First of all, let’s make an important clarification. Pre-qualifications are not the same as pre-approvals.
Pre-qualifications will give you an idea of what kind of loan you may qualify for and can typically be completed in minutes. This informal estimate may be just fine for those in the very early stages of the home buying process.
Pre-approvals are more involved and are a better indication of your ability to fully qualify for a mortgage loan. In order to get pre-approved, we will gather all the information we need to begin the loan process. This typically involves a credit check as well as income and asset verification. Typical documents required for a pre-approval include:
- Bank statements
- Drivers License/Identification
- Proof of IRAs or retirement accounts and their balances
Good Faith Estimate
After successfully getting pre-approved for a mortgage, you will receive a Good Faith Estimate (GFE). A GFE is a brief document that details the likely terms of the loan, including interest rate, loan type, and closing costs. All that said, a pre-approval is not a binding agreement between you and your lender – final loan approvals require the attention of our experienced underwriting team.
Benefits of Getting Pre-Approved
Getting pre-approved has several advantages over basic pre-qualifications:
- Your realtor knows you’re serious when you present a pre-approval letter – and will work even harder on your behalf!
- Sellers prefer to negotiate with prospective buyers with pre-approvals over simple pre-qualification letters – often times sellers won’t even consider your offer without a pre-approval letter from a licensed mortgage loan originator!
- Your mortgage pre-approval letter takes into consideration down payment percentages, interest rates, property taxes and mortgage insurance – which makes it clearer to you (the buyer) just how much you can truly afford to borrow.
- A solid pre-approval will help you get your loan processed faster. Getting a pre-approval could take your offer from a 60 day closing to as little as 30 days.
You’re not likely to shop for a car without knowing what you can afford, so why would you house shop without knowing what type of loan you may qualify for? A pre-approval helps you make educated decisions about one of the most important investments of your life.