Here's a Flow Chart view of the home Purchase Process which might open your eyes a bit ... Buying a home (involving a Realtor) proceeds toward the Settlement on three separate parallel paths ...
On the bottom of the chart ... The homes owner generally has listed their home in the Multiple Listing System (MLS) with a Listing Realtor and it's presence in the MLS indicates the Listing Realtor's willingness to cooperate with a Realtor who is working as a Buyer's Agent
The main path through the process involves the Buyer working with a Buyer's Agent to find a home, Get it under contract, remove the contract's contingencies (like Home Inspection, Appraisal, Termite Inspection), prepare for the settlement (line up the down payment, buy a hazard insurance policy, perform a final inspection).
The upper path involves the Buyer's Loan ... Initially you'll get pre-qualified ... Then Approved and eventually, once the Appraisal is completed, the overall loan will be approved for settlement. Since you'll need to be pre-qualified and approved anyway, I recommend that you do so before making an offer ... That way you'll be presenting yourself in the best possible manner.
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