Greater Lansing Home Buying FAQs

Buying a home is a large financial decision, and it's important to stay informed about the home buying process, especially in the local real estate market.

If you're buying a home in the Greater Lansing area, here is an overview of the process and what key steps you should take to buy a home.

What do I need to do before I think about purchasing a home in Lansing?

Home Buyer FAQ 1The very first thing you need to do — even before glancing at online listings — is to get your finances in order.

See how much debt you owe by checking your credit card balances, student loan amount, previous home loans, and other debts, such as a car loan. It may be helpful at this time to budget your spending and determine how much you can set aside each month for paying off your home mortgage.

The next step is to get prequalified for a home loan.

What is a mortgage prequalification?

Prequalification is where you have spoken to a mortgage lender and find out how much you could qualify for.

How do I get prequalified for a mortgage in the Greater Lansing area?
You will need to provide these pieces of information to the lender when you arrange a meeting:

  • Annual income
  • Amount of cash you have for a down payment
  • Other home loans
  • Credit card balances
  • Other loan balances (vehicles, etc.)
  • Other factors affecting your income (e.g., tax payments, dividends, etc.)

They, in turn, will give you an estimated amount of what they think you'd be qualified for if all of your financial information is accurate. But a prequalification doesn't mean you're qualified for that loan amount.

Home Buyer FAQ2What's the difference between being prequalified and being preapproved for a mortgage?

Home buyers tend to think that because they are prequalified, they can get that loan amount when they find the home of their dreams. That simply isn't true.

During the prequalification process, your mortgage lender has not run a credit check or verified any of the information you have provided. There may be things on your credit report that may hinder the loan process or affect the loan amount.

Essentially, prequalifications are usually a free service that can help you determine how much you could borrow to buy a home in Lansing. Preapprovals are when your credit information is verified and the lender is ready to make you a mortgage loan (which has conditions about how you can obtain the loan).

Do I need to be prequalified?

You don't need to be prequalified for a mortgage, but it's typically a good idea.

Many Lansing area home sellers actually require a pre-qualification letter with your offer to purchase their home, so having the prequalification letter readily available typically makes your offer stronger.

Getting prequalified for a mortgage speeds up the selling process and lets the home seller know that you can afford to buy their property.

If I find a home that is not listed by you, can you still show it to me?

Of course! We are able to show you any home for sale, no matter who the listing broker is. Property information is always available to us, Home Buyer FAQ 3even if it's not one of our listings.

If you see a home advertised in the newspaper — or if you drive by a home that interests you — please call us at (517) 381-1760 and we can schedule a showing.

If you visit an open house or a new home community, let the home seller's agent know that we are representing you.

When we find a house we like, how do we buy it?

While there are many steps to the home buying process in Lansing, here are three basic steps to submitting an offer on a home:

  1. Meet with your real estate agent to complete the Offer to Purchase form
  2. Make a deposit ("earnest money"), usually 1% of the sales price
  3. Negotiate with the home seller on a fair price for the property

Is it best to make a really low offer on the home at first?

It depends on the situation. If your offer is too low, you may take some unwanted risks — like another prospective home buyer submitting an offer that the home seller accepts before yours.

We've even heard of experiences where a home buyer made a low offer to the seller, and the seller refused to entertain any more offers from that client.

Use your best judgement and ask us for advice before submitting a low offer.

What else do I need to know about buying a home in Lansing? Who can I talk to?

The Greater Lansing real estate market is our specialty! We've had over 35 years of combined experience working with home buyers in the area, so we know the ins and outs of the Lansing home buying process.

If you have any further questions please contact us. We would be happy to answer any of your real estate questions!