How long does it take to get pre-approved for a mortgage?



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One of the most common tips offered to potential home buyers is to get pre-approved for a mortgage. However, many buyers are unsure of how long the pre-approval process takes and how it can cut down on their time to find a home.

Here’s what you can expect when you get a mortgage pre-approval, including how long it takes to get that pre-approval letter:

How mortgage pre-approval works

Mortgage pre-approval confirms your creditworthiness for a home loan. When you are pre-approved, you will receive a letter from your mortgage lender indicating how much money you can borrow to buy a home.

While a pre-approval doesn’t guarantee full approval, it is a fairly thorough process that can give you some peace of mind and make you a more attractive buyer.

A mortgage pre-approval is different from a mortgage prequalification:

  • Prequalification: The lender looks at your financial situation based on the information you provide and gives you a rough estimate of the mortgage amount you qualify for.
  • Pre-approval: This process is more complex. This requires a full application and a serious credit check, and you will need to provide additional documents.
Advice: It’s best to get pre-approved early in the home buying process. Knowing how much a lender is willing to let you borrow can benefit you as a buyer by reducing homes in your price range. It also shows sellers and agents that you are a serious buyer.

Here are some of the benefits of getting mortgage pre-approved:

  • Give you a better idea of ​​what you can borrow and afford
  • Strengthen your offer
  • Speed ​​up the closing process
  • Giving you more time to compare lenders and rates and resolve issues

How long does it take to get pre-approved

The time it takes to get pre-approved depends on the situation and the lender. Typically, lenders require certain documents to verify your finances, such as your W-2s and bank statements, as well as job identification and verification.

They’ll also assess your Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI), perform a thorough credit check to get your credit rating, and look for red flags on your credit report.

Some of the factors that can affect the time it takes to get pre-approved include:

  • How long does it take you to collect the supporting documents
  • If there are any errors on your credit report that need to be corrected
  • Your employment status (since you might need additional information if you are self-employed)
  • Unusual circumstances related to your assets

Advice: Check your credit in advance, review your credit report, and correct any mistakes before you apply for mortgage pre-approval.

Having all the required documents on hand before you begin can also help speed up the process.

Ready to be pre-approved?
  • Instant simplified pre-approval: It only takes 3 minutes to see if you qualify for an instant streamlined pre-approval letter, without affecting your credit.

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Keep in mind that not all loan products are available through Credible.

Pre-approved with traditional lenders

It is not uncommon for a traditional lender to take up to 10 business days for a pre-approval.

To get a feel for your financial situation and determine if you meet all the requirements, a loan officer will comb through several pre-approval documents, including:

  • W-2 (two-year value)
  • Personal tax declarations (two-year value)
  • Business income tax returns (two-year value, if applicable)
  • Recent payslips
  • Asset Information (such as bank, pension and brokerage account statements)
  • Identification documents (such as a driver’s license, passport, or other government issued ID)
  • Income statements (if you are independent)

Learn more: How to buy a house: step by step guide

Pre-approved with Credible

Credible offers a streamlined pre-approval process that allows you to get a pre-approval letter from multiple lenders at once. Rather than waiting several days, you can find out how much you qualify for in minutes.

Our process is completely online and user-friendly, and you can quickly generate letters for sellers and your real estate agent right from your account.

Traditional lenders Credible
How long does it take? 1 to 3 days 3 minutes
Credit check Difficult credit draw
(negative impact on your credit)
Soft credit draw
(no impact on your credit)
Online process Usually minimal; instead handled via an in-person visit to a branch or a phone call with a licensed loan officer 100% online
Compare multiple lenders? No, visit multiple lenders to receive multiple pre-approval letters Yes, pre-approved by several lenders at the same time
Several pre-approval letters to make additional real estate offers? No, must submit another request to the lender for a new pre-approval letter Yes, instantly generate additional letters with a personalized loan amount

Ready to be pre-approved through Credible?
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How long does a pre-approval take?

A mortgage pre-approval generally lasts between 60 and 90 days. Because your financial situation and the market can change, letters of approval don’t last forever. If your offer is not accepted, you may need to get pre-approved again.

The expiration date of your pre-approval should be indicated somewhere on your pre-approval letter. You can find this date on the first page of your Credible pre-approval letter.

If you need to make any changes to your streamlined pre-approval letter (for example, adjust your down payment or purchase price), you can go to your dashboard and update the information, and we’ll generate a new letter. for you.

If you’re serious about buying a home, you’ll want to get pre-approved. Not only will a pre-approval let you know which mortgage you qualify for, it also gives you an edge over other buyers and makes the home buying process much less stressful.

About the Author

Miranda Marquit

Miranda Marquit is a mortgage, investment and business authority and contributor to Credible. His work has been published on NPR, Marketwatch, FOX Business, The Hill, US News & World Report, Forbes, etc.

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