Tip: If you want to be taken seriously as a buyer, you shouldn’t shop for a home without a pre-approval letter. Through Own Up, you can get a pre-approval letter with just a soft credit check, so it won’t ding your credit score.
A pre-approval letter is a written statement from a licensed entity stating how much you are able to borrow to purchase a house. The letter is given after the lender reviews information including your credit score, income and employment history. A pre-approval letter is not a guarantee you will be approved for a loan. It means that as of the day it is given the lender does not see any impediments to approving you for a loan for a stated amount.
Throughout the homebuying process, Own Up works in your best interest to get you the house you want at a lower interest rate. Pre-approval letters are one step in the process. They are the ticket you need to get the attention of real estate agents and be able put in bids at open houses. Without one, you are not deemed a serious contender.
Note that there are certain circumstances where pre-approval letters do not result in formal approval. Those include losing your job in between getting the pre-approval and applying for a mortgage.
Why a pre-approval letter is important
- It tells you how much home you can afford, which informs your initial housing search.
- It lets real estate agents know you are serious about buying a home and what homes you can afford.
- When you are attending open houses and putting in bids, sellers who have multiple offers are more likely to choose bids from people with pre-approval letters. Those letters are proof they have the needed money.
Just thinking about house hunting? Get pre-approved
You should get pre-approved if there is any chance you will go to open houses in the next 6 months. You don’t want to be stuck in a position where you stumble into the perfect home and are scrambling to get pre-approved. Pre-approval letters do expire after 60 to 90 days, but it can be very easy to get your lender to issue a new one. Done right, pre-approval letters give you direction and information early in the process to help inform your decision and lead to a quicker closing on your new home.
Choose the right lender to get pre-approved
Pre-approval letters are your ticket into the homebuying process. Just be sure not to choose a lender that hurts your chances. The letter should be a guide to you and others as to how much money you have to spend. It should not be a detriment to your credit.
There are two ways to check credit to issue pre-approval letters: A hard credit inquiry and a soft credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries affect your credit score; soft credit inquiries do not. Some lenders will use hard credit inquiries on pre-approvals to dissuade you from shopping around for other mortgage rates as too many hard credit inquiries lower your credit score. This is not necessary. A soft credit inquiry is fine for a pre-approval letter.
Why the Own Up pre-approval letter is different
- We use a soft credit inquiry. We believe in empowering you to make the best decision, not putting up barriers that benefit us.
- Once you are initially pre-approved, you can have your pre-approval letter extended every 60 days with a quick call or email with your home advisor as many times as you want.
We created the first self-serve pre-approval generator. Let’s say you are eligible for a $500,000 mortgage and you are looking at a house that you want to offer $400,000. You may not want your pre-approval showing you are eligible for $500,000 because the seller may say, “Hey she can afford much more than $400k. Let’s counter at a much higher number.” Once Own Up decides how much you can afford, you can adjust the letter to reflect any amount up to that maximum.