The mortgage process typically includes the initial phase of a pre-qualified and/or pre-approved status. They are not the same, and if you are able to distinguish the two, it could be the difference between having the purchase contract accepted or losing it to another buyer or agent.
A pre-qualification means a lender has decided the borrower will likely be approved for a loan up to a certain amount, based on the current financial situation. To get pre-qualified, a person simply tells the lender income, assets, and debt. The lender will then take that unverified information and determine how much approximately the borrower will be approved for. There are no guarantees of an actual approval for the same amount or even in general for the borrower.
While pre-qualification is often the first step of the mortgage process, most agents/sellers won’t take it seriously until actual pre-approval.
What Does it Mean to be Pre-Approved
Distinct from, a pre-qualification, when getting pre-approved the borrower provides documented financial information (pay stubs, statements, obligations, credit report, etc.) to be reviewed and verified by the lender. A pre-approval is also based on credit report. The mortgage representative reviews the credit profile, to conclude if there are problems that might keep the loan from being approved through more intense review later in the process. The pre-approval letter typically states the type of loan qualified and how much can be borrowed.
Something to keep in mind is that being pre-approved doesn’t guarantee the loan. There is still the application, underwriting process, and final approval. Being pre-approved indicates serious intent to purchase, so sellers look fondly upon buyers with pre-approval letters.
Word of Advise
The best way to move from pre-qualification to pre-approval to closing, is to work closely with your mortgage representative.
At One Republic Mortgage, we strive to issue Pre-Approval Letters, carefully reviewing all of the required documents and credit. This gives the buyers an advantage, as we stand behind company’s decisions. Our experienced and professional staff has the ability to foresee any possible issues that may come up, in the beginning, and address them immediately. Realtor’s cooperation is also one of the important key factors to keeping on track with deadlines.