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Loan Pre-Approval

By - 2006

Loan pre-approval is one of the ways you can buy a house for less. This is because you are a "sure thing" to a seller if you are pre-approved for a loan, so your offer - even if it is a little lower than another - is taken more seriously. What else do you need to know about the pre-approval process? Here are some pointers.

Loan Pre-Qualification Is not Pre-Approval

When you are pre-qualified to borrow a certain amount, this is simply a quick measure of what you probably can borrow. It is based on a few answers you give to things like how much income you have and the amounts of any debts you have. It does not, however, mean that the bank or lender who pre-qualifies you has agreed to loan you anything. Your income still needs to be verified, and your credit report will need to be looked at.

Loan pre-approval is this next step. Once the lender has verified any important facts and seen your credit score, you can be approved for a loan up to a certain amount. You should get a letter showing what they will lend you and at what interest rate.

This still does not guarantee you a loan. If interest rates change much prior to your offer on a home, the lender may lower the amount they are willing to loan to you, since the total payment amount is important to whether you can afford the loan or not, and higher interest rates could raise this.Also, changes in your credit score could affect the final loan commitment. Keep this in mind, and make all offers subject to an actual loan commitment.

Make a few copies of your loan pre-approval letter. Presenting it with an offer on a home is a good way to show the seller that you are serious, and prepared to close. If the seller has ever had an offer fall apart due to a buyer who couldn't borrow enough, he will be very happy to see yours. If you are looking for more than six months, you may want to get a new pre-approval letter, to show that you are still able to buy at the current interest rates and with your current credit score.

The Loan Pre-Approval Process

You can start by going to almost any bank, credit union or mortgage loan broker. These can even be online if you want to save yourself some driving around. Be sure that they offer pre-approval, and not just pre-qualification. Ask about any fees. Some may be free, but many will at least charge for running your credit report. Find one that charges only if they approve you for a loan.

Tell the truth on any forms you have to fill out. A loan from your parents for a down payment may disqualify you, and the lender may check and discover that the money has only been in your account for a few weeks. It is better to know up front whether you qualify or not than to get disqualified after you find your dream home.

Note: Your parents "gift" of money for a down payment may be okay - if you have a letter stating that it is a gift. If you have other ways to get a down payment together, your parents might help you more by helping you pay down credit card balances or other debts. This will increase the total amount a bank is willing to loan you.

Ask the lender how long it will take to get the letter. You may want to get more than one, especially if you find another lender who will do this for free. When you get the letter, make sure it states exactly how much the lender will loan you, and when the letter expires. This will typically be in 30 or 60 days. You can still show an expired letter to a seller, so he can see that you are able to borrow enough, but it is better to have a pre-approval that is current.


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Houses Under Fifty Thousand | Loan Pre-Approval