Why Should I Get Pre-Approved Before Shopping For Homes?

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Why Get Preapproved for a North Carolina Mortgage

Yes, you should get pre-approved for a mortgage! We offer the service at no charge and will be happy to send you a copy of your credit report for your review. Do not confuse getting pre-qualified with getting pre-approved.

Getting pre-qualified means filling out a loan application, having your credit report reviewed, and talking with a loan officer who will provide a free pre-qualification letter to go with your offer, which lets the seller know you should be able to buy the house.

Getting pre-approved means you have also submitted supporting documentation on income and assets for review by a lender. It takes only a few extra steps on your part, but before shopping for a home, we think you should get a free pre-approval letter.

If you are competing with another buyer in making an offer on a home, a pre-approval letter carries more weight than a pre-qualification letter. The housing market is heating up, and there is more competition for existing home sales. Just get in touch with one of our loan officers. He or she will take a quick pulse of your financial health and help you decide which letter you need to begin the home buying process.

You’ll want to start with us, because we work for you, not the bank, and we work with many lenders to compare rates and types of loans.

Hint: Even if you get a pre-qualifying letter from another lender, you can still ask us to do a rate quote comparison!

Do I Have to Pick Out a House to Get Pre-Approved?
You do not have to find a house first! When you get pre-approved, you’ll know how much is a reasonable amount to spend. You go home shopping with this reasonable limit in mind. Once you want to put in an offer to purchase, just let us know the address, and we can prepare your free pre-approval letter on the spot!

Do not get a letter with the dollar limit included! We do not include the dollar limit in your letter, because you don’t want the seller to know exactly how much you have to spend. Only you’ll know you are within the limit, and you can feel comfortable that you have been pre-approved for a home loan.

The pre-approval is specific to one lender and is valid for a set period of time and may ask you to satisfy other conditions to get the home loan. It is a great place to start the home loan process. Often, clients are reluctant to share too much financial information. Let us reassure you, we have served North Carolina citizens for 15 years, and most of our clients are our neighbors! We promise to respect and protect your privacy.

Employment – When you contact us, we will need to know your employment history covering the past two years. If you have recently changed jobs but have stayed in the same field, that will be fine. If you have recently changed careers, then we will need to examine how stable your new job will be in deciding if you qualify for a loan. If you have recently moved from a W-2 or salaried job to being self employed, then you will have to provide at least one year’s federal tax returns to prove self-employed income.

Cash on Hand – We will ask how much money you currently have in checking, savings and /or money market accounts. This is to ensure you can make a down payment and/or can cover the cost to sign for – or close – the loan. If you do not currently have enough money for your down payment and closing costs, we will be happy to discuss options that may be available to you.

Many home loans allow gift money from family, or you can ask the seller to pay your closing costs, or you may be able to borrow the money from your retirement plan (contact your retirement plan administrator to see if this option is available). We will be happy to discuss these and other options with you as you are pre-approved.

Credit Score – We will pull and review your credit report from the three largest credit-scoring agencies to make sure your credit standing meets or exceeds current guidelines for obtaining a loan. This will be a Residential Mortgage Credit Report (RMCR) which is different from the credit score consumers regularly get even on the same day. This score is a much stricter and extended look at your financial health. We will be happy to share this report with you at no charge!

What If I Already Own Another Home
If you have an existing house for sale, we will make sure you are qualified to carry both your current mortgage and your new mortgage. This would enable you to put in a purchase offer called a non-contingent offer, which is preferable to making the purchase contingent upon the sale of your current home.

  • Bankruptcy. If you have a bankruptcy on your financial record as little as two years ago, we may still be able to help you get a mortgage to buy a home.
  • Divorce or Separation. If you are getting separated, please call us to discuss your options. We would be happy to go over the guidelines concerning when and how alimony and child support can be used as income. The guidelines vary greatly depending on the type of residential mortgage.

Why Work With Us?
Carolina Home Mortgage is local and an independent small business. You’ll find our rates are low if you do the comparison. For 15 years we have helped clients become our neighbors You don’t get to do that unless you offer quality and client-centered service.

Email your questions to
or call us. At the end of the day, we report to you, not the bank. We are available after hours and weekends, too!

Helping You Make Carolina Home!