Are you pre-qualified or pre-approved for a loan?
Before you begin to shop for a new home, we'll want to schedule some time with you to discuss how much you can afford or want to afford. It's important for you to understand the distinction between being pre-qualified vs. pre-approved. The difference between the two terms may be crucial when you decide to make an offer on a house, and how the seller will perceive your offer.
This nuance is also important if you are a seller of your home contingent upon someone else purchasing your home in order for you to buy your new home.
To get pre-qualified for a loan, we will ask you about your debt, income, and assets. We?ll look at your credit profile and assess goals for a down payment and get an idea of different loan programs that would work for you, but we don't necessarily collect hard documentation. We'll issue a pre-qualification letter to you and your Realtor, indicating the amount you are pre-qualified to borrow. (Typically, within a few days of a seller accepting your purchase offer, you'll be required to provide evidence that you have made a full loan application and have received a pre-approval from your lender.)
It's important to understand that a pre-qualification letter is just an estimate of what you are eligible to borrow, not a commitment (in any manner) to lend. Getting pre-approved (vs pre-qualified) for a loan gives you a most certain competitive advantage when the time comes to bid on a home because the Realtors and the seller know you have gone through the steps to be approved by a lender for a loan for a specified amount, and you are just not in "shopping mode", or just unwilling/unable to commit to a purchase.
To receive a pre-approval, you will have completed a mortgage application and provided us with such written documentation verifying your employment, assets and financial status such as W-2 forms, bank records, etc (refer to the Loan Application Checklist). The lender will "pre-approve" your mortgage request, usually based upon the documentation you have submitted as well as an automated loan approval process. Your loan will also be subject to certain conditions, such as the appraisal of the home you wish to purchase and certain other conditions.
If your financial situation changes (e.g. you change your job or apply for new credit, such as a new car purchase or increase your credit card debt), interest rates rise or a specified expiration date passes, the lender will review your situation and recalculate your mortgage amount accordingly (refer to the Do's & Don'ts Checklist).
A Pre-Approval is ALWAYS better than a Pre-Qualification - a Pre-Approval demonstrates commitment so the paperwork process of a full loan application. The basic pre-approval form below will begin your loan quest and ultimate mortgage approval.