Without a doubt, the first place any home buyer should start is with their financing. Not only should an educated Buyer know how much they can afford, and search for homes within that price range, but they should also feel comfortable with their estimated monthly mortgage payment.
There is a difference between getting pre-approved and pre-qualified. A pre-qualification is less in depth, and is usually based on verbal representations of income and assets. A pre-approval is only given to buyers who provide verifiable information which is then reviewed by a first level of underwriting. A pre-approval shows a higher level of financing qualification, and will make the presentation of your offer stronger than a pre-qualification.
Generally, a borrower will need to provide the following in order to be pre-qualified:
- Two most recent years tax returns
- Two most recent years W2
- Most recent 30 days paystubs
- Government Issued Form of Identification (Driver’s License, Passport, etc.)
- 60 day history for ALL assets (bank statements) used for the loan
Pre-qualifications are free, and do not harm a borrower’s credit score. Once you get pre-qualified, the lender will issue you a pre-qualification letter, which will be needed when you make an offer on a home. The pre-qualification letter should be no more than 60 days old when you make an offer on a home. Your loan officer can quickly update your pre-qualification letter at no charge.
Once you have been pre-qualified, you can start shopping for homes!