You read that question right. It’s a great idea to interview brokers. Interview, so you can determine whether they deserve to be hired to represent you in buying a home. And brokers, plural, so you can compare and contrast not just products, but styles and personalities.
The fact is, buying a home is a massive investment — for many of us, the biggest one we’ll ever make — and it has equally big emotional and financial repercussions in our lives. We should be happy with the team we put together to make it happen. So we recommend you speak with several brokers and more than a couple real estate agents before you decide to go with them. We’ll cover questions you might want to ask in a future blog post (why not start by asking What does a mortgage broker do, exactly?) but for now let’s talk about when you ought to start looking around.
Recently, we suggested that it’s never too early to save for a down payment, and it’s never too late to think about your first home. Usually, when people say it’s too late or it’s too early, they’re making an excuse because they think it’s too difficult! Well, we think the same way about interviewing agents and brokers.
IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY
It’s never too early, a broker is the first person you should talk to. Even if you’re just starting to think about home ownership, why not include an appointment with a broker or two in your first steps? A reputable broker will be happy to answer a few questions in an informational interview. After all, you’re a potential client down the road, right?
It’s not a bad idea to have your information ready: any debts you may have outstanding, any savings or investments with your name on them, etc. Brokers can’t make budgetary decisions for you, but they can give you general advice for how to set yourself up to look good for lenders.
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE
It’s never too late. Even if you’ve already bought your home, it’s not a bad idea to start asking questions about what will happen at the end of your term. (For example, if you’re two years into a five-year term in 2012, you’ll be back negotiating with lenders before the next Olympic Games in Brazil!)
A lot of people stay with their current mortgage lenders, but a broker can determine whether or not a change of financial scenery — whether it’s at the end of the current term or even beforehand! — might be a good idea.
So in short, when should you start interviewing brokers, the answer is today!