Many people mistakenly believe that getting pre-approved for a mortgage is the same thing as getting pre-qualified. They are NOT the same! Here’s the difference:

Getting Pre-qualified

Most sellers will require your pre-qualification letter before they’ll even consider your offer. Ask your lender for a prequalification letter. These are relatively simple to get and they just give a rough, unverified estimate of the loan size you may qualify to receive. Most lenders will give you a pre-qualification based on your verbal self-reporting of your income, assets, debts, and down payment size.

Estimated time: 2–3 days

Getting Pre-approved

The pre-approval stage is when lenders verify everything you’ve told them. You’ll need to supply proof of income, proof of assets, proof of employment, records of any debts you hold, and of course identification documents (such as your Social Security card) and a credit report (which the lender will run).

Once you’re pre-approved, you’ll receive a letter stating the exact amount of loan for which you’re approved.

Estimated time: 1 week to several months.