How do I get pre-approved for a loan?

If you're looking to purchase a home, learn more about how to get pre-approved for a home loan with a lender.

First, it's important to understand what a pre-approval is. You can read more about what types of pre-approvals you can expect to receive on our site.

Once you understand what you should be receiving from a lender, you will need to follow these simple steps:

Shop for a lender

Whatever company you decide to use will assign you a Mortgage Loan Officer. That person will collect your information and submit it to underwriting to see if you qualify. When you're looking for a lender, it's just as important that you find a Loan Officer you trust & want to work with. This person will be just as integral to your home purchase process as your Real Estate Agent!

It's not as difficult as it sounds. In fact, if you're already working with an agent, like one of our staff members, they can refer you to lenders they have had good experiences with & trust! 

If you prefer to shop around, here are some helpful questions to see if you've found a good fit:

  1. What type of hours does your Loan Officer work?
    1. The last thing you want is to not be able to reach them at a crucial part of the contract process
  2. What are their mortgage rates like, compared to other companies? 
  3. What other fees do they charge?
    1. For both items 2 & 3, your loan officer should be able to provide you with written estimates that you can use to compare to other mortgage companies

Ultimately, you should choose a lender who you feel confident will help you navigate purchasing a home best, who will provide you with competitive pricing & good customer service. 

You can submit a pre-approval letter with multiple companies at once, should you choose to do so, to compare lenders as well.

Submit your pre-approval request

Once you feel confident enough to move forward, you can submit documentation to the Mortgage Loan Officer assigned to you. They will pass this on to the underwriters who will provide you with a pre-approval letter. That letter will explain the following details, which will be helpful for you agent to know:

  1. The maximum loan amount you can have
  2. The minimum down payment ($ or %) you are required to pay
  3. The Loan-to-Value Ratio your loan allows
  4. Who your Loan Officer is
  5. When your approval expires

This process should not take more than 1-2 business days. 

Pre-Approval letters are typically good for 30-45 days minimum. Sometimes up to 90 days!

Once you have your pre-approval letter, you can start shopping for a home! You will likely want to work with a Buyer's Agent, as this person typically will not charge you any fees to help you find a home. That person will want to know what lender you are working with, as well as obtain a copy of this pre-approval letter. They can use that information to help you find the right home that you can afford.