Tuscaloosa Home Buyers Need Mortgage Pre-Approval Before Home Search
When a solid, clean new listing comes onto the local real estate market here in Tuscaloosa or Northport between $125–200K, you can just go ahead and start a stopwatch as if you’re watching a track meet. It’s off to the races for buyers and their agents to get into the home and make an offer.
Right now, nice homes in this price range are selling in 10–13 days with sellers having multiple offers to choose from. With multiple offers on the table, which one would you choose if you we’re the seller? One without documentation that says you’re financially able to purchase or one without?
What is a Pre-Approval Anyway?
Simply put, a mortgage pre-approval is a letter you obtain from a mortgage broker or lender that says you have provided the lender with your financial info and they have checked it and checked your credit to ensure you are qualified to obtain a loan. It tells the seller that, if they accept your home offer, it means they have a great chance of getting to the closing table with you and selling their home.
Many times, buyers will start looking at homes, see something they like and want to make an offer immediately. Often, real estate agents will send the offer over without a pre-approval letter to accompany it. In a hot market, like we have here now, it’s likely this offer is accompanied by more offers from other potential buyers on the same day.
All sellers want to sell quickly, so as they “rack and stack” the offers looking for the best one it’s almost a certainty any offer not accompanied by the assurance a pre-approval provides is discarded in favor of other offers that do have the letter.
Technically-speaking, buyers have 5 days from the acceptance of an offer to provide the pre-approval letter, but do you think your chances of even getting an offer accepted are better with or without a pre-approval letter?
I don’t think I even need to answer that.
(NOTE: A pre-approval and a pre-qualification are not the same thing! A prequalification is simply a worksheet designed to map out your costs for a home and whether you can afford it or not based on debt and income you provide usually to your agent. A Preapproval is from a lender who’s verified your info and is accompanied by a letter stating what they’ll loan you.
How Do I Get a Mortgage Pre-Approval Letter?
Again, simply put, you contact a mortgage broker or lender, provide them with some financial and personal information about your job, debts, etc., allow them to check your credit and then they issue you a letter stating that your financially able to buy a home up to a certain price range.
Sounds easy right? It is. And it gets even easier now in the age of mobile apps and websites.
For example, a company we work with a lot here at RealBama, MortgageRight, a local lender in Birmingham, has an 8-minute application that you can fill out online right from your phone, laptop, tablet or desktop computer. Send in your info, they send you a pre-approval letter and information on your loan costs.
It’s just that easy. And how much do you think having this letter affects your ability to make an offer with confidence? Well, let me just say from recent experience, if you don’t have one of these pre-approvals, don’t make the offer in the first place. You probably have little chance of competing with solid offers that do.
Buying a home? Contact me now.