But what does it mean? And why is it so important? The search for a new home shouldn’t start with a call to your Realtor; it should start with a call to a Mortgage Professional who will work with you in order to obtain a mortgage pre-approval. After all, how can you shop for a property when you don’t know how much money you have to spend or, more importantly, how much a lender will loan you for your mortgage?
That’s what a mortgage pre-approval is: the process of determining whether a borrower meets a particular lender’s guidelines for a home loan. This is beneficial because the last thing you want when going through the home buying process is to have done your own calculations and have figured out what you think you can afford, then apply for a mortgage with a lender and receive an entirely different amount and rate based on your overall strength as a borrower.
To avoid any surprises, it’s best to get pre-approved before doing anything else. Once pre-approved you can begin your home search with confidence in how much you can afford. In addition to helping set your budget, a pre-approval will also enable me to lock in a rate for you for up to 120 days, while you continue the buying process. That way when you find the perfect home you can be sure you will also have the best rate.
Not all pre-approvals are created equal either, you want to make sure that your pre-approval consists of more than just filling out an application and having a discussion. In order to give you the most accurate pre-approval possible, you want to make sure your Mortgage Professional also reviews documents to verify your: Income, Down Payment, Assets, and Credit. That way any issues that could come up can be dealt with in advance, rather than when you have a live offer to purchase. The pre-approval amounts discussed should also include not just the MAXIMUM you can purchase, but a TRUE pre-approval amount, derived by working backward from your ideal monthly budget and down payment amount.
Whether you are looking to buy your first home, an investment property, or renew an existing mortgage, a pre-approval will enable you to have confidence that you are obtaining the best financing possible with the least amount of risk.