Pre-Qualification is an informal way to see how much you might be able to borrow for your new home. You can get “pre-qualified” over the phone with no paperwork by telling a lender your income, your long-term debts, and how large a down payment you can afford. The lender will not make a commitment to lend to you based on this unverified information, but you will have a ballpark figure for how much you can spend on a house.
Pre-approval is a lender’s actual commitment to lend to you. The process involves assembling our financial records (checklist) and going through a preliminary approval process that can take up to a couple of weeks.
Pre-approval provides you a definite idea of what you can afford and shows sellers that you are serious about buying. In addition to documenting your financial ability to close on a transaction, pre-approval shortens the time needed to close on a loan, and makes you a more attractive buyer for sellers who want a quick and efficient escrow.
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