Before you begin your home search in earnest, I highly recommend that you work with a lender to get pre­approved for a home. Many home buyers will talk to a lender quickly and get pre­qualified, but this is not the same thing.

Pre­approved buyers are ahead in the home buying game. If you make an offer on a home and then apply for a loan instead of the other way around, you are at the mercy of the lender who now knows that you don’t have time to shop around.

A pre­approval letter from a lender will also give you an edge when multiple offers have been made on a house. Pre­approved buyers generally close escrow more quickly, since most of the paperwork has already been taken care of.

Pre­Qualification is only a loan agent’s opinion that you’ll be able to obtain financing. No verifications are made, so formal approval is not issued.

Pre­Approval means your loan application has been taken through a rigorous procedure, including a review of your credit report. Pre­approval saves you the time of looking at houses you can’t afford.