Pre-Qualifying For Home Mortgages

By: Joseph Kenny

Pre-qualifying for home mortgages is a very good idea for many people. It allows you to determine how much money you can get before you go out shopping for a home. In simple terms, it allows the lender to tell you how much money they are willing to give you for home mortgages based on the information that you provide to them prior to the actual bid on a particular house.

Consumers should understand that there is a difference between pre-qualifying and pre-approval. In pre-qualification you submit the important details of your past and current credit history, along with your employment history, to the lender and the mortgage lender will determine how much money you can afford for your loan. This amount is not set in stone but will give you an estimate of the price range that you should stay within when shopping for your home. Because there is less verification, pre-qualification can take place quickly and in many cases there is no charge for it.

While this service is helpful for determining the amount of money you can spend on your mortgages it is not a binding contract on the lender. The reason it is not binding is because in this type of program you only give as much information as is needed to determine price ranges. Once you find the house that you want, you will still need to submit the usual documents. If in the course of that process it is determined that you are not as credit worthy as earlier supposed, you may not get the loan.

Pre-approval of mortgages, on the other hand, is different. With pre-approval, the lender will verify all of your submitted information. They may contact your employer, your credit union or bank, as well as other sources in order to verify your income, credit history, financial assets, and current liabilities and debts. Once this process has been successfully completed, the lender will give you a document stating that your mortgage is approved for a certain amount of money within a certain amount of time.

The major benefit of pre-approval over pre-qualifying is that you know for certain that you will get a certain amount of money for the mortgages that you are interested in. It should be kept in mind that this type of arrangement is time sensitive. The agreement may be for thirty days or it may be for a bit longer. Having your mortgages pre-approved, however, does also give you a lot of leverage with the seller. They know that you have the money available to buy their property and in most cases this allows you more negotiating power.

Pre-approval is not always free. With some lenders you may have to pay a fee for the service. This is only fair as it does take time for the lender to move through all of your documents and to verify your information. In addition, you may have to pay for your credit reports.

In both pre-qualifying and pre-approval of mortgages, if your circumstances change before closing make sure you tell the lender. Some changes, such as losing a job, may invalidate the pre-qualification or pre-approval results.

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