When you’re ready to start shopping for a new home, one of your first steps after finding a Napa real estate agent should be reaching out to lenders for a mortgage pre-approval.
Pre-approval letters show sellers you’re financially able to purchase a property. And if you’re competing with a lot of other interested buyers, a pre-approval can move you to the top of the list. Here’s everything you need to know about mortgage pre-approvals, and things you should avoid doing once you apply for a loan.
As every Napa real estate agent can tell you, getting a mortgage pre-approval can be a game-changer when it comes to closing on your dream home. Aside from letting sellers know you’re a serious buyer, it also lets you know how much you can afford to spend and borrow.
Many people use the terms interchangeably, but there’s a fundamental difference between being pre-qualified and pre-approved for a mortgage.
Pre-qualification is based on information you provide a lender about your finances. It gives you an estimate of what you could potentially borrow and is an opportunity to learn about different mortgage options.
Pre-approval is based on a mortgage application and credit check. The lender issues you a pre-approval letter that states how much it will lend you. Pre-approval letters are usually good for 30 to 90 days.
You can talk to your realtor about when to apply for a pre-approval, but most experts suggest getting one if you’re hoping to make an offer on a home within the next two months. If your home search takes longer and the pre-approval letter expires, the lender might want to update it and pull another credit report.
There are typically five steps in the mortgage pre-approval process:
Once you’ve gotten pre-approved, you want to avoid making any financial decisions that could impact your loan:
Any changes you make could impact your pre-approval status, so be sure to talk about your intentions with the lender who pre-approved you before moving ahead.
The Napa real estate market is expected to remain strong in the coming months, so you can’t go wrong with getting pre-approved for a mortgage before buying a home here. Talk to one of the experienced agents at St. Helena Real Estate to learn more.