The Federal Savings Bank
As a Realtor, I do not want to work with a buyer who has not already received their pre-approvals. It would make me wonder how serious they truly are.
Also, you may believe you can afford a certain price point and then find out through your pre-approval that you do not qualify for that amount.
Do yourself a big favor, there is no cost involved. Prove you are serious...get yourself a pre-approval.
If you need names and contacts for mortgage brokers or mortgage broker/bankers, I will be happy to supply.
Being pre approved, you will know your range of affordability, how much down payment you can afford, as well as the monthly mortgage payments you can handle comfortably.
If dealing with a bank owned property, they will usually require a pre approval letter and confirmation of funds available. Your offer will be stronger with pre approval.
In most cases, you will be referring to a pre-qualification letter (even though they sometimes state pre-approval). This is definitely the least you should do. You will have to go through this process anyway in order to purchase.
Keep in mind that there are some sellers that will not want to be bothered to leave their homes, take their pets or find sitters and miss their family dinner unless they know for sure that the buyer has at least taken the step to get pre-qualified. This is a simple process and should be done. Also, keep in mind that the market it hot right now, at least in my state as well as many others. If you do find a home that is a great deal, chances are it won't be on the market long. If you don't have a pre-qualification to submit with your offer, chances are very good that it will not be taken seriously.
If you want to go one step further in order to avoid last minute nightmares just prior to closing, ask you lender to pre-approve you. This means that they will go through the whole process and all you have left to do is find a home that the bank approves of.