I often get asked by people why I recommend that they get prequalified by a local lender. Only about 5% of people pay cash for a home so most of the folks get a mortgage. Let me share with you some reasons. And then if you would like for me to give you the names of a couple of really great local lenders, let me know and I will be happy to supply those names and contact information.
First of all, if you want to write an offer, and let's say you are in a competing situation, where somebody else also wants to write an offer on that same property. The seller will counseled that they should take the offer where they already know that the potential buyer is prequalified by a local lender. If one offer is prequalified and the other offer does not have a prequalification form, the seller is most apt to take the one that they feel confident will get to the closing table.
Second of all, it costs you nothing. You just sit down with a lender and they will ask you the questions about your income and your debts. The lender may ask you to provide at that time, your most recent W2's, most current pay stubs, etc. Be truthful, always, with the lender. You don't want to put money into this transaction and then find out you can't qualify because you omitted some valuable information.
Thirdly, it helps you understand the whole process. So the lender will talk with you about earnest money, closing costs, credits you may get from the seller, and what you can expect to have on hand in the bank to make this all work out. You will want to know all of this upfront. The lender will also help you understand the best way for you to have the offer written: whether it's USDA, FHA, First Time Homebuyers, Conventional, Insured Conventional, etc.
I've mentioned in this article a couple of times "local lender". That is not by accident. We have a lot of very well marketed "internet lenders." The local people are people that know this area; they know the lakes and how different the lakes areas are from typical residential areas. The local lenders know how best to get you the home that you want with the closing costs that best suit your situation. I appreciate being able to work with a local professional as well. If I need to go in and choke the lender, I can do it with local lenders. If we come across problems with the internet based lenders, you may find out that they don't have as much invested in the transaction and I can't walk into the office for a face-to-face discussion about a challenge.
Let me help you with some names of some good folks to get prequalified with. It's a start.