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Get Your Mortgage Pre-Approval Early

Take the first step towards becoming a serious home buyer

Early in the home buying process (before you look at homes) it is important to consult a lender to evaluate your credit profile, get a sense for your true budget, and talk about loan options.

A mortgage pre-approval is proof that a lender is willing to make you a loan. With a pre-approval letter, real estate agents and sellers know you are a serious home buyer.

How to get pre-approved:

1. Before seeking pre-approval, you must first obtain your credit score and credit history report to spot any errors or potential issues. Your credit score affects your ability to qualify for different types of loans and receive favorable interest rates. Lenders will often work with borrowers with a low or moderately low credit score and suggest ways to improve or correct credit problems before applying for a mortgage.

2. Once you have pulled your credit score and have made any necessary improvements, you will then complete a mortgage application by supplying your lender with documentation that demonstrates your financial history and reliability, employment and personal information.

3. Typically the pre-approval process can take two to four weeks. From the data you provided, your lender will not only confirm your ability to qualify for a mortgage, but approve a specific loan amount and give you a better idea of the interest rate you will be charged on the loan. They will also give you a realistic understanding of the costs associated with buying a home so there are no surprises or disappointments. (Determine the maximum and minimum amount you can qualify for so you have the flexibility if you find your dream).

4. You will then receive a written conditional commitment for an exact loan amount, allowing you to begin looking for homes at or below that price level.

Bottom Line: A mortgage pre-approval letter proves that you already have backing and the ability to go through with the sale, which makes you a much more attractive buyer to sellers.