What is pre-qualification or credit approval and why do I need it?

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Cambridge Savings Bank

Rick Garber | NMLS #68671
Cambridge Savings Bank | NMLS #543370

A Q&A with Rick Garber, Head of Mortgages at Cambridge Savings Bank

Tell me about you. How long have you worked in mortgages at Cambridge Savings Bank (CSB)?

I have worked in mortgage lending at CSB for over 25 years.

I truly believe in the power of making real connections with my borrowers and I know how daunting the mortgage process can be. To me, that’s why it’s so important for borrowers to feel like their lender is a true partner to them through the process. There’s nothing I like to see more than one of my borrowers with the keys to their new home in hand.

What is credit approval or pre-qualification?

First, it’s important to understand that there are many names that can be used for this part of your mortgage process, but they are often used interchangeably and for the most part mean the same thing.

Obtain a pre-qualification or credit approval is a great place to start if you’re trying to figure out how much house you can afford. The estimated purchase price and loan amount that results from this step will be based on the verbal information you provide to the lender. At CSB, it is also supported by the management of your information through an automated subscription system. Additionally, CSB also pulls your credit report for this process. Getting pre-qualified or approved for credit is the first step in the mortgage process for many borrowers and is a good way to get an initial estimate.

Where can I get pre-qualification or credit approval?

A reputable lender should be able to help you get pre-qualified or approved for credit.

With CSB, you can submit a request for credit approval on our website or reach out to one of our mortgage loan officers to start the process.

How long does a credit approval or pre-qualification last and how long is it valid?

These can usually be completed within 24 to 48 hours and last between 90 and 120 days, but this can vary by lender.

Are there any fees associated with credit approval or pre-qualification?

Generally, there are no fees with most lenders and CSB does not charge a fee.

Why is credit approval or pre-qualification important?

Credit approvals or prequalifications help sellers understand that you have the funds to buy their home and that you are backed by a reputable lender who has assessed your financial situation.

In today’s market, this can help you get a stronger offer and some real estate agents may not even accept an offer without it.

What should I be aware of to get pre-qualified or approved for credit?

It is not a commitment to lend.

Although pre-qualification or credit approval can help you understand how much you can borrow, they don’t guarantee what or if a lender will lend you. This commitment comes during the application process.

This can impact your credit score.

As part of the pre-qualification or credit approval process, your credit report may be taken down and doing so too often can impact your credit score.

You may not want to borrow up to the full amount.

As part of the prequalification or credit approval process, the lender gives you a loan amount that you can afford based on your job and income. However, it probably doesn’t take into account all of your current expenses.

When evaluating homes to buy, you may want to ask yourself if you really want to spend up to the full amount you’ve been approved for. It’s a good idea to assess your current expenses and lifestyle. You might want to consider whether you would have to change them to pay for the house.

What happens after getting credit approval or pre-qualification?

You can start making solid offers with a credit approval or pre-qualification letter in hand.

Once again, I’m crossing my fingers! – your offer is accepted, you can then go back to your lender to start the mortgage application process and start securing the financing for your new mortgage.

If you would like to learn a little more about the mortgage application process, please see our Video series on your mortgage journey where our mortgage officers walk you through it.

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