Mortgage Pre-qualification and Pre-approval
PRE-QUALIFICATION - This is an easy first step to show sellers you’re getting serious about buying. In order to get a mortgage pre-qualification letter, a loan officer will make a general assessment of your financial situation. They’ll be able to gauge whether or not you can get a loan and how much money you can get. PRE-APPROVAL - Once you’ve gotten a better idea of your financial picture, you need to get pre-approved. It’s important to time your pre-approval with when you’re ready to buy because a pre-approval letter expires in 60 to 90 days. Pre-approval is a conditional promise from a bank or lender that they are willing to lend to you, and for what amount.
The Low Down on Down Payments
DETERMINE YOUR DOWN PAYMENT - Don't make the mistake of looking at all your assets and concluding that’s how much you have for your down payment. First, set aside 2 to 5 percent of the purchase price for closing costs. Then, set aside an additional $5,000 to $10,000 (depending on where you live) for relocation expenses, moving costs, furniture and short-term improvements, and unforeseen costs.