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What is the difference between pre-qualifying and pre-approval?

A pre-qualification for a specific loan dollar amount is based on a review of basic financial information you supply to us. No verification of this information is performed. The pre-qualification means that if the information you supplied to us is accurate, subject to verification of credit, appraisal of the property, and the lenders underwriting criteria for the loan amount, you should be able to receive a loan as described in the pre-qualification letter or document. This is not a final approval. A pre-qualification is not a commitment to lend. However, a pre-qualification letter indicates to you and the seller that in the opinion of the loan officer you are qualified to purchase the house you are making an offer on.

Pre-approval is a step above pre-qualification. Pre-approval involves verifying your credit, down payment, employment history, etc. Your loan application is submitted to an underwriter and a decision is made regarding your loan application. If your loan is pre-approved, the lender will loan you money on the basis that you requested subject to: a satisfactory appraisal (both as to value and type of product); your financial condition remains as stated on your application and satisfying any underwriting conditions from the lender.

Getting your loan pre-approved allows you to close very quickly when you do find a house. A pre-approval can help you negotiate a better price with the seller, since being pre-approved is very close to having cash in the bank to pay for the house!

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