In a nutshell:
Unless you plan to pay all-cash, getting pre-approved is important because it gives you an idea of what you can afford. A mortgage pre-approval letter is from your lender and lists the loan amount you qualify for after thoroughly vetting and verifying your financial situation and credit rating.
With today's competitive real estate market, serious buyers should have a pre-approval letter before starting their home search.
Sellers require a pre-approval letter with any home offer that isn't all-cash, since it acts as proof you're able to get financing.
What type of pre-approval letter do I need to make an offer?
Your pre-approval letter should have your name (co-buyer if applicable), the loan amount you qualify for, date, lender name, and lender NMLS number. If there's an expiration date, your letter should still be within the valid timeframe.
Here's an example:
Please note: pre-qualification is not the same as pre-approval.
Getting pre-qualified for a loan amount is based on a quick assessment of your financial situation by your potential lender using unverified information. Pre-qualification can only be seen as the amount you might expect to be approved for.
If you're pre-approved, it means your assets and debts have been confirmed by a loan officer. Only then will they issue you a pre-approval letter, which you can submit with offers.
How do I upload my pre-approval letter safely?
Your financial documents live securely in the Financial Docs section of your Open Listings account. If you're uploading docs for a co-buyer, please make sure that co-buyer is added to your account. You can attach multiple statements as a .zip file.
We use Amazon-grade security to store your documents and encourage you to black out any sensitive information, such as account numbers or social security numbers. We can also redact information for you.
Please reach out if you need any additional help, need pre-approval recommendations, or have any more questions on uploading your mortgage pre-approval letter.