If you are seriously considering buying a property in Calgary you should get pre-qualified for a loan first. By doing so, you will be taken seriously by your real estate agent and home sellers. It shows that you have taken a step towards buying a house and you are committed to it.
Your real estate agent
Your real estate agent is a very patient person. This agent has to deal with a lot of people that are not totally serious about purchasing a home and are just browsing around to see what's out there. Sometimes a lot of hours are wasted by an agent dealing with clients that never really had the intention of buying a house in the first place. It's really incredible to think about how many people start shopping around and then give up on the idea for one reason or another.
If you walk into the office of a real estate agent and present a pre-qualified loan acceptance letter you will be taken very seriously as a buyer. Your agent will do everything within his means to make sure that you find the right home at the right price. He knows that he will not be wasting his time by servicing you, and it just adds that extra confidence to the whole real estate scene.
Sellers don't want to waste their time either. They may receive some very low offers on their homes by people that are just looking around for someone desperate that will sign their house away at a low price. They also have to make the final decision of what offer they will take, and if it comes down to a choice between someone that has a prequalified loan and someone that doesn't, all other things being somewhat equal, the one with the prequalified loan will usually be chosen. The seller knows that the sale will go through because the loan has already been approved.
There is no better way to get the best service possible than by getting a prequalified loan to purchase real estate. Talk to a bank official about what can get done and then start some serious house shopping with a loan in your pocket.