Qualifying for a Home Loan
What is a Pre-Approval Letter?
A pre-approval letter states to everyone involved in your transaction that you have taken the time to go to a lender and have provided your financial information to determine if you are able to obtain a loan for a piece of property. This letter is from a lender stating they have reviewed your credit report, they have verified your income etc. and based on this preliminary work, they feel they can give you a loan. They are not saying they have checked out your life history, it is a quick “based on what I can see”, you are good to go.
Why Do I Need One?
You need this letter to let everyone involved in your real estate journey know that you can afford a home and how much of a home you can obtain a loan for. There are thousands of homes listed with Realtors at any given time. We don’t need to be looking at $250,000 homes if the lender says you can only borrow $220,000. While that may not seem like much of a difference, it could be about another several hundred homes that need to be eliminated. In addition, more and more, sellers do not want people coming into their home that are curiosity seekers, or people who really don’t plan to move for another 6 months, but want to get some “ideas”. Sellers make arrangements to be out of the home while you are looking. They get babysitters, lock up their pets, move their stuff, and have to present their home as if they actually live like the photos shown on the cover of Southern Living magazines. This is very inconvenient and stressful. After you have done this about 10 or 15 times, it really starts to wear you down. All professional Realtors try to be aware of this and only show to people who are seriously interested in their home.
How Do I Get One?
First and foremost, please do not go out on your own to your local bank and attempt to get a loan. I will explain why and give you all the reasons if you decide you want to work with me. Also, do not go online and apply for a loan over the internet with a bank in another state. Do not go online and apply with your current lender if you have a home to sell. It has been my experience and many other Realtors, you are asking for a paperwork NIGHTMARE when you do these things. Just like Realtors, lawyers and doctors, lenders may also have a specialty. You don’t want to end up with a lender who does not specialize in the loan type you need. Yes, I know they can tell you if they specialize in what you need, but really, do you think they will? A Realtor will.
A Pre-Approval letter is good for about 30 days. Anything older than that may have to be re-done.