I suppose technically speaking you do not have to, but if you want your agent or a seller to take you seriously you should. In fact, most agents worth their salt probably aren’t going take you around looking at houses until you do. I know I sure wouldn’t.
But the truth is you need to do it for you. First, you need to be certain there are not any items on your credit report that you are unaware of. There could easily be some incorrect information or something little that needs to be addressed before you are able to obtain financing. It could be something that is easy to take care of provided you have the time.
And if you haven’t heard nothing happens quickly in the mortgage industry. It could cost you the house of your dreams or a deal of a lifetime. I’ve seen it happen. Also, you might have a little time to improve your score. A good mortgage broker might be able to help you boost your score over a certain threshold. Often just a few points might save you thousands over the course of a loan.
Also, it keeps you from wasting your time. You may not want to hear this, but there is probably a limit to what you can afford. Alternatively, you could also be selling yourself short and looking at homes well under your budget. Likewise, you could be over or underestimating what your prospective payments might be.