Most of what your are asking is legal advice which agents and brokers are not allowed to give.. Your experienced real estate attorney specializing NYC ought to be advising you on this (do not use the seller's attorney). The contract in my personal experience and as others have mentioned can be written contingent on you getting final approval,as you are already pre-approved (which is not the same as pre-qualified) You would usually receive a letter from the lender stating that you have been pre-approved. If your check is put in your attorney's escrow account it should be safe as long as the attorney is legitimate and the purchase is not contingent on anything. What exactly has your lawyer told you?