A question I often hear from buyers is, “Why do I need to talk to a lender?”

There are a number of reasons, the first being that you can find out how much of a home you truly can afford — based on monthly payments, not just the price of house.

On paper, you may be qualified for a house of $XX. There are some beautiful homes near that price! The problem lies within not knowing what that qualification means in terms of how much you’d pay per month, including taxes, insurance, and interest on the loan.

I recently had clients who could “technically” afford more than they were buying. Knowing their monthly limit (they still need to buy groceries, gas up their car, like to dine out on occasion, and meet up with friends for drinks!) helped them to make a very informed decision so they wouldn’t be “house poor.”

With the house we recently helped them get under contract, they will be closer to work (less gas fill-ups!), get the kitchen they wanted, and still be near the restaurants they like to frequent. And due to the monthly payments being within their budget, they can still dine there!

Other good reasons are: Your credit could have some issues that you were unaware of, and they can be fixed up front. My parents, when refinancing years ago, had my student loans on their credit, when they should not have been. My loans were enough debt that it could have affected their ability to get the mortgage — and all due to an error since my address had been the same as theirs until a few years before.

Your lender can let you know of any local programs you may qualify for, which could reduce your closing cost expenses..

Your lender can let you know if it may be beneficial for you to wait to buy based on your current circumstances versus potential in the future.

You can be ready to write a contract when you find the house of your dreams. Many Baltimore houses for sale have a requirement of a loan pre-approval letter or proof of ability to buy. If you don’t have that, you may miss out on that house while a qualified buyer gets it!

For more information and a referral to get a loan pre-approval, contact me. I have a number of lenders who I trust to serve my clients!