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Most real estate agents expect you to have a pre-approval in-hand before they will start showing you homes. In today’s market, to have your offer even considered, sellers will expect to see that you are pre-approved. Sellers do not want to accept an offer only to find out later that the buyer does not qualify for the mortgage.

A pre-approval is the result of a thorough and complete review of your credit worthiness by your lender, and a determination that they would be willing to lend you a specified amount. The lender will consider three primary factors to determine your pre-approval amount:

  1. Your credit score: Your credit score speaks to your ability to make payments on time. It also factors into what interest rate you will get. The higher your credit score, the lower the interest rate will be.
  2. Your debt-to-income ratio: This is your monthly debt payments compared to your gross monthly income.
  3. Funds to close: There are more costs to a loan than just the down payment. Closing costs, taxes, earnest money and funding an escrow account are all factored into your total funds due at closing. Your lender will review your savings and other assets to determine your pre-approval amount.

What is the difference between a pre-approval and a pre-qualification?

A pre-qualification can be done over the phone and is simply what your financial institution thinks you can afford, based solely on the information you provided them.

A pre-approval requires a mortgage application and your financial institution will fully underwrite…

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