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DH and I are looking to buy our first home this summer. I am pretty clueless about mortgages. I know you need pre-approval. How soon before buying should we get pre-approved? We will be moved and ready to serious look and make offers in August. I've heard it is a good idea to get multiple quotes from different lenders. Do all the lenders have to pre-approve you? Very confused about the home loan process. If someone could explain that would be great. Thanks!
I would get multiple offers and you can start now and ask them.
Also reminder that they will go off you only paying the minumum on credit cards and all. So just remember that what they approve you for might be really strapping you but at least you know the range you can go.
Typically (as far as I know, being a non-expert who has bought one house and is preparing to sell it and buy another) pre-approval just tells you what you can spend and gives you a paper to put in with your offer. I think you should figure out what you can spend separately yourself (by figuring out typical interest rates, taxes in your area, your budget, your down payment, etc). It usually doesn't take long to get the pre-approval paperwork (less than 1 week), so I'd do it once you actually start looking.
Now, in order to actually get your financing, you'll have to provide a lot of documentation proving the information you filled out to get your pre-approval (pay stubs, W2s, statements from your accounts, all going back a couple of months/ years). That takes longer.
All that said, if you have a low credit score or are concerned, I would just get in touch with a couple of mortgage consultants (if you have a realtor you are working with, they will have recommendations).