Do you have to be pre-qualified when starting the process of buying a home?

Asked by Trulia San Diego, San Diego, CA Thu Oct 25, 2012

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Dot Chance, Agent, Burbank, CA
Thu Oct 25, 2012
Yes, you do need to get a pre-approval before beginning to seriously look for a home. You need to find out if your credit meets the standards of the lender and, very importantly, you need to know how much you qualify for.

You need to know these things for your peace of mind and your agent should require it from you. When you find a home you want to make an offer on you need that pre-approval in hand to be included with your offer. Most listing agents will not even look at your offer without the pre-approval letter accompanying it.

All my best,
Dot Chance, Realtor®
Certified Distressed Property Expert – CDPE®
DRE License #01494182
Keller Williams Realty World Media Center

WHEN YOU THINK OF REAL ESTATE...Think! My business thrives from your referrals!
0 votes
Maria Cipoll…, Agent, Coral Springs, FL
Wed Nov 14, 2012
With mortgage rates historically low, lenders are very strict and need to make sure that you are suitable for a loan, and not a bad risk. It essential that you can get in touch with a mortgage broker that can review all your financial options and issue a pre approval letter for an amount that you can be comfortable with.

Best of Luck,

Maria Cipollone

Century 21 Tenace
3 votes
Brittney Sul…, Home Owner, Cleburne, TX
Fri Oct 26, 2012
thank you for asking I didnt want ot look like the stupid one for asking but apparently I want the only one
2 votes
Dave Ulrich, Agent, Bellingham, WA
Thu Oct 25, 2012
It is always best to not only be pre qualified but pre-approved as well when you start the process. Many buyers fail to understand this firs and most important step when searching for real estate. How will you know how much house you can afford and will you waste your time and your agent’s time looking at properties you may or may not be able to purchase. What would happen if you find the perfect property then have to stop and get per approve only to find out you can’t afford it or worse can’t make an offer without a pre-approval letter. With REO or Short slas you have to have either pre approval or proof of funds to even make an offer so the short answer is yes get pre approved before starting you home search.
1 vote
Mike Disney, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, La mesa, CA
Tue Nov 20, 2012
The answer is always...Yes!.
If you need help...I can sho rates on over 50 lenders in 5 minutes.
Mike Disney
0 votes
Johnny James, Agent, Palmdale, CA
Wed Nov 14, 2012
Have to no, but why would you want to go shopping if you do not know how much is in your wallet.
0 votes
Justin Domin…, Agent, San Diego, CA
Tue Nov 6, 2012

Do you have to be... not really. You shouldn't get pre-qualified until you know for certain you are ready to move forward and buy. My typical client will have a rough idea of what they qualify before meeting with me and then I help guide them through the pre-qualification process with my/their lender. Once the pre-qual is in hand is when we start looking a future homes. The pre-qualification definitely plays a major role in today's market. Home sellers want to see that the person/persons that are submitting an offer to purchase are actually able to qualify for the home. In a market where there are multiple offers on most homes it always helps to have a little extra on the table when competing along side other offers.

Justin Domingues
Prudential California Realty
0 votes
Janet McCart…, Agent, San Diego, CA
Sat Oct 27, 2012
Good question.
When a buyer makes an offer they will need to submit a pre-qual from their lender, a copy of the deposit check and sometimes, proof of funds ( a copy of the bank statement).
When a seller reviews an offer they want to know if the buyer can actually buy the house and a pre-qual from a lender will give them that information.
If a buyer waits they might lose out on a deal.
Janet McCarthy
Professional Realtor
0 votes
Sinead McAll…, Agent, Oceanside, CA
Fri Oct 26, 2012
Is this a trick question? :) LOL
I would say that getting pre-qualified IS starting the process of buying a home. :)

Sinead McAllister
McAllister Homes Real Estate
0 votes
John Juarez, Agent, Fremont, CA
Fri Oct 26, 2012
You don’t get to the cashier at the grocery store without knowing that you can pay for the groceries with cash, credit or debit card. Similarly, you can’t go shopping for a home without a mortgage prequalification – a preapproval is better – and expect anyone to take you seriously. Sellers want to know that your really can buy their house. Realtors want to know that you really can afford the houses that you want to see.

Years ago, buyers found their house and then sought a loan to make their purchase. That is no longer the process.
0 votes
Max Coates, , San Diego County, CA
Thu Oct 25, 2012
Yep, unless you are paying cash.
0 votes
Polly Milford, Agent, San Diego, CA
Thu Oct 25, 2012
In this market you need to be prequalified so that you can get in on the great deals that there are in San Diego still to have. I would definitely find a great loan officer I have one if you need it. Please give me a call Polly Milford 619-804-8566
0 votes
Hector Gaste…, Agent, Coronado, CA
Thu Oct 25, 2012
You have to be pre-qualified if you want to be taken seriously by a Realtor

Hector R. Gastelum
Realty Executives Dillon
REALTOR #01382940
efax 619-270-2516
0 votes
Glen Etherin…, Agent, Orange, CA
Thu Oct 25, 2012
You don't have to be but you really should be pre-qualified so you know youraxim qualified home purchase price. Once you get close to narrowing down your new home, you should get a full pre-approval to submit with any offers you make. Good luck!!!

Glen S Etherington
0 votes
Seth Chalnic…, Agent, Cardiff, CA
Thu Oct 25, 2012
More important than presenting Sellers with an approval letter... is that the approval process helps you gain a meaningful understanding of how the approval will effect your real life affordability.

Sellers do, in fact, want to see approval letters from Buyers before "tying up" their property in an Escrow... and their listing agent will virtually always require it as a prerequisite for reviewing your offer... but ironically the letters are worth only the paper they are written on, since the underwriting process always digs up things the initial computer screening does not recognize.

Meantime, regardless of who needs it more (i.e. the Seller, or you...), it does take 2-3 days to do it right, so we are better off preparing this in advance. This way, if the right opportunity presents, we can take advantage without being held up.
0 votes
Mike Disney, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, La mesa, CA
Thu Oct 25, 2012
Faliure to get preapproved is one of the leading causes of falling out of escrow.
Without a doubt... you will need to be prequalified and then preapproved.
Mike Disney
0 votes
Maria Weiss, Agent, Del Mar, CA
Thu Oct 25, 2012
Yes! In today's market, it is very important to have that pre-qaulified letter when submitting an offer. We are seeing multiple offer on properties and if you want your offer to be seriously considered by the seller, a pre-qual letter should accompany the offer. Equally as important, you need to start the process for a loan so that you are assured that you can secure a loan, you will know the amount of the monthly payments with which you will feel comfortable and the amount of the loan for which you qualify. Then you can begin your search in the price range that will work best for you.

I hope that helps answer your question. If I can be of further assistance, let me know.

Maria Weiss
Prudential CA Realty
DRE Lic #01368844
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