Housing Watch: Making sure you are pre-qualified

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- If you are serious about buying a home, it is important to make sure you are pre-qualified.

Real estate broker Noe Cruz says that way you can make an offer on a home you really like.

"I don't show homes to anybody who's not pre-qualified," he said. "That's the number-one thing you have to do. You do not want to be viewing homes, get excited on a home, then not be able to qualify."

Loan officer Paul Salazar at Sierra Pacific Mortgage says he has clients who pre-qualified seven months ago but still haven't been able to close on a home because they refuse to over-bid on properties.

Buyers often need a little bit more than what the seller is asking because other people are putting in higher bids.

"But I have found that because this market is a little hot right now, that people say, 'Can I qualify for a little bit more?' In some cases yes, which means I'll tell you that you need to pay off some debt in order to qualify," Salazar said.

Salazar adds first-time buyers need a credit score of at least 620 to get an FHA loan.

Realtor Caitlin Sawatsky says some buyers have been making offers on several homes at the same time.

"We heard that people who were offering on our listings also had offers out on other properties because it's just hard to get something accepted, and you don't want to lose out on something that's great for something that was perfect," she said.

Experts say buyer interest remains high because of low interest rates.

Right now, we have 524 active listings in the Fresno/Clovis area. The number is slowly rising.

More than 1,100 homes are in escrow.
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