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Do Not Make an Offer on a House Without Mortgage Pre-Approval

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What gives you clout, enables you to shop for homes within your price range, and helps you flex your homebuying muscles when you're ready to make an offer?

 

It's a mortgage pre-approval letter from your lender, of course!

 

So what is a  mortgage pre-approval?  In a nutshell, it's a letter from a lender saying that it's tentatively willing to lend you a certain amount for a property.  To get pre-approved, you will need to submit your financial documents to the lender who will then evaluate your income, your debt, and your credit score to determine if you qualify for a mortgage. 

 

Get the  Guide for First Time Home Buyers, and learn more about the process of becoming a homeowner.

 

Sellers and Realtors® love buyers with a mortgage pre-approval letter. This shows them that you're a serious, qualified buyer who has the financial backing of a lender and that you mean business. After all, unless you're paying cash, it's hard to make an offer if you don't know whether you qualify for a loan.

 

 

4 Reasons Not to Make an Offer on a House without Mortgage Pre-Approval

  1. Embarrassment. Making an offer, only to find out you can't secure the financing is an embarrassing situation. Going to your real estate agent and the seller to tell them you can't actually afford the house is not a fun conversation.
  2. Frustration. House hunting with no idea on how much house you can afford is a recipe for disaster. You could find all kinds of homes you love in perfect communities, but if they're out of your price range then all that searching is done in vain.
  3. Focus. Talking to a mortgage consultant along with your real estate agent will help you narrow your focus to neighborhoods right for you and your budget. From property taxes and homeowners insurance to the schools and crime rates, focusing on the best areas for you makes the process run more smoothly.
  4. Credit scores. Credit scores vary depending on who's pulling the report. Your score will differ if you pull it versus if a store pulls it, or when a car dealer looks at it during a loan consultation. Each of the three main credit bureaus report a little differently as well, so the number you get from one will likely be different from the others. So pulling your own credit, or having it pulled recently for a car loan does not ensure that you're in the clear to buy a house. Mortgage pre-approval will help make sure your credit score is mortgage-ready.

What do I have to do to get pre-approved for a mortgage loan?

Common documents for pre-approval include recent pay stubs showing your income, your credit report (your mortgage consultant will handle that), W-2 forms, 1099 forms if you own your own business, and banks statements. The more detailed your pre-approval process is, the more quickly final approval can happen.

 

Time to get pre-approved for a mortgage? Click the button below.

Get Mortgage Ready

 

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Tips for Paying Off Your Mortgage Faster

There are several ways to pay off your mortgage faster and save on interest payments. Even better, not all methods require spending a lot of extra money! Take a look at the list below: Make extra principal payments.  You can pay extra money toward your mortgage balance each month or make a larger, lump sum payment on your principal each year. This reduces the amount due on the mortgage as well as reducing the amount of interest that will accrue. Extra money can also be added to the principal payment from bonuses, gifts, savings and extra earnings. Just remember to make a note on the check for the money to go towards the principal! Make one extra mortgage payment per year. One of the easiest ways to make an extra payment each year is to pay half your mortgage payment every other week instead of paying the full amount once a month, otherwise known as “bi-weekly payments.” With these payments, an extra payment is made so that the total number of payments that one makes adds up to 13 payments in a year rather than the 12 that would have been made with monthly payments. This adds up to significant interest savings over the duration of a mortgage. You also want to make sure that if your lender accepts this kind of payment they will not charge you a prepayment penalty. Also verify that the bi-weekly payments are being applied to the principal amount and not the interest. Otherwise, you won't notice the savings. Reduce your balance with a lump-sum payment. Have you inherited money, earned a bonus or commission, or sold a large item? You could apply that amount to your mortgage’s principal balance. Another option is any time you have a month where you have that third paycheck, apply that to the principal on your mortgage. This will happen twice a year, adding an extra principal payment to your mortgage loan. While paying down a large debt is nice, it's not a requirement. Consider making sure you have enough to work toward other financial goals, such as an emergency fund, before paying more on your mortgage. However, there are many options you can explore that best fit your budget. You can learn more about buying your first home with our Get Mortgage Ready Guide below.

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