How to Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

In today's hot housing market, it's more important than ever to get pre-approved before going house hunting. If you're not pre-approved, sellers may be hesitant to consider your offer. So, readness is key - be fully prepared for the pre-approval process by reading our guide below.

What is a Mortgage Pre-Approval?

A mortgage pre-approval is a document provided by a financial institution that states how much money they are willing to lend you for buying a home. While it's not a hard guarantee, it indicates that the lender will approve your loan application as long as specific criteria are met in good faith.

If your financial situation changes during the period you're searching for a home, the lender may withdraw their offer. In addition, most pre-approval letters are only valid for a set amount of time. Most are valid for 90 days, but some only have a 30 or 60 day validity period.

If your pre-approval expires, you can apply for a renewal. The lender will then check your credit score to ensure there have been no significant changes since you last submitted your application.

5 Steps to Getting a Mortgage Pre-Approval


The "A Team" is here to help you and walk you through every one of the steps below and give you the peace of mind of knowing that you are doing the right things not only to get a pre-approval letter, but also that you are on the road to a successful mortgage loan qualification. This is a 'process' and we know inside and out, and we can guide you step by step through that journey.

2. Check your credit score

Your credit score plays a critical role in the pre-approvall and loan qualification process. The better your credit, the more you will be in a position to qualify for the best rates or negotiate the best deal (along with other factors).

3. Verify your credit history

You might be surprised how often people find mistakes in their credit history. So, look through your credit reports for inconsistencies before applying for a mortgage. If you find any, dispute them with creditors to promptly resolve any issues.

4. Figure out your debt-to-income ratio

Your debt-to-income ratio tells lenders how much of your gross monthly income goes toward debt payments. These can include credit card payments, student loans, car loans, or other types of debt. The lower your debt-to-income ratio is, the better. Most lenders prefer a 36% or below ratio, including the mortgage. However, this number will vary according to the lender.

5. Gather documents

Next, gather your official income statements, financial account documents, and personal information. This includes your Social Security number, address proof, employment details, pay stubs, W-2 tax forms, and 1099s. Most mortgage lenders look for two years of continuous employment before granting approval.

Is a Pre-Approval the Same as a Pre-Qualification?

No. While it is a good first step, sellers usually don't consider pre-qualification as being sufficient to accept an offer. Pre-qualification is simply an estimate of how much you might qualify for based on assumptions you make or assert about your financial condition. Since these assumptions are typically not verified, pre-qualification is not as rigorous of a process as pre-approval, and it really functions more as a reference point before pre-approval and/or applying for a mortgage.

For more great tips, bookmark our site and for all your mortgage needs, visit the A Team at TMFFMS.

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