Lending….why is this the first step?

Buying season

The beginning of the year through early Summer is typically the most active time in real estate. As the weather warms up, so does the housing market. If you are a first time buyer, or it’s been many years since you last bought a home, there can be a lot of uncertainty about the process and steps to get started in the home buying journey. My first few entries of the year are aimed directly in your direction.

Lender is the first step

Whenever I get contacted by a new buyer client my first question every time is have you talked with a lender. It’s a very important part of the process and without starting here, your journey is already off to a rocky start. Speaking with a lender as a first step gives you a huge advantage right out of the gate.


You shouldn’t even go grocery shopping unless you know what you can afford. The same is true of just about everything else. Cars, clothes, phone and watches can vary wildly in features and price. It’s important to know what can afford before you start shopping to prevent problems down the road.

House Fever is a real thing

Buying a home is a very exciting time. First time home buyers and those that have owned multiple homes all experience similar excitement. There’s a reason you want a new home. You need new space for a growing family, relocating for a new job, leaving the world of being a renter, or downsizing to enjoy your retirement are all exciting times in your life and when we start shopping for a home it brings those emotions to crest. For some, shopping for a home can be one of the most memorable times in your life. When you start walking into new homes and neighborhoods you really being to see yourself in that location and its very exciting. House fever can quickly set in and without knowing your budget you set yourself up for heartbreak.

Whats included at that price….

If you begin to shop outside of your price range, you are inviting frustration into your life, in a season thats already primed for stress. Features and upgrades may not be possible in the price range you can afford or get prequalified for. Once your heart is set on those items, its difficult at best to not be disappointed. Lack of space, location or amenities is a hard thing to get over when you discover they aren’t available in the homes in your budget and finding the unicorn in a competitive market is often not the fun adventure you were planning for.

Don’t be house poor

Before you make a decision on the amount of home you want to buy, put some deep thought into your personal budget. A mortgage is a serious decision. The version of you that’s out looking at houses today needs to make decisions that the version of you 20 years and beyond can live with. Home ownership should be a blessing and not a curse, and if you buy a home that’s beyond what you can reasonably afford you aren’t leaving room in your budget for emergencies and basic enjoyment. You want to be able to live the life you want and still make your mortgage. Long after the house fever goes away, the mortgage company is going to be expecting a payment on the first of each month.

What do I need to have….

All lenders require different things to get started, but there are a few items on a checklist that I think are good starting points. Next entry we will talk specifically about those. If you like these videos and blog post, I hope you will keep me in mind when its time to start your real estate journey. Please pass these along to someone you know is considering buying or selling a home. I’m standing by when you are ready to get moving. Welcome home!

Chris Whitehurst

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