Get pre-approved, not pre-qualified, before looking for a home.

We're sure you see it all the time - "You're pre-qualified/approved for [insert amount here]" - in your mail. Let us help clarify the 2...
Last updated on:
December 14, 2020

As professionals, we understand how being pre-qualified and being pre-approved can be confusing. Let us help clarify the difference so you can be best positioned for a new home. If you're in a hurry, we've provided a simple table for a quick overview...

how do I get pre-qualified?

New/First-time homebuyers looking to obtain a mortgage can inquire with us (or any other mortgage professional). We will then discuss your goals and current finances (estimated income, assets, credit score, debt) to determine your situation. Based on these estimates, we suggest how to move forward - whether it's a list of programs you can potentially qualify for and/or steps on how to be better prepared in the near future.

how do I get pre-approved?

Pre-approval is the natural next step to pre-qualification. You can skip getting pre-qualified - if you're confident with your financial situation - but you can't skip getting pre-approved if you're looking for a mortgage.

When you're ready to move forward, you can submit an official mortgage application. Part of the pre-approval process is an extensive credit and financial background check - which is why presenting a pre-approved loan letter is taken much more seriously than a pre-qualified one that's based on estimates.

This process will reflect a hard-inquiry on your credit report. But being pre-approved allows you to be more confident... you receive a definitive amount, interest rate, and a commitment letter you can provide when making an offer on the right home.

The formal way to know whether you're ready or not is to get either pre-qualified or pre-approved. Photo by Hello I'm Nik on Unsplash.

what can I do to better my chances of getting pre-qualified or pre-approved?

  • The worst thing you can do is to inflate your financial estimates. All real estate/mortgage professionals expect honesty from you and your numbers so we can provide the best service possible. Even if the outcome of a pre-qualification is based on inflated estimates, the facts will reflect your true financial situation during the pre-approval process.
  • Don't spend large sums of money, especially if it can wait. Big ticket purchases will reflect badly on your spending habits - which can affect your chances of getting pre-approved.
  • Conduct a personal credit audit. You can always check your own credit report through and see where you can make improvements. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) provides a free credit report review checklist - you can download it here. If you're looking for more information on credit scores, we wrote an extensive blog on the topic - including what makes up your credit score and some tips on how to manage it.
  • Make sure to keep all of your financial documents safe and current. The application process will require documents such as pay stubs, tax documents, and more based on your financial situation.
This screenshot was a slide from our webinar on the importance of your credit score, debt, and job. It shows a preview of the CFPB document mentioned in one of the points above.

want the watch the webinar on credit score, debt, and job? click here to open the video.

If you have any questions not covered in this post, please let us know! We're always looking to improve our content and we can't do that without your feedback. When you're ready to get either pre-qualified or pre-approved, contact us. We enjoy the process and are only here to help.

download our free financing guide

You’ve made a decision - you want to buy your next home. Congratulations! But, what now? Most buyers need some level of financing to purchase property. In fact, 87% of all buyers in 2020 financed their home purchase. Whether you're a first-time home buyer, or on your 3rd home, we created this free financing packet for you. You'll find valuable information in this PDF, including financing basics, refinancing options, and a list of documents you need to get started. Click the button below to get your download started!

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Got a real estate/mortgage question? 
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14 N 5th St
Redlands, CA 92373
(909) 376-8399

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