Before you start shopping for a new home, you need to figure out how much you can afford. This will put you in a better position when you're ready to apply for a preapproval.
It's important to understand the distinction between being pre-qualified for a loan and pre-approved. The difference between the two terms will be crucial when you decide to make an offer on a house.
To get pre-qualified for a loan, we will collect information about your debt, income, and assets. We’ll look at your credit profile and assess goals for a down payment and get an idea of different loan programs that would work for you. It is important to understand that a pre-qualification letter is just an estimate of what you are eligible to borrow, not a commitment to lend.
Getting pre-approved, on the other hand, gives you competitive advantage when the time comes to bid on a home because you have been approved for a loan for a specified amount. To get pre-approved, you will complete a mortgage application and provide us with various information verifying your employment, assets and financial status; such as W-2 forms, bank records and paystubs. We’ll review your mortgage options and run your application through an Automated Underwriting System to see if you're eligible for the loan you're applying for. If you are, you will receive a pre-approval letter indicating the amount you could borrow.
A pre-approval letter is not binding and is not a commitment to lend. It is subject to an appraisal of the home you wish to purchase and other conditions. If your financial situation changes (e.g. you lose your job), interest rates rise or a specified expiration date passes, we must review your situation and recalculate your mortgage amount accordingly.