A mortgage preapproval is a letter from a lender indicating how much of a loan you can qualify for, issued after the lender has evaluated your financial history. This includes pulling your credit report and score. With a preapproval letter, you can find a home you can afford by shopping within your means while also showing you’re a serious buyer.
A mortgage preapproval letter can set you apart from other buyers who may be interested in the same home as you. Getting preapproved will help you find a mortgage lender who can work with you to find a home loan with an interest rate and terms that fit your needs.
A pre-qualification is an estimate, while a pre-approval is a more robust loan application.
A mortgage pre-qualification allows a lender to give you an estimate of the mortgage amount you’ll likely qualify for and provide some preliminary loan terms. You provide an estimated credit score and a few other details, including the intended purchase price of the home you’re interested in, your down payment, your monthly debts, and how you would like to structure your loan (length, fixed or adjustable-rate interest, etc).
With a preapproval, you complete a full application. Lenders pull your credit report and provide an offer in writing to give you a loan at a specific interest rate.
Even with a mortgage preapproval, your loan still has to go through underwriting prior to closing. This is the final stage before the lender issues the loan.
There are quite a few reasons! The most important reason is that you will get an accurate idea of how much you will be able to afford. This can help to narrow down your home search and ensure that you only look at houses that are in your price range.
A pre-approval letter also helps prove to sellers that you’re a credible buyer and are able to act fast when you find the home of your dreams. Some sellers even require buyers to submit a pre-approval letter with their offers, though providing a pre-approval letter does not guarantee that your offer will be accepted by a seller.
A pre-approval letter helps you stand out in a competitive real estate market. If you make an offer on a house without a pre-approval, your offer may not be taken as seriously as an offer from another person with a pre-approval.