Buying a home takes more than budgeting and making the big decision to share the responsibility of a home with your partner. You also have to get a mortgage lender to agree that you are indeed ready to buy a home by getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan. Without a preapproval letter from a mortgage lender, you will have difficulty finding a real estate agent willing to work with you or a buyer willing to accept your offer on a house.
Call or meet with the mortgage lender or broker of your choice. With this first contact, ask what steps you must follow to get pre-approved for a mortgage loan with that lender. Most likely, you will need to provide basic information about your income and allow the lender to run a credit check on your credit history to learn what your options are with that specific lender.
Fill out the mortgage loan application and provide all other documentation requested by your lender. Required documents may include copies or your paycheck stub, past W-2s and bank account statements.
Follow-up with a phone call to the mortgage lender about a week after submitting your loan application and paperwork to check the status of your application. It does take time for mortgage lenders to review your application and finances before making a pre-approval offer. However, checking on your pre-approval status does show that you are serious about getting a loan and may help move your application through the process faster.
Read the terms of your pre-approval letter once you get your mortgage loan pre-approved. Not all the details of the potential loan may be disclosed, but the letter will include the maximum amount you can borrow, monthly payment and the date that the offer expires. This lets you know just how much you can spend on a house and how long you have to buy a house with the current offer.
Reapply for a pre-approved mortgage loan if you do not buy a house before your first offer expired. Understand that due to changes in interest rates, the housing market and your credit score, future pre-approvals for mortgage loans may differ.
- Getting pre-approved for a loan does not mean you must use that mortgage lender when you actually purchase a home. You can still shop around for the best loan while you house hunt.
Lynn Anders has more than 15 years of professional experience working as a zookeeper, wildlife/environmental/conservation educator and in nonprofit pet rescue. Writing since 2007, her work has appeared on various websites, covering pet-related, environmental, financial and parenting topics. Anders has a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies and biology from California State University, Sacramento.