You’re ready to buy a house! This is a very exciting and fun process, but it’s important to make sure you are prepared. The first step you should tackle is getting pre-approved, even before you start looking at homes.
Why is pre-approval needed?
Securing a pre-approval letter prior to searching for a new home is essential, for multiple reasons:
- Sellers in today’s market will not consider offers without a pre-approval letter or proof of funds.
- Many buyers experience disappointment when they realize they have been looking at properties beyond their price range.
- Without the proper documents (pre-approval letter or proof of funds), a buyer can miss out on great opportunities because another buyer provided the necessary approval of funds.
- After completing the pre-approval process, a buyer better understands the lending process.
What is a pre-approval?
Pre-approval is a letter given to you from a bank or lender stating they have checked your information required to approve a mortgage loan. A lender will check your credit, verify funds are available for a down payment, confirm employment and income, and review two years of tax returns. While there could be additional information needed, this is the material lenders generally utilize to get a pre-approval.
On a positive note, this process is free of cost, and a good lender can complete the process within a day or two, given all needed documents are provided. There are many loans a bank or lender can offer; some include conventional, Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Veterans Affairs (VA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), as well as specialty loans available at various banks. The loan officer will do a needs analysis and review your financials to determine which loan is best suited for you. Each loan has its own requirements and benefits, it is important to discuss all options.
Who should you use?
The Gallmann Group has recommended lenders, but overall we encourage you to work with local lenders specializing in mortgages. Some larger banks, while great with checking and savings accounts, aren’t always the most suitable for mortgage loans and require extra time to close. This is mainly due to their processes being less refined as the banks specializing in mortgages.
A pre-approval letter is valid for three to six months. One important item to note, getting pre-approved does not lock in an interest rate. This can only be done once a buyer has signed the purchase agreement on a property. So just know the payment examples provided by the lender can fluctuate until the interest rate is locked.
Getting pre-approved is an important first step in the home buying process and we are here to help if you have questions or need any additional information. Call us 440.248.2548