Pre-approved and pre-qualified are not the same thing, and the difference between the two could cost you your new home! Let me show you the difference and get you on the right path to owning the “American Dream”.
The initial step in the mortgage process is getting pre-qualified, and it’s generally fairly simple. You will supply me with your overall financial picture, including your debts, income, and assets. As your lender, I will be able to give you an idea of how much you will be able to afford at this point. You can do this step over the phone, the internet, and there is usually no cost involved. Keep in mind this is a brief overview and does not include an analysis of your credit report or an in-depth look at your financial status.
Being this is just a quick process and based on just basic financial information provided,
you are not guaranteed to be pre-qualified for a home loan. This is just a quick way to determine what amount you might expect to be approved.
The next step is going to be getting you pre-approved. This step tends to be more involved. You will need to provide me your full financial background and fill out an official mortgage application. There is usually a fee associated with this process. I will need to do an extensive financial background check and find out your current credit rating. For the most part, most applicants will not have a home at this step to contend with, so that part of the application will be left blank. All this information will give me a clear picture of the specific amount for which you are approved. You will also have a better idea of the interest rate you will be charged for the loan and if you may be able to “lock in your rate”. I will provide you a conditional commitment in writing for the exact loan amount you can borrow. This puts you at an advantage to a potential seller, as you will be one step closer to obtaining an actual mortgage.
Pre-Qualified & Pre-Approved
There is a distinct advantage to completing both these steps. By completing both, you will know in advance how much home you can afford. This way, you will not be wasting your time guessing or looking at properties that are beyond your means. These steps also enable you to move faster when the perfect home is found. You will be able to make an offer and not have it contingent on obtaining financing, which will save both you and the seller valuable time. This will also let the seller know that you are serious in your offer and could prevent your from losing the home to another potential buyer.
A loan commitment letter is issued only when the bank is certain it will lend, so the commitment date on your purchase contract should be closer to closing than to the date of your offer. (The seller can ask to see that letter as soon as the date has passed, so beware of anyone who tries to put an early commitment date into your contract).
The final step in this process is called “loan commitment”, which is only issued by a bank when it has approve you and the house you desire to purchase. The home should be appraised at or above the sales price you offered. The bank may also require more information if the appraiser brings up anything they feels should be investigated such as structural problems, outstanding liens, etc. Your financial background and your credit rating will be check once again to ensure that nothing has changed since your initial approval.
A commitment letter will issued only when the bank is certain that it will lend you the funds necessary to purchase your home. The date on the purchase contract should be close to the closing date of your offer. The seller may ask to see this letter after the commitment date has passed. Be warned of anyone who will try to put an early commitment date on your contract!