Anyone in the market for a new home should start by getting preapproved for a mortgage.
It lets you know how much home you can afford prior to shopping and also increases the likelihood that sellers will accept your offer.
It’s important to note that a mortgage preapproval doesn’t last forever.
Let’s look at what preapproval entails, how long it takes to get approved, and how long preapproval for a mortgage lasts.
The basics—what is mortgage preapproval?
A mortgage preapproval is the process of a lender confirming your creditworthiness without having an actual contract in place.
The lender will verify all the information you provide, such as your income and employment status, while also performing a credit check.
Upon completion, the lender will tell you the maximum amount of money you’re likely to qualify for.
Here are three other questions to answer.
1. How do I get a mortgage preapproval?
The best way to get a mortgage preapproval is to contact a broker or lender that can guide you through the process. They’ll tell you what you need, provide you with an application, and answer all your questions.
2. How long does it take to get a mortgage preapproval?
The mortgage preapproval process is less involved than the mortgage approval process. For this reason, you will typically receive a final answer within one to three business days. However, this varies from lender to lender, so it’s something to check on before you start an application.
3. When should I apply for a mortgage preapproval?
You don’t need a preapproval to shop for a home online or visit them in person. Even so, it’s best to get preapproved as it helps you narrow down your options to homes you can afford. That’s why you should apply for a mortgage preapproval once you’re serious about your search for a new home.
How long does a mortgage preapproval last?
The expiration date of a mortgage preapproval depends on your lender.
But generally, it lasts for 60 to 90 days. Since your financial situation can change quickly, lenders are unwilling to take the risk of providing a long-term preapproval.
Consider the following:
- You have to save for a larger down payment, which gives you more borrowing power.
- You have time to increase your credit score, from the time of pre approval to applying for the actual mortgage, which can help you secure a lower interest rate.
- You can lower your debt-to-income ratio by paying down balances, which improves the chance of approval.
Make it your goal to change your financial circumstances for the better. You don’t want to do anything that could negatively impact your situation, such as missing a payment, taking out a loan (such as for a car), or running up a credit card balance.
Remember this: Your lender is going to verify all your information when it comes time to apply for a mortgage. So, just because you were preapproved doesn’t necessarily mean your mortgage application will follow suit.
If your preapproval expires before you sign a contract to purchase a home, contact your lender to start the process over. They’ll once again verify your personal information, financial details, and employment status. From there, you’ll have another 60 to 90 days to continue your search.
Why get a mortgage preapproval letter
While there’s no requirement to get a mortgage preapproval letter, there are several reasons why it’s in your best interest.
1. To understand how much you can afford
As we mentioned above, you should get preapproved before you begin your home search. That’s because the last thing you want to do is shop for homes that aren’t in your price range. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that will happen if you don’t first receive a preapproval letter.
Once you know what you’re preapproved to borrow, you can adjust your home search accordingly. This saves you from putting time and energy into considering properties that don’t fit your budget.
2. To determine what measures you can take to improve your finances
You may find that there’s room to improve your finances. Examples include:
- Improving your credit score
- Paying down debt
- Taking on a second job or side hustle to increase your income
If there’s anything you can do to improve your finances while you’re searching for a home, take immediate action. It may not feel like it’s doing you any good, but even a small improvement can go a long way in helping your situation.
3. To compete in a hot real estate market
The real estate market is hot, hot, hot! If you want to compete in a competitive type of market, it’s critical that you do everything you can to swing the odds in your favor. And that starts with obtaining a preapproval letter.
You want sellers to know that you’re serious. You also want them to know that you can afford their property. A preapproval letter gives them all the proof they need.
Questions for your lender or broker
It doesn’t matter which approach you take to get a mortgage preapproval, there are some questions you should ask upfront, such as the following:
- What information do you need to process a preapproval application?
- How long does the process take?
- Can I complete the application online?
- Who can I speak with during the process if I have questions or concerns?
- What sets your financial institution apart from others?
It’s time to take action
Now that you know how long a preapproval for a mortgage lasts, it’s time to take the next step forward.
You want an experienced and knowledgeable financial partner that can walk you through the often challenging process of buying a home.
At AAA Banking, it’s our goal to help you buy the home of your dreams without an unnecessary burden.
It doesn’t matter if you require a mortgage preapproval or you have a contract in place, we’ll take care of your every want and need.
Contact one of our loan officers today to learn more about AAA Banking, our preapproval process, and how we stand out among the competition.