Please see my blog or website for more information. http://www.trulia.com/blog/david_chamberlain/2008/11/hombuyi
As for getting pre-approved in general, it's a great idea! Truth is, the really good Realtors, the ones that are serious about finding you a home that you will love and enjoy are going to work with you when they know that you are serious about buying. The best way to prove this is to show them you are ready to buy and that is only confirmable when you have money to spend.
Not to mention, due to the economy these days, sellers do not take buyer seriously unless they can prove they got money guaranteed by a lender. In other words, you may be able to put in an offer on the home of your dreams but, without that pre-approval letter guaranteeing funds, the seller may pass up your offer and move on to someone they can confirm has the money now.
All in all, pre-approval letters are for everyone in the process. They let buyer's search homes they know they can afford. They tell Realtors they are working with legitimate buyers and, they tell sellers they are dealing with a Ready, Willing and Able buyer.
Having a considerable down payment and good credit are very positive factors.
Our recommendation is to begin the process of collecting inforamtion about financing. This does not necessarily mean to be prequalified, right now. The important thing is to become knowledgible about the different programs and options they present for you.
Additionally, as yur March date nears, it would be a huge advantage to be pre-approved. This will be one less thing that will need to be done at that time and it will provide you with the numbers you need to work with while house shopping.
Begin collecting financing information today............
The eckler Team
Purchase of a home you receive annual tax benefits !