Searching for your new home can be an exciting process; however, open houses are not the first step to owning a property. Before setting your sights on a specific space, it is essential to know whether it falls within your budget. The pre-approval process allows lenders to evaluate potential buyers’ financial standing, determine the maximum borrowing amount, and provide an estimate of interest rates and other associated costs.
Having a pre-approval in-hand can expedite the purchasing process, giving you an advantage over other applicants when you find your ideal space. This process can also take your house hunt from broad strokes to a more refined search, saving time, avoiding disappointment, and helping to keep you on budget.
How to Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage: How the Process Works
Beginning the pre-approval process means submitting financial information, employment documentation, and disclosing any credit liabilities to lenders. The most common lenders include banks, credit unions, mortgage companies, or loan agencies. Interest rates and available options may change based on the type of lender you decide to work with, but each of these will be examining the same set of criteria: assets, income, and debts.
For a borrower, buying a home is an exciting experience, but these loans are an investment for mortgage lenders. To ensure that each investment appropriate, a lender carries out a thorough inspection of each application. More than just looking at the overall amounts in your bank account, everything from credit history and income to student loans, debt from credit cards or personal loans, and any assets that might contribute to good credit is considered.
Assets: An asset is anything that you own that has value, particularly value that can be transferable. Assets include the money in bank accounts, investments, along with tangible items like vehicles.
Income: When an applicant is hoping to be approved for a mortgage, it is vital to prove that there is steady income coming into a household, whether for a single applicant or couple. It is always a good idea to come prepared with CRA tax assessments and pay stubs or other proof of current employment. For those who are self-employed, two years of tax assessments are required to prove eligibility. Each lender has its criteria for income verification, so if you are concerned that you do not have all of the information listed above or your situation is unique, don’t worry; we’ve helped thousands of clients with different streams of income.
Debt to Income Ratio: The main goal of a pre-approval assessment is to ensure that applicants can make their mortgage payments. If income is low and debt levels are high, applicants are less likely to be able to make another monthly payment and therefore might not be approved for a mortgage at all. Analyzing debt-to-income ratios provide a snapshot of security for lenders.
After a thorough analysis of these criteria, lenders will have a better idea of whether or not an applicant has the necessary down payment relative to the purchase price and can assess how large a mortgage amount can be given.
What Happens Next?
With the real estate market booming, it is crucial to use any available advantage, and pre-approval is precisely that. These notices prove that you are reliable and can be counted on as a “good investment.” A pre-approval does not guarantee that you all be given a mortgage, but it is a sign of good faith that can make a world of difference to getting one.
Depending on which lender you choose, pre-approvals can be valid for anywhere from 60 to 120 days. Working with a mortgage broker can help facilitate the finalization of a mortgage and help navigate the different types of mortgages, interest rates, and other complicated factors involved in purchasing a new home.
Making Yourself A Prime Applicant
While you may not be able to turn a tarnished or lack-luster credit report into a shining one in a matter of weeks, but that does not mean that there aren’t specific steps that you can take to improve your chances of being approved. A higher down payment, for example, means less money borrowed and a better opportunity for a higher mortgage amount. The same principle applies to existing debt: the less debt you have, the more income you have to contribute to monthly mortgage payments.
Maintaining a stable income is another way to improve your chances of approval. In an unstable job market, demonstrating consistent income is a considerable advantage for potential buyers and lenders. Keeping debt low, income consistent, and down payments as high as possible are all ways to improve your profile as an applicant.
We understand that every situation is unique. For the last 27 years, we have helped thousands of potential buyers become homeowners. Our experience makes us skilled and adept in finding solutions that work for you, whether you’re a typical bank customer or if your employment and credit situation don’t quite check all the boxes. Wherever you are in your journey, gaining clarity on your options is a simple as giving us a call or dropping us an e-mail.