What’s the Difference Between Pre-Qualifications and Pre-Approval?

What’s the Difference Between Pre-Qualifications and Pre-Approval?


What’s the difference between pre-qualification and pre-approval. The two terms are often used interchangeably, both by homebuyers and by some real estate professionals. However, they have entirely different meanings, and it’s essential to know the difference.

What’s the Difference Between Pre-Qualifications and Pre-Approval?

In a nutshell, a mortgage pre-qualification letter gets written when you fill out some basic information to obtain a rate quote. It is often a quick and informal process, and different lenders have different methods of pre-qualifying borrowers. It is ok to shop around and get several pre-qualification letters. The critical point is that it does not represent an actual commitment to lend you money.

On the other hand, a mortgage pre-approval is a lengthy and thorough process, and having a pre-approval letter in your hand can carry a lot of weight when you’re shopping for a home.

From the perspective of both buyers and sellers, the most important thing to know about pre-qualification is that just about anyone can get a pre-qualification for a mortgage.

We don’t want to say that a pre-qualification isn’t useful—quite the opposite. A pre-qualification can be a great way to get an idea of how much you can afford to borrow and is an excellent first step before you start browsing real estate listings. Just remember that a pre-qualification typically isn’t a commitment to lend you money.

Pre-approval Can Be a Lengthy and More Thorough Process

A mortgage pre-approval is a complete process. The lender will check your credit and verify your employment history, income, and other assets. In short, the pre-approval process is a mortgage application, only without a specific home attached to the application.

Here’s a sampling of what you may need to submit to a lender (in addition to an application packet) to obtain a pre-approval, but this is by no means an exhaustive list:

  • Your residential address(es) for the past two years, along with information about your landlords, if applicable
  • Bank statements for all checking, savings, and brokerage accounts
  • Your pay stubs from the past 30 days
  • Th past two years W-2s
  • Your Social Security number, so the lender can pull your credit report and score

A pre-approval represents a commitment from the lender to loan you money. Pre-qualification does not.

You may wonder if you shopping around getting pre-approval letters won’t hurt your credit score? There’s a special rule in the FICO credit scoring formula that encourages rate-shopping. Specifically, any mortgage applications you make within a “normal shopping period” — generally defined as two weeks — will count as a single credit inquiry for scoring purposes. In other words, whether you apply for pre-approval with one, two, five, or 30 mortgage lenders, it will have the same impact on your credit score.

How Much Time Does It Take for the Pre-approval and Pre-qualification?

  • According to RaleighRealty the Pre-Qualification Timeframe, a lender can typically let you know if you may qualify for a loan and have a potential mortgage/interest rate within a few minutes of submitting the pre-qualification paperwork.
  • The Pre-Approval Timeframe. After a pre-approval application and all required documentation has been submitted, the lender typically will take about three to five business days to let you know if you are pre-approved for a loan. On average, a mortgage pre-approval letter is valid for about 60 to 90 days and can be updated if your income or any other applicable financial changes occur.

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Styl Properties, Inc. is here to help homeowners out of any distressed situation.  

As investors, we are in business to make a modest profit on any deal. However, we can help homeowners out of just about any situation, no matter what!  There are no fees, upfront costs, commissions, or anything else.  Instead, we offer the simple truth about your home and how we can help you sell it fast.

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