Pre-approvals… why you need with them, what they are, and how to get one….

Upcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:

Saturday, September 22nd, from 12pm-3pm (ish)
Vancouver YMCA, conference room
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR500 & Gher Road/112th Ave)

Saturday, October 6th , from 9am-12pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Saturday, October 20th, from 5pm-8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

If these class dates and/or times don’t work for you, please let us know. We understand that you have lives, and families, and work. We will work something out that works better with your schedule. Just let us know….
….we also have home seller classes available too…link on left on website

Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner! πŸ˜€
Happy …well, whatever day it is!

What a month! Yesterday, my youngest child started 3rd grade. I think I have started and stopped this email about 4 times in the last couple of weeks, but what with everything going on… it kind of went on the back burner. It’s a different world from when I went to school… when I was at school, teachers had the last word on everything. If a teacher called home, you were in trouble….if a teacher needed something… it happened. When my older kids were young, teachers still got what they needed … now, I am not going to lie to you… I did have it out with my older daughters high school principal a few times! Teachers though… teachers I have the utmost respect for them. When I was young, I wanted to be a teacher… I wanted to teach high school history and English. Yep, that was my goal when I was young… not a singer or a movie star… a teacher! Of course, I am not a teacher… I am a Realtor, but I still teach….and I still help.
So, here we are… another school year started, and all of the sudden we are in the last trimester of the year. So here’s to ‘Happy Hallowthankmas’ period time.

So this week let’s talk about the what the steps are to buying a home? This is where it gets crazy because most of us just don’t know….you just kind of ‘fall into it’… You meet up with someone, and like a whirlwind romance, next thing you know you are in a 30 year commitment called a mortgage loan!

So….if you are thinking about buying a home, what are your steps? What do you need to know before you start?

Well, that is what the Free Home Buyer Education Classes are for! ….that, and this weekly blog anyhow! πŸ˜€

The first step to buying a home is the home buyer education classes.
Did you know that more people will get education when buying a car than when buying a home? The classes are non-promotional, free, and meant to give home buyers a head start on the information they need to buying a home, and taking advantage of the state loan programs that are out there to HELP people buy a home! Real Estate & Lending is all about ‘verbiage’ as we are ‘taught’ scripts to make things sound good for you, when in actuality…it may not be that great at all. We do go over all of that, and try to make everything as clear as possible considering it starts off as mud. πŸ™‚ As instructors of the classes we are volunteers, so while we HOPE that you will call us to help you with your homebuying adventure, by no means do you have to. πŸ™‚
Buying a home, especially your first home, is such a big thing that sometimes it is hard to wait when we get the bug. Buying a home is still the American dream, and gives us roots in a community. It is the place where we raise our children, plant our gardens, paint our rooms, and show our personality. A house isn’t just a place of four walls and a door, but a home….and a place of dreams. Knowing all of this as we do, when it comes to buying a home, patience isn’t always our biggest virtue! πŸ˜€

The second step in the home buying process is talking with a lender to help you get pre-approved for a loan.
The reason why we say that talking to a lender is your second step is because while you don’t go grocery shopping without knowing how much is in your bank account, you should never go looking at homes without knowing how much you can afford. A lenders job is to pre-approve you for as much as they can, but that doesn’t always mean that you can, or that you should, spend that much on purchasing a home. We all have lives, and you don’t want to be housepoor. Make sure that you know your budget, and what is a comfortable amount for you to spend monthly on a mortgage. Remember to make sure that you have enough for small things like eating out (ok….if you have my family it isn’t a ‘small’ thing at all to eat out!), going to the movies, maybe going on a family trip….and let’s not forget buying groceries and gas! Also…as a homeowner, now you have other additional expenses and potential repairs to put aside for. I always tell all my clients to put aside some money from every check into a ‘special’ account at a banking institution that you don’t regularly frequent. Maybe it is a credit union across town that is only open for 4 hours a day, but make sure you don’t have a checkbook or a debit card for it. It doesn’t have to be a lot of money….maybe only $10-$20 per check, but this is your ‘rainy day’ fund…or really, the funds for any home repairs that will, eventually, come up. Being a home owner does mean being prepared for home repairs that always happen at the worst possible time! Home Warranties really are your best friend when buying a home…and yes, this is different than Homeowners Insurance (aka Hazard Insurance). That will be a topic for another week. πŸ™‚

The rule of thumb though is to make sure that when you are looking for homes, after you get pre-approved, to make sure you are looking at homes with your buyers agent that you can afford, and not max out your budget!

Remember that not all lenders can access the downpayment assistance loans, so make sure that you are going through someone who can. If you have any questions about that, please feel free to call, or email, Chris Berg @ Pinnacle Mortgage…503-320-0925 (he is local), and .

When getting pre-approved, make sure to ask your lender if your pre-approval has already gone through the manual underwriters. We are seeing more, and more people lately who, thinking they are pre-approved, go out and find a home, only to find out days before signing, that the manual underwriters are declining their loan! This is terrible as this means that this family who have already packed up, given notice, and are ready to move….now have no loan, and therefore, no home! I don’t want that to happen to any of my clients, so as a buyers agent, when I am speaking with a lender, I always ask their lender if the buyers loan approval was sent to the manual underwriter, or if it is just a computer approval. Having your pre-approval go through the manual underwriters, instead of just a computer approval, does take some more time, usually up to a week more, but in the end it is always better to be safe rather than sorry!

Please remember that your pre-approval is only good for 90 days, and yes, you will have to update it at the end of the process…usually when your file goes to underwriting for the final documents to sign. Please continue to pay your bills (on time), please do not change work hours, please do not go out and buy appliances, do not get a personal loan for ‘stuff for the house’, do not go buy a car/truck/boat/etc. If you have any questions, please talk with your lender first as all of these things can cause your loan to be declined…at the final step….which is awful for everyone. Your pre-approval is NOT set in stone…. A pre-approval is a snap-shot of your ‘current’ financial situation, and if that changes…so can your pre-approval. Your financial situation will be looked at by a myriad of different people, and scrutinized about 2-3 times by the underwriters…which are actually the people with the power. Please remember to talk with your lender and real estate agent…we are here to help! πŸ™‚

A pre-approval is good for a monthly mortgage payment amount…not a purchase price. Your interest rate can not be locked in until about 30-45 days from closing/keys. What this means is that the interest rate you are quoted at the time of pre-approval is merely a ‘guesstimate’. This part is always a bit strange, but your lender can’t even start your actual loan process until you have a signed around contract on a home…signed (and agreed to) by the person with the legal authority to sell that home. If interest rates go up in the process of buying your home, and your rate is not locked in, then your monthly mortgage payment will change…and so can your pre-approval.

Your buyers agent, and your lender should work together, and communicate with each other to help you through this process! I know I say this all the time, but we work for YOU! By working together we help you achieve your goal of your own home where you can kick your shoes off, turn on some football (ok, maybe that is just my house!), and relax! A buyers agent and a lender should work together as a team, communicating with each other, and with you, every step of the way….that is what we are here for! πŸ™‚

I also asked Chris Berg for some information on this email…
There are three forms of approvals that you will see when you purchase a home. Prequalification, preapproval, and approval.

A prequalification is not worth the paper it’s printed on and most if not all sellers will not except a prequalification when you make an offer on a home. The reason for this is that a prequalification is basically just checking your credit but not verifying income or down payment or any of the other thousand things that can go wrong during the transaction.

A preapproval covers all the things they seller needs to see. Not only does it verify your credit but also verifies your income, tax returns, W-2s, down payment, employment and address history, and rent payments. A preapproval is what you need in order to make an offer on a home.

An approval is generally not achieved until you were under contract on a home. It verifies all the items in a preapproval but also includes the appraisal and preliminary title report on all borrowers and sellers.

In order to get a preapproval you need to bring your lender your last two years tax returns, W-2s, last 30 days pay stubs, ID, and two months bank statements if you have a down payment.

If you are seriously considering buying a home a preapproval, with most lenders, will not cost you any money and will allow you to deal with any issues well before you spend the money to make an offer on a home.

No animals were harmed during the writing of this email.

Thank you,
Chris Berg
Mortgage Advisor with Pinnacle Capital Mortgage
503-320-0925 cell

Information is power, and as always…May the odds be ever in your favor out there…. If you are looking for a real estate agent, I would love to be able to help you.
If you have any questions, or comments please get a hold of me anytime. You can call, text, email, or even facebook me. Please remember that while I mean these emails/blogs to be helpful, and educational, I am still hoping that you will call, or email me as I would be honored to help you with your home buying, or home selling adventure! πŸ™‚

As always….this is just a quick overview…. again…and I can’t say this enough…please remember that your agent is NOT a salesperson, and should not be acting like one. Real Estate is not really about houses, it is about relationships. Your agent, and your lender work for YOU. You drive the bus…we are merely GPS to help you get to your goals. Like the classes, this weekly blog email is to help you with your home adventure. The goal is to be informative and non-promotional. πŸ™‚ We are, however, hoping you will call and want us to help with your adventure.

Thank you again for your business and your referrals!! …and thank you for referring these classes to your friends, family, and co-workers.

….disclaimer…if you have already purchased a home, or would no longer like to receive these emails, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from any further mailings…

Upcoming Topics:
What do I need to buy a home,
Hiring a Realtor…questions to ask,
What if I don’t have a Down Payment? ….. &….
What does an Agent do for me?
Debt to Income Ratios….What is this?

Last Week: Why take a home buyers (or sellers) class?

Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,
Tracie DeMars
Real Estate broker
Re/Max – Van Mall
360/ 903-3504 cell
360/ 882-3600 fax

β€œInterested in free and non promotional home education classes? Go to for local upcoming home buyer and home SELLER classes, or facebook: Tracie DeMars Real Estate for my home buyer education blog.”

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
– Shel Silverstein, American poet, cartoonist and composer, (1930 – 1999