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SoCal House Shopping – Pre-Qualified versus Pre-Approved

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Oy! This little SoCal pinup is in the throes of house hunting in the San Diego area. Sure it sounds like the best job ever, but let me give you this, it is so frustrating. ESPECIALLY when you find something online that you L-O-V-E then you realize, OMG, it is beyond reach finanacially.

Here is my lifestyle tip for you: find out your budget first! Unless you are just looking at property for fun, do not just cruise the sites willy nilly. But how do you find out how much house (or condo or townhouse) you can afford? Get pre-qualified or pre-approved.

Getting pre-qualified or pre-approved will give you a ball park range for your home search. Do NOT go outside of your parameters, this will only lead to disappointment. While it is true there is room for negotiation in nearly all properties, don’t get your hopes up.

So what’s the difference?

Getting pre-qualified is fast and easy. It usually only takes a few minutes and you are on your way. The thing to remember is that this is based on the information you give the bank and is not verified. Also, the loan is not guaranteed.

Being pre-approved is more in depth. Your information IS verified and there is usually a credit check run. I would not pull this until you are SURE you are ready to buy. Having a check run on your credit can lower your rating if done often enough. Getting the pre-approval letter has more weight behind it than a pre-qualifying letter and usually means you are likely to get the loan in that amount. You are still not GUARANTEED this amount, though.

I hope this helps in your search! I know it helped me narrow down my houses.

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  1. This has always confused me. Thanks for clarifying this.

  2. House shopping is such a headache, which is why we decided to build.

  3. I highly doubt I would pre-qualify, and I know I would never be pre-approved but in my defense, my credit is way better than it was a couple of years ago!