Today’s question is, do I need a pre-approval before I start my home search?

Technically the answer is no, it's a free country. You can go out and look at as many homes as you

want and never have a pre-approval. It may not be in your best interest though so it is this realtor’s opinion that yes, you should always have a pre-approval before you ever start your home search and specifically before you go out and are looking at homes.

Now why do I say this?

1. Having the pre-approval actually will set a realistic price range for you. A lot of buyers will

just go out on a lark based on a feeling of a price range that they want to purchase in. They

see properties, they maybe even make offers, perhaps they get accepted in the process

starts. Then they go to a lender and then they find out, "no I can't buy that property", so

now they have to pull the offer and they even may be discouraged and disappointed about

the entire process and maybe they don't move forward again because they had one bad

experience, all of which could have been avoided by a 15-minute conversation with

competent qualified lender or mortgage broker and obtaining a pre-approval. So one of

the things the pre-approval does is set a realistic price range for your search.

2. It prepares you to buy when the time is right, when you find the property that you want.

Now you have the pre-approval so you know that you can purchase that property as long

as it’s in the price range stated on your pre-approval. The pre-approval prepares you to

buy when the time is right.

3. It increases your confidence. As a buyer it'll make you a happier more confident buyer and

it makes the process a lot more fun because now it's taking the guesswork away and it lets

you know for sure "I can buy this property because it’s in my price range and it's on my

pre approval". You are a more powerful buyer and, believe it or not, you're viewed as a

stronger buyer in the eyes of a seller. Some may not even take offers unless they have a pre approval.

So it is this realtor’s opinion you should always have a pre-approval before you go out

looking at any homes.

Have more questions? Russ may be reached at or 617-519-3163.