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What Loan Officers Want Homebuyers to Know - Expert Advice from Local Lenders

Easy ways to prepare for your home search!

Preparing to buy a home is a serious endeavor, but navigating the waters of homeownership doesn't need to be overwhelming. Berkshire County lenders offer some easy ways to be ready.

Sarah E. Gaffey, AVP, Mortgage and Business Development Officer at Greylock Federal Credit Union says an easy way to start is to check your credit report.

"Pulling your credit report from all three reporting bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, Equifax) will give you a better understanding of your credit history. Most lenders require a minimum of a 620 credit score."

Gaffey also recommends saving for a down payment and closing costs before you start your home search. "Conventional loans require a minimum down payment of 3% - 5%. You will also need to be prepared to pay closing costs (which are roughly between 2% and 5% of your loan amount). Some lenders may offer First Time Home Buyers closing cost credits to help with some of these costs," she says.

And let's not forget the importance of being pre-approved!

"When you have been pre-approved, you are now a more powerful buyer. Real estate agents will see you as a serious buyer because you are backed by a lender. Pre-approval means that a lender has reviewed your financial background and determined how much of a home you can afford." - Sarah Gaffey, Greylock Federal Credit Union

Pre-approval is also highly recommended by Academy Mortgage Corporation Sales Manager Jamie Pollard. "It’s important to be pre-approved for many reasons but mainly to understand the basics of your financing options," he says.

"I try to...focus on two important details. First, your estimated mortgage payment to include Principle, Interest, Taxes, and estimated Insurance. Second, how much money do you have available to use to purchase?" Pollard says. "Of course, you need to be eligible in income/assets and credit but essentially you want to be comfortable with the payment and money out of pocket."

It’s...important to get qualified before you find a dream home so that if you need to do work, you’re not stressed during the application process while under contract. By getting pre-approved, your lender can coach you on tips to better your credit scores and possibly consolidate debts to reduce your cost structure which can make purchasing a home more affordable. -Jamie Pollard, Academy Mortgage Corporation

Pollard adds "most local Realtors want to see a local pre-approval before showing homes and definitely before presenting offers. Sometimes this dialogue will help to prepare you to qualify for more mortgage options including Down Payment Assistance with First Time Homebuyer Programs and sometimes better mortgage products due to you having higher credit scores."

He encourages buyers to take advantage of a mortgage consultation. "There are no obligations and you’ll be better prepped for when a home you may want comes on the market as an active listing," he says.

Many lenders also encourage buyers to update pre-approval letters frequently in light of current interest rates.

If you are a homebuyer, do you have a pre-approval letter?

  • Yes, but not an updated one.

  • Yes, and it is updated.

  • No, I don't.

  • I'm not a homebuyer but I like answering polls.

Ready to start your home search? Contact me today! Just fill out your contact information at the bottom of the page.

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