One more follow up question - If we decide to do the pre-approval, which seems the logical next step - is there any harm in doing this and then NOT purchasing within 6 months of the pre-approval? i.e. we end up waiting longer and then need to get pre-approved again in the next year.
My husband and I are first time home buyers, with excellent credit scores and no debt. We are hoping to get loan approval for $500-$600k range. Our downpayment is substantial, 30-40%. We have lots of savings as well plus additional real estate from inheritance. My husband has been in graduate school since fall '11 and won't begin working again until fall '13. The only income he has is from a summer internship this year for 8 weeks. He has a signed contract from his new employer, but won't have any pay until next fall. Our future combined income will be over $200k, but currently is $90k. Would a bank pre-approve us without his income history? Or will we likely have to wait until he has been employed?