When you’re looking for a new home, the first thing you should do is contact us and have us take you on a tour of homes you might like, right? Wrong!
The first thing you should do before you do any house shopping whatsoever is to get pre-approved for a home loan.And before we take a look at why pre-approval is so important, let’s look at the difference between getting a pre-qualification versus a pre-approval because they are not the same thing. One gives you a general idea of what price range you can shop in, while the other gives you the power to fill out the purchase and sale agreement(s) as soon as you find the home you like.
Getting a pre-qualification is the first task in the mortgage process and it’s simple and quick. You supply a lender with the basics of your overall financial situation, such as your how much debt you have, what your income is, and any the value of any assets you might have. This will give you a general idea of how much you may qualify for on a mortgage. But the big point here is that a pre-qualification will not put you in a position to place offers in writing. That’s where the pre-approval comes in. Here are some good reasons why the pre-approval letter from a lender is so important in your home buying search:
- You will save a lot of time (and probably a lot of money spent on filling up your gas tank) because the pre-approval letter from a lender basically says the lender is ready to provide you with a home loan for a certain amount. This reduces the time you have to spend going over home listings. A big time waster for home buyers is looking at a lot of listings while at the same time asking themselves, “I like that home, but I wonder if I can afford it?” Pre-approval takes the wondering out of the equation. It’s like going fishing. If a friend told you he or she wanted to take you fishing and you agreed, where would you go fishing? Without discussing it in detail, you wouldn’t know where to go and neither would your friend. But if your friend asked you to go fishing at a specific lake because they knew that lake is stocked with a specific kind of fish that you like, then you could prepare ahead of time with the right kind of fishing pole, fishing lures and bait, etc. Pre-approvals do the same thing. You can be prepared ahead of time before you go home shopping because your pre-approval gives you an idea of what cities, what neighborhoods and what price range is right for you.
- You also have more buying leverage when you are pre-approved. It is a well known fact that sellers most often accept offers from potential buyers that are pre-approved. It’s like if you were buying a home with all cash from directly from your wallet. If you’re not pre-approved and yet you make an offer to a seller, it’s like showing the seller an empty wallet. Telling a seller you want to buy their home with no pre-approval is just a bunch of hot air, and hot air does not close deals. But if you are pre-approved and you make an offer to a seller, it’s like showing them the same wallet-this time loaded with cash. They’ll know you’re a serious and prepared buyer. And when sellers are approached by a pre-approved buyer, there’s a good chance that there will be room for negotiating on the price too.
- A pre-approval means your lender can get you on the fast track to closing the deal. Appraisals can be ordered right away, and in some cases a 60-day closing can be shortened to 30 days or even down to three weeks. And the potential for a quick closing will look very attractive to a seller who needs to sell fast because they’re being transferred by their employer to a new city, etc.
Because a pre-approval is the most important contingency to satisfy in a purchase agreement, getting that done ahead of time will make home shopping much ease.