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The Choosi Blog

What is a Pre-Approval? Understanding the Mortgage Process


If you're in the market for a new home, you've probably heard about pre-approvals. But what exactly is pre-approval, and why is it important? In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about pre-approvals, including how to get one, how long it takes, and the difference between pre-approval and pre-qualification.


What is a Pre-Approval?

A pre-approval is a preliminary evaluation from a lender that lets you know how much money you can borrow and at what interest rate. It's important to note that a pre-approval is not a guarantee of a mortgage loan, but it does provide an accurate estimate of what you can expect to be approved for.


Why Should You Get Pre-Approved?

There are several benefits to getting pre-approval before you start house hunting.


  1. It gives you a clear idea of how much you can afford to spend on a home. This can help you focus your search on homes that fit within your budget and avoid wasting time looking at homes that are too expensive.

  2. It can save you time during the home-buying process. You won't have to wait for the lender to evaluate your finances after you make an offer on a home. This can help you move quickly if you find the perfect home and want to make an offer.

  3. A pre-approval can give you negotiating power. Sellers will see that you are serious and have already taken the steps to secure financing. This can give them confidence in your ability to close the deal and may help you negotiate a better price.

  4. A pre-approval can give you peace of mind. You'll know that you have the financing in place to buy a home, and you won't have to worry about whether you'll be able to get a loan.

How Do You Get a Pre-Approval Letter and How Long Does it Take?

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you'll need to gather several documents, including proof of income, asset documentation, employment verification, and a credit report. A lender will review your debt-to-income ratio and credit score requirements to determine if you qualify for pre-approval.


The timeline to get pre-approved can vary depending on the lender and your financial situation. On average, it takes around 7-10 days to get pre-approved. However, to shorten the timeline, you can gather all required documents prior to going to a lender, check your credit report for any errors or issues, collect proof of employment, and organize your list of assets. Some emerging companies can provide pre-approvals within minutes.


What is the Difference Between a Pre-Approval and Pre-Qualification?

Pre-qualification is the first step in the mortgage process where a lender reviews your basic financial information, like your income and debts, to give you an idea of how much you may be able to borrow. Pre-approval, on the other hand, is a more detailed process that involves completing an official mortgage application and submitting documentation to a lender to verify your income, assets, and debts. Once you're pre-approved, you'll receive a pre-approval letter outlining the maximum amount you can borrow, what interest rate you may receive, and the loan terms.


Getting a pre-approval can be a smart move for anyone who is serious about buying a home. By understanding what a pre-approval is, how to get one, and the difference between a pre-approval and pre-qualification, you can make the home-buying journey smoother and faster. Don't hesitate to reach out to your lender for guidance and support along the way!


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