This has always been – and always will be – one of the three most-asked questions in real estate. And it’s the easiest one to answer – YES. (The only possible exception might be if you’re buying new construction – that’s a whole different set of rules we’ll discuss some other time.) But if you’re buying resale, you really don’t have other options. Think of it this way – remember when you were a kid and your mommy said you had to eat your vegetables before you got dessert? The “dessert” in this case is that home you want. No pre-approval letter? No contract.
Most successful Realtors won’t put a buyer in their car unless that buyer has presented a pre-approval letter. Almost everyone who’s been a Realtor for more than 10 minutes has had at least one experience showing a potential buyer 20 0r 30 homes, only to find out after wasting all that time that the buyer can’t qualify for a loan. And no seller is going to agree to negotiate an offer, let alone accept one, without an accompanying pre-approval letter.
A pre-approval letter is nothing more than a statement from a licensed lender that – based on some VERY limited information – it looks like this person ought to be able to navigate safely through that minefield we call the “loan process.” It is not a guarantee that you’ll get the loan, just a confirmation of a preliminary screening that produced favorable results.
Here’s some good news about the pre-approval process – it’s easy, it’s free, it doesn’t take long, and it does NOT affect your credit scores. Most lenders offer the ability to apply for pre-approval online. It generally takes no more than 10-15 minutes to complete an online application, and most lenders will respond within 24 hours. And most Realtors don’t really care who you pick to be your lender. (Caveat – the big banks aren’t the best or easiest way to get a home loan, but if you insist on using one, we’ll honor that request.)
Not sure where to apply? Ask your Realtor. (Hopefully that’s me!) Above all, don’t be afraid of the process. It’s no more painful or difficult than brushing your teeth or combing your hair. Still not convinced? Call me or send me a text or e-mail!