Something we often hear from clients is they waited longer to get pre-approved than they needed to when starting to shop for their first home. Common misconceptions about the pre-approval process are that it costs money, hurts your credit, and/or commits you in some way to getting a loan with that lender. In most cases, none of those things are true.
How much does it cost to get pre-approved? Nothing.
With most lenders, including QHL, it costs $0 to get pre-approved. It’s usually in the lender’s best interest to offer you this “sneak peek” of what you might qualify for since it both meaningfully enhances your ability to win an offer on a house and makes you more likely to proceed with that lender when you do get an offer accepted (especially if their pre-approval letter helped you get there). For QHL, information and guidance are the core of what we offer.
One big caveat is that some lenders charge an application fee if you continue into the full mortgage application process. We charge no application fee, and application fees are growing increasingly rare — but it’s something you should consider when choosing a lender for pre-approval.
Will pre-approval hurt my credit?
It depends on whether the lender runs a “soft” or “hard” credit check during pre-approval. Most lenders run “hard” checks, which appear on your credit report and negatively impact your overall credit. However, some lenders run a “soft” credit check, which does not impact your credit. Soft credit checks are very handy in cases like this because they give lenders a fairly accurate picture of your credit and help you know where you stand earlier in the process so that you can make some corrections before fully committing to it. This is why we encourage people starting to look for a home to get pre-approved earlier in the process, since it’s a valuable tool and doesn’t hurt you—so long as the lender is running a soft check and not a hard one.
Does pre-approval commit me to a loan?
No. We encourage you to get pre-approved whenever it feels most helpful to your decision-making process as you work towards purchasing a home. Pre-approval provides a clear picture of what you can afford and is a starting point for narrowing down affordable home-buying options. It can even be helpful to get pre-approved earlier in the process so we can identify any potential negative issues with the mortgage application and then offer strategies to resolve those problems while making every step easy to understand.
If you’re ready to start, let’s begin with your pre-approval today. It’s always free; you’ll get your official pre-approval letter instantly.