05 Jul About 10-12 months out from buying – When to contact Real Estate Agent / Lender
I am a first time home buyer who plans to buy a house in the next year. I have excellent credit (FICO 8 scores all above 800 – not mortgage scores as I have not pulled those). I have stable income in the same industry for the last 5 years (2.5 in the same company). I have money for 10-20% down, but would rather go with 10% down to maintain my emergency fund after closing costs and the like. I have a car loan that will be paid off before I buy the home ($5k left). I also do not anticipate any major issues with getting a loan as the homes I am looking at are in the 3-3.5x range of my annual income. The market I am looking at is a reasonably hot real estate market (Sacramento, California).
With that said:
Should I look for a mortgage broker/lender first and get pre-approved, or should I find a real estate agent first? I have read conflicting information online on getting a lender or agent first.
How far out is it reasonable for me to contact a real estate agent? I am looking at homes on apps and occasionally by walking in. I am not sure if I will end up getting a new construction home or an older one.
Since I am considering looking at a new construction home (I will most likely not go with new construction), does that change how far out I should contact an agent?
I am single and in my mid-30s. I have lived in the area for some years. I have started looking at homes as I just recently decided I will be living here longterm. The bottom line is I don’t want to waste an agent’s time as I will not be buying a home for almost a year. But I don’t want to visit a new construction place without an agent, and get locked out of having an agent if I end up buying. I also don’t know how acceptable it is to contact an agent (outside of new construction) a year prior to buying a home.
Thanks for the assistance!