When you are going to purchase a home there are a few things you want to make sure you understand. You will most likely need a home loan to complete the purchase, most of us don’t just have the money laying around to do so with cash. I know if I did, I would be building my house from the ground up.
This is where banks, credit unions, mortgage brokers and loan officers come into play. Before starting your home search, you need to really know how much you can afford financially to stay within your desired budget. This amount would be your bottom line which would include Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance most often referred to as P-I-T-I. This will be the total amount you are paying monthly to afford that beautiful home that you desire.
You can start at point A, pre-qualification to get to point B, pre-approval. Or skip A and go straight to B, saving yourself a few minutes out of your search.
You can start with a pre-qualification if you are just wanting to get a general ideal of where you stand, this part doesn’t require much. You will likely be on the phone with the loan officer a few minutes or do it online yourself. You will enter or be asked general questions about how much you make annually from your business or job, how much debt you have and how much you have in assets like retirement accounts. From there they give you a ballpark figure about how much you qualify.
Hence the statement, pre-qualification. It doesn’t involve pulling your credit or asking for documentation at this point. Also, going house-hunting with this figure firm in mind can lead to let down later and that’s where the actual pre-approval comes into play trust me it will save a few miles on your car and your mind.
Pre-approval is a much more rigorous process. Don’t let that scare you off and here’s why.
The pre-approval actually gives the lender the go ahead to pull your credit, ask for documentation of income, debts and assets. This is usually your official mortgage starting point when you are really ready to jump out there and make that journey into home-ownership. This shows the REALTOR® that you are searching in the right price point for your home and serious. In fact, studies show that most REALTORS® won’t begin showing you homes until you get to this point.
Pre-approval means you have sat down and know that you can purchase the house and avoid driving all over town looking at houses and find the one you love….only to apply for the mortgage and it’s over your head budget wise. It essentially says that the lender is offering you a mortgage conditioned on the information you provided and that you find a home that fits into that amount.
This gives you less downtime as well, with the pre-approval, the process shortens from contract to close on your home because the lender has committed to loaning you the money.
Most people going out house-hunting find out the hard way. They start looking at houses and find that treasure and then put in a Residential Sales Contract (hopefully with a Buyer’s Agent representing them). The Buyer’s Agent will usually make that offer on the house contingent on financing. What that means is, you will go through with the purchase if your loan is fully approved by your chosen lender. So should you skip the step of pre-approval and go straight into applying for the mortgage after you have a contract on the house, you may find out that the house you want cost $130,000 but the lender only approved you for $80,000 towards that price. You would be short on the agreed sales price $130,000 (price)-$80,000 (loan amount) =$50,000 shortage. Unless you can get the home seller to drop the price down and renegotiate the price down to $80,000, you would have to come up with the $50,000 if you really want that specific house. Now don’t get me wrong some people have saved that or close to it, but did you?
There goes that house slipping away. There are other parts of the lenders process that can cause it to become a dream once known such as a low appraisal that comes in below the purchase price.
Bottom line this one of the main reasons why it’s important to start your house search with a pre-approval in hand from your lender. Save yourself an unrealistic and dreadful home search. There are many lenders that you can contact, in fact I would suggest get at least 3 quotes.
If you need assistance with the process you don’t have to go it along, visit my website St. Louis Homes for Sale I will place you in touch with lenders who can talk with you about the difference in a Pre-qualification vs Pre-approval.