Ready to Buy a Home? You Must Have a Pre-Approval!

Almost every buyer I start working with has NOT set up their financing when we first connect. They are already online scrolling through listings and dreaming of their new home, but they don’t even know what they can afford! They don’t know what amount they can qualify for, what the closing costs will be, or how much their monthly payment will be. This is all pretty important stuff. Especially when we can’t even submit an offer until a PRE-APPROVAL is in hand from their lender. 

Because this happens with almost every buyer, I wanted to delve more into the pre-approval process and what it means. When looking for a home, it is the number one step! Actually, a buyer should start working with their realtor and lender several months before they are ready to actively look. This allows the buyer to prepare, save up more money, fix any credit issues, and start becoming familiar with the types of homes in their price range.

I interviewed Robin Bolin, a loan officer with Prosper Mortgage Funding in Lancaster, PA ( We walk through the process of getting a pre-approval. Read the interview below or click on the link to watch it:

L: So we’re going to talk a little bit about the pre-approval process and I’m going to play the buyer and she’s going to answer the questions and take us through. Hey Robin, so my realtor said that I have to get a pre-approval letter before I start shopping for a home so what does that mean?

R: That basically means you need to get pre-approved for a mortgage in order to see what you can qualify up to. That’s what a realtor is going to be looking for in order to make an offer on a property.

L: So what does that mean for me? What is my next step?

R: Basically you can give me a call and I can take down an application over the phone to get you pre-qualified for a loan or you can visit our website.

L: Okay. And what information will you need?

R: I will need basic information. Whether you do it on the website or over the phone it’s basically full name, date of birth, social security number, two years work history, two years residence history, the income that you’re making at your job, how much rent you pay or if you currently own a home. How much do you have to spend on the home as far as your assets.

L: Okay. All right. And what about credit? I’ve heard people talk about credit, is that an important factor in all of this?

R: Definitely important. Basically once I pull your credit, after I’ve done the application with you, we will take a look at it to see what you qualify for whether it is a government loan or a conventional loan. So many different loans that we could possibly go for.

L: Okay. Then once you have all that information for me is there anything else then like paperwork or anything else you’re going to need?

R: Yes. After I know that you can get pre-qualified for a loan then we’re going to work on the preapproval process. Pre-approval means I’m going to verify the information that you have just told me. I’m going to verify your address where your currently residing, I’m going to verify the income that you told me that you make, I’m going to verify the addresses where you currently have lived.

L: Okay. So does that mean you’re going to need maybe pay stubs and things like that from work?

R: Yes. You are going to need two years worth of income documentation, you’ll need two months bank statements, one month worth of pay stubs and a driver’s license.

L: Okay. All right. So once I go through all of this… Well, first of all I guess I should ask you how long does all of this take?

R: To give an application whether it be over the phone or online it takes roughly 10 minutes. To get the pre-approval letter after I request the documentation it depends on how quickly you get it into me. But once I have received it, it usually is done within 24 hours, sometimes in the same day.

L: Realistically I could probably get a pre-approval in about a day or two if I need it done?

R: That is correct. Yes.

L: Okay, great. So then pre-approval letter I can go out and shop once I have that?

R: That’s correct. You work with your realtor on that end.

L: Okay. Awesome. Thank you, Robin. 

So number one step in any process when you’re going out to buy you have to have your financing set up and that normally starts with a pre-approval letter. So find a lender to work with.  Have a great day and find that dream house.


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