If you are a homebuyer, you are likely wondering how long the pre-approval for a mortgage takes. Unfortunately, there is no universal timeframe to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Depending on the lender and other factors, the length of time it takes to get a mortgage pre-approval letter can vary. For some lenders, this could be in as little as a few hours or for several days.
However, once you have completed the pre-approval process with your lender, you should receive a mortgage pre-approval letter, assuming the lender will approve you. Your mortgage pre-approval should be good for at least 60 days.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is one of the first steps you must take if you want to buy a home. However, for many people, the pre-approval process is opaque and confusing. This post will help explain how the mortgage pre-approval process works and cover many people’s everyday concerns or questions.
The home buying experience is one of the most exciting moments in a person’s life. However, we understand that it can be stressful and confusing. We hope this post will help clear up any questions or confusion you might have about mortgage pre-approval.
Understanding the Mortgage Pre-Approval Process
You don’t need to have a mortgage pre-approval letter to start looking at homes or even put an offer on a home. However, unless you plan to purchase with cash, you won’t be able to buy a home without obtaining a mortgage loan.
In today’s highly competitive real estate market, making offers without a mortgage pre-approval letter is unwise. Offers with mortgage pre-approval letters show sellers that the buyer has the means to purchase their home. No seller or real estate agent wants to waste their time on a deal that has no chance of being financed.
Furthermore, completing the process before making offers saves you time and helps you focus on finding a home you can afford.
What is a Mortgage Pre-Approval Letter?
This letter details the amount of money you are borrowing, the interest rate, and other details associated with the loan. It is important to know that some lenders use the terms pre-approval and pre-qualification interchangeably. In addition, some lenders might request more significant amounts of information than others.
Regardless of how much information you provide initially, you will need to provide complete documentation to secure a loan at a certain point. Some lenders like to get the bulk of documentation out of the way as early as possible, and others want to wait until later in the process.
You need to know that a pre-approval letter is not a loan or an application for a loan. Instead, a pre-approval letter notes that a lender is willing to lend you money.
Sellers like to see pre-approval letters because they demonstrate that your offer is legitimate and you likely won’t have any issues securing a loan and closing on the home.
In addition, many real estate agents like to see pre-approval letters from their clients to show them homes they can afford. It is easy to say your budget is a certain amount, but until you get pre-approved, you won’t have an accurate idea of how much you can borrow.
How Do I Get a Pre-Approval Letter?
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is easier than it sounds. Once you choose a mortgage partner to work with, they will do most of the heavy lifting. The first step is to complete a questionnaire or application and submit your financial information.
Typically, you can do this online or over the phone and provide your lender with the necessary personal and financial information. Plus, they will check your credit history by pulling your credit report from the three major credit bureaus.
You must submit financial records such as proof of employment, pay stubs, tax returns, etc. They use these documents to verify the income and asset information you provide. The lender may also ask you to share any information about outstanding debts such as student loans, car loans, etc., especially those that may not appear on your credit report.
Once all this information is collected, the lender will determine how much money you can borrow based on income, debt, and credit reports.
Typically it takes a day or two, but after this process is complete, they will send you a pre-approval letter detailing how much you qualify to borrow, your interest rate, etc. If you understand the mortgage market, you know there is some wiggle room in interest rates. Therefore, it benefits you to shop around.
Most mortgage resources won’t mention getting unique pre-approval letters for each offer you make on a property. But, of course, to do this, you must choose a lender you trust.
However, once you choose, it is in your best interest to generate separate pre-approval letters based on each property.
For example, if you want to buy a home listed at $320,000, you might not want your pre-approval letter to say you are pre-approved up to $400,000. A seller’s agent looks at this information and uses it in negotiations.
On the other hand, you might not want a pre-approval letter that says you only qualify for $320,000 because many homes are selling above the list price, which might make your offer look weak.
Work with your lender and real estate agent to craft the best strategy for your offers. The current market is hyper-competitive, but you can still find a great deal on a beautiful home.
How Long is My Mortgage Pre-Approval Good For?
Many people want to know how long their mortgage pre-approval letter lasts. The answer is not straightforward, but you can expect your pre-approval to be valid for 60 to 90 days. A lot can change in a person’s life in 60 days. Most lenders will not guarantee a pre-approval past 90 days to protect themselves.
However, change is not always bad when you are trying to find a mortgage at a great rate. Your credit score can improve, your debt may be reduced, and you could earn more money. These factors may help you get more favorable mortgage loan terms and positively impact your pre-approval letter.
On the other hand, change can also be bad for you. For example, maybe you bought a car after your first pre-approval letter. Now you have more debt. Perhaps you lost your job. Negative factors like this can affect your pre-approval letter, and they can even affect your ability to get a loan.
Get a Pre-Approval Letter from OwnUp
OwnUp offers a unique pre-approval experience for homebuyers. Instead of contacting multiple lenders to find the best rates and generate numerous pre-approval letters, OwnUp users can connect to an expert and customize their pre-approval letter to match their offers. If your income or buying information changes, you can get an updated pre-approval letter online instantly.
OwnUp is here to simplify the mortgage process for home buyers. Compare rates and get the best possible loan using our online marketplace.
Don’t overcomplicate a simple process. Instead, choose OwnUp to handle all of your mortgage needs!