Monday, June 25, 2007
The short answer is as early in your search as possible. Most definitely before making an offer to purchase. You need to have realistic expectations about what sort of buying power you have in order to negotiate effectively. You'll find a list of mortgage calculators near the end of this entry, which can help start answering your financial questions. They are useful tools that can help make ballpark estimates of your ability to finance, or make comparisons between renting vs. owning. But when ready to get serious about buying a home, you'll need to take the next step and have a candid conversation with a mortgage professional about how much borrowing power you have, based on more finely tuned details. It is not unusual to find out that you have more purchasing power than expected; or you might realize that your cash reserves are thinner than an underwriter will accept. Either way, it makes sense to know where you stand and have the information needed to adjust your search.