If you’re thinking about buying a home, pre-approval is a crucial part of the process you definitely don’t want to skip. So, before you start picturing yourself in your new living room or dining on your future all-season patio, be sure you’re working with a trusted lender to prioritize this essential step. Here’s why.
While home price growth is moderating and mortgage rates have been coming down in recent weeks, affordability is still tight. At the same time, there’s a limited number of homes for sale right now, and that means ongoing competition among hopeful buyers. But, if you’re strategic, there are ways to navigate these waters – and pre-approval is the game changer.
To understand why it’s such an important step, you need to know more about pre-approval. As part of the homebuying process, a lender looks at your finances to determine what they’re willing to loan you. From there, your lender will give you a pre-approval letter to help you understand how much money you can borrow. Freddie Mac explains it like this:
“A pre-approval is an indication from your lender that they are willing to lend you a certain amount of money to buy your future home. . . . Keep in mind that the loan amount in the pre-approval letter is the lender’s maximum offer. Ultimately, you should only borrow an amount you are comfortable repaying.”
Getting pre-approved starts to put you in the mindset of seeing the bigger financial picture, one step at a time. And the key is actually more than just getting a pre-approval letter from your lender. The combination of pre-approval and strategic budgeting is your golden ticket to understanding what you can actually afford. It saves you from painful heartaches down the road so you don’t fall in love with a house that might be out of reach.
But that's just the beginning. Let’s face it, there are more people looking to buy than there are homes available for sale, and that creates competition among homebuyers. That means you could see yourself in a multiple-offer scenario when you get ready to make your move. But getting pre-approved for a mortgage can help you stand out from other buyers.
In today's fast-moving housing market, having that pre-approval in your back pocket can be your secret weapon. When sellers see you're pre-approved, it tells them you're a strategic and serious buyer. In a world of multiple offers, that's a big deal. As an article from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) says:
“If you plan to use a mortgage for your home purchase, preapproval should be among the first steps in your search process. Not only can getting preapproved help you zero in on the right price range, but it can give you a leg up on other buyers, too.”
Pre-approval shows sellers you’re more than just a window shopper. You’re a buyer who’s already undergone a credit and financial check, making it more likely that the sale will move forward without unexpected delays or issues. Sellers love that because they see your offer as a reliable one. A win-win, right?
So, before you start mentally arranging furniture in your dream home, work with a trusted lender to get your pre-approval set. It’ll save you time, stress, and a lot of headaches that could come up along the way without it. The reality is, the more prepared you are, the more likely you are to land the home you’re longing for.
The First Step: Getting Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
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