Pre-Qualified versus Pre-Approved | Military Home Loans

Pre-Qualified versus Pre-Approved


Buying a home can be exciting. You know you want to buy a house, but where should you begin? The ideal place to begin the home buying process is with getting a pre-approval for a home loan.

When you get preapproved for a loan, you will have more than just an estimate of how much home you can afford. A Pre-approval gives you an actual figure of how much you will qualify for and can offer on a home; and that kind of knowledge is power. You will know what to shop for when you begin looking at homes.

Pre-Qualified versus Pre-Approved? What’s the Difference?

Getting pre-qualified and getting pre-approved for a loan may sound like the same thing, but in reality they are two different stops along the road to getting a home loan.


When you get pre-qualified, you and your loan officer will discuss your financial goals and what homeownership looks like to you. Your loan officer will ask you about your income, assets, debts, and obligations, and based on the information you provide can prequalify you for a loan amount. In other words, your loan officer tells you how much of a loan you could reasonably expect to obtain based on the preliminary information you provide.

In short, Pre-qualification is an informal process of information gathering that results in an estimate of the price range of home you can afford.


Pre-approval is the next step towards obtaining a mortgage and is based on verification of your income, credit and assets. You and your loan officer will compare mortgage loan options to decide which loan program will best help you reach your financial goals. As you move forward in the pre-approval process, you will complete a loan application (even though you don’t have a property address to provide at this time). Your loan officer will let you know what initial documents you need to provide to the lender, such as W2s and tax returns. When your loan advisor submits your application to a lender, you will receive a written confirmation from the lender, stating that they are willing to lend you a specific amount of money. Your pre-approval is generally good for a period of 60 to 90 days after so you have plenty of time to shop for your new home.

Pre-approval is part of the official loan application process where a lender provides you with a letter confirming you have begun the loan process, and provides the specific loan amount you can expect to be approved for.

The Benefits of Shopping for a Home Pre-Approved

With a pre-approval letter in hand, you can then start shopping for a home with the knowledge of exactly how much home you can afford. But knowing how much home you can afford isn’t the only benefit to pre-approval.

Presenting a pre-approval letter gives you a competitive advantage over buyers who don’t have pre-approval when you make an offer on a home. And if you are shopping in a market where the houses are going fast, that kind of advantage can be the difference between having your offer accepted… or not.

Ready to get Pre-approved? Here’s where to start.

Partner with our very own Mortgage Loan Officers

One of our seasoned mortgage loan officers is going to walk you through every step of the home loan process, from pre-approval and beyond. An experienced mortgage professional will begin by talking to you about your financial goals, and what your idea of home is. Your loan officer will want to know if you are looking for your forever home, or a stepping-stone house that you will live in for a few years before moving on to something else. Once your loan officer understands what your end goal is, he/ she will help you map out a plan to get to the finish line.

It can be tempting to run out and start looking at houses the moment you decide you want to buy a home. Remember to start with the loan process before you look for a home so you can achieve a smoother and faster home buying process.


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Information accurate as of publication date; the views, articles, postings and other information listed in this section are personal and do not necessarily represent the opinion or the position of American Pacific Mortgage Corporation. The material in this section is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment and/or mortgage advice. Although the material is deemed to be accurate and reliable, there is no guarantee it is without errors.