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Everything You Need to Know About Mortgage Pre-Approvals

Mortgage Pre-Approval: What It Is and How to Get It

If you’re in the market for a new home, one of the first things you’ll need to do is get pre-approved for a mortgage. A mortgage pre-approval is a letter from a lender that tells you how much money they are willing to lend you to purchase your home. can tell you all about getting pre-approved for a mortgage.

This is not the same thing as a prequalification, which is just an estimate of how much money a lender may be willing to loan you. A pre-approval actually means that the funds for your down payment and closing costs have been set aside, and your credit has been checked and approved.

It’s basically an official guarantee from the lender that says you’re qualified to buy a home up to the amount listed on the letter. The other benefit of getting pre-approved for a mortgage is that it allows you to lock in today’s low-interest rates. If you do not get pre-approved for a mortgage, there’s no guarantee that interest rates won’t go up in the months or years it will take you to find a home and close on the deal.


Getting approved for a mortgage can be easier than you think! In general, there are three things lenders look at to see if you qualify: your income, your debt, and your credit score. Here is some advice on each of these factors:

Generally speaking, lenders want to see that your monthly debt payments (like student loans or car payments) plus your new housing payment equals less than 43% of your gross monthly income. So if you bring in $6,000 per month, that means your total monthly mortgage payment and other debt payments should be less than about $2,580.

If you have one or more steady sources of income like a salary from a job or investment income from stocks, that’s even better! Also, be sure to have at least two months of mortgage payments (or other debt payments) in savings.

In addition to income, lenders will also look at your overall debt-to-income ratio. This is the amount of monthly debt you pay vs. the amount of money you bring in each month. To calculate this, take your total monthly debt payments and divide them by your gross monthly income (before taxes). The lower your debt-to-income ratio, the better!

A good credit score can go a long way when it comes to getting approved for a loan. Most lenders prefer a minimum FICO score of 620 or higher. Your credit report will show how much available credit you have, as well as your payment history, credit utilization ratio, debt accounts, public records (including bankruptcy), and inquiries.

The final tip for getting approved for a mortgage quickly is to have all of the required documentation on hand. This includes bank statements, tax returns, pay stubs, and proof of income such as W-2 forms or 1099s. You will also need to provide information about any debts you have like car loans or student loans. Overall, the best way to ensure that you’re approved quickly is to be fully prepared with everything the lender needs!


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