Prequalifying for a Mortgage

Prior to obtaining a mortgage, consumers generally seek to prequalify. This is the process of having a lender look at the consumer’s credit profile, debt to income ratio, and from there make an educated guess about how much money the lender is willing to give to the consumer as a mortgage loan. This is usually done before the consumer ever even starts looking at homes. For the majority of home shoppers, this prequalification actually determines the price range of homes they will focus on with their buyers’ agents. What is more, such a prequalification protects consumers from bidding for a house only to be disregarded because they lack a lender letter stating that this bidder is a serious contender and considered creditworthy by a lender.

Prospective home sellers want to see buyers who have already entered into discussion with a lender willing to write a mortgage loan for them. This separates these consumers from others who might not be able to secure financing, and who may – while the buyer and seller are tied up in a transaction that will ultimately fall through – in the end be a costly mistake for the seller who sends other would-be buyers packing. While there are a number of mortgage calculators on the Internet, the only accurate means of discerning how much money a borrower can qualify for is through discussion with an actual lender. After all, even though the lending rules are fairly standard throughout the industry, different lenders offer different loans.

Moreover, some lenders may not offer the kinds of loans a consumer might find more profitable and which, in the long run, might allow her or him to buy more house for the money. This is especially true for borrowers who would like to buy more home at the onset than they have money for in the long run, but – because of future business growth – anticipate being able to afford the actual house payments in the future. Such loan products may include adjustable rate mortgages, balloon payments, and also low interest or interest only loans that for brief periods of time offer a set of payments easy on the pocketbook. In some cases there are even alternative means of financing that only lenders truly know about and can set up for their clients.

Prequalifying with a lender is quick and easy. Rather than submitting a whole loan application, the would-be borrower simply needs to disclose assets, liabilities, monthly payments, income from all sources, and consent to having a credit report pulled. The lender will evaluate these figures and based on the debt to income ratio and also the underwriting standards germane to that particular financial institution offer a figure which presents the upper cap of the loan the bank is likely willing to offer. In some cases they might even go so far as to calculate the interest rate the consumer might have to pay for the loan, which further influences the buying decision of future homebuyers who are ready to make the largest investment in their lives.

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