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  • Mortgage Pre-Approval VS Prequalification

    Author: Aaron Joshua Barroso Date: November 1, 2016

    There is a lot of confusion surrounding the difference between a mortgage pre-approval and a pre-qualification. While both are related to the amount of money you can expect to secure for a mortgage loan, there are some distinct differences between them.

    Hereís what potential buyers should know before setting out in search of their dream home:

    What is pre-qualification?

    Pre-qualification is the first step in the mortgage approval process. It is essentially an educated guess that lenders make as to what you can realistically afford. They use a simple algorithm based on your overall financial picture income, savings, assets and debts to provide you with a rough number of what you can expect to be offered. It can usually be done over the phone or online and there is no cost associated with this service.

    The problem is that a pre-qualification isnít an official document and many home buyers take it at face value, beginning their search with only an estimated dollar amount in mind. In many cases, this leads to heartbreak when people finally find their dream home and their financing comes up short. 

    What is pre-approval?

    That is exactly why itís important for home buyers to seek pre-approval. This process is a lot more detailed and offers you a firm number on what a lender is able to offer you. With a mortgage pre-approval, your search becomes a lot easier and you can make a decision with a greater sense of confidence.

    The lender will perform a credit check, confirm how much you earn, determine your financial assets, investments and savings and factor in any existing debts. You will then be asked to provide bank statements and paystubs. The lender will also order a credit report to check your credit rating and compare your documentation against existing requirements. Youíll be pre-approved for the loan based on whether or not you reach these qualifications.

    Advantages to getting pre-approved

    A sizeable down payment will also have a positive effect on the amount youíre pre-approved for. Avoid making expensive purchases before you go through the pre-approval process and keep in mind that you will need to have additional funds in hand for closing costs and other unexpected expenses that come along with buying a home.

    One other bonus that comes along with having a pre-approval is that many sellers see this as a sign that you are serious about buying. It basically tells the seller that there will be no headaches and financial issues when it comes to completing the sale and the transfer of home ownership. You essentially have the paperwork to prove that you are ready to pay immediately.

    A thing to keep in mind is that pre-approvals are only valid for two to four months, so make sure youíre ready to start shopping within the coming months or you will have to repeat the process all over again. The reason for this is that the lender will want to revisit your financial situation at that time to make adjustments based on any changes. 

    Going down the home stretch

    Once you have received pre-approval, the next step is a loan commitment. This is the green light that the lender has approved both you and your future home. In this step, the home must be appraised at or above the sale price. If there are no issues with the home, the lender double checks your portfolio to ensure your financial situation has not changed since the pre-approval and then you are good to go ahead and sign on the dotted line.

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Author : Aaron Joshua Barroso