Lender or Real Estate Agent: Which Comes First?

by Alyson Bunn

Buying a home can feel like a plethora of moving parts without even knowing how to start the machine. Getting started can be confusing, especially when you don’t know who to ask. Lenders and real estate agents provide different insight and steps into the same process, making the starting point that much more confusing to newcomers.


Lenders provide you most importantly with pre-approvals, which are essential in the current seller’s market. Talking to multiple lenders and weighing your options gives you a better feel of what fits your budget and needs. They can provide you with knowledge about assistance programs or small down payment opportunities. Starting the process with pre-approval also narrows your search by the time you talk to a real estate agent.

Not every lender is going to fit the guidelines of your budget. By talking to lenders first, you restrict your loan options. We recommend that you spend the time to talk to multiple lenders so that you know you’re getting the best deal. Once you have decided on a lender, your loan officer may be able to recommend real estate agents they have worked with in your area and that they believe are reputable if you have not found one.

Real Estate Agents

We really recommend speaking with real estate agents first. They are the CPAs and stockbrokers of the real estate world and are incredibly qualified to provide you with a well-rounded experience. They will direct you to lenders they have relationships with and know work well with their clients. Because of the rapid nature of the real estate industry, it is better to speak with an agent first and get full use out of your 90-day pre-approval window.

While you’re getting preapproved, they’re going to get to work on the house search for you. They juggle the heavy work for you so you can enjoy the home buying process as much as possible. They’re going to work with your budget to provide as many must-haves in your home.

Just like lenders, we recommend shopping around for real estate agents. Talk to your friends and family and see who they worked with and if their process went smoothly. The best agents work by referral. They are not necessarily the “big names” who advertise on billboards and house-hunting websites. Experienced, top-notch Realtors usually advertise via grassroots methods like community involvement and word-of-mouth. Smart buyers shop around.

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If you’re interested in talking to one of our Loan Officers, we’re happy to lead you in the right direction.

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