Are you really “pre-approved” for that home loan?

I sometimes get calls from a home buyer who states they are pre-approved at ………. Bank.

In the course of conversation, I ask the usual, necessary questions to provide good information and recommendations and discover that they have not been asked these questions by the other lender. Many times I hear that the other lender hasn’t seen their tax returns or bank statements.

Since lending in 2013 is much more complicated and requires documentation for all aspects of a borrower’s finances, credit, and the property being purchased, I’m very surprised that other lenders didn’t go into these questions.

Bottom line is; if a lender has not asked for and examined your W2s, paystubs, tax returns, bank statements, and ran credit, you don’t have a pre-approval for a home loan, you have at best a pre-qualification.  Pre-approvals are based on actual documentation and pre qualifications are based on whatever the borrower says to you.  We know that some borrowers will not tell you the whole story because they think that its not important.  Some will outright lie about past credit problems, and some simply don’t want to do their part in the home buying process, ie gathering the necessary documents that it take s to get a home mortgage in 2013.

I say that you approach getting a home mortgage the same way you approach a health concern with your doctor.  You tell them everything you are experiencing or are concerned about, you take the pre-appointments blood test or other screenings, you answer honestly the questions your doctor asks and then you can get the best advice and treatment.

If you are a home seller, you should insist that your prospective buyer provide a solid pre-approval letter from a reputable lender.  some home builders in my market, Boise Idaho , have required that any prospective buyer pre-approve with their lender to be sure.  If you are a Realtor, don’t let your buyers put offers on homes without having a solid pre-approval letter.  Yes, they want to go look at houses as that’s the fun part, but it will be well worth the time to make sure they have a solid pre-approval beforehand.

If you need a lender who will do the hard work beforehand, I know of one.

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