In the beginning stages of your decision to buy a home, it is vital to have already spoken with a loan officer to explore your financing options. You will be able to be certain of the price range you can afford, weed out any surprises on Buyer's costs, and be Pre Qualified for your loan.
Any lender you contact should be able to draw up a Good Faith Estimate or Cost Worksheet upon request. This statement will outline your closing costs, monthly mortgage payment, taxes, insurances, and other fees of the loan program they feel will suit your needs. Putting this step behind you will help you to feel more prepared in your search and ultimately allow you to have a stronger offer when you find "the one."
Officially, the last step you should take in this loan discovery time is to be pre qualified. Once you have spoken with at least 2 loan officers (preferable on the same day so you can compare apples to apples) and chosen the one that you like, you can go ahead with the loan application process. This will include a credit check and your loan officer can type up a commitment letter that you may include in your offer to purchase. In this economy and market, Sellers want to view that letter with your offer. It will put them at ease and your offer will become much stronger than the Buyer without one.
Lastly, it is important to work with a reputable, professional loan officer that is known for excellent communication, on time closings, and knows the business inside and out! Loan officers have a big influence on whether this transaction is a smooth or bumpy one.
Here are two loan officers that I recommend:
Rodny Davidson, 1st Community Mortgage
Tracey Van Nevel, Bank of America