Pre-Qualification vs. Pre-Approval: What’s the Difference?
If you are starting the home buying process, you may have heard that you need to get pre-qualified or pre-approved. Although many people use these terms interchangeably, there are very important differences between the two terms that every homebuyer should understand.
Pre-qualification is seen as the first step in the mortgage process, and is usually done over the phone or online with a Loan Originator. You provide the lender with an overall financial picture, including your debt, income, and assets. The lender reviews everything and gives you an estimate of how much you can expect to borrow. Pre-qualification is based solely on the information you provide to the lender and can give you a starting point for your homebuying search.
A pre-approval can be done first or as a next step after pre-qualification. It requires the borrower to complete an official mortgage application and supply all the necessary documentation to perform an extensive check on your financial history and current credit rating. During the pre-approval process, you will discuss product and rate options because this is often based, in part, on your credit score. You may even lock in an interest rate. You will receive a conditional commitment in writing for an exact loan amount, allowing you to look for a home at or below that price level. Pre-approval puts you at advantage when you are negotiating with a seller because they know you are one step closer to being able to afford their home.
The advantage of completing both steps before you begin house hunting is that you will have a good idea in advance of how much you can afford. You won’t waste time with guessing or looking at properties that are beyond you means. The pre-approval also enables you to move quickly when you find the perfect home, because the seller knows that your offer is serious, especially in a competitive market.
Tips and Tricks for First Time Homebuyers
- Start with a realtor that you trust. You might be spending a lot of time with this person. Make sure it’s a good fit.
- Get Pre-approved or at the very least pre-qualified. Make sure you know how much house you can afford BEFORE you start looking. Shopping for anything without a budget will only set you up for failure and disappointment.
- Know your deal breakers. It’s important to know your WANTS vs. your NEEDS and to remind yourself of them while you’re looking for houses.
- Take pictures! Start each photo with a picture of the house flyer with the address. You’ll thank yourself later. This will make life MUCH easier when you’re going back and looking at them. Also, make sure to take pictures of the home’s greatest strengths, but also any issues you see.
- Take notes! Keeping your thoughts organized about each home you view is key. Make sure to take notes as you go, or immediately after viewing EACH home you see. You won’t remember everything when you get home so this will be key when reevaluating the homes you’ve seen.
- Don’t just focus on the home. it’s easy to get caught up with the new white kitchen or beautiful hardwood floors, but you need to be careful. Make sure to take note the area surrounding the home. Will your commute to work be easy? Does the neighborhood meet my needs? (If you’re starting a family, a quiet street might be preferred over a busy one). Swapping out countertops or backsplash is relatively easy. Picking up the entire house and moving it to a more preferred neighborhood… not so much.
- Lastly, trust your gut. For some people, it might take viewing 20 homes to finally find the right one. But, for others, it might be the first or second home you visit. If you’re confident that you’ve found the right home, embrace that feeling.
Homestead Funding would like to welcome Nicholas Pray who recently joined our Lancaster, PA sales team.
As a Lancaster native with deep, lifelong ties to his community, Nicholas has watched the city grow and thrive to become one of the top 50 places to live in the United States. Over the years, Nicholas has had the opportunity to interact with many local residents in various settings. These interactions helped him cultivate his ability to listen to a buyer and understand how to best assist them with their home buying process. Nicholas strives to help his customers make informed choices, so they feel comfortable and secure with their mortgage decisions.
To Learn more about Nicholas visit his webpage.
Homestead Funding would like to welcome David Bengle to our Glens Falls, NY sales team.
David’s Loan Originator philosophy is that every borrower’s experience should be as thorough and seamless as possible. He prides himself on being able to deliver the absolute best service to each and every client. He does this by maintaining consistent and clear communication, being proactive, and providing his borrowers with information about the best loan products to fit their specific needs. David says, “what’s great about working for Homestead is that they offer so many different loan products, and the streamlined process makes the experience simple and enjoyable.”
What David loves most about being a loan originator is his interactions with his clients. Strong communication skills are imperative, and he enjoys getting to know his borrowers and building those relationships for years to come.
David has nearly two decades of experience in the industry, so he’s seen it all, and he’s able to give his clients honest and accurate information. As a passionate family man, he knows how important buying a home is for your family, and he wants to make that experience as enjoyable as possible.
If you’re looking for a loan originator who truly cares about the individuals and families he works for and has the knowledge to really help - then please give David a call!
Homestead Funding would like to welcome Jessica Wojciechowicz who recently joined our Lockport, NY sales team. Jessica has been a mortgage professional for over six years.
Over the course of her career, Jessica has learned that clients want a Loan Originator who is accessible, honest and offers all the available options for them to make an informed decision. She understand that every situation and every borrower is not the same. Homestead Funding offers a wide variety of mortgage products, which allows her to provide you with efficient and competitive financing options.
Her commitment to you is superior customer service and honest answers to your mortgage questions. She will guide you through every step of the mortgage process. Contact Jessica today to learn more about what she can do for you!
To Learn more about Jessica visit her webpage.