to many lenders who don't make up their own rules and offer lower rates and fees.
The basic 'rules' for mortgages come from the same source no matter where you apply for a loan. Most banks add more rules on top of the 'normal' rules. For example, the normal rule is that you can get an FHA loan 2 years after a bankruptcy, but some banks require 7 years.
At Homes and Loans, your mortgage will be processed quickly, AND you will save money! You will be in good hands. The person you deal with is even more important than the name of the company they work for.
It's difficult to recognize an excellent mortgage lender versus a slick salesperson. My advice is to ask for references, how they've been in business, and the timeframe it currently takes to close a loan.
Next, find a realtor you can trust!
Let's talk about the fun stuff- looking at houses!
In the old days, you would ask a realtor to line up several houses, and then you'd go look at them. Technology has changed everything.
Most people start by looking at houses online months before they plan on buying one. To make your search easier, I will be happy to help you set up an automated search for houses that meet your criteria.
Once you are serious about looking at houses in person, find an experienced buyer's agent who will lookout for you, and who you feel comfortable with.
Why a buyer's agent?
Buyer's agents are helpful because the listing agent works for the seller, not you! By having a buyer's agent, you will be more likely achieve the outcome you are seeking.
Once you have identified some houses you'd like to see, set up a tour of them with your buyer's agent, not the listing agent. Nothing replaces actually looking at houses in person.
Allow me to be your buyer's agent!
I will answer any questions you have and help guide you to the right home. This is your home search, and I am your facilitator and guide.
If you have a parent or someone else whose opinion you trust, bring them along to see the house.
Once we find the home you like, I'll go to work negotiating for you and handling the other things that need to be done; such as the home inspection, getting the mortgage processed, etc.
Having one company do your mortgage and help you find the right house may seem out of the ordinary (which it is), but there are only advantages for you! It's very convenient, and will save you $$.