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Ask Dave

When to start the process

When should you start looking for a good real estate agent and mortgage company? Dave answers Sarah's questions.

QUESTION: Sarah and her husband are ready to begin saving for a house. When should they begin looking for a good real estate agent and start the underwriting process? Dave has the answer.

ANSWER: You’re being very intentional and goal-oriented about getting control of your finances and the home buying process. I’d advise starting a conversation with a quality mortgage company when you’re about five or six months away from your savings goal date.

There’s “pre-approval,” but there’s also something called “certified.” That’s a step beyond pre-approved, and it basically puts you in a position to make an offer when you’re ready for the purchase. After that, sit down and talk with a few agents. Interview them, and decide on someone with lots of experience that you like and trust. Then, start outlining your search and buying strategy.

What I would not do is jump from agent to agent. There’s a tremendous benefit in finding someone you trust and feel good about. I’m talking about a buyer’s agent who’s going to fight for you.