WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO GET "PREQUALIFIED"?
These days, sellers of homes expect buyers to have a "PreQualification Letter" come along with all offers on a home. A "PreQual" letter, as we call them, states simply that you'd begun talking to a mortgage person and that from the information you've provided them they feel certain they can produce a loan for you in the price range of the home for which you're putting an offer. It does not mean you're committed to anything, just that you've begun.
A "PreApproval" letter means the same thing except that the loan officer you have talked to has gone the extra step of pulling your credit to make sure everything is ok there. It is highly recommended that you go this extra step. Not only is important for you personally to know that nothing has changed with your credit since the last time it was checked, a PreApproval letter carries more weight with a seller. This will give you a stronger negotiating position when it comes time to write an Offer.
It can also be a big help to know what you're qualified for before you begin the Home Search in earnest. Many times my buyers end up surprised that their buying power is more than they'd assumed, due to the changes in programs offered. It's worth an inquiry.
With that in mind, it is important that you call some of the people I can recommend to begin discussing your financing. I have listed below some very fine mortgage people. I have worked with all of these folks and they are all some of the best at what they do. I wouldn't put them on this list if I didn't feel they'd be looking out for YOUR BEST INTERESTS.
These folks are also on my list because THEY CONSISTENTLY CLOSE ON TIME. Most out-of-town or internet lenders have a terrible record when it comes to closing on time. This is really important when you have movers lined up to deliver your furniture on a specific day. I have seen internet and out-of-town lenders delay closings by several weeks, for no discernible reason. I now STRONGLY advise you to use one of the people at the link below: