For many prospective homeowners, understanding what a mortgage pre-approval letter entails and what information it should include can be daunting. At the Potempa Team, our goal is to empower homebuyers with education and valuable insights into the world of mortgages so they can make their dream of homeownership a reality. In this article, we’ll shed some light on one of the most essential aspects of the home-buying process.
What is a Mortgage Pre-Approval Letter?
The mortgage pre-approval letter is a vital step in the home-buying process that offers written verification from a lender that you can potentially qualify for a mortgage up to a certain amount. This preliminary approval is based on a comprehensive review of key financial factors, including your credit history, credit scores, income, and assets. It’s important to note that the “pre” in pre-approval stands for preliminary, indicating that the lender will still need to validate all your provided information before granting a final approval prior to closing.
What’s the Difference Between Pre-Approval and Pre-Qualification?
Mortgage pre-approval and pre-qualification are not the same thing, though they may sound similar! Mortgage pre-qualification is a preliminary assessment based on a casual conversation about your financial situation, including credit scores, income, monthly debt payments, and available funds for a down payment and closing costs. Unlike pre-approval, pre-qualification relies solely on the information you provide. It offers a rough estimate of the mortgage amount you might qualify for but does not carry the same weight as a pre-approval.
A mortgage pre-approval entails a more comprehensive evaluation and verification. Your lender will examine documents such as paystubs, W-2s, and bank statements, along with your credit history to issue your pre-approval letter.
What Should Be Included in Your Mortgage Pre-Approval Letter?
If you’ve never seen a mortgage pre-approval letter before, it’s a good idea to know what they should contain! After reviewing your information and determining that you could qualify for a loan, your lender will issue a pre-approval letter. Copies of this pre-approval letter will go with any property offers you submit. The pre-approval letter indicates to the seller that you are a serious buyer who is ready to go into escrow and move forward in the purchase process.
Your mortgage pre-approval letter should contain the following information:
-What type of loan you’re getting (e.g. FHA, VA, conventional)
-Your loan type (e.g. fixed rate or adjustable)
-Length of loan term (e.g. 15 or 30 years)
-Maximum purchase price
-The interest rate on your loan
-Letter’s expiration date
Since the mortgage and housing landscape is always changing, a pre-approval letter is only good for a set period. If it takes you longer than that to find and secure your home, you will need to get an updated pre-approval letter issued from your lender.
Understanding the mortgage pre-approval letter is a crucial step on the path to homeownership. Remember, a pre-approval offers an initial green light, but the journey doesn’t end there. Be prepared to continue your due diligence, find the perfect home, and work closely with your lender to secure final approval. The Potempa Team is here to support and guide you every step of the way! If you have questions about loans, the pre-approval process, or are ready to get started, please click here to contact us.