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When to Pre-Qualify or Get Pre-Approved

My husband and I are interested in selling our condo and buying a house.  Our realtor has advised that the best time to do this would be the spring, but if we see something we like we can do this at any time. We do see some homes we like now but are waiting to see the settlement of a couple comps in our neighborhood to check if we can sell our condo for enough yet.

My question is, should we go ahead and get pre-qualified, if not pre-approved now?  We would like to be able to ready to make an offer now, though there's always the possibility we could wait a bit.  Does it matter or could doing this too early mess up our credit scores?
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September 18 2012 - Alexandria
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Hi there, I definitely recommend you get pre-qualified before looking at any homes so you're ready to make an offer.  Most, if not all, homes for sale, short sale, HUD, and foreclosures will require proof of funds to make an offer.  It'll make your life easier to be prepared to show you're a serious buyer.  
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September 18 2012
Typically prequalifications are good for only 30 days and then expire to where you would have to prequalify again.  I would check your credit scores and make sure they are good and also your debt to income ratios (how much you earn vs. how much debt you have) keep both scenerios in check and then when you are closer to finding something get the prequal. Thanks for chiming in.
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September 19 2012
I see no downside to getting pre-qualified now, even if you choose not to pull the trigger until next spring. In fact, doing the pre-qual actually may help discover weak points in your application process that might be easily addressed and corrected now, as opposed to the last minute with your closing hanging in the balance. Most pre-quals are not time sensitive, certainly not as short as 30 days assuming nothing major changes, i.e, a new car payment or something similar.
One issue that should be discussed is being pre-qualled with the condo payment included and excluded. This could make a world of difference, and clarify time frames for selling the condo. If you can handle both payments, it might take some stress and worry out of the process.
Hope these comments help!  Best wishes, Jim
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September 19 2012
I would definately get pre-qualified now.  That way any suprises or obstacles that come up can get handled now rather then when you are trying to make that big push to close escrow!
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September 21 2012
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If you end up having to prequalify for multiple 30 day periods and then go through a loan process, doesn't that mean your credit score gets pulled multiple times, thereby lowering it? 

Thanks!
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August 22 2013
I would recommend getting prequalified for a number of reasons.  First, you get a chance to have your entire financial situation analyzed and see how much of a home you can purchase.  Next, you as the borrower can get a full picture of the payments and how much you need for settlement charges with the next transaction.  Also, remember that interest rates might move and you need to be prepared for higher or lower rates and understand what that will do to your overall financing scenario and if it will impact the amount of home you buy.  Good luck.
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August 22 2013
Old post but same answer...... term "pre qualification" went the way of "sub prime".  Never a good reason not to get pre approved prior to house hunting whether first home or next home.  The mortgage process and program guidelines have changed dramatically over the past few years (including June 2013 for FHA) that a thorough review and evaluation/documentation is necessary to give borrower reliable assurance of being able to obtain mortgage financing. This would include obtaining copies of W2s, paystubs, bank statements, tax returns and credit report at a minimum. An automated underwriting finding should then be obtained. Any procedure short of this is waste of time and results would be useless as in pre qualification.
I would suggest that lenders/agents remove pre qualification from their vocabulary, so consumers will be able to get a true picture of their ability to be approved or not be approved. Having said all of this, it is still critical that the pre approval be obtained from a loan officer that is capable of interpeting lending guidelines, and evaluation borrowers documentation properly. Zillow post are frequently "horror stories" of buyer's buying properties and not receiving Underwriting approval at the last minute.
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August 22 2013
I highly recommend you get pre-approved before you start looking for a home.  You never know what may pop up on a credit report and delay you in purchasing a home. 
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August 22 2013
Yes! It definitely does not hurt to be pre-qualified or pre-approved, as a matter of fact it is highly recommended that you do that. No seller will look at an offer unless it is accompanied by an approval letter. It would be a huge benefit to you to be pre-approved so that if you do find something you can make an offer right away and not worry about anything coming up to delay the process. Best of luck to you! 
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September 04 2013
I'd get a pre-approval letter!! The lender makes you go through a few more hoops and makes sure you really do qualify and iron out the kinks if any?! I get all my prospective buyers to go through that and in some cases get a D/U approval (Wells Fargo is good at it!) When you do get in contract it can help in reducing contingency periods for you and your offer more competitive and acceptable!! Would you rather not have a person who is "Pre-Approved" when they make an offer on your condo!??  Good Luck and Good Hunting!
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September 04 2013
 
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