How Long Does a Mortgage Pre-Approval Take?

July 31, 2019
Last updated:
July 24, 2023
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You’ve been waiting patiently, you have been saving every penny, making sacrifices to ensure your finances are in order.  The time is finally here to start looking for that house you have always wanted. You followed all the advice you can remember, but now that you have finally arrived, what do you do next? This article will explain more.

If you are thinking of buying a home, your very first move should be to get pre-approved for a mortgage (before you begin house hunting). This is true even if you are not quite ready to buy just yet and commit to a mortgage loan

As a family-owned Mortgage Company with experience in the industry since 1992, without a doubt, your very next stop should be a planned visit with a reputable, locally licensed mortgage professional to obtain a mortgage pre-approval. It’s a simple step, but one that often gets skipped or overlooked.

A pre-approval letter is the first step in getting approved for a mortgage

What is a pre-approval, and how long does it take to get one? A mortgage pre-approval letter states that your lender has taken the time to review your income, assets, expenses, and credit report to find that you would be the perfect customer. In other words, it lets the seller know you can actually buy the property.

How Long Will A Pre-Approval Take?

Sounds complicated. How long does the mortgage pre-approval process take? Some folks may be a little timid about approaching a lender for pre-approval. Others may skip the step altogether in their excitement to find that perfect property, thinking a pre-approval will take too long.

However, what good does it do to jump the gun when you won’t be able to make a viable offer without a mortgage pre-approval letter? In many of the nation’s more competitive markets, skipping pre-approval could really limit your options.

Frequently, homes see multiple offers, and if you are not ready to throw your backed-up offer into the ring, you could lose the opportunity altogether. That said, obtaining a home mortgage should be a painless process.

So, exactly how long does it take to get a mortgage preapproval, does it take longer in some states than others, and just what information will you need to provide to get your pre approval letter?

Let’s dispel some worry right now. Obtaining a mortgage pre-approval should be a painless process. In most cases, it will take no more than a day or two to obtain a mortgage preapproval letter so you can start shopping for your new dream home. Let’s take a closer look and shed some light on how long it takes to get a pre-approval and why.

Do Your Homework

The golden rule of personal and family financing is to do your homework. Go ahead and dig in. It’s time to source out a few reputable lenders to choose from. Make sure you feel comfortable with the candidate you select, as they will be guiding you through the approval process and the rest of the steps involved in buying your home.

Once you have decided on a few lenders, get some quotes for your mortgage loan. You can do this without a “hard” credit score check since the quote is based on basic unsubstantiated information you have provided the lender.

Get Pre-Approved Not Pre-Qualified

Perhaps it’s a good time to back up for a second and quickly point out the difference between pre-qualification and pre-approval.

  • Pre-Qualification: Here, the lender is simply estimating whether you qualify based on the information you provide. There is no credit pull here, no pay stubs, no W-2s. Most sellers and realtors will not accept a pre-qualification letter since nothing was actually verified and reviewed.
  • Pre-Approval: A mortgage pre-approval is a letter from your lender stating your financial information has been verified, and you are most likely to be fully approved for a mortgage loan at a specific purchase price and down payment. The lender will pull your credit report and get your FICO credit score.

Now that the difference is clear, you can see why a mortgage pre-approval is absolutely necessary. Here’s another article for a deeper dive into the differences between mortgage pre-qualification and mortgage pre-approval. Let’s take a look at a few simple hacks that will help make the process move faster.

Avoid The “Slowdown”

What slows down the pre-approval process? For the most part, any delays are usually due to the customer or borrower trying to locate the right documentation. The good news is, that’s a fairly easy problem to plan for and avoid.

Make A Checklist

It may be helpful for you to create and complete a personal mortgage pre-approval checklist. This will ensure an easy, smooth, quick, and painless mortgage pre-approval by already having the documents in hand. A few must-have documents include:

  • Valid Picture ID (Passport, Driver’s License, or State ID)
  • W2 or 1099 tax returns and documents for the past two years
  • Current Bank Statements, including checking, savings, money market, etc.
  • Your Pay Stubs
  • Your FICO Credit Score

Speaking of your credit, if you don’t already know your credit score before you start the pre-approval process, it’s probably time to take a look. With a host of reputable online resources, you can start monitoring your credit report right away. Ultimately, it’s important to act quickly to remedy any anomalies asap, so it doesn’t interfere with or delay pre-approval.

Ready to Apply For a Home Loan in WA, OR, CA, CO, or ID?

Are you curious about mortgages, or are you ready to apply for one to buy a home? If so, Sammamish Mortgage can help. We are a local mortgage company from Bellevue, Washington, serving the entire state, as well as Oregon, Idaho, California and Colorado. We offer many mortgage programs to buyers all over the Pacific Northwest and have been doing so since 1992. Contact us today with any questions you have about mortgages.

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