RANDOLPH, NJ- The calendar has not even moved us into February yet, but the Spring home buying market is already taking shape. Sure, we are still due a few big snow storms, but the 70-degree Saturday two weeks ago was a reminder that we are less than two months away from the vernal equinox - the first day of Spring (yes, I had to look that one up).

Over the next few weeks, I will be speaking with more people who plan to purchase a home in the Spring or Summer. If they are serious about their search, I recommend that we do a mortgage pre-approval. I rarely feel that it is too early to get started. Even if a would-be buyer doesn’t plan to make a purchase for 6 to 12 months, I still encourage them to do a pre-approval.

There are several reasons for this. For starters, the sooner that a person gets their ducks in a row (I looked that one up too), the better prepared they will be when the time comes to make an offer on a home. If they have negative reporting on their credit, or more money needs to be saved for a down payment, we can get working on it.

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Secondly, you need to be ready to strike the moment that the right home comes on the market. With inventory in short supply, there will be fierce competition. A seller is not going to accept an offer without a Pre-Approval so, having one ready will give you an advantage over less prepared buyers.

A mortgage pre-approval consists of an application, a credit report, and a review of pertinent income and asset documentation. If you are an employee of a company, that information will be your current pay statements and the most recent W2s. If you are self-employed, a review of your tax returns will be necessary to determine the amount of income we can use. In all cases, a review of your asset statements will determine the amount of down payment you can afford.

Having a pre-approval in hand will give you the confidence to begin your home search. It will also provide some parameters to let you know what price range you should be focusing in.

I might tell you that you are qualified to purchase a home for $500,000, but you may only be comfortable with a payment that will afford you a home listed at $400,000. In the end, what really matters, is finding a great home, in a great town (Randolph), that fits within your budget.

If you would like to get pre-approved, or if you are a realtor with a client who needs a pre-approval, please call or text me at (201)715-2251 -or send me an email at Lbodnar@plsmtg.com. I also specialize in helping homeowners refinance their current mortgage. With rates at their lowest point since September, this is a great time to refinance.