“Why pre-qualified and pre-approved? And what’s the difference between the two?”
Well let me help you out.
A pre-qualification is the lender simply taking some basic info from you such as how much money you make, estimated credit score, etc. This helps them come up with an estimate for you on what you may be able to borrow. Keep in mind, however, that because the numbers you are providing at this point are only estimates, the lender’s answer will also only be an estimate. Don’t “bank” on it.
From there, you will want to go ahead and get pre-approved. This is where the lender will get copies of your bank statements and pay stubs, runs your credit report, etc. Your approval then will be based on actual, real time numbers.
So, why do we focus on finding a lender before we look at homes?
Our job is to always represent our clients to our best ability and with the best service we can provide. We strive to find you the best fit home that works with your financing program. For example: If based on your income, credit, and down payment you will be using a USDA loan, we would be doing you a disservice by showing you homes that are located out of the geographic boundaries that qualify for USDA financing. How disappointed would you be if we went out and enjoyed finding what appeared to be your best fit home and then found out it did not fit the loan program that best fit your financial goals?
Another example of how this process will help you would be:
You would never go to the grocery store, grab a cart, cruise the aisles and gather items randomly because they looked good individually. Would you? No. You would end up taking them home and then searching through online recipes to figure out you did not have the ingredients needed to fit any one recipe. A loan program is like a recipe. It details all the pieces of your financials into a specific formula that spells out the recipe (loan program) for which you have the right ingredients. Until you meet with a lender to detail your financial ingredients we don’t know which home is the best fit your your loan recipe. How disappointing to find a home first and then discover, for whatever reason, that home does not fit your loan recipe.
Throughout the home buying process, your lender will work hand in hand with your real estate agent. They are an integral part of the equation, will use the loan recipe to target the market and thus need to be involved from the start.