Everyone dreams of buying a home and grabbing a piece of the American dream. However, the economy, the housing market, tight lending guidelines and low home inventories have made the entire home buying process more challenging. If you are ready to buy a home, there are two very important decisions you should make before you begin your home buying search. Choose an experienced real estate agent and lender to work with. Having these two professionals on your side will make the entire process of buying a home easier. Whether you have real estate and mortgage lending knowledge or not, working with experienced experts will ease the stress and save you time, guesswork and legwork.

Your lender is the person who will let you know how much mortgage you can afford and what type of mortgage loan is best for you based on your credit and the cash you have available for a down payment. Additionally, the loan programs, rates and terms offered may be different depending on whether you choose a direct lender or a mortgage broker. Direct lenders at a bank may be limited to only the loan programs offered by the bank. Mortgage brokers work with several banks and tend to have access to a wider variety of loan programs. Depending on your own personal situation, you may prefer a direct lender or you may benefit more by choosing a mortgage broker. Regardless, the lender you select should be willing to work hard to get you the best mortgage rate and terms possible.

If your credit is not quite where it needs to be to qualify for a mortgage now, the lender you choose should be willing to help you understand what credit repairs are needed and which repairs will help boost your credit score faster so you can qualify for a mortgage loan in the future.

Interest rates are low and have remained low for quite some time, but program and underwriting guidelines change frequently. Your lender should be your advocate and keep you informed of any changes that may affect your loan terms or your ability to qualify for a mortgage.

If you not sure where to start looking for a lender, your real estate agent should be able to give you some referrals. If you have not selected a real estate agent yet, get referrals from friends or co-workers who may have recently purchased a new home. Talk to some lenders. Ask them for references and follow up on them. Do not take the decision of choosing a lender lightly. Your choice will yield you the best mortgage for your personal situation.

Once you know how much mortgage you can afford and what your price range is, it is time to choose your real estate agent so you can begin the search for your home. Browsing the internet for available homes can be fun and exciting, but it can also become frustrating and overwhelming. Real estate agents have the tools available to search through the plethora of houses and find the few that meet your needs. Their ability to search through the homes saves time, legwork and frustration.

Almost everyone has their vision of the perfect home, but not everyone knows what their priorities are. Whether your priorities include location, schools and amenities or the number of bedrooms, the size of the yard or the garage, knowing what you need and want in a house helps with your search. Your real estate agent knows the market and the different neighborhoods and they can offer suggestions based on your price range that may help determine your priorities or narrow them down. When you have selected a few neighborhoods that interest you, your agent can offer additional information that may help you narrow your search even farther. They can provide information on any Homeowner's Associations and let you know what the fees and requirements are. They can give you information on the schools in the area or provide information on any crime statistics.

Any realtor can search homes for you based on your search criteria. Your realtor's experience and their ability to represent you and protect your interests are more important. Buying a home is the most expensive investment you will make. For this reason, do not choose your agent lightly. If you are not sure where to begin your search for an agent, ask your lender. Your lender works with buyer's agents all the time. They should be able to give you some referrals. If you have not chosen a lender yet, ask friends or co-workers who recently worked with a realtor. Talk with several agents and ask them for references. Follow up on the references. The realtor you hire should have the experience, the time to work with you and be willing to give you the assistance and support you need.

Once you find the house you want to make an offer on, your real estate agent is responsible for drawing up the purchase contract. Your agent should know what to include in the contract to protect you and ensure your interests are taken into consideration. They are also responsible for ensuring the contract terms and deadlines are met. When the sellers accept the contract, it is time for you to begin getting your financing started.

Your lender will order an appraisal to determine the value of the property. At this time, you should have a property inspection done to make sure there are no major issues with the property. Your real estate agent should be able to refer you to a couple of reputable inspectors. If everything pans out with the appraisal and your property inspection, you will be on your way to the closing table.

Working with an experienced realtor and mortgage lender is invaluable to the entire home-buying process. Whether you are a first time homebuyer or a seasoned homebuyer, having qualified experts on your side is very important. Their years of experience and knowledge can save you time and headaches and keep you from making costly mistakes. Do your homework, follow up on references, and do not make your decision lightly.

Pink Realty has experience buyer's agents who can help you through the entire home buying process. They have experience with lenders who can get you the financing that is right for you or will work with you to repair any credit issues you may have. Pink Realty's agents are dedicated to helping you find the home that is right for you and making sure your interests are protected. If you are not able to buy a house today, Pink Realty's lease option program may be the perfect option to get you into a home today that you can own in a year. While the interest rates are still low and before home prices get any higher, now is the time to buy. Ready, set . . . call Pink!